Top 3 players the Detroit Red Wings could trade before Friday’s deadline

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(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings, Jakub Vrana
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The Detroit Red Wings are in sell mode, and it feels like just about everything that isn’t nailed down is up for grabs—nailed down being a cornerstone type player or high-quality prospect.

Steve Yzerman recently shipped defenseman Filip Hronek and a fourth-round pick out to Vancouver in exchange for a conditional first-round selection and a second-round pick in 2023. Hronek becomes a restricted free agent following next season. It seems Yzerman received a substantial return for Hronek, thus making the transaction a no-brainer. Detroit sold Hronek’s stock high.

Yzerman followed that deal up with another significant move sending pending free agent Tyler Bertuzzi to the Boston Bruins, garnering yet another first-round pick in return, along with a fourth-round selection in 2025. The first-rounder is a conditional pick in 2024.

As it stands, the Detroit Red Wings will have two first-round picks in 2023, along with three second-round selections. The organization will also have two first-rounders in 2024. This draft capital gives Yzerman and the Red Wings flexibility moving forward, whether Detroit elects to make their draft selections in the slotted spots or package up some of this capital to make some blockbuster trade ahead of the draft.

Also, I get the sense that Yzerman isn’t finished making moves ahead of Friday’s 3 pm Est. deadline.

Three Detroit Red Wings players to keep an eye on before the NHL trade deadline.

The first player to watch is forward Jakub Vrana. Vrana has had a very difficult year from a personal standpoint, along with his on-ice production. The 27-year-old winger has appeared in five games with the Detroit Red Wings this season, scoring one goal and totaling two points. Both of those points came over the first two games of the season before he was entered into the NHL and NHL Players Assistance Program.

Upon returning to the Red Wings, Vrana cleared waivers and struggled early on in Grand Rapids but started to come on strong a couple of weeks ago, prompting the Detroit Red Wings to recall the skillful forward. Since being recalled, Vrana hasn’t been able to do much of anything averaging just over 12 minutes of ice time buried on Detroit’s fourth line. With the Griffins, Vrana recorded six goals and 11 points over 17 games.

It’s truly a mystery what is going on behind the scenes between Vrana and the Red Wings organization, but he’s clearly fallen out of favor, and a fresh start is in order. The problem is that Vrana carries a $5.25 million cap hit and is under contract through next season. If Yzerman hopes to receive any return for Vrana, Detroit will likely need to retain 50% of his salary for the remainder of this season and next.