Custance talks possible trades, including a pair of Red Wings players

The Athletic’s Craig Custance listed two Red Wings players among his top 20 players most likely to be traded this summer. One, you’d expect…

16. Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit Red Wings – Athanasiou’s name in trade rumors is nothing new, and the Red Wings aren’t necessarily highly motivated to make a move here. But both sides – the Athanasiou camp and the Red Wings management – aren’t against a deal. There also still seems to be some strain between Athanasiou and the coaching staff.

Athanasiou is arbitration eligible this summer so he’s going to get a raise from the nearly $1.4 million he held out for last offseason. With young forwards Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha also in line for significant salary increases, Detroit may prefer to let another team do Athanasiou’s next deal. And he has a weapon that opposing teams find attractive.

“Love the speed,” said one GM. “Worry a bit about the production.”

And the other is a surprise:

19. Nick Jensen, Red Wings – The Red Wings are actively shopping defenseman Xavier Ouellet, who has one year remaining on a contract worth $1.25 million. “He wants a fresh start,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said last week at the draft combine. That’s not necessarily an easy assignment since Ouellet had trouble cracking the lineup on a Detroit team that wasn’t particularly good.

Trading Jensen would be much easier and there’s definitely interest. He’s a 27-year-old right-shot defenseman who slots into any team’s bottom pair for under $1 million. That’s attractive to both a budget team and teams up against the cap.

The problem is, one source outside Detroit suggested that the Red Wings weren’t too eager to make the move yet. There’s uncertainty as to whether Mike Green is coming back and who the Red Wings will get at the top of the draft. The preference for Detroit would be to wait until training camp to see how things all shake out, but by then, interested teams might have moved on.

Custance continues (paywall), and you’ll want to read about Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Rasmus Ristolainen…

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

27 thoughts on “Custance talks possible trades, including a pair of Red Wings players”

  1. Don’t worry. If we can’t complete a trade at the draft…we can try during training camp when teams can see what they need…but if rosters are already set we can try again maybe around the Christmas draft freeze…but if that doesn’t work, well then most teams make their trades near the trade deadline…and if that doesn’t work because my best trading chip gets injured, well then I’ll change my story and say we were interested in re-signing him all along anyway.

    Deja vu all over again…

    1. Funny because one of the wings best trade chips ala Tatar was indeed traded for a nice little haul but let’s overlook that so we can continue with this old worn out narrative.

      1. True. We traded Tatar. Nice deal.

        But Kenny has often had grand intentions of making trades and just keeps kicking the can down the road. Remember the summer when we signed a bunch of forwards and his plan was to trade some of these extra forwards to get a top pair d-man, or top 3, or I guess top 4…and well, no trades happened. Just deferred the entire season. How about trading Nyquist before his NTC kicked in? Yeah he kicked some tires, did nothing, and now we have another NTC on the books. Spent half the year trying to move Ouellet and we’re still trying I guess. Talked about trading Kindl for over a year, before finally agreeing to retain salary and dump him.

        But yeah, the Tatar deal was good. So now the narrative has been erased.

        1. Sure but I don’t remember KH explicitly saying I’m signing a bunch of forwards with a plan to trade others and get a top 6 D? He may have and he may have tried, neither of us know that. Maybe he couldn’t find a dance partner at the time. We don’t know. The past 2 seasons we’ve seen him move a bunch of players and that’s a stepping stone. Now with that said I don’t really care about the past and remembering this or that. I look toward the future. You wanna stay there? Go ahead, I’m not going to stop you but I’m also not going to play into your cycle selective remembrance on all these “horrendous” things the “incompetent” management does. That’s your place, I’ve moved on. Thanks buddy

          1. I’m not trying to re-live the past. I’m simply taking “trade plans” with a giant bag of salt. Because I’ve heard this all before. Words are meaningless. Actions are what matters. Here is a snippet from the summer of 2016 to jog your memory. Note this is the summer we signed Nielsen, Helm, Vanek, Ott, Sheahan, Pulkinnen, etc…Didn’t do anything on defense. We would address that via trades. Maybe Trouba? Fowler? Vatanen?

            Here it is:
            The Red Wings want to add a top-three defenseman, if they go the trade route forwards like Tomas Tatar could be used as bargaining chips.

            Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s made no secret of his desire to add a top-three defenseman. How he’ll address that need remains a topic of interest for Red Wings fans this summer.

            If Holland goes the trade route, he could draw upon his forward depth for bargaining chips. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press suggests winger Tomas Tatar could be used in a trade package to bring in the help the Wings need on defense.

            In a profile of winger Gustav Nyquist,’s Ansar Khan speculates the 26-year-old could become a viable trade chip.

            I’m not looking for a defenseman. I’m looking for a legitimate top-four defenseman that might be available by trade but sometimes they ain’t available by trade.

          2. “I’m looking for a legitimate top-four defenseman that might be available by trade but sometimes they ain’t available by trade”

            BUT SOMETIMES THEY AIN’T AVAILABLE…we could do this all day but I’m not. Have fun with your complaints while I enjoy this beautiful day.

  2. Hopefully we can manage to trade both and get more draft assets. Maybe a replacement level player idk but I’m all for trading any player not named Zetterberg, Mantha, Larkin

    1. I would trade Zetterberg, Mantha, or Larkin for the right deal. Nobody should be untouchable.

      1. The “right” for Mantha or Larkin will not be a good deal for Detroit, unless it’s an unlikely deal.

        1. I’m not understanding that. A team like Carolina is looking to move a d-man and add scoring depth. So if they offer Hanifin for Mantha…you say no to that? In fact, you don’t even listen because Mantha is off-limits? Remember Nashville trading Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen…so if they called us and asked for Larkin, you’re going to turn down Seth Jones?

          1. Hanifin is not Seth jones. And Mantha is certainly not Johansen. But, like I said, it needs to be a real trade.

    2. Both AA and Jensen are totally replaceable. Sure, fans will miss AA’s speedy goals but everything else he can and can’t do could come from someone else.

      With that said, AA’s productivity stayed the same while the team’s overall productivity went down. I’d say that is progression by AA and it shouldn’t be overlooked.

  3. I’m sure Kenny is not the only GM in the world who says that he will look for a deal, an upgrade, whatever, and then is unable to follow through. Injuries happen while players train in the offseason, TC, preseason, etc. Players get surgery late in the summer

    I’m sure other GMs succeed sometimes.

    The criticism on this guy is and has been a little over the top. If Kenny made a trade for a top four defenseman, someone would say that this was a waste of a deal because no one player can turn this train around, and the team will suck for many more years regardless (see: Tavares, John). Signing players to turn this team around would just be a move to get into the 8th spot and be a 1st round exit. Kenny needs to tank tank tank and lose as much as possible to fix this team.

    If Kenny doesn’t make any deals, well, he’s being too passive. His stance on this “rebuild” is not good enough. He has no vision. He sits on his hands, plays golf, doesn’t make any calls.


    There is no consistency.

    1. I’m glad to hear KH is considering trades. It means the guy is working. If there isn’t any talk or rumors then I’d be worrying about him doing a poor job.

    2. I hate to sound like an apologist or a Homer (roll credits…).

      Because the fact of the matter remains that I don’t want Kenny here. I’ve wanted him gone for a couple of years now (not as long as some).

      But I’d rather be fair and consistent in my criticism and admit when I am wrong as well instead of banging my head against the wall for things we can’t change and things that haven’t been done yet.

      1. Sometimes we just need to focus on what needs to be fixed rather then assigning blame.

    3. Signing a UFA like Tavares, who will soon be 28, with a lot of mileage, and will cost $10M+ x 7 years is not the way to rebuild. By the time guys like Cholowski, Hronek, etc…are impact players in the NHL, well Tavares will already be regressing. It’s cool if some people think signing Tavares is the solution. But maybe respect those who see this as treading water.

      I consider signing a marquee UFA very different from TRADING for a younger, top 3 d-man that we desperately need. Someone who can remain at their peak at the SAME TIME as our other youngsters.

      So back in 2016 when Kenny was hunting for a d-men, we had guys like Trouba, Fowler, Vatanen on the block. Top 3 guys that are young enough to remain in that role for much longer than Tavares. But I guess we weren’t willing to give enough to acquire these guys. Since then we had guys like Hamonic, Theodore, Sergachev traded…again, guys that could fit right in with an emerging core. Dougie Hamilton. Seth Jones. Young d-men do get traded. But I guess the prices are too high…

  4. Please trade Jensen. His only skill is hurting Howard.

    All kidding aside. I doubt any GM takes a look at any defensive offerings by Detroit after they review the Smith trade to the Rangers. A solid GM would have to rethink their offer and lower it. Detroit’s D is overrated and they are terrible.

  5. I wish I could come to the comments and enjoy reading the thoughts of other readers. But this f%&#king infighting just leaves me pissed off. I think Fatty says half the crap he does just to see what kind of reaction he can get….and there are a handful that react to it every time.

    I’ve just decided to hell with the comments. I’m going to put everybody that posts a comment on “ignore”.

    1. Amen, this comment section is a gong show. Some of these idiots need to be shown the door.

  6. Both Jensen and AA had off years last year as I felt like AA basically gave up caring with 20 games left and Jensen seemed to have no confidence after getting posterized a bunch of times early in the season. I could easily see both of them having bounce back years next year. Trading either one of them at this point wouldn’t likely give the wings the return that they could get if either one of them actually played up to their potential IMO.

    That said, it all depends on the deal.

  7. It is impossible to judge the trades that never happened.

    Other GMs know when a team needs to move an asset to create cap or roster space. That is when you lose bargaining power and return value diminishes; Sheehan as case in point.

    Just prior to the trade deadline has historically always been where team get the highest return for real value. Detroit for years was on the wrong end of that equation, but the last two years have been encouraging.

    Mistakes were made to perpetuate the playoff run. This is a rebuild and judgement should be on what happens going forward. KH has demonstrated the ability to deal. We will see if he can make the right moves to become contenders again.

    Personally, AA and Mantha are not a part of that foundation. Trade them while their value is highest.

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