The Detroit Red Wings re-tool could be a model for the Calgary Flames to follow

Photo credit:© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
8 months ago
The Detroit Red Wings look to have taken a big step forward in their development as a team this season. We saw it last night with their 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames. The Red Wings are fast, skilled, and deep in all three position groups.
How did they get here? Could what the Red Wings have done in the last year be a model for the Flames to follow? Let’s take a look at how the Red Wings have made drastic changes to their roster over a five month span.
First, let’s establish that Detroit has been rebuilding for the last 5-6 seasons. During that time, they have been able to build a core group of players that include Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, Joe Velano, Michael Rasmussen, and Jonathan Berggren. (Dylan Larkin was excluded because he was drafted in 2014.)
The Red Wings have been able to acquire some good players through the draft, but it’s not a group to get overly excited about outside of Seider.
What Steve Yzerman and the Red wings have done is built a strong team around those young players through trades and free agency.
The Flames are likely to never go into a full on rebuild. Murray Edwards and John Bean seem to be very against going in that direction.
What’s the next best thing? It might be a re-tool. It’s pretty obvious that the Flames are not going to win with this current group of players. It could be in their best interest to make some deals between now and the 2024 trade deadline to open up cap space and acquire draft picks.
The Red Wings did exactly that last season. Take a look at the trades they made.
The Red Wings were able to trade players that were either pending UFAs or players who they didn’t see as part of their future for six draft picks and free up $7.025 million of cap space for the offseason.
Here were the moves Yzerman made in the off-season because of the cap space he was able to free up and draft picks he was able to acquire at the deadline.
Detroit transformed their team within a five-month period. They changed the mix on the NHL roster, acquired an elite goal scorer, and made four draft picks including a first rounder in the best draft we’ve seen in two decades.
I’m not saying this is the best way to go about team building for the Calgary Flames. But if they want to make significant changes to their organization without rebuilding, it can be done. Detroit proved it.
The Flames have a lot of players who they could trade for draft picks, prospects, and cap space. That group includes Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube, Yegor Sharangovich, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Dennis Gilbert, and Dan Vladar.
The Flames could use the draft picks and cap space they acquire from these trades to re-stock their prospect system, make trades for high end players who become available on the trade market, and sign some free agents who Craig Conroy and the new management team think would fit well with this Flames core.

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