Red Wings’ 2023 Trade Bait: Value, Comparables & Potential Trade Partners

Could this be the last year that the Detroit Red Wings sell at the trade deadline? It’s entirely possible we see playoff action in Hockeytown next spring.

© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

But until then, the rebuild chugs along. The Red Wings have a few players that could be dealt in the coming weeks, with Tyler Bertuzzi being the most prominent.

Overall, Detroit’s game plan should be to sell off expiring contracts so they can better position themselves as buyers once we reach the offseason. This team is close to breaking through, and having a war chest of draft picks and prospects will make buying later much easier.

With that being said, let’s take a look at Detroit’s top trade chips heading into the 2023 trade deadline.

Contract: $4.75 million; pending UFA

Summary: By far Detroit’s most appealing trade chip, Bertuzzi needs a healthy stretch to maximize his value. To date, he’s missed time with three separate injuries – which is not what playoff-bound teams want to see.

Bertuzzi can slot in anywhere in the top nine, and his role will depend entirely on which team acquires him. He can be a complementary, grinding player on a top line or add some tenacity and timely scoring to a middle-six line.

Comparables: James van Riemsdyk, Max Domi, Gustav Nyquist.

Trade Value: Varies depending on salary retention and contract extension. At least a first-round pick; more if salary is retained or the acquiring team has a contract in place.

Potential Destinations: Dallas Stars, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames.

Contract: $3.25 million; pending UFA

Summary: Suter has filled just about every role this season for the Red Wings. He skated on the first line for a few games, served as the shutdown fourth line center, played all over the middle six, and killed penalties. Acquiring teams would be getting just that – a responsible utility player with some offensive upside. 

If anything, Suter’s contract may serve as somewhat of a hindrance. The Red Wings could retain salary, of course, and make the forward more attractive to potential suitors. You just have to keep in mind that Detroit can only retain salary on three contracts, and one of those slots is already occupied by Richard Panik.

Comparables: Teddy Blueger, Sean Monahan, Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino.

Trade Value: Mid-round pick or middle-tier prospect.

Potential Destinations: Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins.

Contract: $2.75 million; pending UFA

Summary: Teams that prioritize playoff experience will kick tires on Sundqvist. The veteran won the 2019 Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues and plays a give-it-his-all, gritty game in the bottom six.

The problem, though, is that Sundqvist comes with a relatively high cap hit – $2.75 million. Typically, playoff-bound teams shoring up their depth don’t commit a ton of cap space to role players. The Red Wings will need to retain salary if they intend to move Sundqvist. 

Comparables: Nick Ritchie, Nick Bjugstad, Noel Acciari.

Trade Value: Mid-round pick or middle-tier prospect.

Potential Destinations: Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets.

Contract: $2.1 million; pending UFA

Summary: Erne and Sundqvist likely play similar roles on playoff teams – physical, energy forwards competing for ice time on the fourth line. Erne can also contribute to the penalty kill.

If the Red Wings retain salary, Erne at $1.05 million could be appealing to cap-strapped teams. A reunion with the Tampa Bay Lightning makes sense, as Steve Yzerman’s old team is looking to add cheap, physical forwards to the bottom six – similar to their previous deals for Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman, and Nick Paul. 

Comparables: Nick Ritchie, Matt Nieto, Josh Leivo.

Trade Value: Mid-round pick or middle-tier prospect.

Potential Destinations: Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights. 

Contract: $2.25 million; pending UFA

Summary: Määttä’s defensive aptitude and playoff experience will be coveted around the deadline. He won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins and has 85 postseason games under his belt.

Määttä would likely play on the bottom pair of a contender and contribute to the penalty kill as well. In addition, he’s in the midst of his best offensive season since the 2017-18 campaign, and there’s no doubt that interested teams have taken notice. 

An NHL executive told TSN’s Chris Johnston, “He’s a little like an Alex Edler. He’s a big strong heavy person that’s hard to get around. He’s one of those guys you don’t love until you have him.”

Comparables: Vladislav Gavrikov, Joel Edmundson, Dmitry Kulikov, Luke Schenn.

Trade Value: Third-round pick or middle-tier prospect.

Potential Destinations: Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings.

Contract: $1.05 million; pending UFA

Summary: Teams looking for cheap blue line depth have an intriguing option in Walman. The 26-year-old has been outstanding since joining Moritz Seider on the top pair and comes with an inexpensive cap hit. 

Walman’s skating, transition play, and offensive instincts make him a perfect deadline acquisition for teams hoping to bolster their third pair. He could play every night or be part of a platoon that’s deployed based on how opponents line up. 

Comparables: Shayne Gostisbehere, Dmitry Kulikov, Kevin Shattenkirk.

Trade Value: Second- or third-round pick or middle-tier prospect.

Potential Destinations: Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames.

Other Trade Candidates

There’s been a lot of discourse about trading Dylan Larkin. I am firmly against this, and do not think it will happen.

He’s the captain and face of the franchise. A new contract before the deadline would be nice, but it’s not an issue if it drags into the offseason.

Otherwise, it would be difficult to see the Red Wings selling other, non-rental players. I could see lateral swaps to bolster areas of need – perhaps a sign-and-trade involving Bo Horvat.

Finally, Detroit could take advantage of their cap space by serving as a broker between two other teams. They did this a couple years ago when the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets – the Red Wings retained 50% of Savard’s salary as he passed through Hockeytown en route to Tampa Bay.

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