Detroit Red Wings: It’s always sunny in Minnesota but not Philadelphia

(Photo by Lawrence Scott/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lawrence Scott/Getty Images) /
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Now that the NHL trade deadline has come and gone, Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman might be able to get a little shut-eye and put his cell phone on sleep mode until tomorrow.

After trading Filip Hronek to Vancouver and Tyler Bertuzzi to Boston over the past few days, Yzerman remained busy on Friday leading up to the NHL’s 3 pm Est deadline. First, Yzerman sent Jakub Vrana to the St. Louis Blues for essentially nothing; a 2025 seventh-round draft pick and Dylan McLaughlin.

The Detroit Red Wings immediately loaned McLaughlin back to Springfield to finish the year. Detroit retained 50% of Vrana’s $5.25 million cap hit in the deal for the remainder of this season and next. Vrana had been a prime candidate to be bought out following this season, and now Detroit found a slightly cheaper version.

The Detroit Red Wings traded Oskar Sundqvist to the Minnesota Wild.

Yzerman continues to stockpile draft capital. Following the Vrana move, Yzerman sent pending free agent forward Oskar Sundqvist, 28, to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2023.

Sundqvist joined Detroit last season in a trade package that included Jake Walman and a second-round pick in 2023 for Nick Leddy and Luke Witkowski. Now, Yzerman flips Sundqvist for an additional fourth-round choice; Nick Leddy has become the gift that keeps giving.

The 28-year-old Swedish forward primarily skated as a bottom-six winger for the Red Wings but also spent some time on the power-play as a net-front presence. In 52 games this season, Sundqvist scored seven goals and 21 points.

The Detroit Red Wings have ten draft selections in 2023, and a whopping 28 picks over the next three years. Yzerman is as unpredictable as they come, but I have a hunch something relatively significant is coming ahead of the draft this summer. It feels like Yzerman is angling to make a splash, perhaps packaging up some of this stockpiled draft capital and trading it for a star player.

Yzerman made some noise following the Sundqvist deal, but that’s all it turned out to be, noise. Nearly every NHL insider had been reporting that the Detroit Red Wings had an agreement in place for James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers. van Riemsdyk, 33, is a pending free agent with a cap hit of $7 million. It seemed Yzerman was working on a deal that would quickly turn the veteran winger around and into draft capital by helping a playoff team financially in exchange for eating a percentage of his salary. Nothing ended up materializing, and van Riemsdyk remained in Philadelphia.

And finally, following the deadline, the Detroit Red Wings signed veteran forward Alex Chiasson to a one-year deal. Chiasson had been playing with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season and will need to clear waivers before he can join the Red Wings.

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Chiasson has totaled nine goals and 20 points over 29 games with the Griffins. The 32-year-old has tallied 114 goals and 224 points over 631 NHL games. Most recently, the 6-foot-3 winger recorded 13 goals and 22 points over 67 games with the Vancouver Canucks last season.