Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman: Trading for defenseman Marc Staal ‘plugs a huge hole’

Detroit News

Mark Falkner
| The Detroit News

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The Detroit Red Wings acquired veteran defenseman Marc Staal and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft from the New York Rangers in exchange for future considerations on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old Staal had two goals and 11 points and was plus-5 in 52 games during the regular season this year. He had one goal and was minus-4 in three games during the best-of-five, play-in round against the Carolina Hurricanes.

“The trade accomplishes a couple of things,” Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said on a video conference call.

“As part of our rebuilding process, we’re trying to add draft picks, prospects, young players and future assets to really help us down the line. In this trade, we get a second-round pick in the 2021 draft but we also have to ice a team and be competitive at the same time. Not only do we get a defenseman that will go right into our lineup and plug a huge hole for us, we add future assets as well.”

In 892 career games, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound native of Thunder Bay, Ontario has 43 goals, 145 assists, 188 points and is plus-46. He played at least 72 games in each of the six prior seasons and 10 times overall.

Yzerman said the left-handed shooting Staal will fill a void with the team not resigning defensemen Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley.

“There’s two spots on our left side that need to be filled,” Yzerman said. “We have Patrik Nemeth, Danny DeKeyser and Marc Staal fits in nicely on the left side. He’s a good solid defender, good size, obviously he’s been in the league a long time (13-year veteran). A good penalty killer.”

Staal was entering the final year of his six-year contract with a cap hit of $5.7 million, according to Yzerman didn’t elaborate on whether Staal waived his no-movement clause but said the team’s favorable position with a lot of cap space could help the team even more down the road.

“We have cap space and roster spots to fill so we have to be careful to not get to the cap very quickly,” Yzerman said. “We’re in a position to do future deals like this if they come along. They don’t happen a lot. There’s so much uncertainty in the league right now. We’re heading into the draft, we’re heading into free agency. We don’t really know when we’re starting or what the landscape is going to look like next year.

“We’re all kind of going down uncharted waters. For the Red Wings, I hope to use it (cap space) wisely to acquire future assets should any team be in a position to move contracts and don’t have any other options. Nobody wants to give up picks and prospects but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to make your team better.

“I don’t want to say we’re trying to take advantage of that but we’re trying to find teams that are in a position to do that.”

Marc Staal’s older brother Eric Staal, 35, was traded to the Buffalo Sabres from the Minnesota Wild on Sept. 16 for forward Marcus Johansson. His younger brother Jordan, 32, was scoreless in eight playoff games for the Carolina Hurricanes, including the play-in victory over the Rangers.

Twitter: @falkner

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