For Howard, Nyquist, Trade Looks More Likely Than Extension Before Deadline

Ken Holland painted a pretty clear picture on Friday.

Will Burchfield
February 22, 2019 - 7:47 pm

© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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Ken Holland's trade deadline plans seem to have taken a turn. 

Pending unrestricted free agents Jimmy Howard and Gustav Nyquist, not long ago thought to be strong candidates for extensions, are more likely to be dealt than re-signed before Monday's trade deadline, judging by comments made by Holland on Friday evening. 

Speaking to the media shortly after trading fellow pending UFA Nick Jensen to the Capitals, Holland was asked if extension talks for Nyquist and Howard have made any progress.

"Talks (on) contracts, not really. I would say to you that I’m just going to see what happens on the trade front between now and Monday," Holland said. 

The Red Wings recently asked Nyquist, who has a no-trade clause, for a list of teams he'd be willing to play for. The 29-year-old winger is enjoying a career year with 48 points in 60 games. It's been reported Holland wants a first-round pick in return. 

His demands are reportedly the same for Howard, Detroit's lone All-Star this season. The 34-year-old has a .910 save percentage in 42 games this season. His numbers have suffered thanks to a poor trio of games over the past week, but Howard's been strong just about all year long. 

Of the two, Nyquist seems more likely to be traded. With Matt Duchene now off the market after Friday's trade to Columbus, and with the possibility the Blue Jackets hang onto Artemi Panarin as a result, Nyquist is suddenly one of the best rental forwards available. It's not hard to imagine him netting a first-rounder. 

And his prorated cap hit -- about $1 million for the rest of the season -- would be easy for most teams to take on. 

As for Howard, few, if any, contenders appear desperate enough for goalie help to surrender a first-round pick. The Flames, Sharks and Hurricanes are at least worth keeping an eye on -- the Blue Jackets, too, depending what they decide to do with pending UFA Sergei Bobrovsky. 

One thing seems certain, though, ahead of Monday's deadline. Neither Nyquist nor Howard will get extensions. Talks may resume once the deadline passes, but until then it looks like trade or no move at all. 

Holland acknowledged he's received calls on both players, but isn't yet sure of the level of interest from the inquiring teams. 

"See, that I don’t know. Do I get lots of calls about lots of people? Yeah, but I don’t know what that means," said Holland. "I don’t know if somebody’s ninth on their depth chart or if he’s second on their depth chart.

"What ends up happening from a manager’s perspective is you call around -- I call it tire-kicking -- and you start to talk about players. Have I got teams kicking tires? Yeah, I don’t what the tire-kicking means. I’m going to know between now and Monday." 

As for Thomas Vanek, another pending UFA, Howard said he has not yet asked him to waive his no-trade clause, but that he would if an offer arose. 

"We’ll see what happens between," Holland said. "I’ve had conversations with some of our unrestricted free agents, I haven't talked to some of our others. We’ll see what happens between now and 3:00 on Monday."