What’s The Hronek Answer?

Filip Hronek. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Filip Hronek. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Red Wings
Filip Hronek. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Option 1: Pre-Season Trade

Although many fans were disappointed that Hronek was not part of a draft-day trade or free agent-related move, there are still folks who believe that he should be moved to make room for upcoming defensive prospects. A pre-season trade is an option, yet pre-season and training camp trades are fairly rare in the NHL. The Red Wings are unlikely to receive full value for trading a top-four defenseman because teams would know the Wings are looking to unload Hronek after a so-so season. Selling while Hronek’s value is low is not usually a good strategy. Yzerman is not afraid to make big changes if a chance to improve the team arises, but I don’t see a big pre-season trade on the horizon. As much as many fans would like to clear Hronek from the 2022-2023 team, I doubt this will happen.

Option 2: Trade Deadline Move

Hronek could be turned into a nice return at the trade deadline. If Nick Leddy resulted in the 2nd round pick, then Hronek is worth far more. Also, all contending teams would like a solid right-handed shot offensive defenseman who is not afraid to play an abrasive game at times. The best scenario for this trade is that Hronek plays well, but clearly, Johansson and Edvinsson have surpassed Hronek as mainstays of the blue line. Yet, if that scenario plays out, then the Red Wings will be playoff contenders and are unlikely to be excited to trade one of their key defenders. Most likely, Hronek will stay on the team for at least the remaining two years of his contract.

Option 3: Part of the Core

Despite the fan skepticism, maybe Hronek is a part of the core of the Red Wings and will stay for many years. He has two seasons remaining on his $13.2 million three-year contract (4.5 million for 2021-2022, 5.5 million for 2022-2023; 4.4 million cap hit each year). Given the current situation, he is at least an even money chance of not only staying with the Red Wings for his current contract but signing a multi-year extension next year. He is a fine skater, strong outlet passer, and can provide offense. The issue is that for the last four seasons, he has never played in a role that suits his skill set. He is not a number one defenseman. He has played on a team with minimal talent. The team’s system revolved around conservative low-event hockey, which shines a harsh light on his defensive weaknesses. With a stronger supporting cast and a revamped system, Hronek may be placed in a situation that takes full advantage of his substantial skills. Finally, the team has few right-handed shots from the blue line, which makes him more valuable.