DETROIT – If Steve Yzerman is fishing for draft picks, this could be the most exciting month of the season for Detroit Red Wings fans (and perhaps some of the players, too).
We need something to be excited about. The draft is too far away and there’s no guarantee Detroit gets the top pick anyway.
So let’s settle for this: The NHL trade deadline is Monday, Feb. 24, and it’s the focus of most general managers now that the All Star break has come and gone.
Earlier this month, you might recall I did a piece on the players the Red Wings could realistically move before the deadline. My list included Andreas Athanasiou, Luke Glendening, Mike Green and Trevor Daley, among others. I also floated out the idea of trading goalie Jonathan Bernier, but now he’s injured.
Let me update my trade bait list:
- Trevor Daley -- Moving Daley seems like a must, and perhaps even a given, now that he’s reportedly instructed the team to do so. The 36-year-old defenseman is 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. What if Daley joined a contending team as a 3rd-pair defenseman, or perhaps a 7th man? Seems reasonable at a $3.2 million cap hit. His contract includes 15-team no-trade list.
- Luke Glendening -- We’ve been talking about the Red Wings trading Glendening, now 30, for a couple of seasons. He carries a relatively low $1.8 million cap hit through next season, then becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA). If you’re a team looking for a shutdown center who can boost your penalty kill, send Yzerman a pick or two sooner than later. Glendening has been a fan favorite in Detroit. The Michigan native and former Wolverine has a strong work ethic that won him a spot in the NHL after going undrafted.
- Andreas Athanasiou -- The 25-year-old speedster is the only Red Wings player on TSN’s “trade bait” list right now. I find that odd considering he’s been hurt and hasn’t played since Dec. 29 due to a lower body injury. He was having a bad season as is, and getting hurt hasn’t done anything but hurt his trade value right now. Yzerman may have to wait until the offseason to move Athanasiou. He becomes a restricted free agent (RFA) at the end of this season, so who knows? I can’t see the Red Wings giving him much of a raise. Maybe another team would? Let’s put it this way: If he gets healthy soon, he needs a strong finish to this season, and that’s not going to be easy on this team, clearly.
- Jimmy Howard -- This has been an extremely unforgiving season for Detroit’s goalies, especially for 35-year-old Jimmy Howard. His save percentage is sub-.900 for the first time in his career as a starter. He only has 2 wins. With his 1-year contract done after this season (he does not have a no-trade clause), he’s got to be thinking about heading to a contender, no? This could be his last shot at being a Stanley Cup champion. But who would take him? Well, I’d look for a team who suffers a goalie injury or who needs a backup to take some of the load off of a starter before the playoffs arrive. I think Howard still has the fire and determination to be a very good NHL goalie. He could play that role. Pay attention to how this month plays out, specifically for teams’ goaltending situations. Howard could be a great option for someone in a bind.
I’m going to stop here before I start talking about Madison Bowey’s trade value, etc. Again, I’m trying to stay realistic here. If we analyze this roster enough, we could start talking about trading Tyler Bertuzzi for a 1st-round pick.
But I won’t do that ... right now.
Meanwhile, here’s the Red Wings schedule heading into February:
- Jan. 31, 2020 -- 7 p.m. @ New York Rangers
- Feb. 1, 2020 -- 7 p.m. vs. New York Rangers
- Feb. 3, 2020 -- 7:30 p.m. vs. Philadelphia
- Feb. 6, 2020 -- 7 p.m. @ Buffalo
- Feb. 7, 2020 -- 7 p.m. @ Columbus
- Feb. 9, 2020 -- 12:30 p.m. vs. Boston
- Feb. 11, 2020 -- 7 p.m. @ Buffalo
- Feb. 13, 2020 -- 7 p.m. @ New Jersey
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