Red Wings Mailbag: Free Agent Targets, Trade Candidates & More

The Hockey Writers

How long until the Detroit Red Wings kick their offseason into full gear? A few teams have already made a splash – are the Red Wings next?

In today’s mailbag, we’ll cover a wide range of topics – goalies, draft picks, the salary cap, and more.

Will the Red Wings Trade Ben Chiarot?

RWHockey13 asks: Do you think the Red Wings will move Chiarot at the trade deadline of his third season in Detroit?

No, I don’t think Detroit will move Chiarot at the 2025 trade deadline. There are a few reasons why.

First, the Red Wings should be playoff contenders by then, so selling a veteran defenseman likely wouldn’t be a priority. 

Ben Chiarot Detroit Red Wings
Will Ben Chiarot play out his entire contract in Detroit? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In addition, Chiarot will be 33 at that point. He’ll have one year remaining on his $4.75 million AAV deal. I just don’t see there being a big market for a defenseman of his caliber, especially when you factor in his age and contract.

If anything, I can see the Red Wings exploring a buyout in the summer of 2025 to make room for some of their defensive prospects.

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I do anticipate Chiarot having an improved 2023-24 campaign, so maybe this is a moot point a year from now. I’m planning a trip to the Quantum Realm later this month and I’ll let you know what the future holds.

Red Wings Expectations for Ville Husso

GShaw772 asks: How confident are you that Ville Husso will rebound to play above average for starters? 

Will Husso be a top-15 goalie next year? Probably not. But will he be better than what we saw in 2022-23? Definitely. Here’s why.

In his exit interview, Husso noted that he plans to improve his conditioning over the summer. During the 2022-23 season, he played 56 games and logged 3,220 minutes, surpassing any previous workload in his professional career by 33 and 32 percent, respectively. Anticipate the goaltender arriving at training camp fully prepared, both mentally and physically, to assume the majority of starts in 2023-24.

Ville Husso Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings need to manage Ville Husso’s workload better next year. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Additionally, goalies (and hockey players in general) tend to perform better in Year 2 of a system. Husso will come into the 2023-24 season knowing his defensemen’s tendencies and what to expect from Derek Lalonde and Bob Boughner’s defensive scheme, taking some of the guesswork out of his job.

Finally, one of Detroit’s offseason priorities is to find a more reliable backup/1B. This will allow the coaching staff to be more strategic with Husso’s deployment so he’s fresh for most of his starts. Which brings me to…

Free Agent Goalie Targets

Kyle S. asks: Which goalies would the Red Wings target if someone overpays for Adin Hill? Hellebuyck? Jarry?

This is in reference to my offseason blueprint for the Red Wings – I targeted Hill as the optimal backup for Husso. The problem, now, is that Hill keeps winning for the Vegas Golden Knights, and a Stanley Cup might motivate a team to offer him a lucrative contract this summer.

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So if Hill is out of the question, Joonas Korpisalo would be the next-best option for the Red Wings. The 29-year-old Finnish netminder has extensive experience playing behind below-average defenses as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, so he’d be familiar with the terrain as Detroit’s team defense continues to develop. He also knows how to be an effective backup/1B and has shown the ability to catch fire from time to time.

Besides Korpisalo, other netminders like Semyon Varlamov, David Rittich, and Laurent Brossoit could be nice pick-ups on short-term deals. Mackenzie Blackwood might be a nice reclamation project if the New Jersey Devils opt to non-tender him as a restricted free agent.

Related: Red Wings’ Offseason Priorities: Detroit’s Needs & Targets

As for Hellebuyck and Jarry, the former’s acquisition cost will likely exceed Detroit’s budget, while the latter comes with significant injury risk and would probably prefer to start somewhere.

Red Wings Trading for Expensive Contracts

@skinzy86 asks: Who are some players you’d like Yzerman to acquire from cap-strapped teams?

During a recent episode of The Grind Line, we touched on the possibility of the Red Wings acquiring either Brock Boeser or Tyler Myers from the Vancouver Canucks and moving up from No. 17 to No. 11 in the process. Detroit would need to send more back for Boeser, but the pieces of a deal are certainly there.

Detroit Red Wings trade target Brock Boeser
Maybe a change of scenery will help Brock Boeser rediscover his goal-scoring abilities. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Washington Capitals are also looking to free up cap space. How about Anthony Mantha returning to Detroit (along with a sweetener)? I wouldn’t mind it – he’s entering the last year of his contract.

Finally, I wouldn’t have a problem with the Red Wings acquiring goalie Jack Campbell from the Edmonton Oilers to serve as Husso’s—and eventually Cossa’s—backup. As long as Edmonton parts ways with a quality draft pick or prospect, of course.

All of these players have bloated contracts. Some—like Mantha and Myers—only have one year left. Campbell, on the other hand, has four years remaining on his deal.

Trade Up In the Draft?

@JPLancer1 asks: What are some realistic options for the Red Wings to use those second-round picks (and other assets) to move into the late first round?

I’m curious to see what Brad Treliving wants to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He didn’t inherit many draft picks – only No. 28, a fifth, and a sixth-round selection this year. Perhaps he’d be willing to part with the 28th pick for two of Detroit’s second rounders?

The Colorado Avalanche at No. 27 would be good trade partners as well. They don’t have a second, third, or fourth in this year’s draft.

Have a question? Share it in the comments section below!

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