Dear Red Wings: Bracing for trades as freeze lifts today

NHL trade freeze lifts 1 p.m. Thursday

FILE - In this April 19, 2019, file photo, Steve Yzerman walks into the news conference where he was introduced as the new executive vice president and general manager of the Detroit Red Wings NHL hockey club in Detroit. The Red Wings could actually benefit from an adjusted draft lottery that gives him better odds at the top pick, likely Alexis Lafreniere. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) (Carlos Osorio, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A trade freeze that went into effect Saturday for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft will be lifted at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 22.

Seattle has been the only team able to make moves since the weekend, but all teams will be able to do so starting Thursday afternoon. This has the potential to commence pandemonium across the league. With the draft being held less than 48 hours later on Friday night, 1 p.m. Thursday could be the levee breaking way for a flood of trades.

Obviously we have to assume the Detroit Red Wings could be very, very active starting Thursday. Remember, they have a full list of draft picks both this year and next to use in this scenario. This is where Steve Yzerman could make, dare I say ... an aggressive move. Or maybe he works at helping facilitate other trades and pick up more draft picks, as we’ve seen him do. I don’t know, I have a feeling this could be a little different.

The Kraken chose 23-year-old defenseman Dennis Cholowski from the Red Wings in Wednesday’s expansion draft. That means defenseman Troy Stecher remains with the team. He is under contract for one more season at $1.7 million against the cap. I do wonder if he gets traded. Same goes for forward Vladislav Namestnikov who has a year left on his contract at $2 million against the cap.

Then there are questions about Detroit’s goaltending. Will they be in a position to draft a goalie? Many have Swedish goalie Jesper Wallstedt going quite high in the draft -- the Red Wings have two first-round picks at No. 6 and No. 23, barring trades, of course.

UPDATE: Red Wings trade Bernier, 3rd-round pick for Alex Nedeljkovic from Hurricanes

And will Jonathan Bernier re-sign or not? Hopefully we get some better clarity on Detroit’s goaltending by the end of this month. They protected Thomas Greiss from the expansion draft -- he has a year left on his contract, too.

The Red Wings are $44 million (!) under the cap as of Thursday with a very limited amount of players under contract.

I’ll be tracking all the moves here:

  • 6 p.m. Thursday: NHL schedules are released
  • Friday/Saturday, July 23-24 -- NHL Entry Draft -- Here’s where Red Wings are set to pick. This could all change in the 30 hours before the draft start time at 8 p.m. Friday.
  • Wednesday, July 28 -- Free agency begins -- and this promises to be off the charts.


About the Author:

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