5 players Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings could pursue at the deadline

The Detroit Red Wings have been in a rebuild mode for the past few seasons, but they are showing signs of improvement this year. With a young core and some experienced veterans, the Red Wings are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. While they are not yet a lock to make the playoffs, the fact that they are in the mix is impressive, given their recent struggles. This has led to some speculation about what the Red Wings might do at the trade deadline.

Detroit's general manager Steve Yzerman has been in this position before. When he was the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010-11, he made a trade for defenseman Eric Brewer to bolster his team's chances of making the playoffs. The Lightning made the playoffs and beat the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals before losing in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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Yzerman's experience in Tampa Bay has some wondering if he will make a move at the trade deadline to help the Red Wings push for a playoff spot. However, Yzerman has been clear that he won't make a move to make a move. He wants to ensure that any player he adds to the team is a part of the future, not just a rental.

“For us today, we sit here, we’re kind of right in the middle (of being a buyer or seller),” he said. “And we’re going to have to make some decisions in the next eight or nine days. Ultimately we’re still trying to build, we’re still trying to get better. I wouldn’t expect us to go out and be trading our best assets for rental players or anything like that. We wouldn’t be opposed to making a trade, but it would be players we want to know are a part of our future, and doing that, that would require giving up your young assets. And (we’re) not opposed to doing that, but it’s got to be somebody who’s going to be here with us.”

One area where the Red Wings could use some help is in scoring. While they have been solid defensively, they still lack firepower up front. Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks is one player who could potentially help in that area, but his $6.65 million AAV for two more seasons might make him too expensive for the Red Wings. The team could also use some help on the blue line, with Matt Roy of the Los Angeles Kings and Nick Jensen of the Washington Capitals being two potential options.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen what the Red Wings will do at the trade deadline. They have played well enough that they could be buyers, but they are also not yet a lock to make the playoffs, so they could be sellers as well. Yzerman will have to weigh the options carefully and determine what is best for the team's long-term future.

While the Red Wings aren't a lock to make the playoffs, Yzerman believes there would be value in this team making the playoffs. If the Red Wings decide to buy, they should do everything they can (within reason) to get there.

Here are five players The Athletic suggests could potentially help Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings push toward the playoffs:

Steve Yzerman Red Wing Trade Targets

1. Tanner Jeannot, LW, Nashville

Jeannot has played in 56 games in the 2021-2022 NHL season, with five goals and nine assists for 15 points. He has also racked up 85 penalty minutes and has a -1 plus-minus rating. Jeannot was one of the breakout stories of last season for the Predators, scoring 24 goals as a 24-year-old rookie while also leading all NHL forwards in hits with 318.

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