Red Wings’ Trade Board for the 2024 Offseason

The Hockey Writers

Since taking over as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, Steve Yzerman has been active in the trade market during the offseason. Alex DeBrincat headlines his list of summer acquisitions – there was also Marc Staal, Alex Nedeljkovic, Nick Leddy, Ville Husso, and Jeff Petry as well.

Yzerman will more than likely return to the trade market this summer for further upgrades. Before he does so, let’s dive into the organization’s needs, possible trade partners, targets, and what the Red Wings can offer in return.

Assessing Detroit’s Roster Needs

We’ve already established which types of players the Red Wings should pursue this offseason. But when it comes to the trade market, there are two needs that should be prioritized over others: top-six forwards and a starting goalie. Top-four right defense and depth forwards can be addressed via free agency.

Looking at this year’s crop of free agents, there are 10 bonafide top-six forwards. And once you remove those likely to re-sign (Steven Stamkos, Sam Reinhart, Joe Pavelski) and centers (Elias Lindholm), you’re left with six players. That’s not a lot, especially when most of the league will pursue these forwards. And given this relatively low supply of top-six forwards, the contracts the players sign will likely be more expensive than expected.

Dylan Larkin Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings need another impact winger to flank Dylan Larkin (or J.T. Compher). (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It’s a similar case for goalies – there are zero true starting netminders hitting the free agent market this summer. There are a few who could serve in a tandem with Ville Husso or triumvirate with Husso and Alex Lyon, but no one who can truly take the reins.

Given the low supply and high demand for these two roles, the Red Wings need to look elsewhere for solutions. The trade market presents such an opportunity. 

Related: Contract Projections for Red Wings’ 2024 RFAs

Detroit can (and should) create cap space through trades as well. Shedding salary ahead of free agency is another top priority for the Red Wings.

Red Wings’ Potential Trade Partners

Which teams should Detroit target for a trade? The list below outlines potential trade partners, with the teams sorted into common themes:

  • Past Connections – Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks.
  • Teams Needing Change – Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues.
  • Salary Cap Issues – Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights.
  • Rebuilding/Salary Cap Floor – Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks.

Before going any further, I want to call out the Past Connections theme since the others are self-explanatory. 

Relationships matter. It’s difficult to accomplish anything if you don’t have a good relationship with the people you’re working with (or trying to make a deal with).

Looking first at the St. Louis Blues, Yzerman and Doug Armstrong have connected on five trades since the former rejoined the Red Wings. That’s more than any other franchise during that span. Clearly, Yzerman and Armstrong have a great relationship and a propensity to look for win-win scenarios.

A similar case could be made for Yzerman and Pat Verbeek. They worked together from 2006 to 2022 – first in Detroit, then with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and finally, back in Detroit until Verbeek was hired to be the Anaheim Ducks’ GM. 

There are a couple noteworthy connections at the player level, too. Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh with Olli M​​äättä. The Canucks have three NHL blueliners signed for the 2024-25 season, plus former Red Wing Filip Hronek, who is an RFA. M​​äättä could be a salary cap casualty – Rutherford should be one of the first calls Yzerman makes if he decides to offload the defenseman.

On a similar note, current Penguins GM Kyle Dubas had Justin Holl in Toronto for several years, and Pittsburgh needs a defensive defenseman to play behind Kris Letang and Erik Karlsson on the right side.

Detroit’s Trade Board

Based on the Red Wings’ organizational needs and the teams identified above, here is my trade board for the 2024 offseason, with potential cost and overall value factored into the rankings.

Top-Six Forwards:

  1. Pavel Buchnevich
  2. Yegor Sharangovich
  3. Martin Necas
  4. Anthony Cirelli
  5. Trevor Zegras

Goalies:

  1. Filip Gustavsson
  2. John Gibson
  3. Jacob Markstrom

Cap Space:

  1. San Jose – Justin Holl, Robby Fabbri
  2. Pittsburgh – Justin Holl
  3. Chicago/Anaheim – Robby Fabbri
  4. Vancouver/Calgary – Olli M​​äättä

Consolidated Trade Board:

  1. LW Pavel Buchnevich
  2. LW/C Yegor Sharangovich
  3. Cap Space
  4. RW/C Martin Necas
  5. G Filip Gustavsson
  6. C Anthony Cirelli
  7. LD Jakob Chychrun
  8. C Marco Rossi
  9. G John Gibson
  10. LW Reilly Smith
  11. RD Rasmus Andersson
  12. LD Cam Fowler
  13. LW Tanner Jeannot
  14. RW/C Trevor Zegras
  15. G Jacob Markstrom

I made the case for Buchnevich previously – his versatility, size, and offensive prowess are exactly what the Red Wings need in their top six. The same goes for Yegor Sharangovich, who could become the next Buchnevich.

In addition, the Sharks should be Yzerman’s first call when trying to offload salary. Even after re-signing their NHL RFAs, San Jose could still be $10-12 million below the salary cap lower limit. Fabbri and/or Holl’s cap hits would bring them closer to the $64.7 million threshold and address offseason needs.

Red Wings’ Trade Chips

In order to acquire these players, the Red Wings have to part with something, of course. Below are 10 players, prospects, and picks (ranked by value) that could be dealt.

  1. 2025 first-round pick (top-12 protected)
  2. Jake Walman
  3. Jonatan Berggren
  4. Joe Veleno
  5. 2024 second-round pick
  6. 2025 second-round pick
  7. Albert Johansson
  8. William Wallinder
  9. 2024 third-round pick
  10. Robby Fabbri

Note that Detroit’s 2024 first-round selection is not included. The Red Wings still need a game-changer in the prospect pipeline, and this is likely the last year they’ll be picking in the first half of the draft. That’s my logic for keeping the pick, at least.

Otherwise, it’s a change of pace for the Red Wings. We’ve reached the point in the rebuild where the organization has an abundance of mid-tier prospects that could be dealt to address other needs. After all, not everyone reaches their ceiling, and there are only so many spots in the lineup. 

Related: Red Wings News & Rumors: Kane, Trade Market, Prospects & More

Lastly, Fabbri presents an interesting scenario. In theory, a rebuilding team could take advantage of Detroit’s lack of cap space and acquire him, deploy him on the second line and power play, watch him rack up goals, and flip him at the deadline with 50 percent salary retained.

Final Word

As has been the case in previous years, Yzerman should scour the trade market during the offseason. He has found success in targeting players who no longer fit within opponents’ budgets or want a fresh start. This summer, he should follow the same game plan, and attempt to shed salary himself.

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