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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Traded Hronek Because They Saw This Coming (+)



Filip Hronek, Red Wings

One of Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman’s many strengths as a player was his ability to anticipate where he needed to be to make the right play. He has shown a similar ability as a general manager.

Yzerman caught many by surprise 14 months ago when he moved defenseman Filip Hronek to the New York Islanders for a first- and second-round pick.  Hronek was a proven right-shot defenseman in the prime of his career.  But two factors that played heavily into his decision to make the deal is that he thought he would have difficulty re-signing Hronek on his next contract and felt as if the offer from from the Canucks was a good offer for a rebuilding team.

As it turned out, Yzerman was right on both counts.

The Red Wings, needing to re-sign Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond, are tighter on cap space than they want to be. Maybe more important, the first round pick they acquired from Vancouver (originally the New York Islanders’ pick) became defenseman Axel Sandin Pellikka. With Simon Edvinsson now penciled in as a regular, Sandin Pellikka, picked 17th overall, is Detroit’s top defensive prospect.

Detroit also received the 42rd pick in the Hronek, but cut a deal with Nashville to move down to 47th. With that pick, they took 6-foot-5, 220-pound defenseman Brady Cleveland who will play this fall for Colorado College. With the fifth round pick received from Nashville, they drafted German left wing Kevin Bicker.

No seller regret

Meanwhile,  there’s anxiety in Vancouver over Hronek’s contract negotiations. Hronek, 26, is coming off an exceptional season (48 points, plus-33) as Quinn Hughes’ defensive partner. Hronek reportedly turned down Vancouver’s offer of an eight-year deal worth an average $6.5 million.

Based on his season, he is not out of line to ask for a deal that pays him $7 to $7.5 million per season. Now, we are hearing Hronek possibly  going to Carolina in a Martin Necas trade. This would be a difficult deal to make because it would leave Vancouver with a gaping hole on the blue line. Hronek and Quinn worked well together. Vancouver is transitioning into a contender. The Canucks don’t want to disrupt their chemistry.

The bottom line:  Hronek could certainly help the Red Wings, but he wasn’t going to transform them into a contender. As much as it pains fans, the Red Wings have not yet exited rebuild mode.  They will get younger next season. The Red Wings could even take a half-step back next season.

Plus, they are going to be at the cap ceiling this season. If Hronek were still here, Yzerman would have trouble giving him $6.5 million, let alone more than $7 million, on a new contract.

They would make this trade again.