Let me start by saying Happy New Year to you and yours, and may this be the best one yet.
Now, I know it’s really early with still a month and a half to the NHL trade deadline. However, contrary to my last post about this team, it seems, unfortunately, that their season is as good as burnt toast. That’s not very good in case you were wondering.
With that, nearly everyone on the roster should be on the trade block except Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, and Andreas Athanasiou. Marty Frk should be a more difficult asset to acquire, though not impossible. Because there’s way more players than anybody cares to read about, here’s the three most likely traded players the Wings have with potential returns.
No. 1: Mike Green
Even a casual fan could see this one coming. Green isn’t a great defenseman by any means, but attractive for contenders at the deadline looking for a rental Top 4 guy. Green is a mildly durable, offensive minded defenseman who just so happens to be right-handed as well. More than anything, his right-handedness is the attractive part about him with it being so hard to come across a quality righty in the NHL
The Edmonton Oilers, even though they’re not in the hunt right now and likely won’t be, still have Chiarelli as their GM so they’re ever confident in the ability to make the playoffs. Green could certainly help with that push bringing experience to the back end. With 22 points through 38 games, he’s yet to miss a game and is on pace for roughly 48 points, his highest since his final season in Washington with 45. Green will undoubtedly yield a first round draft pick from somebody at the deadline, it’s just a matter of who. The Oilers are, in my eyes, the most likely of candidates.
No. 2: Gustav Nyquist
With the season Goose is having, Ken Holland may try to hold on to him. While it’d be a big mistake, you can’t necessarily fault him for wanting the goal scoring. Having already matched his goal scoring number from last season at 12, he’s having his best year putting the puck into the net since the 2014-15 season. There aren’t many contenders in need of a goal scorer, but it never hurt anybody, and Nyquist has yet to miss a game this season and has missed just 6 in his last four seasons. Durability is hard to come by in the NHL, especially with a smaller player like Nyquist. Granted, Nyquist has a No-Trade Clause, he may very well waive it due to the current state of the team.
Nyquist may very well yield anywhere from a first rounder to a third rounder plus a mid-level prospect. A team like the Nashville Predators comes to mind. I’ve mentioned them before in a potential deal, and I bring them up again here. Having not yet replaced the goal-scoring prowess of James Neal after losing him to Vegas in the Expansion Draft, allow Gustav Nyquist to come to town. I’ve talked about Trevor Murphy in a potential deal, which you can read about here. However, another intriguing Nashville prospect is center Emil Pettersson. Playing well in his first season in the AHL with 24 points in 28 games. The 2013 sixth-round pick has torn it up in his entire professional career, and could definitely be a potential return for Gustav Nyquist. As per Elite Prospects, he’s Nashville’s fifth ranked prospect, though Ken Holland’s always been good at trades. And with Nashville being fairly desperate for goal scoring, they would likely be willing to part with the 23-year old center and a third or fourth-round draft pick as well.
No. 3: Petr Mrazek or Jimmy Howard
Yes, I know this is cheating. No, I don’t care. Jimmy Howard is playing out of his freaking mind. Sitting at 12-12-6, his record is misleading. He has a .913 save percentage, with a 2.72 goals against average. After being injured for a majority of last season, Howard came back with a vengeance, and boy is it going well. One minor hitch though, Kenny Holland contract structures strike again with Jimmy, who has a No-Trade Clause. However like Nyquist, you could assume that he waives it for a shot at a Cup, though this time as a rental goalie.
Petr Mrazek is a little more obscure frankly. With a .892 save percentage and 3.64 goals against average, he isn’t necessarily playing well. However, he’s still a serviceable backup goalie to a contender, and has proven he’s able to play well in the playoffs if need be. Any team trading for Mrazek would likely do so in hope that he could return to his 2015-16 form, or even his ’16-17 form for that matter.
Both goalies may yield a second-round draft pick, or a fourth and mid-level prospect. The Florida Panters are intriguing to me. They’re a fringe team, that could likely be pushed over the edge by a quality goaltender. Enter either Mrazek or Howard and there is possibility that they’re pushed into the playoff conversation. Winger Alexandre Grenier is piques interest. With 27 points through 35 games this season with the Panthers’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, While he is high on Elite Prospect’s ranking of Panthers prospects, he is 26 so the Panthers may be willing to part ways with the 2011 third rounder as well as throw in a second or third round pick as well. Grenier is similar in size to Anthony Mantha, so he may be able to play the same role on a different line, utilizing his size.
I do expect the Red Wings to be very active at the trade deadline, but hopefully more selling than buying.