Updated: The NHL trade deadline closed at 3 p.m. Friday, and the Detroit Red Wings ended up moving four players this week.
Oskar Sundqvist was shipped just before the deadline to the Minnesota Wild for a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft, the second trade pulled by general manager Steve Yzerman on Friday.
Yzerman had a busy week, which continued Friday morning by trading forward Jakub Vrana to the St. Louis Blues for a seventh-round draft pick in 2025 and prospect Dylan McLaughlin. As I’ve been writing since January, the Wings had the flexibility to entice a team by retaining 50% of Vrana’s contract, which runs through next season with a $5.25 million salary cap hit – and that is what the Wings are doing.
It was the third trade in three days for the Wings.
ANALYSIS:Why Steve Yzerman made these 4 moves at the trade deadline
Yzerman on Thursday traded Tyler Bertuzzi to the Boston Bruins for a top-10 protected first-round pick in 2024 and a fourth-round pick in 2025. On Wednesday, Yzerman traded defenseman Filip Hronek and a 2023 fourth-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks for a top-12 protected first-round pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2023.
“I think we have a lot of faith in Steve and what he’s building,” defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “There’s a lot of faith in him. It’s a lot of draft picks he’s gotten, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they just become draft picks, they can be turned into players and other things. So I think there’s a longterm plan in place here and I think Steve is sticking to it.”
ANALYSIS:2 bad nights in Ottawa forced Red Wings to pack it in now, look to future
ALL THE EMOTIONS:Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin happy for contract, but ‘upset’ over Tyler Bertuzzi trade
It hasn’t all been trades, though: Yzerman finalized an eight-year, $69.6 million deal for Dylan Larkin this week, and over the past month has extended defensemen Jake Walman (three years, $10.2 million) and Olli Määttä (two years, $6 million). All had been in the final years of their contracts.
The trades follow the pattern Yzerman has shown in his nearly four years in charge of the Wings. With the team unlikely to make the playoffs, he has been a seller at the NHL’s annual late-season frenzy.
In his first year, 2020, Yzerman traded veteran defenseman Mike Green and 30-goal scorer Andreas Athanasiou in separate deals to the Edmonton Oilers. The return on Green was only a fourth-round pick because Green was on an expiring contract and at the end of his career. The pick was used to draft goaltender Jan Bednar. The Athanasiou trade yielded forward Sam Gagner, who went on to be a character player and part-time alternate captain for the Wings; plus a 2020 second-round pick (then used to acquire different picks) and a 2021 second-round pick (used to acquire Nick Leddy).
In 2021, Yzerman traded Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals for a 2021 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, and forwards Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik. The first-round pick was used to move up in the 2021 draft to select goaltender Sebastian Cossa. Vrana initially looked like a terrific addition, scoring eight goals in the 11 games he played in what was left of the pandemic-shortened 2021 season. Injuries and an off-ice issue have since limited his availability. Mantha, however, has not performed to expectations with the Capitals, where has been a healthy scratch a handful of times this season.
At last year’s deadline, Yzerman flipped Vladislav Namestnikov to the Dallas Stars for a fourth-round pick in 2024, and traded Leddy and Luke Witkowski to the St. Louis Blues for Walman, forward Oskar Sundqvist and a second-round pick in 2023.
Red Wings fans: Listen to this week’s episode of the “Carlos and Shawn” podcast, embedded above in this story. It features our Red Wings reporter Helene St. James, and examines the team’s recent losses and challenges during their playoff push. Catch “Carlos and Shawn” every Thursday morning at 5 and on demand on freep.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.