Listed at the bottom of The Athletic’s 30-man trade board is Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi. One general manager who should call the Kings about him is Red Wings boss Steve Yzerman.
Durzi is only 24-years old, more of an offensive defenseman, and can play both sides of the ice. But he’s right-handed which works perfectly for the Wings, considering they only have two on the roster in Moritz Seider and Gustav Lindstrom.
Detroit could have a couple young defensemen make the opening night roster in Simon Edvinsson and Albert Johansson. But adding a guy with meaningful NHL action to the group would be beneficial. It’s no secret the Red Wings still lack depth on the back end.
The other notable feature about Durzi, he’s cheap! He has a very team-friendly salary of $1.7 million next season. After that he becomes a restricted free agent, so Detroit will get first dibs at signing him. Or if they make an offer sheet and another team outbids them, they could get compensated.
Either way it gives Yzerman a year to see how Durzi develops and fits with the core of the team. If he looks great and doesn’t cost too much, the Red Wings can extend him.
Durzi Would Replace Former Red Wing
Durzi isn’t the biggest guy standing at 6’0 and 190 pounds. He scored nine goals and 38 points this past season for the Kings. He also ran their second power-play unit.
If that sounds oddly familiar like a guy Detroit used to have. You would be onto something.
Filip Hronek stands at 6’0 and 190 pounds. He had nine goals and 38 points for the Red Wings last season prior to being traded. He too is a right-handed shot.
But Durzi will cost nearly $3 million less than Hronek next season. Giving the Red Wings more flexibility in free agency… or a trade (see below).
The fact of the matter is the Red Wings lack an offensive-minded defenseman. They lost that when they (rightfully) traded Hronek away. Getting a younger and cheaper version of that would be ideal. Even if it’s for one season.
Let’s Make a Deal
There are likely two paths Yzerman can take in trade talks with the Kings. The first option would be to offer them a solid draft pick. Somewhere between rounds two and three.
The Kings could be looking to move Durzi, but he’s still a solid player who has good value. It might take more than a mid-round pick to acquire him straight up.
The other option would be for the Kings to send goalie Cal Peterson with Sean Durzi to Detroit in order to shed a bad contract.
Peterson has shown some flashes of being a quality NHL netminder. But he was sent to the minors during the season after performing horribly. His contract lasts two more years at $5 million per season. That’s a steep price for a backup goalie, let alone a bad one.
But if adding Peterson to the deal gets Yxerman out of giving up a meaningful draft pick, would he do it? What if it meant the Kings sent Detroit a quality pick, does that make a difference?
It’s an option to consider.
Either way, the Red Wings should strongly consider looking into adding Sean Durzi to their locker room. He’s the type of player their team is missing and he comes at a cheap price for at least next season. If Durzi can develop into something better than Hronek, maybe you extend him next year.