The Grind Line: Red Wings 2024 Trade Deadline Strategy

The Hockey Writers

What’s The Grind Line? Apart from the once-famous line of Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and either Joe Kocur or Darren McCarty, The Grind Line is also The Hockey Writers’ weekly column about the Detroit Red Wings. This week Tony Wolak and Devin Little are the muckers who make up THW’s forechecking unit and sound off on Red Wings topics.

For the first time in a very long time, the Red Wings look to be in position to buy at the NHL Trade Deadline rather than sell. It’s a nice change of pace as, since 2017, the Red Wings have sold off many players and fan favorites in order to accumulate assets to rebuild their roster. With a firm hold on a playoff spot as we approach this year’s deadline, the focus now shifts less on the future and more towards the present. 

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But what should the Red Wings do? Despite their playoff positioning, can they really call themselves a championship contender and, if not, can they justify spending the assets it would require to augment their roster further? Should they be active in the marketplace, or should they sit this one out and hope the roster they have is good enough to end their seven-year long playoff drought?

In today’s column, our writers share how they would approach the deadline if they were in general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman’s shoes. 

Tony Wolak: Passive Buyers

In a recent article, I was in Yzerman’s shoes, and I still believe the Red Wings will be passive buyers at the trade deadline. Since the beginning, Yzerman has preached patience. The organization wants to build a sustainable future the right way. Shipping out top prospects and high draft picks in deadline overpays isn’t building the right way.

Related: Red Wings Mock Trade Deadline for 2024

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Adding depth and insurance is a smart way to build, though. The Red Wings should focus on being harder to play against, and you can do that with a minimalist approach. A playoff warrior like Zach Bogosian or a versatile speedster like Jack Roslovic shouldn’t cost much.

Save the big moves for the offseason when your assets are worth more. There’s no need to mortgage the future now.

Devin Little: Buy…and Sell?

The Red Wings are in a unique position. Their current roster seems good enough to complete this season’s objective: play meaningful games into April and push for a playoff spot. They are on a 97-point pace and have inroads on the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Truthfully, I don’t know if they really need to do anything at this point in the season, and I think Yzerman will use that to his advantage.

Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings General Manager
Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings General Manager (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

I think that the biggest addition the Red Wings could make at the deadline might already be in their organization. It has been reported that Yzerman is looking to acquire a defenseman to help solidify the team’s blue line. It has also been reported that some of the team’s current defensemen could be had under the right circumstances. If it were up to me, I would take the best offer for any defenseman on the roster outside of Moritz Seider, Jake Walman and Ben Chiarot, and then I would promote Simon Edvinsson to fill that roster spot.

With Edvinsson being my big “acquisition” on the blue line, I would, ideally, like to acquire some reinforcements for the Grand Rapids Griffins after taking their best defenseman. Perhaps the likes of Shayne Gostisbehere, Justin Holl or Olli Määttä could yield a draft pick and a quality minor-league player, reminiscent of the deal that landed Dylan McIlrath in Grand Rapids back in 2017.

Outside of that, I think the Red Wings could use a little extra sandpaper in their lineup, but getting into a bidding war for that type of player doesn’t make sense, at least not yet. If a move can be made to solidify the crease along with Alex Lyon, I think that would address a glaring weakness as well.

Now it’s your turn! How would you approach the trade deadline if you were in Yzerman’s shoes?

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