Red Wings Yzerman, Kraken Wennberg

Kraken Trade Of Wennberg To Detroit Would Make A Lot Of Sense

Seattle Kraken two-way center Alexander Wennberg would look good wearing the “Winged Wheel”.

At least that’s what I think Detroit General Manager Steve Yzerman might be telling himself.

Another ‘Original Six’ club, the New York Rangers, would be another strong contender, particularly with pivot Filip Chytil being done for the season with a concussion. Regardless of his eventual prognosis, the Blueshirts need to find a replacement in the middle for the short term and potentially for longer.

Both of the clubs can handle the move cap-wise with Detroit having a distinct advantage in terms of maneuverability. Now that I mention it, they also have a huge advantage in terms of draft assets. Aside from a conditional 1st-rounder to give up to the Senators in 2024, theirs or Boston’s, Stevie Y’s draft list in intact moving forward for at least three seasons.

The Rangers future draft board is already full of pock marks.

Red Wings Concerns

Although they’re presently in a strong position as the 1st wild card in the Eastern Conference, the Red Wings aren’t a lock to get in. They have a six point cushion at the end of action on Saturday night and have lost two straight. That might give Yzerman even greater motivation to be a ‘buyer’ and improve his depth, especially up the middle.

It’s been seven long years since the once powerful franchise made the playoffs. They’ve never played a postseason game at Little Caesars Arena. Their 25 consecutive years of playoff visits that brought four Stanley Cup titles all took place at the Joe Louis Arena, and no one knows that better than their GM and former long-serving captain.

The ‘Wing Nuts’, as their fans have been labelled, could use a little boost and a chance to throw some octopi.

Yzerman should like Wennberg’s game, at least this season. We saw the Swede’s best efforts on display as recently as Saturday afternoon, consistently matched up against the NHL’s best player Connor McDavid during the Oilers 2-1 win over the Kraken.

Although not nearly as feisty as Yzerman, there’s no need to be, Wennberg has shown some strength playing 200-feet this season. He has stepped up his overall play for the Kraken in a contract year. He’s an unrestricted free agent (UFA) come summer.

Wennberg could end up with fellow Swede Lucas Raymond on his wing.

Kraken Concerns

Unless he gets his socks knocked off by an offer, Kraken GM Ron Francis can wait as long as he needs to get a deal done if a deal is to get done. That deadline is literally the afternoon of Friday, March 8th.

With Sean Monahan (Canadiens to Jets) and Elias Lindholm (Flames to Canucks) already off the board a month ago, the pickings up the middle are slim, which only helps Wennberg’s value. He and the Ducks Adam Henrique would be the top options.

Francis has been in a very similar position before with the Carolina Hurricanes. When he was Director of Hockey Operations (beginning 2011) and later GM (2014) in Raleigh through the spring of 2018, his club never made the playoffs.

In his last three trade deadlines there he unloaded aging defensemen John Michael-Liles (age 34) in 2016 to Boston, pending free agent Ron Hainsey (35) in 2017 to Pittsburgh, and moved a mostly minor league forward for another in February 2018. There were no other transactions between New Year’s and the end of March in his final season.

If this GM’s not gun shy and the asking price falls into place, we could very well see Wennberg wearing red and white. Sentiment shouldn’t determine the 29-year-old’s future in Seattle.

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Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.