In a somewhat surprising move, the Detroit Red Wings traded defenseman Filip Hronek and a 2023 fourth-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks for a first and second-round pick in this summer’s draft.
The first-rounder originally belonged to the New York Islanders and was traded to the Canucks in the Bo Horvat trade around the All-Star break.
Hronek, 25, seems to be finding his footing at the NHL level this season, with a career-best plus-8 rating through 60 games.
Originally drafted in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Hronek can jump up and join the rush when needed. He currently has nine goals and 29 assists for 38 points so far this season. The point total ties his career high from last season.
Both of those qualities help the Canucks going forward, as the Czech blueliner is signed through next season. After that, he will be a restricted-free agent.
Detroit, meanwhile, is an enigma. They signed forward Dylan Larkin to an eight-year contract extension earlier today, signaling they aren’t rebuilding totally.
That makes the Hronek move more puzzling. One can only assume Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is preparing to make a big splash, either in the next 36 hours or this summer. He has the picks and plenty of cap space, so it would make sense, especially given Detroit’s place in the standings.
As of March 1, the Red Wings sit five points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 22 games remaining.
On the other hand, Vancouver is 19 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, so they are looking to the future.