The NHL Trade Deadline is officially in the books. And as a team on the outside looking in at the Stanley Cup Playoffs once again, Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman focused on the future and acquire assets that will come in handy down the line.
First, he sent veteran defenseman Nick Leddy as well as Luke Witkowski to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Swedish center Oskar Sundqvist and defenseman Jake Walman, as well as a 2023 draft selection.
He then sent forward Vladislav Namestnikov to the Dallas Stars, who are sending a 4th round draft selection back to Detroit in return.
Of course, the two moves today were preceded by sending defenseman Troy Stecher to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a draft selection. And according to Yzerman, everything went as expected.
“When we moved three of our pending UFAs, kind of what we expected to do as you lead up to the deadline, you get a good gauge of what interest there are in your players and what teams have interest, and you get a good idea on what the return will be on those players,” Yzerman said in a press conference shortly after the conclusion of the Deadline. “It went for the most part as expected.”
“Am I pleased? As you know, we acquired Nick for a 2nd round pick and got to use him for the year,” he continued when speaking of Leddy. “He did help us a lot, helped our defense, helped Filip, Moritz, and Gus Lindstrom, he played with all of those guys for a little bit. We discussed a contract extension and weren't able to agree on anything, so he was going to be a free agent. We tried, and it was good and we were able to recoup the 2nd round pick we gave up, so I think it worked out okay.”
“The free agents that we had that garnered interest were the ones we expected. Unfortunately, a couple of our UFA's were also injured and have been out for a while, so teams that are trying to make the playoffs usually aren't looking at that. We weren't really caught off guard on anything we were approached upon or the players that we were approaching with our organization. It kind of went for the most part as expected.”
“You're always hoping you might get a little more here or there, but pretty much what we expected to return for the players that we moved.”
However, Yzerman declined to talk about the job status of head coach Jeff Blashill, who has been feeling the heat from both fans and pundits alike over the past six weeks that have seen the Red Wings struggle mightily on the defensive side of the puck.
“I think we're here to talk about the Trade Deadline and the moves we made,” he said. “It's been an up and down year, we've had a lot of progress, but the last six weeks of the season have been disappointing for all of us, give or take the last six weeks. 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, but I don't think this is the time to discuss our coaching staff or our coach.”
– – Quotes via Detroit Red Wings Link – –