As 3:00 PM EST rolled past yesterday and only two trades had been announced, there just had to be at least one more. Roughly 20 minutes past the technical end of the deadline, it was reported that Vladislav Namestnikov was traded to the Dallas Stars for a 2024 4th-round pick in the NHL Draft. The trade was not made official for two more hours due to backups with the NHL Central Registry- pushing back the press conference with GM Steve Yzerman. Upon finalization of the Namestnikov trade, the Red Wings were done making moves.
There is not much to this trade to break apart aside from the fact the Red Wings cashed in on a player that could bring them an asset of value. Namestnikov had been a well-performing member of this team for the 1st half of the season in which he was on a roll with racking up points. With 13 goals and 12 assists in 60 games played- he was a valuable member of this team but cashing in on that value to give him better opportunities as well as helping the future of the Yzerplan was worth slightly more than the points put up.
Throughout this season, Namestnikov has been popular amongst Red Wings fans because of his energy and passion for the team. Most notably shown by his jersey tug celly after scoring a goal, Namestnikov loved being in Detroit and being a member of this team. Although this was a trade that everyone had on their radar as a possibility, it does not make losing him any easier for fans of the team- especially to the Dallas Stars and Jamie Benn who is widely disliked by Red Wings fans after his cross check that injured Dylan Larkin.
So, was this trade enough or did it fall short of people’s expectations or perceived value of Vladislav Namestinkov?
Just right trade
Since Namestnikov doesn’t carry a high trade value, there was a very slim chance that he could be dealt for a high draft pick or a pretty decent player in return. Yzerman was right to take advantage of his value by securing that 2024 4th-round pick because ultimately the future of this team is his number one priority. He had to have known how liked Namestinkov was but that alone is not enough to keep a player on this team if he believes that they were underperforming for their value.
Not quite enough
Vladislav Namestnikov has been a goal scorer and point generator throughout the 2021-22 season and has the experience under his belt to have a slightly higher value in a trade. Having played 12 NHL seasons with 104 goals and 127 assists, is a 4th-round pick enough? One could argue that he deserved just a higher pick alone but you could also argue adding a prospect on top of the 4th-round pick that Detroit did receive. However, wanting more from this trade could likely just be trying to make up for the loss of a well-liked player since it is very hard to let them go, especially if it looks like a low value trade on paper.
So, will he be back?
Namestnikov becomes an UFA at the end of this season, so a question has been raised; will he come back to Detroit? He technically CAN return if he were offered a contract by Yzerman or if he came knocking to talk about one, but in most situations such as this, the player does not end up returning. The bigger question is really would Yzerman even want to take him back? Namestnikov turns 30 this year and has already played nine seasons in the league so he would be largely filling the role of a veteran on the team, but with the way the rebuild is shaping up, Yzerman seems to be looking for young and sharp talent and players to fit specific areas of need such as left side blueliners or consistently high point scorers. There is still a possibility of him at least inquiring about coming back, but the odds of it actually happening are not the highest.
Ultimately, having this space open on the roster makes room for a high-performing prospect to get a shot in the league or for more inevitable trades or pickups in the off-season. This summer is anticipated to be huge for the Wings as Yzerman works his magic with the rebuild and this roster vacancy provides more blank space for Yzerman to assemble a winning team. Although he is already greatly missed by Red Wings fans and the guys on the team, things will keep moving forward in the Yzerplan and all we can do is sit back and trust Stevie Y.