In his weekly notebook, The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek chooses to revisit the Red Wings’ decision to trade Pavel Datsyuk’s salary to the Arizona Coyotes as an example of the instability of the NHL draft, which of course led the Red Wings to draft now-Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Cholowski instead of Jakob Chychrun:
In hindsight, it’s interesting to revisit the trade made on the draft floor that day in 2016 — when the Coyotes acquired the 16th pick from the Red Wings, and took on Pavel Datsyuk’s contract from Detroit as part of the deal. Detroit got the 20th and 53rd picks in return, but shed themselves of a contract that was preventing them from doing any other business.
At the time, the evaluation was that the deal was heavily weighted in Detroit’s favor because they got out of an expensive contract, only had to drop four spots in the draft to do so, and also got a second-rounder for their troubles.
But [Jakub] Chychrun was a highly-rated prospect that year; and started to fall — so Arizona targeted him and now the difference between Chychrun and ]Dennis] Chowlowski now is enormous. The former led the NHL in goals by a defenceman last year. The latter is now with his third team in four months. But then here’s the kicker. Detroit used that 53rd pick to select Filip Hronek, who led them in scoring last year, with 26 points in 56 games, three more than Dylan Larkin. So you just never know, right?
Continued; the reality of the trade is that it was designed to give the Red Wings the salary cap space to compete for Steven Stamkos as an unrestricted free agent, as well as the opportunity to draft Cholowski; the deal backfired spectacularly as Stamkos didn’t even listen to the Wings’ presentation, choosing to decide between Toronto and Tampa Bay instead, and Ken Holland chose to use his salary cap space to sign Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek instead.