Detroit — Few things in life excite NHL fans like the trade deadline.
Maybe not as much these days, as the salary cap has put a crimp into just how much playoff contending teams can do and has definitely limited their options.
But for fans of teams who are dreaming of the playoffs, Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline is like Christmas morning, not knowing exactly what gifts are headed your way.
Then again, that’s part of the excitement of all this.
It could be a wonderful gift for a team, the last piece to a long playoff run or Stanley Cup. Or it could be a lump of coal in the form of a player who never really fits in or does much for a team he’s moved to. Or, worse yet, a draft pick that goes to the other team that turns into a star or a longtime productive player.
The Red Wings have been involved in numerous trade deadline deals. Most of them are remembered for their attempts, by then-general manager Ken Holland, to maintain a playoff streak that reached 25 consecutive years or to find that final piece to win a Stanley Cup.
Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.
With the NHL trade deadline arriving Monday, the Red Wings have settled into the role of seller for the fifth consecutive season.
Before the possible flurry of trades begin, let’s take a look at some of the notable Red Wings’ trade deadline moves since 2000. Simply put, they’re put into a good or bad category, as most trades can easily be judged.
►2018: Tomas Tatar to Vegas for Vegas’ 2018 first-round pick (Joe Veleno), 2019 second-round pick (Robert Mastrosimone) and 2021 third-round pick
The trade that keeps on giving. Tatar was supposed to be the final piece for expansion Vegas and make the Golden Knights a Stanley Cup contender. Well, they got there but didn’t need Tatar, who never fit and was a frequent healthy scratch. The Wings have mined those Vegas picks (and Vegas had a lot of them that season), it appears, pretty well thus far.
►2008: 2008 second-round pick and 2009 fourth-round pick to Los Angeles for Brad Stuart
Stuart solidified the second pairing and formed a terrific tandem with Niklas Kronwall. He helped win a Stanley Cup and had four more fine seasons with the Wings.
►2020: Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner to Edmonton for Sam Gagner, 2020 second-round pick (since traded to Los Angeles for more picks) and 2021 second-round pick
Athanasiou was a disaster in Edmonton and wasn’t re-signed as a restricted free agent, while Kuffner is playing in Europe. The Wings got a useful player in Gagner and draft picks.
►2003: Max Kuznetsov, 2003 first-round draft pick and 2004 second-round pick to Los Angeles for Mathieu Schneider
Schneider didn’t win a Stanley Cup with the Wings, but he did have three more productive seasons. The cost in return was minimal.
►2015: 2016 second-round pick to New Jersey for Marek Zidlicky
The cost didn’t turn out to be substantial and Zidlicky did strengthen the Wings the rest of the season.
►2017: Brendan Smith to New York Rangers for 2017 third-round pick (traded for more picks) and 2018 second-round pick (Jonatan Berggren)
The Wings have been able to stockpile draft capital for Smith, and Berggren is currently an exciting top prospect.
►2019: Gustav Nyquist to San Jose for 2019 second-round pick (Albert Johansson) and 2020 conditional third-round pick (traded to Minnesota)
Nyquist wasn’t going to be part of the Red Wings’ rebuild and Johansson is one of the Wings’ top prospects going forward.
►2020: Mike Green to Edmonton for Kyle Brodziak and 2020 fourth-round pick (goaltender Jan Bednar) to Edmonton
This is basically a wash at this point, as Green only played two games in Edmonton before getting hurt and Bednar is a longer-term prospect.
►2015: Acquired Erik Cole from Dallas for prospects Mattias Backman, Mattias Jarnkrok and 2015 second-round pick (Roope Hintz)
Cole played 11 games for the Wings before getting hurt. On the flip side, Backman is still an effective NHL player and Hintz is turning into a young star. This trade hurts, as the Wings didn’t win a playoff series and gave up two future NHL players for a rental.
►2014: Acquired David Legwand from Nashville for Patrick Eaves, Calle Jarnkrok and 2014 second-round pick
This is similar to the trade above. In an effort to keep the playoff streak going, Holland acquired an aging Legwand, who made minimal impact. Eaves was useful for Nashville, while Jarnkrok has played 494 games and scored 92 goals for the Predators.
►2012: Acquired Kyle Quincey from Tampa Bay for Sebastien Piche and 2012 first-round pick (Andrei Vasilevskiy)
Quincey provided depth for the Wings on defense but Steve Yzerman, then the GM in Tampa, selected Vasilevskiy, who has arguably been the NHL’s best goaltender for the last several years. Ouch.
►2019: Acquired Madison Bowey and 2020 second-round pick (Cross Hanas) for Nick Jensen and 2019 fifth-round pick
Jensen has developed into a key piece for Washington — the Wings didn’t feel he’d be a player to keep for the rebuild — while Bowey flamed out with the Wings and Hanas is a long-range prospect.
►2007: Acquired Kyle Calder from Chicago for Jason Williams
This trade was largely a wash, but the younger Williams may have still made an impact for the Wings going forward. Calder was a pure rental.
►2007: Acquired Todd Bertuzzi from Florida for Shawn Matthias and conditional draft pick
Bertuzzi’s first stay with the Wings was derailed with injuries and ineffectiveness (Bertuzzi was much better during his second stint, signing as a free agent). Matthias went on to play 10 years in the NHL.
►2004: Acquired Robert Lang for Thomas Fleischmann and 2004 first-round pick (Mike Green) and 2005 third-round pick
Lang was fine with the Wings but never great. Green, the younger version before signing with the Wings late in his career, was one of the premier offensive defensemen in the NHL.