Five key players that Yzerman could trade at the deadline

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The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is less than three weeks away.  Trades must be made before 3:00 PM ET on March 21.  So far this season, Detroit General Manager Steve Yzerman has been very quiet, almost too quiet, in making moves with his current roster.  In fact, Yzerman has not made any trades since moving goaltender Jonathan Bernier to Carolina for Alex Nedeljkovic, last July.

Speculation continues with Yzerman moving impending UFA’s such as Nick Leddy and Vladislav Namestnikov before the deadline.  The Red Wings will continue to stockpile draft capital in the hope of landing a player that can help them down the road.

Last year, Yzerman shocked Hockeytown by dealing Anthony Mantha to Washington.  In exchange, the Red Wings acquired sniper Jakub Vrana, a 1st round pick in 2022 that turned into Sebastian Cossa, and a 2nd round pick this summer.

Does Yzerman have another blockbuster up his sleeve this year?  The Red Wings have six players who could become UFA’s after the 2023 season.  Maybe one or more of these players will be on the move within the next few weeks or months.

Here is a look at five Red Wings players who could be moved in blockbuster fashion.

Dylan Larkin

One year ago, Red Wings fans were calling out Dylan Larkin as a captain that could never lead the team through the rebuild.  Larkin’s play had regressed to a point where fans thought that Larkin needed a change of scenery.

Fast forward one year and Larkin is now the face of the franchise.  He currently leads the Red Wings is goals and points and has been routinely the best Detroit player this season.

Why a trade makes sense: Larkin has one year remaining on his current contract with a cap hit of $6.1M annually.  Larkin will be an UFA at the end of 2023, meaning that he can leave Detroit and the Red Wings will not receive any compensation.

It is no secret that Larkin wants to win.  He said so in an interview last week.  Last year, he was frustrated with losing.  In seven seasons, Larkin has played five games in one playoff series.  At some point, Larkin will decide on his own if he has a future with the Detroit organization.

Larkin is having his best season since joining the NHL.  The Red Wings could trade Larkin and acquire an enormous haul that could help the rebuild for many years to come.  The trade doesn’t have to occur before this trade deadline in March.  Larkin could be traded before the NHL Draft in July, or he could be a candidate at the trade deadline next March.

Why a trade doesn’t make sense: Larkin has become an on-ice leader for the Red Wings. There is no rush to move a player of Larkin’s caliber.  Larkin will likely sign an extension prior to next season.  There is no doubt that he will be extended an offer by the Red Wings before he becomes an UFA.  Yzerman is building a nice young team around Larkin, and a trade of their captain could set the rebuild back several years.

If Yzerman can’t extend Larkin before the 2023 trade deadline, I am sure that he will be moved to a playoff contender.

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