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Could Red Wings Use Jonatan Berggren as Bargaining Chip?



Jonatan Berggren, Detroit Red Wings

There’s a major difference between a general manager who is open to trading a player and a GM who is shopping a player. That distinction is important when discussing Jonatan Berggren’s presence in trade rumors heading toward the March 8 NHL trade deadline. TSN had Berggren listed at No. 39 on its trade bait board.

That probably reflects several factors, including the fact that Berggren is, 23, back in the AHL after scoring 15 goals for Detroit last season. Second, Berggren is having another strong season in the AHL (34 points in 31 games).  And everyone in the NHL knows that Detroit GM Steve Yzerman is aggressive. He has said publicly that he is interested in any trade that makes the Red Wings a better team.

Yzerman probably isn’t shopping Berggren, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t trade him in the right deal.  Teams undoubtedly have some interest in Berggren.

Interest in Chychrun?

The Red Wings, currently holding a Eastern Conference wild card positions, like the way they are playing in January. They would consider a move that would add a proven top four defenseman. Jacob Chychrun has been mentioned as a possibility, mostly because the Red Wings were interested when he was in Arizona.  He’s 6-2, 205 and still only 25. Chychrun can play big minutes.

But would the Ottawa Senators make another deal with their Detroit rivals? The Alex DeBrincat deal hasn’t played well with Ottawa fans in terms of the return.  Chychrun’s contract only has one more season and then he becomes an unrestricted free agent. But the Senators would want at least a first-round pick and a prize prospect.

Could Berggren be moved as a top prospect? He’s not a big forward, and the Red Wings would like to see more attention to the detail in his game. But Berggren does boast 17 goals in his first 76 NHL games.  He is delivering in the AHL.

They might also consider a deal that improves their size and grit. It’s always hard to predict what GM Steve Yzerman might do, but it’s possible the Red Wings might not do much if they are still in the playoff hunt. Good chemistry is part of their identity right now. But Yzerman does have a history of pulling off moves that no one saw coming.

But it will be a different story if the Red Wings fall out of contention over the next month. Here are players who could be traded:

Right Wing Patrick Kane

Kane has a no-trade clause, but this was discussed last summer before he signed with Detroit. The Red Wings are happy with how this signing worked out. His puck-handling has made Detroit’s offense better. But if the team collapses this month, it’s good for both Detroit and Kane if gets dealt. The Red Wings probably have a good handle on where he is willing to do. The Red Wings will add assets and Kane will get a shot at another Stanley Cup.

Left Wing David Perron

His production is down this season. His 17-goal pace would leave him well below the 24 he scored last season in Detroit or the 27 he scored the season before in St. Louis. But teams will also want him for the positive energy he brings to a dressing room. He’s a very likable player who can motivate those around him. Perron will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere

Showed this season that he can improve a power play. He’s a gifted puck mover who will probably end up with 50-plus points this season. Gostisbehere is not a first-rate defender. If the Red Wings are not going to re-sign him, it makes sense to move him for a draft pick to a contender.

Right Wing Daniel Sprong

He’s another pending unrestricted free agent, but the Red Wings probably will want to re-sign him if his ask is not too high. He provides secondary scoring that can sometimes be difficult to find.  If they don’t believe they can re-sign him, there’s a market for him.

Goalie James Reimer

Several teams are looking for a goalie, and Reimer has 489 NHL games on his resume. A team might give up a fourth-round pick for some insurance against injury.