Red Wings News & Rumors: Help On Defense, Free Agents & More

The Hockey Writers

After a few days off, the Detroit Red Wings are back in action Thursday night. Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers are in town and hoping to end Detroit’s three-game winning streak.

While we wait for puck drop, get caught up on the latest Red Wings news and rumors, including trade deadline notes, what to do with pending free agents, and more.

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Red Wings Interested In Blue Line Help?

Earlier this month, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported that the Red Wings “are looking to improve their blueline.”

I agree that the Red Wings could stand to improve defensively. That said, acquiring a blueliner only makes sense if a defenseman currently on the roster is part of the trade package. Otherwise, you’re scratching two rearguards every night and adding another roadblock to Simon Edvinsson’s path to the NHL.

Simon Edvinsson Detroit Red Wings
Simon Edvinsson deserves NHL ice time at this point. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Who would go, though? Moritz Seider and Jake Walman aren’t going anywhere. Shayne Gostisbehere is a pending free agent, and likely wouldn’t be part of a deal to improve the current roster – he’s more of a rebuilding trade chip that contenders covet.

That leaves us with Olli Määttä and Jeff Petry, who have another year left on their deals, plus Ben Chiarot and Justin Holl, who are signed for two more seasons beyond this one.

What should be noted, though, is that the Red Wings might have a hard time selling cap-conscious teams on taking a depth defenseman with term. Teams want flexibility. Contracts with remaining years don’t offer that.

Of the players listed above, Määttä might be the most palatable for a selling team. He’s 29 and has a manageable $3 million AAV. 

Related: Red Wings News & Rumors: Trade Talk, West Coast Trip & More

If the Red Wings intend to make a move, it only makes sense to do so with a player that they’re expecting to keep for more than this season. Trading Määttä and other quality assets for a rental defenseman wouldn’t be a wise investment. And because of this, they might as well wait until the offseason to swing an Alex DeBrincat-type trade for a defenseman when the trade market doesn’t favor sellers as much.

Red Wings Eligible to Re-Sign Players On One-Year Deals

Now that we’re into January, the Red Wings are allowed to re-sign players previously inked to one-year deals. This means that Gostisbehere, Patrick Kane, and other recent signings can re-up for another year (or more).

NHL rules mandate that teams cannot re-sign players on one-year contracts until January 1. Pending free agents at the end of multi-year deals can re-sign earlier than that if they so choose.


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Kane stands out as someone worth re-signing. That said, if things go south for the Red Wings, he’s also an excellent trade chip. Because of this, the team should see how things play out over the next month in case the smart move turns out to be a trade.

One player to watch, though, is Daniel Sprong. He has been a fantastic addition to Detroit’s bottom six and looks like a good fit for a long-term deal. He’s only 26, has a lethal shot, is effective on the power play, and has been playing with sandpaper as of late. 

Daniel Sprong Detroit Red Wings
Daniel Sprong has been a solid pickup for the Detroit Red Wings. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Given the fact that Sprong has bounced around a bit, it’s possible that he’d be willing to forgo a more lucrative payday elsewhere in exchange for term in Detroit. You have to wonder if three years at $2.5 million could get the deal done. It wouldn’t break the bank for the Red Wings and would be a raise for Sprong.

Gauntlet of Games In January

Winning all three games on their California road trip was a nice way for the Red Wings to kick off 2024. Their schedule is about to get difficult, though. 

After Thursday’s game against the Oilers, the Red Wings have these contests to look forward to:

  • Jan 13 – Home vs. Los Angeles
  • Jan 14 – Away vs. Toronto
  • Jan 17 – Away vs. Florida
  • Jan 19 – Away vs. Carolina
  • Jan 21 – Home vs. Tampa Bay
  • Jan 23 – Home vs. Dallas

That’s six consecutive games against teams likely to make the playoffs this spring. If the Red Wings want to prove they belong in the postseason, they need to win at least four of those games. Frankly, they need to win that many to keep pace in the playoff race.

More Red Wings News & Rumors

  • The Red Wings are reportedly interested in KHL forward Maxim Tsyplakov, who has 22 goals and 32 points in 48 games this season for Spartak Moscow. He’s 25, can play all three forward positions, and is a solid bet to maintain a bottom-six NHL role.
  • Alex Lyon will start in net Thursday against Edmonton.
  • Klim Kostin returned to practice Wednesday and could play this weekend.
  • Alex DeBrincat was named as Detroit’s representative for the 2024 NHL All-Star Game.
  • Simon Edvinsson and Jonatan Berggren were selected to participate in the 2024 AHL All-Star Game.
  • Devin Little highlighted three Griffins worthy of NHL ice time.
  • Go Lions!

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