Red Wings: Under the Radar UFA’s Available at the Trade Deadline

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 15: Sam Gagner #89 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Chicago Blackhawksat Little Caesars Arena on February 15, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 15: Sam Gagner #89 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Chicago Blackhawksat Little Caesars Arena on February 15, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

With eleven unrestricted free agents coming up in the offseason, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will likely be looking to ship off a few for future assets. Three of the UFAs with the most interest are Bobby Ryan, Luke Glendening, and Jonathan Bernier. All appear on nearly every NHL trade rumor list, with each player predicted to net the Wings a draft pick somewhere in the middle rounds or maybe even a prospect. But who are the other moveable UFAs?

The Red Wings Lower Value Assets

Two of those UFAs, Darren Helm ($3.85 million) and Valtteri Filppula ($3 million), carry a hefty AAV salary to be truly considered a good trade asset (especially considering neither are mainstays of the Wing’s main roster).  Detroit could get some late round draft picks if they move to retain some of the salary. Both are very experienced players, and Helm provides that gritty fourth line presence that some NHL general managers love. Again, with the salary in consideration, and the lack of production both players have had, if either gets moved before the deadline, it’ll likely be for a lower round pick (4th-7th). To sweeten it a bit, Detroit could take on some salary, too.

Marc Staal is somewhat in the same boat, with his $5 million contract, but his veteran presence and (deceivingly) decent defensive stats (for a while, Staal and Troy Stecher were the best defensive pairing in the league) make him a bit more desirable than the other two rentals. But this is another asset unlikely to get anything more than a late round draft pick, unless a team starts making desperation moves.

The Red Wings Sneaky Good Assets

Sam Gagner, Patrik Nemeth, and Jon Merrill are Detroit’s most underrated UFA trade assets heading into the deadline. Gagner and Merrill are especially attractive assets, as both have contracts worth less than a million  AAV (Gagner $850,000 and Merrill $925,000) in a year where nearly every team is strapped for cash.

Although his Corsi defensive rating doesn’t show it (-3.6), Merrill has had a decent season in Detroit. He’s cheap, reliable, and can provide some depth and experience to a fringe playoff/playoff

caliber team. In fact, the Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa reported that the Boston Bruins have shown interest in acquiring Merrill. It’s hard to say exactly what kind of return Detroit could get for Merrill, but a mid round draft pick (3rd or 4th) seems a real possibility.

Patrick Nemeth’s $3 million contract and less than stellar cori rating (-7.6) make him a slightly less desirable asset, but again, defensive depth is something a team always reaches for at the deadline. He’s a player that could fetch a lower end draft pick at worst, and a mid rounder at best.

Sam Gagner is yet another cheap rental player the Wings could ship out to a contender. The cheap contract, experience, and resurgent year all combine for an asset that could get the Wings another trade pick. There have been flashes of excellence this year (his hat trick vs the Predator’s being the best example), and that’s something a team that struggles with depth scoring (like the Boston Bruins) would definitely desire. Gagner could end up getting Detroit more draft capital, with a middle to late round draft pick being a reasonable return.

Next. The Latest Trade info on Glendening, Mantha, and Bernier. dark

If there are trades, expect Yzerman to target Draft Picks

Most of Detroit’s UFA trade assets aren’t going to net anything higher than a third rounder, but in a year as odd as this, that’s not a terrible return. Steve Yzerman is reportedly looking for draft picks at the deadline this year and with the limited amount of prospect scouting that has occurred this year, there could be some real talent that falls far in the draft. Don’t be surprised if Yzerman makes a surprising amount of moves to gather a bevy of draft picks before this years deadline.