The Athletic’s Craig Custance answers questions about Henrik Zetterberg’s future, the Red Wings moving “bad” contracts and possible trade deadline scenarios in his latest mailbag, but the most pertinent question he answers regards one Mike Green’s trade value:
What reasonable package can we expect for Mike Green from Tampa? Would Cal Foote be in play?— Greg Jennings
The defenseman market has changed a bit on the Red Wings in reference to any possible deal with the Lightning. It wasn’t all that long ago that Mike Green was the best defenseman you could pick up at the deadline. Things have changed pretty dramatically on that front.
First, came McDonagh and the Rangers’ entry into the sellers’ market. Now, it’s clear that Erik Karlsson is very much in play, even if that’s a deal that might be easier to pull off in the summer. Both of those defensemen are expected targets of the Lightning and you have to imagine GM Steve Yzerman would exhaust efforts to get those two first before turning to Green as a backup plan.
Cal Foote is much more likely to be a part of a package for McDonagh or Karlsson than he would be for Green. The Lightning are a team that needs to make every cap dollar work, so a young defenseman who is one year closer to playing in the NHL than what they’ll get with their first-rounder this year is more valuable to the Lightning than a 2018 draft pick. So, I think that’s a big ask in a Green deal. Where it might make sense is if the deal expands out to include Green along with one of the Red Wings’ wingers and Foote was a player the Red Wings liked in the draft. But again, that would have to mean the Lightning didn’t have success elsewhere in the trade market.
Continued (paywall, and worth your time), and I believe that the best the Wings will get for Green is 2 2nd-round picks.
As Custance suggests, with Erik Karlsson the queen of the deadline brigade on defense and Ryan McDonagh the bridesmaid, Green just isn’t going to go for as much Wings fans would like. No Cal Foote + a 1st…
And part of the reason I say that involves the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith’s latest talk with Steve Yzerman:
General manager Steve Yzerman said Thursday he’s not sure what, if anything, he’ll be able to accomplish by the deadline, saying there’s “very limited” amount of fits so far in terms of what they want to do. And the fact Yzerman said he doesn’t plan to deal from his current roster – including young core players like Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev – makes it unlikely Tampa Bay will have the king’s ransom Ottawa would demand for its franchise player.
“At the trade deadline, when you’re trying to acquire players, usually teams that are selling are looking for younger players, draft picks and prospects,” Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times today. “At this stage, the young players on our team, we want to keep on our team and we want to add to that. We’re trying to keep this team together with the hope of improving it.”
There’s no guarantee the Senators will even move Karlsson by Monday, as it they could just wait for this summer’s NHL Draft, where there might be more teams in the bidding. But the Lightning is among the teams that have, not surprisingly, kicked the tires on Karlsson.
The Lightning has other options as it hopes to address its blueline. There’s Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, 28, a shutdown defenseman who has another year on his contract at $4.7 million. McDonagh has a 10-team no-trade list, but the Lightning isn’t on it. They could be a match if the price is right.
Tampa Bay could also target pending unrestricted free agent Mike Green (Detroit). Columbus left-shot Jack Johnson, a pending UFA, seemed like a good fit, but The Athletic reported Thursday the Blue Jackets have began engaging in contract extension talks with the veteran defenseman.
The Lightning has all of its draft picks the next three seasons, and a deep prospect pool including Cal Foote, Taylor Raddsyh, Brett Howden, among others. But Yzerman isn’t going to give up the farm – whether it’s for Karlsson or anyone else – noting there’s no guarantee a Stanley Cup will be the reward.
Keep in mind that if Tampa Bay acquired Karlsson, it’d probably be for just 1 1/2 years, as he’ll likely demand between $10-12 million annually as a free agent in the summer of 2019.
“I really don’t want to just get a player or something at all costs,” Yzerman said. “I don’t believe in that. Obviously if we feel we can improve our team and it gives us a better chance to be more successful in the playoffs, that would be our goal. I may not be able to do that.”