Sometime between now and the NHL Trade Deadline (March 3, 2023) the Detroit Red Wings should offer up Simon Edvinsson to the Columbus Blue Jackets for their stud blueliner prospect, David Jiricek. Both are top ten draft picks in their respective draft classes. Both are big-bodied defensemen, great skaters, and have offensive creativity. Both are playing in the American Hockey League logging big minutes for their respective clubs. Edvinsson is more creative in his skating and puck carrying and has a solid comparable to the Edmonton Oilers’ Darnell Nurse. Jiricek is more creative in the way he finds shooting lanes and angles in the offensive zone. Both are A+ prospects.
Jiricek is a great defender who has the physical tools to play in the NHL today. Additionally, he is more offensive than Moritz Seider or Edvinsson and would free up the Red Wings to trade Filip Hronek to a contender for draft picks in a deep draft or underrated prospects.
Hronek Can Fetch A Good Return At The Trade Deadline
Hronek and Jiricek are both right handed defencemen. With the Red Wings out of the playoff picture, Hronek could be expendable. He’s a better fit with a contending team. With seven goals and 26 assists totaling 33 points in 48 games played, he would be a great offensive asset for any playoff team to have on their back end. He’s averaging 21:53 a night, which shows he can handle the pressure of top-four minutes.
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Hronek’s goals for percentage (GF%) is second on the Red Wings’ blue line at 60.32% and second in Corsi For percentage (CF%) with 48.72%. These are good numbers for a defender who is not on your top pairing. Steve Yzerman can leverage all of this to a playoff contender who is experiencing injury problems with their right handed defensemen.
If Hronek is traded, he can be replaced via call-up at the deadline or in the offseason with Jiricek. Jiricek is playing 22 minutes a night for the Blue Jacket’s AHL affiliate the Cleveland Monsters. He’s getting good minutes on the power play and penalty kill as well, which will help him get up to NHL speed.
Jiricek Is More Offensive Than Edvinsson & Seider
One of the hallmarks of Jiricek’s game is the chances and creativity he displays offensively. This includes his booming shot that he is not shy about unloading on opposing goaltenders. We saw it on display at the 2023 World Junior Semi-Final game against Sweden.
This won’t be the last time we see that type of goal from Jiricek. He is constantly putting himself into these kinds of positions to get quality shots on net. Additionally, his game is translating to the AHL very well at his point in time. Especially when we look at Jiricek compared to Seider and Edvinsson.
As you can see, both Edvinsson and Jiricek are pacing out to a higher point total than Seider. Edvinsson is on pace for 31 points in 64 games (nine more than Seider) while Jiricek is pacing for 47 points in 58 games (more than double Seider’s total points). Edvinsson is a special player and Jiricek’s production would soften the blow of losing such a fantastic prospect.
Jiricek Is NHL Ready Today
Jiricek and Edvinsson are both playing in the American Hockey League (AHL) this season, and are capable of playing a physical and aggressive game. During Red Wings camp Edvinsson acknowledged that he needed to be harder on players and harder on pucks and emulate Seider’s style of game more. Edvinsson mentioned that in Sweden it’s more about timing when you are defending.
Jiricek plays a game that is closer to Seider in style. While defending he has an active stick trying to deflect pucks and smothers his opponent when within his wingspan, often pinning them against the boards or delivering a body check. He does this consistently. Assistant coach Mike Haviland of the Monsters has worked with many players in his time coaching and likens Jiricek to another player known for their constant physicality, Dustin Byfuglien (from ‘Blue Jackets Sunday Gathering: David Jiricek’s development and growth are right on track’ The Athletic, Jan. 22, 2023). Byfuglien had 1,896 hits in 835 games played.
Not only was Byfuglien a physically dominant player, but he also had offensive prowess. In his third year in the NHL (his first two he played a combined 34 games) he tallied 36 points in 67 games. Over his entire career he averaged 0.62 points per game. That translates to 50 points per 82-game season. In his last five seasons in the NHL, he had 0.65 points per game for four straight years and then 0.74 points per game in his final season.
Edvinsson is an amazing prospect who has the chance to be an amazing player in the NHL. The combination of being able to trade Hronek for assets along with Jiricek’s offensive production, historic AHL season, and NHL readiness, makes this a fascinating trade to ponder. The reality is that most general managers don’t trade their first-round picks unless they have been struggling for years. So while fans daydream about Jiricek’s slapshot goals from the point, they will watch Edvinsson weave his way through the opposition to score his own highlight reel goals.
Caleb is the host of The Hockey Writers Fantasy Forecheck podcast. He covers the Detroit Red Wings & Prospects at THW. Additionally he is Junior Editor and Carolina Hurricanes contributor for Dobber Prospects.
Caleb started a Substack newsletter that you can find here: https://dynastyprofessor.substack.com/