Trade Deadline: Grading the Detroit Trades at the Deadline

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and the stretch run to the Stanley Cups playoffs is upon us.  Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman was once again in sellers mode as he had nine impending UFA’s to deal.  Yzerman unloaded three impending UFA’s and one additional player at the deadline this year.

Here is a look at the three trades Yzerman made this week.

Troy Stecher traded to Los Angeles Kings

This trade was more about opening up a roster spot for the Red Wings.  Stecher has only played 16 games because of injury this year and is an impending UFA this summer.  The Red Wings only received a 7th round pick in the 2022 draft for Stecher.

The Kings were desperate to add a defenseman at the deadline.  Los Angeles is riddled with injuries on their blueline and adding a veteran defenseman with mobility at a reasonable cost was what they were looking for.

This trade signalled that Stecher was not in the future plans for Detroit as the Red Wings have several prospects who will be pushing for minutes on the Detrot blueline next year.

Grade: C

Nick Leddy and Luke Witkowski to St. Louis

The Red Wings were rumored to be shopping Leddy for the last few weeks.  Detroit even sat Leddy out of their last two games in order to try and protect their asset.  Leddy was acquired from the New York Islanders last summer for a 2nd round pick, so Steve Yzerman was looking to recoup the 2nd rounder at the deadline.

Not only did Yzerman trade Leddy, he also traded seldom used minor leaguer Luke Witkowski in the process.  Leddy will be an UFA this summer and Witkowski has one year remaining on his two-way contract.  In order to receive the 2nd round pick from St. Louis, the Red Wings has to absorb 50% of Leddy’s remaining contract this year.

Not only did Detroit receive the Blues 2nd round pick in the 2023 draft, they also received depth forward Oskar Sundqvist and young defenseman Jake Walman.

Sundqvist has one year remaining on his current contract with a cap hit of $2.75M.  In 41 games this year, Sundqvist has scored four goals, 11 assists, 15 points, and a +4 rating.  He is slated to play RW on a line with Michael Rasmussen and Adam Erne tonight.

Walman is in his 2nd season in the NHL.  He currently has a cap hit of $725,000 and will be a RFA at the end of the season.  In 32 games this year, Walman has scored three goals, three assists, six points, and a +3 rating.  Walman is slated to play with Gustav Lindstrom tonight.

Grade B

Vladislav Namestnikov to Dallas

Namestnikov has been rumored to be leaving Detroit all year.  An impending UFA who has played really good for Detroit this year, Namestnikov should have garned something more than what Detroit received for his services.

Detroit received a 4th round draft pick in 2024.  Namestnikov will likely re-sign with the Red Wings this summer.  So, Namestnikov is nothing more than a rental player for Dallas.  This trade allows the Red Wings to audition Jonatan Berggren before the end of the season.  Taro Hirose is also currently auditioning for a contract extension.  Trading Namestnikov opens up a roster spot so that the Red Wings can see what they may possibly have in their lineup next year.

Grade C

Final Thoughts

The Detroit Red Wings traded three of their impending nine UFA’s.  They received three draft choices and two depth players under team control in return.  Even though Yzerman didn’t make the big splash this year, fans have to trust the Yzerplan as it is taking shape.  With numerous prospects about to take the leap to professional hockey in North America next year, the possibility of some prospects making the jump to Detroit, and the Red Wings continuing to add draft capital, the future is promissing again in Hockeytown.

Next. The Red Wings Nick Leddy trade – what’s the verdict?. dark