Red Wings News & Rumors: Konecny, Pesce & More

The Hockey Writers

It won’t be long until the Detroit Red Wings are in Nashville for the 2023 NHL Draft. In the meantime, the NHL hot stove is heating up. 

In this week’s edition of the Red Wings News & Rumors column, we’ll cover trade rumors, draft talk, and more.

Red Wings Linked to Travis Konecny

On Wednesday, The Fourth Period reported that the Red Wings have expressed interest in Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny.

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“According to league sources, the Red Wings have had talks with the Ottawa Senators about sniper Alex DeBrincat and the Philadelphia Flyers about winger Travis Konecny, among others,” noted The Fourth Period.

Potential Detroit Red Wings trade target Travis Konecny
Travis Konecny skating with the Philadelphia Flyers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The report emphasized Detroit’s pursuit of a goal-scoring forward, which tracks with our offseason analysis. I previously shared that a top-six goal-scoring forward is the Red Wings’ top priority this offseason.

During his pre-draft media availability, Steve Yzerman mentioned that he had talked with most of the league’s general managers about their offseason plans. It sounds like his conversation with Flyers GM Daniel Briere involved Konecny. 

Related: Potential Trade & Contract Projection for Alex DeBrincat

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The 26-year-old forward is coming off of a career year – he scored 31 goals in 60 games for the Flyers. He’s more than just an offensive player, though. Konecny plays a tenacious game and is strong on the forecheck. He’s under contract for two more seasons at $5.5 million before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2025.

Konecny would fit in with Detroit’s core. He would also be a costly acquisition. While the Flyers are rebuilding, they aren’t pressed to trade the young, high-scoring forward who completely bought into John Tortorella’s system last year. A first-round pick would likely be needed to acquire Konecny.

Red Wings Interested in Brett Pesce

Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now shared on Thursday that the Red Wings are indeed interested in defenseman Brett Pesce.

“Detroit Hockey Now has confirmed that the Red Wings made an inquiry,” stated Allen in reference to the veteran blueliner.

Potential Detroit Red Wings trade target Brett Pesce
Brett Pesce defending for the Carolina Hurricanes. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The report did not state whether the inquiry was just that, or a deeper discussion about a potential trade. Either way, Pesce would address a major roster hole – adding a top-four right defenseman is Detroit’s second-highest priority this offseason.

Pesce would fit in well as a member of Detroit’s top four. His defensive style of play is a perfect complement for offensive-minded Simon Edvinsson, whom Pesce could mentor as well.

It’s worth noting that Pesce is entering the final year of his contract that comes with a $4.025 million cap hit. He’s also 28, which means he’s in his prime, but toward the end of his prime. He’s also just outside the core age range Steve Yzerman alluded to in his recent press conference. This is important context to consider when evaluating the cost and risk of acquiring the blueliner and possibly re-signing him to a contract extension.

What the Red Wings offer for Pesce would depend on if there’s a contract extension in place or not. Without one, it would be hard to see Detroit parting with more than a second-round pick and a mid-tier prospect. But with a contract in place—my contract projection model is suggesting four years and a $6 million AAV—the trade offer would need to be stronger – possibly a first-round pick. 

And this is if the Hurricanes opt to trade Pesce, which is not a given, according to Hurricanes writer Alex Ohári. Regardless, it’s good to see the Red Wings kicking tires on a player like Pesce and considering all options given this summer’s weak free agent class. 

What About Brock Boeser?

Earlier this week, Shayna Goldman of The Athletic highlighted the Red Wings as a team that should consider trading for Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser.

“​​In 2022-23, at five-on-five, the Red Wings were a bottom-five team in shot, expected goal and actual goal creation,” Goldman noted. (from ‘Brock Boeser trade destinations: 6 teams that could (and should) be interested’ – The Athletic – 6/21/23) “Though they should be shooting higher at someone like DeBrincat, for whom they seem like an ideal match, Boeser could be a fallback option.”

Potential Detroit Red Wings trade target Brock Boeser
Could Brock Boeser regain his scoring touch in Detroit? (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Now that the Canucks have bought out Oliver Ekman-Larsson, they’re not in such a dire position from a salary cap perspective. As a result, they don’t necessarily need to trade Boeser, who is under contract for two more years at $6.65 million.

Boeser is only 26, so he fits the age range of Detroit’s core. He’s a consistent producer, too. While his goal scoring is down, Boeser has totaled 45 to 55 points in all six of his seasons with the Canucks. Essentially, he’s a second-line player making first-line money. The Red Wings can afford him, but unless the Canucks retain salary, they probably won’t receive lucrative trade offers for Boeser.

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