Red Wings: Jakub Vrana and Oskar Sundqvist are adjusting well elsewhere

A few weeks into the NHL trade deadline, we take a look at some former Detroit Red Wings.

General manager Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings elected to become a seller before the 2023 NHL trade deadline. Many will point to the terrible performance in back-to-back games against the Ottawa Senators while outperforming 12-3 days before the deadline when Yzerman decided to become a salesman. In fact, after the deadline, Yzerman mentioned that he was adamant about becoming a salesman well before those two awful Ottawa games.

Before the deadline, the Red Wings sent forward Tyler Bertuzzi to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a top-10 first-round pick in 2024 and a fourth-round pick in 2025. Detroit also retained 50% of Bertuzzi’s remaining Salary for the 2022/23 season. Bertuzzi is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Yzerman secured a hefty return considering Bertuzzi is on loan for the Bruins in first place. Bertuzzi, 28, has scored four goals and 17 points in 35 games this season. Since joining the Bruins, Bertuzzi has three assists in six games for an average playing time of 16:34. In the six games, Bertuzzi has maintained a plus-1 rating and has scored 11 shots on target.

Yzerman also sent defenseman Filip Hronek and a fourth-round pick in 2023 to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a top-12 protected first-round pick in 2023 over the New York Islanders. The Islanders pick is lottery-protected this season and will be moved to an unprotected first-round pick in 2024 if New York suddenly struggles down the stretch. Yzerman also received Vancouver’s second-round pick in 2023 as part of the deal. Hronek did not appear in a game with the Canucks after the trade. The 25-year-old defenseman was injured in his last game with the Red Wings against Ottawa before the deal was made. Hronek will become a restricted free agent after the next season. He has nine goals and 38 points in 60 games while running to a plus-8 rating.

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Jakub Vrana caught fire after trading from Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings also sent Jakub Vrana to the St. Louis Blues in 2025 for a seventh-round pick, as well as an AHL player in Dylan McLaughlin. Yzerman was keen to wash his hands off Vrana and chose to keep 50% of his $5.25 million cap hit for the rest of this season and next. That decision still remains a mystery. Yzerman declined to elaborate on the decision to trade Vrana, but cited that it was time to cut ties and move on.

Yzerman joined about a week ago Stoney and Jansen with Heather in Audacy’s 97.1 The Ticket to update the Detroit Red Wings and had this to say about Vrana. The entire interview can be heard here.

Yzerman said, “It’s my responsibility to do what’s best for the Detroit Red Wings, and ultimately I decided that whether I like it or not, that was the best decision for the Red Wings, and that didn’t work out, and I didn’t trust it will work, it’s time to move on, it didn’t work, accept that and move on.”

Ever since he joined the Blues, Vrana has been on fire. The 27-year-old has scored four goals and five points in six games with his new club. Overall, Vrana has five goals and seven points in 11 NHL games this season, averaging just over 13.5 minutes a night.

And finally, the Detroit Red Wings sent pending free agent Oskar Sundqvist to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2023. Since the trade, Sundqvist has two goals and two assists in six games. In total, Sundqvist has scored nine goals and 25 points in 58 games.

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The Detroit Red Wings have elected to replace Sundqvist with winger Alex Chiasson, 32, who has played exceptionally well since being signed and promoted by the Grand Rapids Griffins. The veteran forward has three goals and five points in seven games for the Red Wings this season and could become someone Yzerman chooses to sign a cheap one-year deal this summer for a fourth-row role next season. Chiasson had scored in three consecutive games prior to Saturday’s loss to Colorado.

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