Why Detroit Red Wings players are hoping for a quiet NHL trade deadline

Detroit Free Press

Jeff Blashill predicts a quiet trade deadline. Sam Gagner wouldn’t mind if it is.

The Detroit Red Wings know they could lose players as contenders are under pressure to shore up before Monday’s noon deadline. But this year’s market comes amid a pandemic that’s left teams operating under a flat salary cap, and before largely empty stands. It stands to reason buyers are wary.

“It doesn’t feel like there will be much action this year,” Blashill said Wednesday. “It’s going to be really difficult for people to make moves with the economics of the whole thing. There’s no fans in the stands most places. It’s hard to bring in money just to bring in money. You throw on top of that, the whole aspect with the coronavirus and the quarantines if you’re going to Canada. So I don’t know that the trade deadline is as big a deal this year as it’s been in past years.”

A NEW OPTION? How Thomas Greiss’ surge could help the Wings at trade deadline

The Wings host the Nashville Predators on Thursday, one of two games on the schedule before the deadline. Last year general manager Steve Yzerman had Blashill hold Andreas Athanasiou and Mike Green out of a game because of a pending trade; Blashill said there’s been no such requests so far this year.

Gagner is expected to return from injury Thursday along with Bobby Ryan and Jonathan Bernier; all three are pending unrestricted free agents, as are, among others, Marc Staal, Luke Glendening and Darren Helm. All could draw interest, especially so Gagner and Ryan, because they make around $1 million, a very reasonable amount even in a flat-cap season.

A LOOK AT THE PAST: What Steve Yzerman’s past says about his NHL trade deadline plans

Gagner joined the Wings last year at the trade deadline, and know he’s in play again as Yzerman seeks to add assets to the rebuild.

“It’s on your mind, certainly, especially having a family,” Gagner said. “You learn to handle it as years go by. When you’re younger, I never really expected to get traded at certain deadlines. You have friends that get traded. It’s part of the business. It’s never fun. The position we’re in, it’s something you think about as the trade deadline approaches, but you do your best to just go out and play and control what you can and let the chips fall where they may.”

Gagner said it’s a topic that’s come up among teammates. He hasn’t talked about it with Yzerman, but “everyone knows the situation we’re in. Nothing needs to be said about what can happen.”

Gagner and Ryan both have been vocal about how much they’ve enjoyed being Wings, even as the team has struggled and is on pace to miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season. Both have said they’d like to stay, and if they are traded, to come back. The upside to being traded would be a shot at the Stanley Cup.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here, I really like the fit,” Gagner said. “I like the opportunity I’ve gotten to evolve my game — playing on the penalty kill, playing in defensive situations. I really enjoy that responsibility. I like being a Red Wing and would like to stay, but at the same time, if you do get traded, it’s an opportunity to play in the playoffs, which is something every player wants. I’m just going about my business and will see what happens.”

VETERAN PRESENCE: How Sam Gagner has carved a vital leadership role for the Wings

Gagner and Ryan fit into Yzerman’s rebuilding plans — they’re ideal supporting players, veterans who are competitive, accountable and knowledgeable.

“They both are guys that understand what it takes to win,” Blashill said. “They’ve been on good teams, bad teams. They’ve seen both sides of it. They’ve done a good job imparting that wisdom.”

The Wings (13-22-6) have played well of late. Over the past week they lost in overtime at Florida, lost a one-goal game to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and then routed the defending champions, 5-1. Tuesday they lost to the Predators in a shootout. While the results this season haven’t been what the Wings want, they have shown growth — and that has Gagner enthused.

“The team isn’t as far off as people might think,” he said. “I feel I can help a young group. The big thing is, I feel like I am still a good player in this league and I want the opportunity to continue to play as long as I can. I’ve really enjoyed it here. My family has really enjoyed it here. So for sure I’d be interested in being around next year.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

Articles You May Like

Detroit Red Wings: Contract Projections for 2024 RFAs
Griffins Notebook: Kasper, Mazur, Danielson & More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *