Red Wings deal Nick Leddy, Vladislav Namestnikov; Steve Yzerman mum on Jeff Blashill
Detroit — No surprises, no shockers, the Red Wings did what was expected in the final hours Monday as the NHL trade deadline closed.
They dealt defensemen Nick Leddy and Luke Witkowski to the St. Louis Blues, in exchange for forward Oskar Sundqvist, defenseman Jake Walman and a 2023 second-round pick, and sent forward Vladislav Namestnikov to the Dallas Stars for a 2024 fourth-round pick.
The Wings also retained 50% of Leddy's $5.5 million salary cap hit this season and also 50 percent of Namestnikov's $2 million salary cap hit. Both were potential unrestricted free agents who were intriguing rentals for playoff contenders.
"The players, free agents we had, that garnered interest were the ones we expected," general manager Steve Yzerman said. "We weren't really caught off-guard by anything. It went as expected.
"It's kind of what we expected to do as we lead up to the trade deadline. You have a good gauge of what interest there is in your free agents and what the return will be."
Leddy, a potential unrestricted free agent, has been a healthy scratch the last two games in anticipation of some kind of move coming.
Leddy, 31, was acquired from the New York Islanders in the offseason for a second-round draft pick. Leddy played in 55 games with one goal and 15 assists, with a minus-33 rating, with an expiring contract.
While providing a steady veteran presence on defense, Leddy didn't provide the offensive spark the Wings expected, although was a huge addition in the locker room.
"He did help us a lot," Yzerman said. "He helped our defense, helped Filip (Hronek), Moritz (Seider) and Gus Lindstrom on the left side, he played with all those guys a little bit."
Yzerman discussed a possible contract extension but "weren't able to agree to anything".
Sundqvist, 27, is a 6-foot-3, 208-pound center/wing who has an up-and-down career with the Blues. Sundqvist has played in 41 games with four goals and 11 assists.
Sundqvist played in 74 games for the Blues during the team's 2019 Stanley Cup-winning season, but missed most of last season with a torn ACL and had double hip surgery last summer.
Sundqvist has one more year on his contract at $2.75 million cap hit.
"You get a right-shot forward, an opportunity to bring in another big body who plays on the right side and is a good penalty killer," Yzerman said. "We've gotten rave reviews on his character and popularity in the locker room."
Walman, 26, was a former 2014 third-round pick who played in 32 games with three goals and three assists this season. He's played 57 games in his NHL career. Walman is earning $725,000 this season and is a restricted free agent this summer.
An offensive defenseman, a good skater with a fine shot, Walman has been unable to carve out time behind a deep Blues' defensive corps.
Namestnikov, 29, had 13 goals and 12 assists in 60 games with the Wings this season. Like Leddy, Namestnikov is a potential unrestricted free agent, concluding a two-year contract worth $4 million ($2 million salary cap hit per) signed before the 2020-21 season.
"Vlade was here for the better part of two seasons and he really played well for us," Yzerman said. "We enjoyed having him here; he's a good guy."
Despite rumored interest in the likes of forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina, and defenseman FIlip Hronek, Yzerman said there were no stealth negotiations to get anything big done.
And rumors of Yzerrman attempting to get something unexpected done were apparently false.
"I don't say a lot and a lot of people misconstrue that I'm doing something and I'm really not," Yzerman said. "I prefer to keep things quiet to myself. I'm not trying to do the unexpected, or out-smart people or trick people or anything like that. I just don't believe that a lot of things need to be shared."
Yzerman was also vague and didn't share much on the future of coach Jeff Blashill.
The Wings have slumped in recent weeks are currently 25-30-7, and Monday were 23 points behind playoff spot.
"We're here to talk about the trade deadline and the moves we made," Yzerman said.
Still, Yzerman did touch upon the recent slump.
"This has been an up and down year for us," Yzerman said. "We've had a lot of progress. The last six weeks of the season have been disappointing for all of us. Jeff and I will sit down at some point and talk about our team and where we're going with our team and what we need to do."
The length and terms of the extension Blashill signed last season were not officially announced.
One potential UFA defenseman who wasn't traded was Marc Staal, and Yzerman hinted the Wings might be interested in re-signing the veteran.
"It's something to consider for sure," Yzerman said. "We're going to need defense on the left side and Marc has been a great addition on and off the ice for our organization."
... Yzerman has been pleased with the progress of forward Jonatan Berggren in Grand Rapids, but a brief callup to the NHL isn't certain.
"We're pleased with his play," Yzerman said. "He's an important player for us there. He has some stability (in Grand Rapids), he knows who he's playing with and his role. I'm happy with him there and we're in a dogfight for the playoffs (in the AHL) and that's important. I want to make the playoffs."
... Forwards Joe Veleno and Taro Hirose will be eligible to play for Grand Rapids in the AHL playoffs if the Griffins qualify.
Flyers at Red Wings
►Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
►TV/radio: BSD/97.1 FM
►Outlook: The Flyers (20-31-11) traded away cornerstone C Claude Giroux near the deadline ... The Flyers are 4-5-1 over their last 10 games and are looking to retool the lineup. ... RW Cam Atkinson (23 goals, 47 points) and G Carter Hart (2.94 GAA, .911 SVS) have been keys this season.