McKenzie on Red Wings’ potential trade mindset

The Detroit Red Wings have been a pleasant surprise on the ice this season, but how might that translate on the trade front as the season progresses?

With the Red Wings taking on the St. Louis Blues on NBCSN Wednesday evening, Bob McKenzie was asked if general manager Ken Holland might be looking to make a few other trades, aside from Jimmy Howard, who was discussed earlier in the show.  

“Possibly. There’s no rush here,” began McKenzie. “Right now general manager Ken Holland is really happy with the way things have gone for his Detroit Red Wing team. They’re playing competitive hockey. The young kids are growing into their offensive roles, and becoming a bigger part of the team, which is the way they envisioned it. They’re not a playoff team right now, and maybe they don’t even expect to be a playoff team, but they seem to feel like they’re developing the young players and pointed in the right direction.

“Now, they have $25 million in money coming off the salary cap this summer. The year after that, in 2020, they have another $15 million coming off. The Wings are one of those teams that likes to have one foot in the rebuild and one foot trying to be competitive, and not just have a massive teardown and go right to the bottom of the league. So they will spend some of that money on free agency if they can lure free agents in that case.

“But in the meantime, they’ve got Jimmy Howard on an expiring contract. Now, they don’t feel pressured to trade Jimmy Howard. He’s their No. 1 goalie. He’s played very, very well this year for the Detroit Red Wings. But he’s on an expiring contract. They may want to try to re-sign Jimmy Howard, that’s a distinct possibility. But depending on what they’re offered, if they get some blue-chip prospects that further the rebuild, then yeah, that’s a possibility.

“Gustav Nyquist is another player who’s on an expiring contract. They’ve got lots of good young wingers. They’re going to wait and see what happens with Nyquist and see where they’re at. I think this is something that’ll happen much more in the second half of the season than in the first half of the season, when teams start looking around for adding that rental player that can make a difference offensively. They may get some offers on Nyquist. And again, they’ll consider then whether it’s better to trade him or find out what it’s going to cost to re-sign him and maybe go err on the side of the rebuild, as opposed to re-signing your own guys.”

Howard is in the final season of his six-year, $31.75 million contract, and this is the only year of that pact in which he does not have any kind of trade protection.

Nyquist’s four-year, $19 million pact is also in its final season, and he has a no-trade clause written into that deal.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly