Red Wings News & Rumors: Guentzel, Berggren & More

The Hockey Writers

With the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline quickly approaching, rumors are swirling, and some have included the Detroit Red Wings. From trade targets to new contracts, it’s been a busy week in Hockeytown.

Get caught up on the latest Red Wings news and rumors, including trade deadline speculation, accepted and rejected contract extensions, plus much more.

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Red Wings: Trade Deadline Buyers

Through 56 games, the Red Wings have a .589 points percentage. But in my opinion, that number isn’t indicative of the team’s capabilities.

If you exclude the 10 games between Dec. 7 and Christmas, their points percentage then becomes .674, which would be sixth-best in the NHL. Why do this? Pardon the bluntness, but the Red Wings were an absolute dumpster fire during that span. 

Derek Lalonde Detroit Red Wings
December was not kind to the Detroit Red Wings. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dylan Larkin missed most of the Dec. 8 against the Ottawa Senators, plus the next five contests. David Perron was ejected from the Ottawa game and was suspended for the next six. J.T. Compher also missed five games. That’s half of the top six. Patrick Kane—who wasn’t even up to speed yet—had to put the team on his back just to keep them competitive.

Ville Husso and Alex Lyon also got hurt during this time. Journeyman netminder Michael Hutchinson was Detroit’s best goalie in December. 

Overall, the lineup was in a constant state of flux and the schedule prevented the Red Wings from having any meaningful practice time in between the 10 games noted above. Zero chemistry could be established, resulting in a discombobulated effort on the ice.

Detroit’s true ability lies somewhere between their current .589 points percentage and the theoretical .674 points percentage. Going .600 the rest of the way should secure a Wild Card spot. And because of this, the Red Wings should have the green light to be buyers at this year’s trade deadline.

Berggren Reportedly Rejects Red Wings’ Contract Offer

According to a report from The Fourth Period, Jonatan Berggren “recently rejected a contract extension pitched by the Red Wings and wants a shot at a full-time NHL gig, something he clearly isn’t getting right now in Detroit.”

The Fourth Period did not disclose the terms of the contract offer.

Jonatan Berggren Detroit Red Wings
Jonatan Berggren in one of his nine games with the Detroit Red Wings this season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

This is the second time The Fourth Period has reported on a potential rift between Berggren and Detroit. Considering the fact that the Red Wings organization keeps things close to the vest, it’s possible that Berggren’s representation is the leak and is working the public opinion angle to get their client what he wants.

We saw this tactic a bit last year when Dylan Larkin’s agent Pat Brisson was negotiating a contract extension for Detroit’s captain. It’s a common strategy to gain leverage, but you have to wonder how the Red Wings—specifically Steve Yzerman—will react. 

As I noted before, I don’t think Detroit should trade Berggren unless they’re getting a legitimate top-four, right-shot blueliner or a top-six forward in return. Regarding the latter scenario, Ryan Hana of the Winged Wheel Podcast shared a similar sentiment in response to

Red Wings & Jake Guentzel?

On Friday’s episode of the 32 Thoughts Podcast, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman suggested that Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel would be a good fit in Detroit, provided a contract extension was agreed to.

Friedman shared lots of caveats, too, with the fact that he was “just spitballing” and that Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond still need contract extensions being among them. To be clear, this is an idea, not a rumor.

Potential Detroit Red Wings trade target Jake Guentzel.
Jake Guentzel one the top line with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond would be dangerous. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That said, Friedman’s words carry weight and the Penguins need to get younger. Guentzel would fit in nicely in Detroit’s top six. He would fit in nicely with a bunch of other contending teams, too.

In theory, trading Berggren, a conditional draft pick—for example, a first-round pick if Guentzel signs; a second rounder if he doesn’t—plus a mid-tier prospect would be fair – at least in my opinion. However, there are surely other teams interested and the trade deadline, after all, is a seller’s market. 

Guentzel’s real price is likely higher, and there’s no guarantee he’d even want to sign a contract extension now. It’s his first shot at unrestricted free agency and the opportunity to sign a massive deal to secure his financial future. It may be his last, too – Guentzel turns 30 in October.

If the stars align, sure, trading Berggren in a package for Guentzel—with a contract extension in place—would be a solid bet. But if the price is too high or Pittsburgh’s forward wants to test the free agent market, the Red Wings are better off saving their futures now and waiting until the offseason when the trade market normalizes to improve their roster.

Contract Extension for David Perron?

ESPN’s Emily Kaplan shared an update on Friday, which included rumors about several players around the league. One of which was David Perron.

“I do think there were legitimate discussions about trading Perron, but they have since quieted. In fact, I believe a contract extension for Perron could be in play either right before or after the March 8 deadline. If it doesn’t get done, don’t be surprised if they re-engage over the summer on a potential new contract in Detroit.”

–Emily Kaplan, ESPN (from ‘NHL trade deadline buzz: Goalie market, Penguins-Caps moves among hot topics’ – ESPN – 2/23/24)

If the Red Wings re-sign Perron, it’s hopefully to a one-year deal. He’s a team leader, yes, but his production is also down this season.

Re-signing the veteran forward would also block one of Berggren’s paths to full-time NHL duties next season. You have to wonder what a Perron contract extension would mean for Berggren’s future in Detroit.

David Perron Detroit Red Wings
Bringing back David Perron would be a Catch-22 for the Red Wings. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kaplan also noted that the Red Wings are “listening to offers” for their defensemen. 

I’d be curious to see if anything came out of this. Jake Walman and Moritz Seider aren’t going anywhere. Ben Chiarot is playing well alongside Jeff Petry, and you want those two in the lineup in the postseason. 

Perhaps teams are interested in acquiring Shayne Gostisbehere to quarterback their power play? This would open the door for Simon Edvinsson to join the Red Wings. 

Justin Holl more than likely is staying put with his contract, which leaves Olli Määttä, who I suggested could be part of a package to acquire a right shot defenseman to play alongside Gostisbehere this year and then Edvinsson in 2024-25.

More Red Wings News & Rumors

Data courtesy of NHL.com.

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