Embed from Getty Images Detroit Red Wings franchise icon Steve Yzerman built a juggernaut in Tampa Bay. Yzerman has preached patience since replacing Ken Holland, refusing to put a timeline on Detroit’s rebuild. So what does this mean for the organization this season?
While the Detroit Red Wings have some established young players led by Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi, with Joe Veleno, Michael Rasmussen, Evgeny Svechnikov, Filip Zadina and Moritz Seider leading the next wave they’re surrounded by some high-priced holdovers and veteran placeholders from the Holland era.
Ken Holland stuck Yzerman with seven players holding no trade clauses. Yzerman and the Red Wings will have a bit more roster flexibility next summer, with six restricted free agents and three unrestricted ones.
Before training camp opened Steve Yzerman met the media and announced there was open roster spots. In my opinion, If a couple prospects showed enough to earn a roster spot, Yzerman would have eaten one or two of the team bad contracts.
No top prospect showed the teams general manager enough. Yzerman made the right move and assigned Filip Zadina, Evgeny Svechnikov, Joe Veleno, Oliwer Kaski and 2019 first round draft pick Moritz Seider along with 2017 first round draft pick Michael Rasmussen to the AHL and the Grand Rapids Griffins.
There are a couple things to read into this. First and foremost Yzerman like Ken Holland believes wholeheartedly in prospect development. Something he learned under Ken Holland before his Tampa Bay days.
The other factor could be Yzerman, understand the state of the Detroit Red Wings. The team is strapped by underperforming over paid veterans. While players like Zadina and Seider (who was the final prospect to be assigned) could have played in Detroit. It is best to allow them to play and find chemistry together and possibly make the AHL playoffs, while letting bad contracts expire.
Yzerman is still in the getting to know phase with the entire Red Wings organization. But, this is a smart move. By allowing prospects the chance to fail and succeed in Grand Rapids, it gives him time to map out his vision for call-ups as well as what veterans could be bought out after the season.
It was a solid move by Steve Yzerman.