Red Wings’ Jake Walman Trade Could Point to Potential Steven Stamkos Signing

The Hockey Writers

The Detroit Red Wings made headlines recently when they decided to trade Jake Walman and a second-round draft pick to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for future considerations. It was shocking, to say the least, as Walman is a solid defender who I believed was on a good contract. Having to pay a high price of a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft to move someone like him seems a little mind-boggling, but it could mean several different things for both teams. The Sharks are trying to fill out their roster to surround first-overall pick Macklin Celebrini with players who could help him excel at the NHL level, while the Red Wings are trying to free up cap space in hopes of improving their roster and making it back to the postseason. They were close this season, but they weren’t able to sneak their way in. With a move like this, it’s clear they’re committed to change. 

The Red Wings have plenty of moving parts this offseason and have a lot of money to make some interesting moves if they choose to when free agency opens. With Patrick Kane needing a new contract and likely heading to the open market if he can’t reach an agreement with the Red Wings before July 1, there are some other options the team could pursue, one being superstar forward Steven Stamkos. He hasn’t come to an agreement with the Tampa Bay Lightning on a new contract extension just yet, and the clock is ticking to get something done before he has the chance to talk to other teams. The Red Wings have more than enough money available to entice Stamkos to a move, and the Walman deal makes it even more of a possibility.

Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

General manager Steve Yzerman already has a connection to Stamkos as the previous GM of the Lightning, so there is already some comfortability there. The only issue would be if Stamkos has loyalty to the Lightning and would be willing to take a massive pay cut to stay with the team that drafted him. If there’s any sign that Stamkos and the Lightning can’t get something done, Yzerman should be looking to go all-in to bring him in. His leadership off the ice combined with his offensive production will make him one of the most sought-after free agents in recent history. 

Stamkos Signing Possible, Are There Other Options?

The Red Wings going after Stamkos makes sense for several different reasons, but there are some other options available to them if they aren’t able to make something work. Jake Guentzel, Chris Tanev, Sam Reinhart, Elias Lindholm, and even Kane are all likely going to be available and would consider joining the Red Wings if they all hit the open market. With the amount of money the Red Wings have heading toward July 1, it wouldn’t be surprising if they made some big swings and were able to stack their lineup heading into the 2024-25 season. While many options are available either way, Stamkos should be their main focus, and they should be willing to break the bank to bring him in. 

Stamkos is a hockey legend and will almost certainly go down as one of the best players to ever play the game. However, the Red Wings are in a position where they’re trying to make it back to the postseason and fight their way back to the championship picture. They have a strong future ahead of them, and adding Stamkos could be another piece to the puzzle. Stamkos likely gets a three or four-year contract, but the Red Wings should be willing to overpay to bring him in. He fits their scheme well, he would complement their current core and could add strength at both ends of the ice. Realistically, I would offer up to $8 million per season to bring him in. He is still a point-per-game player, he is great on special teams, and he is strong defensively. The Red Wings should be trying to bring Stamkos in, in any way possible. 

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