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NHL on Sportsnet: Bedard makes his return vs. Crosby and Penguins

Out since Jan. 5 due to a broken jaw, Connor Bedard is set to make his return Thursday when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Catch the game starting at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet+.

This is trade deadline season for NHL general managers. More importantly, though, it’s fake trade season for the rest of us.

And what a glorious time of year that is.

With the March 8 hard line on the horizon, there’s no better request from an editor to get than, “Hey, take two fingers, rub your temples and see what kind of reasonable swaps you can dream up.”

If there’s one thing doing this activity at previous deadlines has taught it’s that, though the moves are pretend, the anger will be real. Hopefully, it comes from all sides, so we know we did a decent job.

With that, let’s dive in and present three potential moves — gently vetted by Sportsnet’s own longtime NHL suit and prospect guru, Jason Bukala — we think could benefit all parties involved.

The Headline: Wings land their D-man, Calgary continues to build

To Detroit

Defenceman Noah Hanifin*

Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen

*Hanifin inks an eight-year extension with Detroit, San Jose retains 50 per cent of the money remaining on his expiring contract.

To Calgary

Forward Jonatan Berggren

Forward Anthony Duclair

Detroit’s 2025 top-10 protected first pick

To San Jose

Goalie Ville Husso

Detroit’s 2024 top-10 protected first pick

Vancouver’s 2026 third, previously acquired by Calgary

Why the Red Wings do it

Hanifin isn’t perfect, but he’s a legit, puck-moving first- or second-pair guy. He just turned 27, so an eight-year extension is justifiable for a team desperately trying to become a playoff squad right now. Husso was a free agent play that has not worked out. He’s singed to a $4.75 cap hit through next season. Kahkonen, by contrast, is a pending-UFA with a $2.75-million hit. Detroit is moving off some Husso term and money and can slot Kahkonen — an upgrade on Husso right now — into the mix with Alex Lyon and James Reimer.