Meet the Sellers: the Detroit Red Wings

Photo credit:Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
9 months ago
Welcome to a new little series Tyler Yaremchuk and I are doing leading up to the trade deadline: Meet the Sellers. With the Oilers playing a fairly soft schedule going up against the Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets all ahead of the deadline, we’re going to take a look at a few players from each team who could be on the move.
The Detroit Red Wings currently sit seventh in the Atlantic Division and are a far cry from being a playoff team this season with a 21-19-8 record. They rank near the bottom of the league in scoring this season. Their 145 goals rank 25th, while their 160 goals against rank them 19th. Ville Husso has struggled in net this season posting a 17-11-5 record, .901 save percentage, and 3.00 GAA while saving -4.3 goals above average.
Here’s four players who could be on the move:

Pius Suter

C/W, left-shot
Age: 26
Stats: 45 GP, 6 G, 6 A, 12 Pts
5×5 Analytics: 45.06 CF%, 41.86 GF%, 48.06 xGF%, 97.6 PDO.
Contract: Pending UFA, $3.25-million cap hit
Zach Laing: Pius Suter could be a good cheap add for the Oilers ahead of the deadline. At even-strength this season, he’s contributed offence and defence at a three percent rate above league average, according to hockeyviz.com. He does take faceoffs, but is a left-shot so that might not be the best spot for him — plus his career FO% is just 46.9 percent. He’s in his third year of action in the NHL and was a guy who put up 29 goals and 63 points in his first 137 games of his career. I could see a team taking a chance on him, I’m just not sure he ticks all the boxes Edmonton is looking for here. The cost would likely be a mid-to-late round pick.
Tyler Yaremchuk: I personally don’t see much of a fit here. Suter is in his third NHL season and his production has fallen slightly. In the past, he’s been a decent even-strength scorer but I’m not sure if he would make the Oilers better in any part of their lineup. He doesn’t kill a lot of penalties, he’s not great in the faceoff circle, and he shoots left. He doesn’t check a lot of the boxes that the Oilers are looking for in a bottom-six player. He also carries a cap hit of $3.25-million so even if Detroit retains half, he’d still be tough to fit in. I’d pass.

Oskar Sundqvist

C, right-shot
Age: 28
Stats: 39 GP, 7 G, 11 A, 18 Pts
5×5 Analytics: 45.05 CF%, 44.12 GF%, 43.59 xGF%, 99.2 PDO.
Contract: Pending UFA, $2.75-million cap hit
Zach Laing: This will be a pass for me. While he is a right-shot C, Sundqvist has a career 43.7 FO% that has dipped to 41.8 percent this year. He has some size, but he’s not somebody who would help the Oilers.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Like Suter, his scoring this season has been average so he’s not exactly a player that would give the Oilers a big scoring boost in their bottom six. He doesn’t kill a lot of penalties either. His cap hit is $2.75 million as well, so again, not a bargain financially. I like his size and he’s a right-shot centreman, so he’s a better fit than Suter. I would pass though. There are better fits out there. If you’re giving up assets for a guy making more than the league minimum, they need to be a near-perfect fit.

Olli Maata

Age: 28
Stats: 44 GP, 4 G, 11 A, 15 Pts
5×5 Analytics: 48.65 CF%, 49.12 GF%, 45.57 xGF%, 101 PDO.
Contract: Pending UFA, $2.25-million cap hit
Zach Laing: There’s a world where Olli Maata makes sense as an Edmonton Oiler, I’m just not sure it’s this one. The Oilers have a log-jam at LHD and unless they trade for a big impact player on that side (i.e. Jakob Chychrun), I have a hard time imagining that being where they target. A RHD is likely more important, so for that reason, I’m out.
Tyler Yaremchuk: I’ve had my eye on Maata since the start of the season as a potential buy-low left-shot option. He was solid in the playoffs against the Oilers last season and I like his defensive numbers for the most part. He’s not a regular on the PK for Detroit, his 54 minutes of PK TOI is about 13 minutes more than Evan Bouchard this season and 100 minutes less than Cody Ceci for reference, so that’s the bit of a knock against him. I like his game, if the cost was low enough and the Red Wings kept half of his salary I would be intrigued, but he’s far from the best option out there.

Robert Hagg

Age: 27
Stats: 13 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2Pts
5×5 Analytics: 37.09 CF%, 25 GF%, 38.23 xGF%, 94.5 PDO.
Contract: Pending UFA, $800,000 cap hit
Zach Laing: Hagg has struggled to get into games this season, which tells you about what you need to know given the Red Wings’ putrid season. Hagg has been a decent seventh-defenceman, but hasn’t looked the same since he left the Philadelphia Flyers in 2021. Similar to Maata, I don’t think this one makes sense given the LHD logjam.
Tyler Yaremchuk: He’s certainly a defenseman! Would he be a terrible insurance policy as the team’s 8th or 9th defenseman? Nope. He’d be fine. Is he worth paying more than a seventh-round pick for? Nope. I think it’d be a little bit of an unnecessary add though. You can play Markus Niemalainen if you get into a lot of injury trouble in the playoffs.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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