Who's staying and who's going? Bold predictions for the Red Wings' roster
Detroit — It’s getting closer to that time of year in the NHL — when speculation becomes rampant about trades, who could be available, who is likely to go.
Some trades occur right around the Entry Draft, which this year is June 21-22 in Vancouver. But there’s a good amount of dealing that gets done right before and right after the draft, as teams try to piece together their rosters.
The Red Wings, with new general manager Steve Yzerman, likely will be looking to make some moves.
Yzerman said at his introductory press conference not to expect any big, splashy moves early in his tenure; he wants to let his young players continue to develop. Yzerman thinks the bigger moves might be in a year or two, when the youngsters are closer to being ready to contend.
But it wouldn’t be surprising to see Yzerman do some tweaking this offseason, in an effort to strengthen the roster. The hard part for Yzerman will be the simple fact the Wings don’t have many players who would attract significant building blocks.
Forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha, two young players who showed meaningful progress last season, might be the only pieces who could fetch a big return.
Otherwise, there are several veteran defensemen who are likely to be dealt at some point during the season or before, including Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson and Mike Green.
Here's a look at the Red Wings roster, with a forecast on who's staying and who's going.
►Jonathan Bernier, G: His season would probably leave many to wonder why Bernier is in this category. But with two more years left on his contract, and no Wings prospect close to the NHL, Bernier will return. Bernier is a proven NHL goaltender, though he’ll have to be better next season.
►Tyler Bertuzzi, F: Bertuzzi doesn’t excel with flair or jaw-dropping plays. He accomplishes things in a “greasy” style that makes him capable of blending with any line coach Jeff Blashill puts him on. Bertuzzi is a long-term presence on this roster.
►Madison Bowey, D: Acquired from Washington in the Nick Jensen trade, Bowey is out of options so he can’t be sent to Grand Rapids. Bowey is likely to stick on the NHL roster, and he did show enough in the final weeks to provide optimism.
►Danny DeKeyser, D: With three more years at $5 million per, it’s difficult seeing many teams lining up to acquire him. But considering DeKeyser, arguably, had his best NHL season, the Wings like the idea of keeping him.
►Christoffer Ehn, F: Made the roster last season out of training camp, and Ehn showed enough during the season to make him a piece of the puzzle going forward. Needs to improve his offensive game.
►Darren Helm, F: Helm is in this category mainly because of the two years left on his contract at $3.85 million per (with a no-trade clause). Helm remains an effective penalty killer, but the mileage is beginning to pile up.
►Taro Hirose, F: When Hirose signed late in the season there was no reason to expect him to be placed in this category. An undrafted college free agent? But Hirose showed enough where the Wings have an intriguing prospect on their hands.
►Jimmy Howard, G: The organization’s No. 1 goalie, Howard signed an extension late in the season. But don’t be surprised if rumors pop up again at the trade deadline if a contending team needs a starting goalie.
►Filip Hronek, D: Hronek did enough the second half of the season to prove he’s an NHL player. He really doesn’t have anything else to show in Grand Rapids. Hronek’s defensive game is catching up to his offense.
►Dylan Larkin, F: The face of the franchise. Larkin is likely going to be named the next captain of this team. He became one of the better players in the NHL this season.
►Frans Nielsen, F: There’s the possibility of buying Nielsen out – he has three years left at $5.25 million per. But he could be well suited as the No. 3 center on this roster, and he’s a respected veteran in the room.
►Michael Rasmussen, F: Whether it’s Detroit or Grand Rapids, Rasmussen isn’t leaving the organization. He might start the season with the Griffins to clean up parts of his game and regain confidence, but Rasmussen has a future with the Wings.
►Justin Abdelkader, F: Buying out Abdelkader would mean a salary cap hit between $1.2 million and $2.46 million until 2027-28. He has four more years left on his present contract ($4.25 million cap hit) and at age 32, needs to rebound from three declining years.
►Jacob de la Rose, F: An accelerated heartbeat ended de la Rose’s season in mid-March, but he had a procedure that apparently fixed the issue. He showed enough to be a part of the fourth line.
►Andreas Athanasiou, F: After a 30-goal season where Athanasiou showed significant growth on and off the ice, the only reason Athanasiou isn’t “definitely” staying is that he would fetch a nice return in any trade. And the Wings don’t have an abundance of valuable trade pieces.
►Luke Glendening, F: The speculation about Glendening being traded to a contender (probably Toronto) will heat up as the season progresses, but the Wings value this veteran for his leadership and work ethic on the ice.
►Ryan Kuffner, F: An undrafted free agent who’ll stay in the organization, just likely in Grand Rapids.
►Anthony Mantha, F: Similar to Athanasiou, the only thing keeping Mantha from the “definitely” staying category is that he could be a valuable trade chip if Yzerman decides to pull the trigger on a big trade. But that’s unlikely, as the Wings liked the development Mantha showed in the final weeks.
►Evgeny Svechnikov, F: Svechnikov lost an entire season because of knee surgery, so starting the season in Grand Rapids is a distinct possibility. A former first-round draft pick, the Wings aren’t giving up on Svechnikov just yet.
Here ... until March
►Trevor Daley, D: Daley had an injury-marred season and with only one year left on his contract, he isn’t likely to remain in the organization beyond that. He could be a nice acquisition for a contender at the deadline.
►Jonathan Ericsson, D: Now in the final year of his contract, Ericsson’s play has declined in recent seasons. After an injury-plagued season, Ericsson has to get to camp healthy, first of all.
►Mike Green, D: With a no-trade clause Green likely will stay here for most of the season … until the trade deadline. If he’s healthy, and that’s been an issue the last two seasons, Green could still, maybe, help a contender.
The retiring type
►Niklas Kronwall, D: Kronwall, 38, seemed intrigued about reaching the 1,000-game milestone (he’s 47 shy), and if Ken Holland were still GM, there was a good chance Kronwall would be returning for one more year. But a new front office, Kronwall’s own questions about wanting to return, and another likely tough year in the standings might convince Kronwall to retire.
►Thomas Vanek, F: Vanek, 35, was frustrated with injuries last season and appeared ready to begin a life outside of hockey. A classy professional, if Vanek does want to continue playing, it’s not likely with the Wings.
►Martin Frk, F: Frk has had opportunities to stake a claim on the roster but just hasn’t done enough to make it happen. Frk has one of the hardest shots in the league but hasn’t been able to harness it.
►Luke Witkowski, F/D: A good character guy, great teammate willing to stand up for others, but the Wings are likely to go in another direction.