Assessing Thursday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken, Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde was offering favorable impressions of his third forward unit. That grouping consisted of veterans Adam Erne, Pius Suter and Oskar Sundqvist.
“Predictable hockey,” Lalonde was explaining. “I trusted that line. They were good. Did a good job.”
It’s a certainty that Lalonde wasn’t the only hockey person taking a close-up look at the trio’s work. All of them offer elements that a Stanley Cup contender could find valuable. And with Friday’s 3 p.m. ET NHL trade deadline upon us, each is also heading into unresticted free agency this summer, making them desirable commodities. All three could be had for relatively cheap prices.
The big fish in the Detroit pond may have all been scooped up, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some players on the Red Wings roster worth pursuing.
Red Wings Forward Sundqvist A Stanley Cup Winner
Sundqvist has skated as part of Stanley Cup winners with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2015-16) and St. Louis Blues (2018-19). He was an intergral role player in the St. Louis Cup run. A big body at 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, Sundqvist is effective as a net front presence. He’d be valuable as a bottom-six forward capable of working with a team’s second power-play unit.
Erne is another Detroit forward who plays what could be described as a playoff brand of hockey. He’s a physical presence who is leading the Red Wings forwards with 129 hits, even though Erne just spent nine games playing for the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. He’s been around a winning environment during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
UPDATE: The #RedWings today recalled left wing Adam Erne from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 2, 2023
Suter doesn’t have that kind of physical presence or postseason experience. Still, he’s a savvy player who plays a 200-foot game. He is responsible defensively and an astute penalty killer. Suter is also an underrated scorer. He can fill a lot of roles for a contending club.
Forward Jakub Vrana could also be had, but has a hefty contract ($5.25 million) and another year of term left. That will likely deter any offers for him.
Others such as defensemen Robert Hagg and Gustav Lindstrom and goalie Alex Nedeljkovic are also available, though less likely to be garnering much interest. While none of these players will deliver a king’s ransom as a return in a deal, even something for them is better than letting them skate away for nothing at season’s end.