DETROIT – If Steve Yzerman and his staff are looking to pick up draft picks ahead of the trade deadline (Feb. 24), then we must look at the players who could be moved.
Anyone without a no trade clause? Ha, not exactly, but that depends on how ruthless Yzerman really wants to be with this roster. He’s mentioned not wanting to break up the young corps, but if he’s in this for the full bottom-out rebuild, and he’s repeatedly cautioned everyone about the time it may take to get a real playoff-caliber roster, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see some members of the “young corps” get moved.
Here are some realistic moves with players that have actual value:
Athanasiou, 25, was a 4th-round draft pick in 2012. He has 78 goals and 71 assists in 284 career games. He is known for his speed and, unfortunately, for his defensive liability. Those are the advanced stats talking, not just me.
What’s also unfortunate is he’s hurt right now and hasn’t played since Dec. 29, but he’s expected to be back some time mid January. And that’s important because if he can get back to his speed game and contributing to the Red Wings’ offense, he might be able to net a decent return at the deadline. Perhaps a second-round pick?
Remember, Athanasiou scored 30 goals last season. If had kept up that scoring pace this season, we could be talking about a 1st-round pick in return. But he’s slumping with just 5 goals and 14 assists this season. A change of scenery may be just what he needs to revamp his young career. With his speed and skill he can play in other teams’ top six, easily.
Perhaps most importantly, he’s a restricted free agent at the end of this season. Move him now.
Glendening is a very serviceable NHL center. He can help a team immediately in a shut down role and on the penalty kill. He’s smart, disciplined and strong at the faceoff dot.
The 30-year-old has 9 points in 34 games with the Red Wings this season. This is the third year of his four-year contract ($1.8M cap hit each year). He becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. You might be able to haul in a conditional third-round for him. I mean, he is relatively affordable, so maybe more?
My question is whether or not Yzerman is ready to dump him. Who takes his spot? Is this going to require bringing up Joe Veleno for good before the end of this season?
At 36, Daley might be heading toward retirement. He’s in the final year of a three-year contract with the Red Wings. He has struggled to stay healthy the past couple of seasons. But if he’s healthy, he can help bolster someone’s blue line.
As they say, it’s hard to put a price on playoff experience, so if I’m a playoff-bound team looking for extra depth (because injuries happen) this spring, I am considering Trevor Daley. He has played in 71 career playoff games and knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup. I think you at least consider what he can bring to a locker room.
Daley will have some say in where he gets moved (a 15-team list), which may make it more difficult to trade him. Regardless, I think you need to give this a good try before Feb. 24.
Gone are the days of Green’s offensive threat. He’s just not the player he used to be, and if he’s not helping put pucks in the net ... welp, I don’t know what his true value is. Maybe he’s a victim of a bad, bad team. I mean, sure he is, but how much is he to blame for the Red Wings’ horrid defense?
In spite of that, I think he does add a lot of upside, and experience (76 career playoff games), to a contender’s blue line. This is another depth pickup for a team who is eyeing a deep playoff run.
Green has a 10-team no trade list and he’s a UFA at the end of the season. You have to try moving him, too.
Beyond that, Green is 34 and it’s unclear what his NHL future is. Remember, he more or less chose to stay with the Red Wings two years ago. He wants another shot at the Cup before his career is over, right?
Is Yzerman resigning Erne this offseason? If not, then he should be moved now, if that’s possible.
The 24-year-old winger, who Yzerman basically brought with him from Tampa, is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. He plays a heavier game -- a.k.a. likes to be physical. He is toward the top of the league with 102 hits in 36 games played, if you care about that stat at all.
Erne had 20 points in 64 games played with a good Tampa team last year. Add him to a 3rd or 4th-line ... somewhere. There is trade value here, I just don’t know what you get in return. Depends on who wants him, no? He can add depth.
The other question about Erne is whether he’s hit his full potential. He’s still young at this point. Maybe he sticks around at a certain “bargain” price. He was a second-round pick by Yzerman in 2013. The Red Wings still need an actual roster next season. He can remain a depth player in Detroit and could fit into the “young corps” moving forward.
Some other moves to consider
- Jonathan Bernier is the only healthy NHL goalie the Red Wings have. He’s keeping them in games right now. Sure, they could trade him, but I don’t know if there is any reason to even touch that situation right now. There is no point in moving Bernier and risking having absolutely zero goaltending the rest of the season. Remember, Jimmy Howard has not been healthy and his contract is up at the end of this season. I think Yzerman has to wait to see what he has then.
- Jonathan Ericsson has a 19-team no trade list. The 35-year-old has been demoted to the AHL. He’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. I don’t know if he’s moveable, but someone once said “you miss every shot you don’t take.”
- Darren Helm could be traded, technically. But I don’t know who wants to take on his $3.85 million cap hit next season. He’s not a UFA until next summer. At 32, he’s a versatile forward who still has speed. He just needs to stay healthy, per usual.
- Alex Biega is a 31-year-old depth defenseman. He carries a low $825,000 cap hit and becomes a UFA at the end of this season. You decide what he’s worth.
- Madison Bowey cleared waivers earlier this season. He becomes an RFA at the end of the season. He’s just 24 years old. Again, if there are no plans to sign him, then there should be an effort to move him. Otherwise, he’s signed on the cheap. There is still time for him to blossom.
I could make a case for trading about two or three other players, but I think the ones above are the most realistic right now.
Brendan Perlini, for instance, would be a player to consider trading to get, well, anything. However, the Wings keep healthy scratching him, so it’s really unclear what his value is.
Let’s see what can be done. Everything always depends on what other teams need and who else is available and when.
Red Wings Newsletter
If you enjoyed this, sign up for my Red Wings Newsletter here.
Also, shoot me a message any time with questions, ideas or general criticism. I can take it -- email@example.com.