Dear Red Wings: Glendening trade talks, recalling ‘97 brawl with Colorado

Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening (41) plays against the Nashville Predators during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening (41) plays against the Nashville Predators during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Is this the year Luke Glendening gets traded to a contender at the deadline?

And Friday was the anniversary of the “Brawl in Hockeytown” -- I take a look back at it and try to recapture the amount of emotion that led up to it.

Glendening trade talks

We know the Red Wings are sellers heading toward the April 12 trade deadline, from Marc Staal to Bobby Ryan and, of course, Glendening, who has been labeled one of the top Detroit trade targets due to his strong play at the faceoff dot and his overall ability to help shut down opposing centers.

The 31-year-old becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and he’s carrying just a $1.8 million cap hit right now. He has 9 points through 32 games this season, and it’s the 64.9% faceoff percentage (league average is 55%) that has teams very interested. He is listed at No. 14 on the latest TSN Trade Bait board.

Someone has to pick him up, right? Perhaps his former general manager, Ken Holland, will be able to swing the deal. TSN hockey insider Frank Seravalli said Holland’s Edmonton Oilers have decided they are looking for the exact kind of player that Glendening is:

“It might not be splashy but I think the Edmonton Oilers have their eye on a very specific piece at a very specific price. That’s a right shot centre who can take faceoffs, and win them on the penalty kill where they’ve struggled this year, just 42 per cent shorthanded that can help their kill,” Seravalli said this week on TSN. “So who fits that bill? Well how about Luke Glendening who’s not coming back to the Detroit Red Wings. He’s the guy that leads the league in faceoff percentage this season, can also kill penalties and has a cheap cap hit. There’s two other guys that don’t require a seven-day quarantine and that would be Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter and Calgary’s Derek Ryan, although they have higher caps hits, more cap gymnastics there. And the price? Well the Oilers have traded their second, third and fifth-round picks, so they’d like to do all that for a fourth-round pick if they can. We’ll see what kind of magic Ken Holland has up his sleeve.”

Other teams listed with interest in Glendening include Toronto, Pittsburgh and Florida, all seeking a strong two-way center who can win defensive zone faceoffs.

We’re getting closer to the deadline and starting to see other teams make some moves. Sending a player such as Glendening to a Canadian team amid COVID protocols might be a bit easier to do now as ESPN reports the Canadian government is expected to reduce its federal quarantine from 14 days to seven days for NHL players traded from U.S. teams.

More Trade Bait

As mentioned, Ryan and Staal both remain listed as top trade targets. Meanwhile, the injured Jonathan Bernier is listed at No. 5 on TSN’s Trade Bait Board.

Bernier absolutely needs to get healthy sooner than later.

Meanwhile, Calvin Pickard made 21 saves in his first start of the season on Saturday, helping the Red Wings end a three-game losing streak.

View: Red Wings injuries list

Recalling the ‘Brawl in Hockeytown’

Every year, we need to look back on the historic event of March 26, 1997. And we do. But I think sometimes fans are too mystified by what happened in that game between the Avalanche and Red Wings and fail to recall the entire scope of the story.

It was more than just a hockey fight:

Leading up to the brawl

The Red Wings were perennial Stanley Cup contenders, falling short in the playoffs each season in the early-to-mid 1990s. They went all the way to the finals in 1995, only to be swept by the New Jersey Devils.

The year before this brawl, in the 1995-96 season, the Red Wings posted a NHL record 62 wins. They only lost 13 games in regulation, a record that still stands -- the Tampa Bay Lightning matched the 62-win total in 2018-19 but lost 16 games in regulation, failing to meet the Red Wings’ 1995-96 points total of 131.

Anyway, you’ll recall what happened in the playoffs that year. Steve Yzerman scored one of the most iconic Red Wings goals of all time in the 2nd overtime of Game 7 in the second-round series against the St. Lous Blues -- Wayne Gretzky, of all players, was involved in the play (this entire brawl backstory is just legendary from start to finish).

I wrote about it in depth on Friday, complete with highlight videos -- check it all out here.

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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.