This season, the Detroit Red Wings have surprised many with their offensive punch and place in the standings. Their play has been noticeably different than last season, appearing hungrier and playing tighter as a group.
There do not appear to be any changes occurring any time soon but that could change as one young star, Anaheim Ducks Trevor Zegras, may be in play for a trade. Does General Manager Steve Yzerman pull the trigger?
It is no secret the Red Wings are hungry for younger, well-established talent as some of their prospects have either graduated to the main roster or are not living up to their potential. The roster, as good as it is, could use some young, energetic stars to infuse some youth into the lineup.
Detroit has good depth at forward however, most of their players up front are not young anymore. Enter Zegras?
Trevor Zegras would be a great addition for the Detroit Red Wings
While he has played only 200 out of a possible 246, he has produced when in the lineup and is known for his offensive creativity. Zegras has produced well enough to get noticed but his totals could be higher if he were on a more skilled team.
Zegras was drafted ninth overall by Anaheim in the 2019 NHL Draft and quickly put his name on the game of hockey with his skill set. While he has only seven points in 20 games this season, he has 59 goals and 93 assists for 146 points in 200 career NHL games.
His name has been rumored to be involved in trade discussions as Anaheim General Manager Pat Verbeek may want to open discussions with Yzerman.
Yzerman is a former teammate and associate of Verbeek with the Red Wings. They are both focused on putting a championship team on the ice but will not give up their franchise to make a deal or make a deal just to make one.
Zegras will be a restricted free agent after the 2025-26 NHL season and has an AAV of $5. 75 million per season.
The Ducks are in a difficult situation as they do have $8.427 in projected cap space yet have four unrestricted free agents, including Adam Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg, and seven restricted free agents, including Jackson LaCombe and Benoit Olivier-Groulx, to sign.
Goaltender Lukas Dostal has two years left on his deal then he will be available to decide on re-signing or going elsewhere.
On the other hand, Detroit only has $2.758 in projected cap space. They also have some concerns as they will have six UFAs and four RFAs after the current season to sign.
This could mean that Detroit may move some of them in a potential deal while Anaheim picks up a percentage of the salary to move Zegras.
Detroit needs younger, proven talent that can score and help this rebuild move along, possibly with a middle-six scoring threat. Anaheim needs cap space to sign their players in the off-season, possibly losing some for nothing.
Of course, Yzerman and Verbeek could create a trade that works for both parties, as they both have pieces to move. They both know each other well and know the other's wants and needs, as both teams are looking to rebuild for future success.
Adding a player like Zegras could put Detroit over the top but will not make a deal if the cost is too high. The Red Wings do have prospects throughout the system but do not want to drain the prospect pool for a potential big asset.
Detroit no longer has a list of elite prospects but they have prospects that could impact a franchise if moved to a different organization.
Both teams have all of the ingredients for a potential move here but who will be the first to make a move for that potential trade?
Is the asking price too high for Anaheim? Is Yzerman willing to pay the price for the talented forward? The trade deadline is March 8, 2024, so things could get spicy between the two teams between now and then.