Red Wings’ 2023 Offseason Trade Targets: Washington Capitals

The Hockey Writers

Welcome to The Hockey Writers’ 2023 Offseason Trade Targets series for the Detroit Red Wings. During it, we will be looking at a handful of players from each NHL team who the Red Wings should consider pursuing this summer.

The Washington Capitals have a disastrous 2022-23 season and have officially missed the playoffs because of it. Due to their struggles, they parted ways with players like Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway, Lars Ellers, and Erik Gustafsson before the 2023 Trade Deadline passed. Now, this is a trend that we could see continue during the summer, and Red Wings general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman should call the Capitals because of it. Let’s now look at three potential offseason trade targets from Washington.

Nic Dowd

The Red Wings have a handful of pending unrestricted free agent (UFA) forwards like Pius Suter, Alex Chiasson, and Adam Erne this offseason. Therefore, Yzerman should be on the hunt for a bottom-six forward this offseason, and one Capital who stands out as a prime trade target for the Red Wings is Nic Dowd. He has thrived in a bottom-six role with the Capitals over the last few years and is currently having the best season of his NHL career. In 65 games, the 32-year-old has set new career highs with 13 goals and 25 points.

Nic Dowd Washington Capitals
Nic Dowd, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Red Wings need more secondary scoring, and Dowd provides just that while performing at his highest level. However, he also has been noted for his immensely reliable defensive play and aggressiveness. As a result, he would be a great addition to the Red Wings’ penalty kill. When looking at a specific spot for him in Detroit’s regular lineup, he could be an option at center for either their third line or fourth line.

To acquire Dowd, the Red Wings would likely need to part ways with their 2023 third-round pick and a prospect like Pasquale Zito. In 54 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) games split between the Niagara IceDogs and North Bay Battalion this season, Zito had 14 goals and 32 assists.

Connor McMichael

Connor McMichael has had trouble cementing himself as an NHL regular, and a change of scenery may be the best thing for him at this juncture. After posting an 18-point rookie campaign in 68 games last season, the 2019 first-round pick has appeared in just six games with the Capitals this year, where he failed to get on the scoresheet. He continues to show promise in the American Hockey League (AHL), however, as he has 16 goals and 39 points in 55 games with the Hershey Bears. Perhaps he’s a young player who the Red Wings should consider taking a chance on.

Related: Red Wings’ 2023 Offseason Trade Targets: Winnipeg Jets

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Many believe that McMichael has the tools to blossom into a middle-six center at the NHL level later down the road. With the Red Wings being a team on the rise and sporting a young roster, there could be a good match here. When looking at their roster, McMichael would be in the running to be Detroit’s 3C if acquired. With that, he would also be a candidate for power-play time.

With McMichael still being one of the Capitals’ top prospects, Washington would likely expect a second-round pick and prospect in exchange for him. One prospect who the Capitals could like from the Red Wings is Kirill Tyutyayev. In 31 games with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL this season, he has eight goals and 47 points.

Tom Wilson

The big prize from the Capitals who the Red Wings should consider making a push for is Tom Wilson. Wilson is entering the final year of his contract, and there has been speculation that the Capitals could consider moving him this summer after their disappointing 2022-23 season. The 29-year-old winger is exactly the kind of forward that the Red Wings need if they hope to compete for a playoff spot next year.

Tom Wilson Washington Capitals
Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

When looking at Detroit’s lineup, it is fair to argue that Wilson would be a perfect addition to either their first line or second line. He would provide their top six with far more physicality, as his 95 hits in only 32 games this season show. However, the 6-foot-4 forward offers far more than just his toughness, as he also contributes offensively. Thus, if the Capitals make him available, the Red Wings should enter the sweepstakes immediately.

Related: Red Wings’ 2023 Offseason Trade Targets: Calgary Flames

Just about every team in the NHL would love to add Wilson’s mixture of skill and toughness, so his trade value is pretty high. As a result, the Red Wings would likely need to part ways with the 2024 first-round pick they received from the Boston Bruins in the Tyler Bertuzzi trade. A notable prospect like Cross Hanas would also need to be included, and this is especially so if they ink Wilson to an extension as a part of the hypothetical deal.

The Red Wings have some intriguing trade targets from the Capitals worth considering. Wilson would of course be the big prize, but it would still be nice to see them add either McMichael or Dowd as well. Alas, we will need to wait and see if these two clubs strike a deal this summer.

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