Red Wings Weekly Review: Prospects, Picks and Trade Options

Jan 18, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) takes a penalty shot as Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss (29) makes a save during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 18, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) takes a penalty shot as Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss (29) makes a save during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Red Wings are one of many teams watching the trade rumor mill belch out one big name after another. The last two weeks saw a bevy of names float to the top, making many  wonder what could possibly happen in the next month as the Expansion Draft and NHL Entry Draft wait.

This week our staff writers looked at a number of prospects and also decisions that general manager Steve Yzerman will have to make on both unrestricted and restricted free agents. One reoccurring theme in both of Chris’s articles were that the roster is due for an infusion of young talent.

As such, the Red Wings will not be doling out contracts to some veterans as the prospects–think Moritz Seider, Joe Veleno, and Lucas Raymond–are going to be taking those spots once occupied by Alex Biega, Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula.

The Expansion Draft certainly centers around who Detroit will lose–popular choices remain Evgeny Svechnikov, Gustav Lindstrom, or Givani Smith. How that breaks might influence other moves Yzerman makes–which definitely got a lot more interesting this week with a split between Jack Eichel and Buffalo pretty inevitable.

The draft itself is anyone’s guess after Owen Power, and a slew of interesting names keep coming up. Will the Red Wings go with a goalie for their sixth pick,  taking Jesper Wallstedt–who has been labeled as franchise changing.  Will they go defense again–snagging Luke Hughes or do they address the need for a dynamic forward by taking either Dylan Guenther, Michigan forward Kent Johnson, or Swedish dynamo William Eklund.

Regardless of the direction they go at number six, it’s the first round pick at 22 than many are speculating as to what Yzerman will do–be it taking another prospect or possibly using it to get a player that fits his “26 or under” schematic for building into the core.

Which takes us to Buffalo’s Jack Eichel and Columbus’ Seth Jones.

Eichel and Jones Would Help The Red Wings…..

But what would it cost? Despite both players taking a bit of luster off of their value by expressing their wishes, they will still cost a bunch to pry out of their respective spot.

Eichel has been long rumored to be unhappy and even with Buffalo winning the first overall pick, both the Sabres and Eichel seem to agree it’s time to move on. But some of the teams who have the capital to pursue him have apparently backed off.

The Los Angeles Kings keep popping up as potential suitors but a lot of cold water was thrown on that by Kings Insider John Hoven who repeated what had been reported earlier–Quinton Byfield is going nowhere and his name included in talks is a non-starter. Additionally, he tweeted this about Jones:

If the Kings, who are closer than Detroit to a playoff spot while boasting a deep prospect pool aren’t biting on two of the bigger names, why would the Red Wings?

The biggest selling factor Detroit has is cap space along with the promise of a younger team that keeps adding elite talent thanks to higher draft picks. But in order to get Jones or Eichel, they’ll be asked about those elite players and that’s the antithesis of what Yzerman is trying to achieve.

As for Jones, he let Columbus know he has no intention of re-signing once the final year of his contract (in 2021-22) expires. This certainly hurts Columbus’ leverage as everyone knows Jones is on his way out.

Could Yzerman potentially sell a future piece to get either one? Possibly. He’s stated before that it has to make sense and it be something to build around the core. Adding Jones or Eichel would upgrade the rebuild immediately–but also has its question marks.

These include:

  • Would Jones sign an extension to stay in Detroit?
  • Is Eichel’s injury one that could cut into his prime?
  • Would Eichel’s $10M AAV be too much for Yzerman?
  • Would Yzerman part with a future first round pick to secure either player?

It makes sense to think that any teams talking with Buffalo or Columbus include the Red Wings. But it remains to be seen what the price inevitably will be–from whoever lands him–and if it’s worth it.

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