Which Red Wings can get rid of after the NHL trade deadline?

The NHL trade deadline is just over six weeks away, and general managers are already writing their shopping lists. The Colorado Avalanche is looking for the second spot. The New York Rangers and New York Islanders need a scorer. The Los Angeles Kings need a collision defenseman. The Toronto Maple Leafs want a Warrior who can help them get out of the first round of the playoffs.

The Maple Leafs have been looking for the same person for 17 years.

Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde hopes to be in the playoff race and not worry about who gets knocked out. But with Pittsburgh’s win last night, the Red Wings are now seven points out of playoff spot. In addition, four other teams are also trying to catch penguins. It’s possible that the Red Wings will race in March, but that’s not likely.

What this means is that GM Steve Yzerman will have some decisions to make about transferring some of his players. Here is a list of players who can attract interest:

Tyler Bertuzzi

If Yzerman and Bertuzzi don’t have a contract agreement by the March 3 deadline, the logical step is to trade him. The rebuilding team couldn’t let him leave without getting some compensation.

Even in his injury season, Bertuzzi will have value in the open market. His gritty game and clean face are perfect for the NHL playoffs. Let’s not forget that he scored 30 goals last season. GMs around the NHL haven’t forgotten about it. You guessed it Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes among others would be interested.

I’d be surprised if the Red Wings didn’t come up with a first-round pick and potential hire Bertuzzi.

We might be surprised, and Bertuzzi and Wezerman come to an agreement. But be honest: Didn’t you feel all along that Zerman might not sign Bertuzzi?

Adam Ernie

Ernie leads Detroit in strikeouts and that alone might be enough to get the teams interested. Events are important in a seven-game series because they have a cumulative effect over the course of a series. Teams wear out if they get hit enough.

Having said that, there might still only be a small chance that he would be dealt with. Maybe Lightning is interested because they know him.

Dylan Larkin

When you talk to anyone about the NHL, one of the first questions is: What’s going on with Dylan Larkin? No one thinks he hasn’t signed yet.

I still think a deal will happen. But with each passing day, it’s easy to become more convinced that they are far apart in terms of dollar amount. Because he’s a Yzerman, nothing about the negotiations has leaked. But you can guess that Larkin is being paid as much as the first-place captain and locally famous player. As coach Derek Lalonde has said more than once, Larkin leads the attack.

But Yzerman watches every dollar because he knows it will soon pay off Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, and so on. Plus, he undoubtedly believes he’ll need a lot of space to land a key free agent. You can’t build neatly through the NHL Draft.

There’s also the issue of Red Wings not being successful. From what I’ve heard, Yzerman wants to pay players based on how they contribute to a winning team rather than comparing their stats to other players across the league.

Even if this continues, it’s hard to see Yzerman trade Larkin by the deadline, even though he would make a nice return. David Boyle of Nashville did not deal Philip Forsberg in a similar situation and managed to sign him after the season. The Predators knew Forsberg wanted to stay in Nashville, just as the Red Wings knew Larkin wanted to stay in Detroit.

Yzerman also allowed Stephen Stamkos to play when he was in Tampa Bay and Stamkos stayed with the Lightning

But it would be too risky for Yzerman not to trade Larkin if he wasn’t sure he could sign him. Despite Yzerman’s popularity in Detroit, he could face criticism if he left Larkin through free agency.

Ole Mata

If you’re a team looking for a deep defensive lineman, Maatta could be a good choice. He was a good addition to the Red Wings team. He is a competitor who relies on him defensively first and understands what he needs to do to be effective. It can surprise you a bit with the occasional attack charge.

You can never have too many defensemen in the playoffs. Some teams may have “Mata” in their roster. At $2.25 million, the Almaty is cheap enough to squeeze under the hood.

Before Yzerman trades for Moata, he will probably consider whether he might want to re-sign him. That may depend on whether Yzerman thinks any of his young men might be ready to play in Detroit next season.

Alex Nedeljovich

Let’s see how many goaltenders around the NHL end up on injured reserve before we can say for sure that no team wants Nedeljkovic. For argument’s sake, let’s say Nedeljkovic resides in Grand Rapids and plays exceptionally well.

If a team has two injured goaltenders, the team may forgo a draft pick as Nedeljkovic’s No. 3 goalie.

Oscar Sundqvist

Big boy. Can play in the middle or wing. It’s hard to play against him. He won a Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. Of course, teams will communicate about Sundqvist. He could be the valuable player the playoffs team needs.

Sundqvist also has a reputation for being a fun and likable fellow. He checked most of the boxes to be an NHL trade slot acquisition. I expect him to go to the draft pick.

Pius Sutter

He will not be at the top of any team’s list. But he is also a versatile player who can play central or wing. He is smart, two-way forward. He plays an honest game. If you’re a team that needs some extra third-line offense, Sutter can help. It could move, not likely.

Jake Wollman

I expect Yzerman will soon talk to a Walman dealer about a new contract, if he hasn’t already started that process. Wollman has developed into one of the four best defensemen this season. He’s part of Detroit’s future if he wants to be.

He can test for free agency next summer. But why leave the team that gave you the opportunity to show that you can be an impact player? I expect it will be Red Wing after the deadline.

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