The Detroit Red Wings are continuing with their off-season, and one of the things they need to do this summer is find some physicality on this team. Going into the 2023-24 season, this team needs to be more physical and take some strides in that regard.
The Detroit Red Wings do not have a ton of physicality in their lineup. They traded their two scrappiest players. Givani Smith was sent off to Florida for Danny O’Regan in a three-way deal, and Tyler Bertuzzi was traded to the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline.
While Bertuzzi’s deal was more of a contract issue since he was unlikely to re-sign here anyways, the move is understandable but still sucks. While the Smith trade was not the most groundbreaking, losing Smith was not great.
Smith may not have been some future top-six scorer with a scrappy playstyle, but he could efficiently serve a purpose in the bottom six. It was tough to see the Red Wings move on from Smith, but now it looks even worse with such a lack of physicality from the Red Wings team.
Detroit Red Wings may have made a mistake trading Givani Smith.
Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s nitpicking to be upset over a trade that involves Givani Smith and Danny O’Regan. But the Red Wings desperately need more from their team in terms of that physical style, and Smith would have been an asset for that.
Even if it felt like Smith could easily be replaced in the lineup at times, he would be able to serve a purpose in the bottom six and be a beneficial player when in the lineup. After all, there was the occasional offense and ability to be a disruption in front of the net, which should give him the occasional clean-up goal in front.
He had just four points in 36 games played between Detroit and Florida in 2022-23, but looking back on the deal, the Red Wings have to be wishing they still had Smith. This summer, they will have to go out and find some physicality on the trade market or sign free agents.
But Smith would have been a cheap option to keep around. Sure, he was not the most well-rounded player, but no one was asking him to score 30 goals. Smith’s a bottom-six addition who grinds out shifts, protects his team, and scores the occasional clean-up goal out front, being a tough player to play against.
In reality, I’m barking up the wrong tree, and a minimal trade that was more for roster constraints and bringing in more minor league players to help avoid issues with Grand Rapids forced Steve Yzerman’s hand.
But seeing the issues the Red Wings have with playing physically and matching up against physical opponents, it’s hard to think the team basically gave Smith away.