Some trade deadlines come and go without much more than a whimper. Others a day filled with wild moves of the expected and unexpected variety. As for the 2023 trade deadline, we’ve had a week filled with huge moves, big news, and the potential for even more craziness to go down before 3:00 PM arrives on March 3.
The Detroit Red Wings were eerily quiet in the weeks leading up to the deadline, due in part to a winning streak that put them in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. But after dropping three in a row, including both games in a back-to-back matchup against the Ottawa Senators, it appears general manager Steve Yzerman has made his decision about the Red Wings’ path forward over the next 36 hours or so.
It starts with locking up the players Yzerman intends to keep over the long haul, including the team’s captain.
Red Wings (Finally) Extend Dylan Larkin
After months of speculation, plenty of back and forth negotiations, and endless articles of varying merit, the Red Wings and Dylan Larkin came to an agreement on a long-term extension that will keep the 26-year-old center in Detroit for another eight years.
The Red Wings first Michigan-born captain was the team’s top selection in the 2014 draft (15th overall) and is the longest-tenured member of the team. Across almost eight seasons and 563 regular season games with the Red Wings, Larkin has 169 goals and 415 points. He leads the team this season with 22 goals and 57 points – a five goal and 19 point lead over the second place player (Dominik Kubalik).
Related: Red Wings Sign Dylan Larkin to 8-Year Extension
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Though insiders were always quick to throw cold water on the idea of the Red Wings moving on from Larkin, this extension also removes one of the biggest potential trade targets from the trade market. Teams looking for a boost to their center group will have to look elsewhere now that Larkin is presumably a Red Wing for life now.
But, as is the nature of the trade deadline, one player will not be a Red Wing for life after Yzerman made his first move ahead of the deadline.
Red Wings Trade Filip Hronek
In a somewhat shocking move, the Red Wings also announced that they traded defenseman Filip Hronek and a 2023 fourth round pick to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a conditional 2023 first round pick (originally belonging to the New York Islanders) and the Canucks’ second round pick in the 2023 draft. The first round pick was originally acquired by Vancouver in the deal that sent Bo Horvat to the Islanders. As for the condition on the pick, it’s top-12 protected; if the pick ends up landing in the top-12, the pick reverts back to the Islanders, and the Red Wings will instead receive the Islanders’ 2024 first round pick.
Hronek, a 25-year-old right-handed offensive defenseman, was a second round pick (53rd overall) of the Red Wings back in the 2016 draft. Across almost five seasons and 305 regular season games, he has 30 goals and 156 points. At the time of the trade, he was the third-longest tenured player on the Red Wings’ roster and was tied for second in team scoring. His next goal and point will set new career-high totals in both categories.
As for the Red Wings, this move gives them additional draft capital in what projects to be an incredibly deep draft, even if they only add the second round pick in 2023. The Canucks’ second round pick will almost certainly be an early one, landing somewhere in the top-40. The Islanders, on the other hand, currently sit in the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, though their playoff ticket is far from punched at this point in the season. Unless the Islanders go on a deep run, that pick could end up being a top-20 pick for the Red Wings.
In the short-term, Hronek leaves a pretty sizeable hole on the roster. Moritz Seider and Gustav Lindström are the only right-handed defenders left on the roster, and their prospect pool isn’t exactly teeming with right-handed defenders. Aside from that, Hronek was also the team’s best defender in terms of creating point from the blue line; Seider certainly has time to further develop the offensive side of his game, and prospects like Simon Edvinsson and William Wallinder should be able to help in time, but for the time being, the Red Wings’ offense will likely take a hit without Hronek.
This was a big move, and it likely signals that Yzerman fully intends to use this trade deadline to add as much ammunition for the next two drafts as he can.
More Trade Deadline Rumblings….
Two teams that have recently been mentioned as possible destinations for the Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi are the Los Angeles Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Though it seems to be speculation at this point, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period offered this thought in his recent column:
Trevor Moore’s injury is a concern for the Kings and adding up front could be something they try to do before Friday’s 3pm ET deadline. With their cap space, they could land a solid winger and I wonder if they turn to Detroit and ask about Tyler Bertuzzi.
As for the Maple Leafs, Bertuzzi has been connected to the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rival going back to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears that the interest is still there, and after the Maple Leafs maneuvered to acquire the Boston Bruins’ first round pick from the Washington Capitals, they might be able to put together a package that appeals to Yzerman.
In the same article Pagnotta connected Bertuzzi to Los Angeles, he also mentioned that Oskar Sundqvist is generating interest around the league. The Red Wings are also continuing to shop Jakub Vrana around with hopes of finding a fresh start for the scoring winger.
- In case you missed it, Yzerman appeared on the “Agent Provocateur” podcast to discuss his transition from player to GM, how he handles his business, and much much more. The episode is nearly an hour long, but it is must-listen material for all Red Wings fans.