Detroit Red Wings: Albert Johansson deserves a look following fire sale

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Following a busy trade deadline, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana, Oskar Sundqvist, and Filip Hronek are all looking for real estate in a new city.

When you look at all of the deals Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman made ahead of the deadline, the only transaction that really came out of left field was that Hronek deal to Vancouver. Hronek, 26, had been struggling lately but was trying to play through an injury during his final two games with Detroit. Those two games in Ottawa were not exactly a showcase for Hronek, or any of the Red Wings for that matter, who were outscored 12-3 and physically manhandled. Hronek is under contract for next season before becoming a restricted free agent and carries a cap hit of $4.4 million.

Teams need to pay a premium to acquire right-handed defenders, and Vancouver certainly paid top dollar. Yzerman received a substantial return for the right-handed defender landing a first and second-round pick for his services. Now, the Detroit Red Wings have a void on their right side. In the meantime, veteran defenseman Ben Chiarot has moved to his offhand from the left to right to play with Olli Maatta.

Maatta has proved to be a very steady defender for the Detroit Red Wings this season, so much so that Yzerman rewarded him with a two-year deal worth $6 million earlier this season. Maatta is credited for some of Hronek’s solid play this season. The two were paired together for much of the season, and Maatta’s defensive awareness allowed Hronek to play more of an offensive game where he’s more comfortable. Hopefully, Maatta can have a similar effect on Chiarot, who has been up and down in his first year with Detroit.

The Detroit Red Wings must give Albert Johansson a look before the season ends.

Albert Johansson, 22, is having a solid season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. It’s Johansson’s first year playing in North America after playing the previous three years in the Swedish Hockey League for Farjestads BK Karlstad.

Johansson recorded 15 goals and 57 points over 138 games during those three seasons. He also skated to a plus-10 rating. Last season during Farjestads BK Karlstad’s playoff push, Johansson notched two goals and eight points over 19 games.

This season with the Griffins, the 22-year-old has recorded five goals and 15 points through 53 games while skating to a minus-7 rating. With 18 games remaining, the Griffins sit dead last in the Central Division with 50 points.

Johansson is a left-handed defender, so that doesn’t solve Detroit’s problem of needing a right-hander, but there is no reason why he shouldn’t get a few looks on Detroit’s third pairing in favor of Robert Hagg before the season is over. Johansson and Simon Edvinsson will be pushing for a final roster spot during training camp ahead of the 2023-24 season.

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