Ideal outcomes at the trade deadline for the Detroit Red Wings

From the moment Steve Yzerman became the General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings, he has preached two very important aspects to remember during the rebuild.

Feb 25, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Red Wings right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates with
Feb 25, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Red Wings right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates with / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

From the moment Steve Yzerman became the General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings, he has preached two critical aspects to remember during the rebuild. First, patience. As excited as the fanbase was when their captain returned to the motor city to lead the team, albeit in a different position, in pursuit of more championships, he made it very clear that it would take time to build the kind of team that they needed to do so. Although I do not believe they are quite there yet with their current roster, it is certainly starting to take shape. The excitement is at an all-time high since Stevie has returned. 

The second aspect that Yzerman has preached is his belief in sustainability. As fun as any season may seem in the moment, we must look past that and realize that any decisions made do not hurt the team's long-term future. Having an exciting one-off season means nearly nothing if that success cannot be sustained into consistent playoff runs year after year. As the trade deadline approaches, it is vital to remember this mindset as Detroit Red Wings fans. Hockey fans love big news and huge splashes in acquiring assets for their favorite team. It's fun, and it keeps us engaged in the league down the stretch into the postseason, but when the dust settles, we are left looking at a shell of the team that we once loved, hoping for another big splash to turn the fortunes around. 

Currently, the Detroit Red Wings are on a roll with six wins in the last seven games. They have outscored their opponents 29-14 in that span. After an abysmal December, Detroit has firmly placed themselves in a wildcard spot and are nipping on the heels of Toronto for 3rd place in the division. They are now in a unique position where they can make additions at the deadline in an attempt to make a deep playoff run, or they could sell off the number of pending free agents they have on the roster. I believe there are three ideal paths for Yzerman to take before 3 pm on March 8th. 

The ideal trade deadline scenarios might not make the Detroit Red Wings fanbase comfortable.

1. Buy low on a bottom-pair defenseman.

The offense has been scoring at an incredible pace, with a 12.3% shot percentage, which is second only behind Vancouver, which, if you have not been keeping track, is a frontrunner to win the President’s Trophy. However, the blueline is logjammed with mediocre veterans who have not entirely met expectations. If someone like Justin Holl or Jeff Petry can be upgraded for a bargain. You must make that deal. 

2. Sell high on one unrestricted free agent.

Let’s be real with ourselves. It is an exciting time to be a Wings fan, and who knows? Maybe they go on a run like the Panthers to give us a fun summer. But I think we all know in our heart of hearts that we will not be seeing Dylan Larkin and Gary Bettman sandwiching the Stanley Cup for a photo op this summer. Players like Shayne Gostisbehere and Daniel Sprong would hurt to lose before the playoffs but would ultimately garnish a hefty return with the success that they have each been having this year. Both players will be heading into the offseason without a contract. Losing them for nothing may hurt more than losing them for a decent prospect or draft pick. 

3. Do nothing & stand pat.

Yzerman undoubtedly sees how the team is rolling and the growth of chemistry among the lines. Letting the boys in the locker room finish what they have started is somewhat of a badge of honor. They earned it. This roster has gotten them to where they are, and they have the firepower to outscore any team that they may face in the playoffs. Let’s see how far they can take it without jeopardizing the team's future.