Could the Red Wings have Something to Offer Buffalo?

Red Wings Danny DeKeyser (Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)
Red Wings Danny DeKeyser (Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports) /

Would the Detroit Red Wings be interested in a deal with Buffalo? According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Sabres might very well open for business soon:

Now to look at wording, NHL clubs are “calling” meaning they’re seeking, not that Buffalo is offering. Jack Eichel has verbally expressed his “disconnect” with the organization while other players like Rasmus Ristolainen, and Sam Reinhart have been mentioned in trade rumors as well.

Could the Red Wings be one of those teams in conversations with Buffalo?

Would Buffalo and Detroit be suitable trade partners?

After extending Jeff Blashill’s contract, general manager Steve Yzerman said this when it came to possibly moving prospects or draft picks to improve the team:

"In general I don’t think it makes a lot of sense for us to be trading draft picks and prospects for players who might not be here in three, four, five years. If we are able to do something with some of our future assets, I’d certainly be willing to do that. But I would look to add younger players who would fit with the core group of those guys.”"

Following that answer, Yzerman identified the core as being Dylan Larkin, Jakub Vrana, and Tyler Bertuzzi and set the bar at “26 or younger” when it came to the players he would deal for.

Eichel certainly fits that category–24 years old and certainly solving problems down the middle. There are certainly concerns–one it would take quite a bit for the Red Wings to acquire him even though it seems like the buyer could have the advantage. But two, would Eichel want to leap from one rebuild to another?

The Sabres looked like a team about to finally turn the corner before the wheels fell off. Would he really want to spend another two-three years in Detroit doing the same thing–without guarantees? It would be reasonable to believe that the Red Wings trading for Eichel would signal a change in direction with the rebuild, but that would fly in the face of the patience Yzerman has preached and shown so far.

Yzerman isn’t closing the door on deals, but unless he can get similar value as he received in the trade with Washington, Eichel still seems like it might cost just a bit more than Detroit would be willing to pay.

Would Reinhart or Mittelstadt fit the Red Wings?

Reinhart would be another interesting name. He’s just 25 (feels like he’s been in the league forever) and has been a consistent goal scorer with his time in Buffalo. The former second overall pick in the 2014 draft, it would also be interesting if Yzerman did acquire him as it would add to the former 2014 picks he’s acquired in Detroit (Robby Fabbri, Brendan Perlini and Vrana to go with Larkin who was drafted 15th by Detroit).

Reinhart is due another raise to his current deal (currently $5.2M AAV) so that would be an interesting wrinkle should his name come up in trade talks.

One other interesting name: Casey Mittelstadt. Interim coach Don Granato gave him a greater look as the team was hammered with injury, but to say Buffalo has been disappointed with what Mittelstadt has produced in three seasons would be an understatement. At just 22, he would provide depth at center and certainly fits the age parameters Yzerman set out.

Ristolainen is 26 and has struggled to meet the expectations set forth when he signed his deal four seasons ago. Though it comes with a $5.4M AAV, could a change of scenery help? This one seems less likely as Ristolainen is hovering outside the age range Yzerman set, not to mention he would be entering a crowded blue line–unless Yzerman offloads someone.

Obviously settling on a new coach in Buffalo could quiet some of the noise, but the possibility exists that players could be leaving. Though Yzerman isn’t going to be looking for deals, he also won’t pass them up if they prove to benefit Detroit and fit within his rebuild scheme. While it would cost future assets of some kind, Yzerman has shown creativity before.

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As with everything else this offseason, it’s something else to keep a close eye on.