Tyler Bertuzzi is set to take off for the Detroit Red Wings

Embed from Getty Images During the 2019- COVID-19 shortened NHL season Tyler Bertuzzi did a thing. Bertuzzi  led the Detroit Red Wings in goals and amassed a career high in assists and points. Bertuzzi has emerged as a rebuilding block and a player who has done nothing but improve every year of his professional career.

March 12, 2020 the day the NHL shutdown due to COVID-19, Tyler Bertuzzi had 21 goals and 27 assists in 71 games along with 48 points good for second place on the team next to Dylan Larkin (53), matching his goal output from 2018-19, which was Bertuzzi’s first full NHL season.

Tyler Bertuzzi paid his dues in a little over two years in the minors with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Bertuzzi was named playoff MVP in the Griffins 2017 Calder Cup championship.

A four game stretch was the longest Tyler Bertuzzi would go without a point in 2019. When the Red Wings Christmas break roll around,  Bertuzzi was Detroit’s best player in the first half, which saw him accumulate 14 goals and 16 assists in 38 games.

Tyler Bertuzzi is a smart player, he also enjoys getting under the skin of opponent’s. Bertuzzi is a restricted free agent who has been right around 50 points in both of his seasons in Detroit. That should help his cause in a new contract.

Projections for next season (could be January if COVID-19 pushes the start of the season back) has Bertuzzi looking at 25 goals and around 55 points in an 82 game season.

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has said he is looking to improve the team and have some salary cap money freed up to begin to shape the Red Wings. If Yzerman can find a puck moving defenseman and a backup goalie that would greatly help.

The Red Wings need more forwards as well. If Yzerman can do the things he wants Tyler Bertuzzi could his the 30 goal mark. No matter how you slice it Tyler Bertuzzi is a very important player in Detroit both during the rebuilding stage and after.

When the Detroit Red Wings next play there is a good chance Moritz Seider will be in the lineup

Embed from Getty Images The 2019 first round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings has shown much promise in his development. So much so, there is a very good chance when the Detroit Red Wings play their next regular season game, Moritz Seider very well could be in the lineup.

Moritz Seider spent the 2019-20 with the Grand Rapids Griffins, posting two goals and 20 assists in 49 games. The 6 foot 4, 207-pound defenseman. The young defenseman showed maturity and a well rounded game.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Red Wings were planning on giving Seider an opportunity to play in a handful of games in Detroit. Now Seider’s shot will have to come at training camp.

Seider, who will turn 20 in April, projects as a key player in the Detroit Red Wings rebuild. Seider is a good puck mover who shoots right handed, and as a player is someone who can run a power play unit. His 22 points and .45 points per game average ranked second among Griffins defensemen.

Moritz Seider averaged about 23 minutes of ice time per game, and Seider also showed improvement in puck handling, as well as getting shots through to the net, and overall assertiveness.

Seider would add skill and size to the Red Wings defense corps, potentially fitting into the top four next season with Filip Hronek  a second-round pick from 2016  and veterans Danny DeKeyser and Patrik Nemeth. That would enable pairings of offensive defensemen who shoot right  Hronek and Seider with defensive defensemen who shoot left.

Moritz Seider would make the Detroit defense stronger and more athletic. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said of Seider  “He will get an opportunity, whenever our season kicks off. He will get an opportunity to show he is ready to play. If he is ready to go, he will play. If not, he will spend a little more time in the American Hockey League (AHL). But he had a very good year and it’s encouraging to see the things that he did in his development.”

The Detroit Red Wings will pick fourth in the 2020 NHL Draft

Embed from Getty Images Let’s get this out of the way, the NHL lottery is flawed. The Detroit Red Wings who were the worst team in the COVID-19 shortened NHL regular season are picking #4 while a playoff team will have the first pick in the draft it boarders on a joke. That said in a very deep, very talented the Detroit Red Wings are in position to get a player who can help the rebuild.

Detroit Red Wings general manager said that he and his scouting department are not looking at one key area on the team. Yzerman said he wants a player who will “move the needle.”

The Detroit hockey team is in need of scoring. With young defensive players moving up in the minors, offense would be an area the Red Wings could look at with the teams top five draft pick. So who could that player be?

Right Wing-Lucas Raymond is a player who both should be there when Detroit picks and a player who can help quickly. Raymond  who is 5-11, 170  plays a strong two way game with excellent vision, intensity and a good wrist shot. The 18 year old is regarded as having a nose for the net and has shown himself to be a tremendous asset on the power play and the penalty kill. Raymond is an An explosive winger who is equally dangerous with his shot or pass. Lucas moves with quickness and handles the puck at a high level even at top speed. His puck skills are fluid, controlled and capable of embarrassing defensive players.

Another player who should be there is Center/ Left Wings, Cole Perfetti. The Red Wings need offense Perfetti could be their guy. Not only is he a deadly shooter, but he also uses his smarts to dish off when the opportunity arises. Perfetti is an excellent puck handler with great puck skills, vision and execution are on another level. Perfetti is elusive and can turn on a dime, evading checks and giving himself time and space to utilize his offensive arsenal. He has incredible hockey IQ and a feel for the game, can slow the play down to his pace, draw the attention of every defender and finds a pass no one else in the arena sees coming.

Either Raymond or Perfetti will be there when Detroit picks. For an organization in need of offense, I look to one of these guys as a strong possibility to wear a Winged Wheel after the first round of the 2020 NHL Darft.

Former Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland makes the Hall of Fame

Embed from Getty Images  Jimmy Devellano, three years into his job as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, called Ken Holland and offered him a job as scout. Holland would become the Red Wings GM and build a 3 time Stanley Cup Championship team. Yesterday, the former Red Wings and current Edmonton Oilers general manager got the call. Ken Holland is going into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Ken Holland oversaw the Detroit Red Wings longest run of success. He was Detroit Red Wings GM from 1997-2019. Holland’s Red Wings teams won 3 Stanley Cups and reached the playoffs 19 seasons in a row, which extended Detroit’s playoff run to 25 year.

Last year Ken Holland left the Red Wings organization when owner Christopher Ilitch brought Steve Yzerman in to be general manager. Holland has many reasons for being in the Hall of Fame.

Ken Holland saw his Red Wings teams win four President’s Trophies (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008) the Wings won more regular season and playoff games with a combined 1,044 more than any other NHL team.

In a statement released Ken Holland said: “I am incredibly humbled by this honor, I am in this game because I loved it as a young man and I am happy to have been able to stay in the game.”

Ken Holland caught flak from Red Wings fans as he did hand out bad contracts and sign some iffy free agents. That should not be. Ken Holland’s work speaks for it’s self. Very few general manager have the resume Holland has.

I for one am happy for Ken Holland and all he accomplished while in Detroit. His Hall of Fame nod is the icing on the cake for a job well done. As Detroit Red Wings fans wait while current GM Steve Yzerman rebuilds the team (which he will do) it is nice that the man before him gets the recognition he deserves.

With the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery Friday the Detroit Red Wings look to speed up the rebuild

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers rebuild took a big step forward following the pick of #1 overall mega player Spencer Torkelson. On Friday the Detroit Red Wings will anxiously wait to see what the ping-pong ball brings them during the draft lottery.

Alexis Lafreniere is the clear cut #1 player in this years NHL draft class. To put it another way, perhaps a bit more fresh Lafreniere is the Spencer Torkelson of the 2020 NHL Draft.

Torkelson was the best player by a long shot in the MLB draft and ended up being selected first overall by the Tigers. The same is being said about Alexis Lafreniere. He is the best player by a large margin. What would it mean for the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings?

Lafrenière,  6 foot 1, and a gifted left wing who had 35 goals and 77 assists in 52 games this season with Rimouski Océanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, a 2.15 points per game average that led the Canadian Hockey League. The 18 year old  Lafrenière starred for Canada at the World Juniors, taking home a gold medal and MVP honors on the strength of four goals and six assists in five games.

Alexis Lafrenière combines elite decision making skills and plays with a with a physical edge, fearlessly challenging opponents and finishing checks. He makes plays and scores, and has drawn praise for his willingness to go to dirty areas. Lafrenière projects as a game changer. Along the line of a generational talent.

The NHL Draft Lottery can be cruel. Just because a team may be the worst in the league that team can draft anywhere from from first to fourth depending which logo the ping-pang ball displays.

Should the Detroit Red Wings win the prized first overall draft pick, the choice will be as easy as the draft pick the Detroit Tigers made. Not only the unanimous best player, but again a generational player who can quickly make a rebuild a thing of the past and bright days ahead.

If the Red Wings are fortunate enough to land Alexis Lafrenière, fans will go crazy. Much like they did when the Detroit Tigers announced their top pick.

 

Steve Yzerman relied on patience his first year as Detroit Red Wings general manager

Embed from Getty Images It has been exactly one year since Stevie Y. came home. Home to both the city he played in and the city his family is firmly planted in Detroit. Nobody, not media, not fans, not even Steve Yzerman himself thought the job of rebuilding the Detroit Red Wings would be easy.

Before COVID-19 put the NHL on pause, the Detroit Red Wings were 17-49-5, to put it differently, the Red Wings had lost 54 of 71 games. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that is woefully bad.

39 points earned by the Red Wings is still 23 points behind the Ottawa Senators and their 62 points. with 145 goals the Detroit hockey team is proud owners of fewest goals scored in the league. While the 267 goals the porous Red Wings defense let in is good for most goals allowed.

With all the bad, Steve Yzerman said he was not surprised by the task at hand. The Detroit Red Wings are the only NHL team already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

Steve Yzerman said ” I knew what I was getting into, I think I have a general idea what it takes to build a team.” The same day Yzerman said that he also said “Patience is very difficult to sell.”

Yzerman wanted and demanded to see growth in player development in players and prospects. That has happened. The good news is while players have taken steps forward the Red Wings are in good position for the first pick in the 2020 NHL draft.

The plan is to get as many draft picks as you can, not just draft picks but high picks to increase the odds a player or players will turn into something special. That is the lot of a rebuilding team.

What remains to be seen is the fate of current Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill. Yzerman has supported the coach throughout the season. The Red Wings hold a team option for the coach. But this summer there will be several big name coaches available, Yzerman could bring in his guy.

The Detroit Red Wings have struggled in year one of Steve Yzerman’s return. They may not be a whole lot better next season. But that is okay. Remember, draft picks are what is on the horizon this season and next.

Steve Yzerman built the 2019-20 Detroit Red Wings to lose, and that’s okay

Embed from Getty Images With some nice prospects in the pipeline but more needed, Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman felt the quickest way for a turn around was icing a bad hockey team. So a tanking by design has worked well in this suspended NHL season. When the season picks back up and closes the Red Wings will know their draft lottery slot.

Quinton Byfield, Alexander Holt, Lucas Raymond, Alexis Lafreniere, there is a really good chance one of the prized prospects will be wearing a Winged Wheel after the NHL draft in June (or whatever will be the draft makeup date or month.)

Steve Yzerman was not lying when he said the Detroit Red Wings would not tank. He is dead against it. However, Yzerman did not say he would field a team (except for the young core players of Dylan Larkin, Filip Hronek, Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha) that were just not good.  In other words this seasons version of “The Yzer-plan”  was to let it sink naturally. Check.

The Red Wings and their general manager hold nine draft picks including six picks by the third round. Steve Yzerman wants to add talented young prospects and is armed to do so.

It is safe to say the Detroit Red Wings will be improved after the draft. They also will have a lot of much needed salary cap space. For a rebuilding team it is not wise to spend big money on big names. First the core players need to be identified then players can be added to give support or help the team make a playoff push.

It is a process that can seem long. That said, the Red Wings do have talent, a couple lottery drafts and they will be right back where fans expect them to be, the NHL playoffs. Yzerman said he understands what is expected in Detroit “playoffs and Stanley Cups.”

There is little doubt he will deliver. The right now is not fun. But it is fixing to be fun again. This years draft will set the tone for when the Red Wings pull out of the rebuild and begin to ascend to the top again.

After the Detroit Red Wings season concludes, the rebuild is on the shoulders of Steve Yzerman

Embed from Getty Images When he took over as the Detroit Red Wings general manager, Steve Yzerman said he needed time to evaluate the roster. That is what he has been doing this season. The organization began to rebuild before Yzerman took over. When the 2019-20 season ends, the rebuild will be on the franchises former 20 year captain. That is good news.

The Detroit Red Wings are on pace for one of the worst seasons in franchise history. The only good to come from this season is the team has really good odds of winning the NHL draft lottery.

With the Red Wings a shell of their former glory, it is time for Yzerman to get to work. The shaky roster needs a lot of tweaking. from unstable goaltending, to porous defense to a team in desperate need of forwards. Steve Yzerman has a lot of work to do. Work that can not be done all at one.

Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Robbie Fabbri, Anthony Mantha, Filip Zadina, Filip Hronek and 18 year old Moritz  Seider are players to build around. Bertuzzi and Mantha are restricted free agents and need, and will get new contracts. Robbie Fabbri who came over from a trade with the St. Louis Blues has resurrected his career and in my opinion should be brought back.

While Yzerman has given support to head coach Jeff Blashill, he also said they will review everything at the end of the season. With former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant (also a former teammate and good friend of Yzerman’s) sitting without a job, it is worth watching.

Yzerman who by his own account is not a patient person, more than likely is chomping at the bit to get moving. He is know as a very aggressive general manager throughout the NHL.

There is a very good chance the Detroit Red Wings (except the core players already listed) will look very different next season. Also, it is likely Yzerman will place either or both Justin Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen on waivers. Both players have bad contracts and have not contributed much to the team. Both players will not be claimed. But Yzerman could send them down to the minor leagues and open roster spots for prospects who could help more than the two veterans.

As the curtain is about to come down on a very bad Detroit Red Wings season the curtain is about to go up and the spotlight will be on the former captain/ current GM Yzerman. Red Wings fans are excited to see what he does.

With all four Detroit sports teams rebuilding, could the Detroit Tigers finish first

Embed from Getty Images In 2003 the Detroit Tigers lost 119 games, it was the key turning point in the late Tigers owner Mike Ilitch’s tenure. He was so embarrassed, he vowed to do more, just as he had when he turned the “Dead Things” the into Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. After last seasons 114 losses, will that be the turning point of current Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch’s tenure?

The Detroit Lions lack talent in many areas of the roster, with unproven general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia.  And the Detroit Pistons? Dwane Casey is a solid coach, but they finally chose the time is now to rebuild.

The Detroit Red Wings do have a proven general manager, who will return the Red Wings to the national stage, no one is doubting that. It will take time for Steve Yzerman to complete the task before him though.

Poor management, ownership in activity, bad contracts and bad luck, have defined the four Detroit sports teams. In my opinion it is the Detroit Tigers, have a head start.

First of all the Detroit Tigers have the most valuable commodity in their sport  young, promising pitching. The Tigers have four prospects in the MLB Pipeline’s Top 50, the franchise is as stocked as they have ever been, in route to a top 10 of farm system.

The Tigers also have something the Lions, Red Wings and Pistons do not currently have, the first pick in the draft at their sport. Last weekend Christopher Ilitch in an interview used the phrases “very competitive” and  “the fire is burning inside,” to let media and fans know how he feels about the Tigers, putting all doubt and fear aside.

As is if building the brand new Little Caesars headquarters next to Comerica Park did not send a strong enough signal. It is a short walk from his new office to the ballpark.

Christopher Ilitch is very analytical, much less emotional, probably a product of the corporate world he lives in much of the time. He speaks in measured tones but seems to be  more comfortable in the spotlight.

One thing seems for certain, the Detroit Tigers are closer to being a threat again in baseball, with the Red Wings not far behind. Ilitch says he is confident in delivering on that goal of the rebuild: “Be patient, be disciplined and we’re going to get there.”

The Yzerman effect on the Detroit Red Wings

Embed from Getty Images Do not believe it. Since taking over as Detroit Red Wings general manager, Steve Yzerman has repeatedly said he can not put a time frame on rebuilding the Red Wings into a playoff contender. Do not believe because while he is not willing to publicly say, Yzerman has a time frame. That is something you can believe in.

Steve Yzerman’s first season as Detroit Red Wings general manager has been about observing the team and the minor league teams. He even delayed naming a captain and has kept the coaching staff intact throughout a woeful Red Wings season.

While Yzerman has been true to his word about acquiring more draft picks in order to speed up the rebuild while making the Red Wings a younger team, he is also know the team has contracts coming off the books that will allow him to spend on free agents at some point and time.

Much like his time in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization, Yzerman has had a busy season, he has traveled across North America and to Europe to scout players who may be able to help the Red Wings. When Yzerman has been at home, he watches Red Wings games and practices at Little Caesars Arena.

In a bad season, players know they are being judged. Much like his playing days as 20 year captain of the Detroit Red Wings, Yzerman is still holding  guys accountable. It has to be somewhat unnerving for the players, none of the current Red Wings team was drafted by Yzerman.

Steve Yzerman said before the season started he was not going to name a captain. Just last week he said he will name a captain before next season. So there is a time frame for that.

Yzerman, said something of interest last week shortly after the 2020 NHL trade deadline, he said he put this years team together knowing they would not succeed. Why would he do that, you might be asking yourself? First the team would not have to tank, they would be bad enough to finish dead last. Second, The Detroit Red Wings core players Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha and Filip Hornek have suffered though this season, yet it could be be design. Yzerman has said he wants players with a “high compete level.”

What better way to find compete levels, than on a team destined to fail.

Steve Yzerman has a time frame for when he wants his hockey team to be rebuilt by. Even if he is not saying right now.