The trade deadline left as soon as it was here. With early trades for notable names like Taylor Hall, it felt like the quietest deadline day in years. It appears that Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman took exception to the slow day. At the eleventh hour of the trade deadline, the Red Wings GM traded Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals for a slew of picks and players. The trade was the largest of the deadline on both fronts. The Capitals secured a high-powered offensive winger. The Red Wings, on the other hand, seamlessly replaced Mantha’s offence while scoring two high-round picks for the next two drafts.
All in all, the 2021 NHL trade deadline saw three players depart Detroit, two players head to Hockeytown, and five draft picks call the Winged Wheel home. Read more to discover who’s gone, who’s here, and what the future will hold.
A Quick Note on the Red Wings Trade Deadline
It’s hard to tell who “wins” a trade. The dust takes years to settle as draft picks grow and develop. With later-round picks, draft picks are less likely to pan out. Having said that, it’s important that rebuilding teams like the Red Wings secure these picks. While it’s uncommon for late-round picks to pan out, several of the Red Wings’ most notable names in the past have been late-round gems. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are two key reasons why stocking the draft cupboards can lead to huge payoffs. It’s unrealistic to assume that the Red Wings will secure a Datsyuk with every late round pick, but the more picks they have, the better the chance.
With that being said, these are four trades the Detroit Red Wings were a part of at the trade deadline:
Trade 1: Patrik Nemeth to the Colorado Avalanche
It was homecoming season for Patrik Nemeth. The day before the deadline, Nemeth was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for a 2022 fourth-round pick. The stalwart, defensive defenceman will be right at home with the Avalanche, who have been on a wild run to first place. The Red Wings, on the other hand, secure a late-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. With this trade, the Red Wings secured their third fourth-round pick in 2022, and their 10th in the draft. Notable fourth-round picks in recent years include Viktor Arvidsson, Drake Batherson, and Devon Toews. If Yzerman can secure a player close to any of these three, this trade is an easy win.
Trade 2: David Savard to the Tampa Bay Lightning
This one is a bit unusual. By playing cap space broker, the Red Wings secured a 2021 fourth-round pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning as they facilitated a trade for Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman David Savard. The Red Wings weaponized their cap space, securing an asset in the process. It was another easy win for the Red Wings; all they needed to do was eat a portion of Savard’s cap for a draft pick. The Lightning secure a defensive defenceman and the Red Wings get another dart for the board. Low-risk, high-reward. Just the way Yzerman likes it.
Trade 3: Jon Merrill to the Montreal Canadiens
If Yzerman made a disappointing deal this deadline, it would be the Jon Merrill trade. It’s surprising Yzerman couldn’t secure more for Merrill. In a trade with the Montreal Canadiens, the Red Wings obtained the Ottawa Senators‘ 2021 fifth-round pick. From an optimist’s standpoint, this could be considered a low fourth-rounder, as Ottawa is projected to finish second-to-last in NHL standings. Realistically, Merrill should have secured more. He plays the same brand of hockey as Savard, but at much more affordable contract. It’s a bit puzzling to see that the Red Wings got a better return from Colorado for Nemeth than they did from the Canadiens for Merrill.
Trade 4: Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals
The most astonishing trade of the deadline came at the very end. Top-line forward Anthony Mantha was traded to the Washington Capitals for Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick. At first glimpse, the return is astonishing. Vrana produced nearly the same offence as Mantha over the last three seasons. Panik is a strong bottom-six forward. The two draft picks are the cherry on top.
Red Wings Trade Deadline Results
With this trade, the Red Wings now have 12 picks in the 2021 draft and 10 in the 2022 draft. The Capitals now have another powerful weapon in their arsenal, while the Red Wings have a real shot at landing two great players. Plus, Vrana is an excellent replacement forward for Mantha. On paper, this trade appears lopsided. If Yzerman can land at least one great player with these picks, it will tip even further in his favour.