Detroit Red Wings Moritz Seider excelling in first AHL season

Embed from Getty Images There was plenty of blacklash and anger coming out of Detroit back in June. That is when Detroit Red Wings general manager announced the team was selecting German defenseman Moritz Seider. The shock has worn off and a solid player has emerged. Just as Yzerman suspects would happen.

Many NHL scouts have compared Moritz Seider to defenseman Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Seider has been turning some heads and  has emerged as the top defense prospect in the Red Wings organization.

As the first half of the season is coming to a close, let us take a closer look at how Seider’s 2019-20 season has been going with the Grand Rapids Griffins and his performance at the IIHF World Junior Championships with the German team.

This season, Seider has played in 33 games with the Griffins at the AHL level. Over that stretch, he has managed 2 goals and 13 assists as well as 15  points. Seider is a -8 rating on the season for the Griffins. He signed an entry level contract before the start of the season that brought him over to the AHL from the DEL in Germany.

Being only 18 years old, and the fact that he has been a  team leader is an excellent addition to his growth as a player. On top of leadership, he had 6 assists in more than 7 games leading National German team.

Seider may get his nine game trial run this season after the NHL All-Star break, but next season, if his dominance continues and development stays on the course it is, he may be skating with the Red Wings more than first thought.

It is safe to say Moritz Seider will see time with the Red Wings NHL roster during the 2020-21 season. As he is he has adapted his game to the smaller, faster NHL hockey rinks, and is ahead of his development.

Detroit Red Wings Dylan Larkin reaches 100 goals

Embed from Getty Images As Dylan Larkin skated out of the penalty box, he skated with anger. Sure he had just committed a penalty, but Larkin skated as though he was/is disappointed where the Red Wings are in the standings. He was streaking all alone towards world class goalie Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers.

In an instant, Larkin’s teammate Darren Helm snapped the puck to Larkin and Larkin found the back of the net.  Dylan Larkin’s 100th career goal comes as one of the few bright spots in this Detroit Red Wings season.

Larkin became the sixth Red Wings player in the last 40 years to score 100 goals before the age of 24. Dylan is the second youngest of the Red Wings group at 23 years old and five months. Steve Yzerman is the youngest at 21 years old to hit 100 goals.

Dylan Larkin who is speculated to be the next captain of the Red Wings has blossomed into a solid two-way player under Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill. Larkin, works hard at both ends of the ice at all times.

Larkin is worthy of being the next team and franchise captain. In my opinion the reason has not yet been named captain, is general manager Steve Yzerman said he wanted to get to know everyone in the orgainzation first before making the call.

As each game passes, it becomes clearer and clearer, Larkin will get the “C” on his hockey sweater very soon.

MLB Pipeline released their top pitching prospects, the Detroit Tigers are well represented

Embed from Getty Images With the teardown part of the rebuild complete, the Detroit Tigers now wait for the young crop of players to begin filtering into Comerica Park as early as this upcoming season. That next wave of Tiger players will be lead by pitchers.

MLB Pipeline released it’s yearly list of top prospects at each position. The site also breaks pitchers down to right handed and left handed pitchers, both starters and relief pitchers.

The Detroit Tigers had names littered all over the list. Which gives promise to the future, a future that could be closer than fans think. Al Avila said not long ago the team is now focused on adding players.

Detroit Tigers right handed pitching prospect Casey Mize leads the list of the 10 best right handed starting pitchers. While another Detroit pitching prospect checks in the No.7, Matt Manning.

Detroit Tigers left handed pitching prospect Tarik Skubal is ranked No.4. MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis said “Few pitchers can match Casey Mize’s combination of stuff and command, which is why the Tigers made him the first overall pick in the 2018 draft.”

Scouts say they have never seen a pitcher command a split-finger fastball like Mize. One top MLB scout said of Mize and the pitch “It is one of the most devastating pitches in baseball.”

Tarik Skubal is considered the “highest riser” in the group of left handed pitchers. Tommy John surgery cost Skubal two year of college baseball, the Detroit Tigers took a chance in the ninth round of the 2018 draft.

The Detroit Tigers absolutely nailed the Skubal pick. In fact they are getting near unbelievable value for the draft spot. The Detroit Tigers are is great position pitching wise as the team also has ranked relief pitchers according to MLB Pipeline.

The Detroit Tigers organization is in a good position going forward. Great pitching prospects a few good bat, not too mention the team has the first overall pick in June’s draft and will look to add another big bat.

Detroit Red Wings: lose for Lafrenière

Embed from Getty Images In the throngs of the worst season in decades, the Detroit Red Wings have a 12 point lead on last place. Dead last place, as in the entire NHL. That seems bad, until the thought of landing “the best prospect since Sydney Crosby” breaks through the darkness of losing. Alexis Lafrenière should be the only focus right now of the fans, media and Red Wings organization.

The Detroit Red Wings have a nice group of prospects. That is the good news. However, what the Red Wings need, what will speed up the painstaking rebuild is a generational player, so gifted so elite that he very well could play in Detroit as early as next fall.

Alexis Lafrenière, What can be said? There is the off- charts- hockey sense and imagination on offense starting with the 2018 World U-18s where Lafrenière surprised his linemates with passes that could have been coming from a seasoned NHL veteran. Lafrenière is fluid and fearless going inside the circles in the attack zone, where Alexis fearlessly steps out front to screen and set up for tip ins. Will be a solid attacking forward but might also find a home as a NHL center with the way he easily makes his way inside. A smooth high speed heads up player who moves effortlessly through the attack zone with such good confidence and presence. Alexis dose not necessarily fit the category of a blazer as he uses his hands more than blades to elude checkers. There is no denying how quickly Lafrenière lets the puck fly, and how decisive he is while possessing it. Will fire cutting towards the net, and always has his stick down looking for the puck. Strong and difficult to move off the puck and not adverse who he is looking  to give the puck to. Although he must improve his first step, Lafrenière still manages to keep churning when carrying in the high traffic areas. It is his all around hockey abilities that round him as a guy who will build chemistry quickly with good NHL players and improve the attack of whichever team selects him early in the first. Red Wing fans are hoping their team gets him.

Lafrenière’s NHL Comparison: Artemi Panarin with a higher ceiling. With a sizzling shot, silky smooth hands, elite quickness, natural leadership ability, Lafrenière would help the Red Wings rebuild and give the team a very talented player.

Making a case for former Detroit Lions, Billy Sims and the NFL Hall of Fame

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Lions drafted a special running back with the first pick in the 1980 NFL draft. Billy Sims was instant superstar, rushing for 1,303 yards, scoring 13 touchdowns, and earning NFL Rookie of the Year honors, his contributions to the offense helped Detroit improve from 2-14 in 1979 the to 9-7 in 1980.

During the 1981 season, Sims built on his rookie success, rushing for 1,437 yards and scoring another 13 touchdowns. The Lions had been absent from the NFL Playoffs since 1970, but Billy Sims was able to help lead them to the playoffs in both 1982 and 1983. Unfortunately in 1984, Sims blew out his knee and had to retire.

When Barry Sanders arrived in Detroit, then Lions head coach Wayne Fontes wanted Sanders to wear No. 20 in homage to Billy Sims. Both Detroit running backs were game-changers.

His time in Detroit was indeed cut short. But during those days there was no denying the flashy, whirling dervish Billy Sims who struck fear in defenses across the NFL, was a force.

Billy Sims career stats prove he was on path for the Hall of Fame, 60 games played, 313 rushing attempts, 5,106 rushing yards, 4.5 average per rush, 42 touchdowns.

Billy Sims stats are very comparable to that of NFL Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers. Sayers career stats 64 games played, 991 rushing attempts, 4,956 rushing yards, 5.0 yards average per rush, 70 touchdowns.

One thing must be noted and stressed, Sayers played 7 seasons, Billy Sims played 4 1/2 seasons.

Yet, Sayers is in the Hall of Fame. Billy Sims should absolutely be there as well. One more thing Billy Sims was very efficient as a pass catcher. Billy Sims is still a larger-than-life Lion legend.

A former player who should be among the greats in the Hall of Fame. His numbers dictate it.

***Breaking news*** The Detroit Lions have just hired a new defensive coordinator

Embed from Getty Images We have a developing story, The Detroit Lions have named Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach Cory Undlin defensive coordinator. This is from NFL insider Field Yates. A formal announcement from the Lions is coming shortly.

Cory Undlin, has been coaching in the NFL since 2004. Undlin started as a defensive assistant with the New England Patriots, the same year current Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia started in the Patriots organization.

Coaching with the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos, Undlin has been the defensive backs coach in Philadelphia for the past four seasons.

During his coaching career, Cory Undlin has produced mixed results with the defensive backs units he has been part of. This past season the Philadelphia Eagles secondary struggled with pass defense. To be fair, the Eagles did not have the best player personnel to work with in the secondary.

During the 2018 season Undlin helped the Eagles weather the storm of a rash of injuries to produce a solid if not spectacular secondary. This is an expected type of move for Patricia and his Lions staff.

In my opinion Cory Undlin was brought in for a couple of reasons. The primary reason being, Undlin already knows, understands and has a firm grasp of the defense Patricia wants to run dating back to their time in New England.

It goes without saying that because his background is in the secondary the Detroit Lions need to bring in a home run hire for the linebacking unit. In a move that may surprise some. Undlin really is not that far fetched.

People inside the Philadelphia Eagles organization have has internal conversations if current Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz leaves the team who would replace him, the answer was Cory Undlin.

The Detroit Lions bring in a new special team coach

Embed from Getty Images Brayden Coombs, who worked for the Cincinnati Bengals since 2009 in different capacities, was hired Saturday as the Detroit Lions special teams coach. Coombs replaces the departed John Bonamego. Brayden Coombs joins Detroit’s staff with high regard.

In Brayden Coombs, the Detroit Lions are getting a real up and coming coach. At just 33 years old, Coombs has experience not only with the offensive and defensive side of the ball, but Coombs has also put in work as a gameday scout as well as quality control coach who helped with the offensive game plan.

When Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, chose to keep Coombs after he was named head coach it spoke volumes to just how solid a coach Brayden is.

Brayden Coombs, is viewed around the NFL as a bright, rising coach. Last season Coombs nearly landing a coordinator job in Green Bay. Detroit Lions fans should be happy he did not get the job.

On a very bad Bengals team, the special teams turned heads. The Cincinnati Bengals special teams were the best in the NFL. Finishing the season ranked #1.

The 2019, Detroit Lions special teams were anything but special. Head coach Matt Patricia prioritized special teams as a unit the Lions would like to upgrade. The Lions finished the season ranking 8th in the department. Not bad, but if there is a way to improve the team it needs to be made. So Patricia saw a clear upgrade and made it.

Brayden Coombs will have pressure from expectations he has placed on himself from his previous work. All indications are he is ready and able to meet the challenges head on.

Brayden Coombs is a very solid, very good move for Patricia and his coaching staff. To get one of the best special teams coach in the NFL is a big win for a staff that dismissed a few coach’s in order to get better.

Detroit Red Wings: Steve Yzerman speaks

Embed from Getty Images Yesterday, Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman made his one and only comments about the state of the Wings. Back in April, Yzerman told the fans, media and hockey world he only speaks one time in-season, because of a busy schedule. Steve Yzerman in not only general manager, but he actively scouts at home and abroad.

In giving his near mid-season team evaluation with legendary Detroit Red Wings radio play-by-play announcer Ken Kal, Yzerman did not hold back. He gave the good, the bad, the ugly.

On the Trade Deadline Steve Yzerman said he is looking to acquire more draft picks. There is an one problem, there are some impending unrestricted free agents who are have bad seasons, driving down asking price, making it more difficult to move.

“My plan isn’t passive,” Yzerman started with, “I’m looking for ways to build for the future and trying to acquire draft picks or prospects or young players that can come into the organization sooner or later.”

On Top Prospects: Yzerman hinted Moritz Seider, Joe Veleno, Gustav Lindstrom will likely get a nine game look (so their entry level contract does not kick in) later in the season.

“I don’t have anything set in stone but that’s definitely something in the back of our mind” Yzerman said, “Do we bring up the Velenos and Seiders and give them a feel for the NHL? I won’t say absolutely you’re going to see this player or that player here, but I think it’s safe to assume that at some point some of those guys will get up here and play some games as the season winds down.”

On coach Jeff Blashill’s future: Steve Yzerman said it is unfair to pin the team’s record on the coaching staff because of injuries. The Detroit Red Wings have been without defenseman Danny DeKeyer, as well ask key forwards Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou for some time now.

On Tanking: Red Wings fans know one thing about the teams former 20 year captain now general manager, Steve Yzerman is ultra competitive. Anything that resembles losing weather just a bad team, or intentional to gain draft picks, Yzerman shoots down.

“Every player is looking to use the second half to improve and they will be expected to improve and will be held to a standard to improve and gradually become a better hockey team.”

Fans of the Detroit Red Wings can rest easy. Yzerman will do his job and do it well. He needs time.

In a dark, no good, very bad season, Detroit Red Wings Filip Zadina shows promise

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Red Wings have 38 games left in what has been their bleakest season in more than three decades. Yes, it is that bad in Hockeytown. What do Red Wings fans have to look forward to over the next three months, other than the draft lottery and chance to land the No. 1 pick? Filip Zadina’s development, is one thing fans should be keying into.

Filip Zadina, The Red Wings top pick in 2018 (sixth overall) has been making progress since being promoted from the Grand Rapids Griffins in late November.

Zadina  has five goals and six assists in his past 16 games, after being held without a point in his first three. Zadina also has 11 points in that time as well.

Probably the aspect of his game that has stood out most is, Zadina’s increased confidence with the puck the young forward is playing with poise. Filip Zadina is much more confident now than he was in training camp, when he appeared to be pressing in an effort to make the Red Wings opening night roster, he is more relaxed and his play reflects it.

This is one of the best aspects of a very ugly Red Wings season. Zadina has taken his game to the next level. He has done so in the NHL and not the AHL. Zadina said he feels playing in Detroit would help his game. He has been dead right.

On January, 6 2020 Zadina showed why he is a HUGE part of the Detroit Red Wings future:

Last night the Red Wings played Montreal, Zadina scored the game-winning goal. This is exactly why the Detroit Red Wings drafted him. This is what is going to be counted on for on a regular basis.

For Zadina, he has shown growth in the defensive end of the ice and on the power play, the sky is the limit. He is the real deal and is starting to play like it. In an awful season Filip Zadina gives hope to the Red Wings organization and fans.

The 2020 Michigan Wolverines offense could look a little different

Embed from Getty Images One year ago Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines football team’s offense was stale, and did not have the firepower to win in the schools biggest games. Harbaugh went outside the box and brought in Josh Gattis to run his offense. Gattis arrived in Ann Arbor and said his offense is based on “speed in space.”

“Speed in space,” is based on spreading the ball around and getting it to the best play makers. It sounded like a good theory. Michigan had some players needed to become a bit more explosive offensively.

Yet, Gattis and the Wolverines did not have enough play makers to move the meter much. Jim Harbaugh and Josh Gattis watched as the Wolverines struggled to grasp the offense early in the 2019 season.

Then it began to click, Michigan went on a mini tear, amassing points and yardage in the second half of the season. throw out a combined point total of 43 against Ohio State and Alabama, it goes without saying that is bad, Michigan did gain a combined 791 yards against the two national powerhouses.

The Michigan Wolverines offense clearly showed signs of growth. Enough growth to suggest the Wolverines look set to be a dangerous offensive team next season.

Cutting down on turnovers and finding a running game opened things up for the Gattis lead offense. Hammering Notre Dame for 45 points and hanging in against both Ohio State and Alabama, albeit for only the first half are positive steps.

The real question for Harbaugh, Gattis and the Michigan offense is what’s next? The team must replace quarterback Shea Patterson, who both struggled and played well sometimes within the same game. Michigan has an outstanding offensive line, but need to replace four starters as well as wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones who declared for the NFL draft.

While that is a lot to replace, Michigan, thanks in large part to solid recruiting have the depth for a smooth transition. It is not difficult to see improvement for the 2020 Big Ten season.

Jim Harbaugh knew this would be a bumpy step-back season as his team went in a new direction offensively. If the team can find it’s way through the non-conference games with new starters, Michigan’s offense looks prepared to take the next step.