In another long lost season the Detroit Red Wings have some prospects who have shown improvement

As the 2021 NHL shortened season enters the regular season stretch run, Detroit Red Wings General Manager, Steve Yzerman has a lot of work to do. First Yzerman and the Red Wings scouting department are preparing for this summer’s NHL Draft. Next is the fate of head coach Jeff Blashill which Yzerman said he will address quickly after the season. But what Steve Yzerman is doing now is watching young prospects in the Detroit organization show some marked improvements.

FIlip Hronek, Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen all three players are being counted on heavily to help the Detroit Red Wings begin to look like a playoff contender again. The trio have given the team, GM and fans some good reasons to be encouraged for the Red Wings future.

A side note, None of the three players listed numbers jump off the board. That is not important! What is important is they are competing really hard, not to mention doing a lot of good things and all three have grown as players. Very important, more important than goals and assists. The goals and assists will come.

DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 04: Filip Hronek #17 of the Detroit Red Wings battles for the puck along the boards with Kyle Turris #8 of the Nashville Predators during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on November 4, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Filip Hronek, has been the Red Wings best defenseman the past couple seasons and it is not even close. Hronek has grown even more so this season and now plays with a physical edge to his game that had not been there the past couple seasons.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 22: Detroit Red Wings right wing Filip Zadina (11) takes a shot during the second period of a preseason game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings on September 22, 2019, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Filip Zadina, has also played much more more physical, and is now willing to chase down the puck and get it himself rather than wait for a teammate to pass it to him. This is exactly the kind of development that will help both Zadina and the Red Wings moving forward.

Michael Rasmussen, in a continuing theme Rasmussen has also become a much (and I do mean much) more physical player this season. The young center, is much stronger on the puck which in the past was sorely missing from his game.

As the Detroit Red Wings look for progress Hronek, Zadina and Rasmussen have shown just that. The three young players are competing and asserting themselves at a much higher level. This is encouraging!

 

The Detroit Red Wings trade Anthony Mantha to Washington for a huge haul

The 2021 NHL trade deadline had seemingly come and gone and the Detroit Red Wings had not made a move. Very odd (again seemingly) for a rebuilding team to do nothing. The 3:00 p.m. deadline past, and then at around 3:30 p.m. a bombshell was dropped that sent ripples across the NHL landscape. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman traded a player who just five months ago was thought to be a cornerstone building block, Anthony Mantha was dealt to the Washington Capitals in a blockbuster trade.

Right Wing Richard Panik, Left Wing Jakub Vrana, as well as a first round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and a second round pick in the 2022 head to Detroit from Washington for Anthony Mantha. Before we dive into just what the Red Wings are getting in Panik and Vrana understand, Steve Yzerman gets an A+ for this trade. This is a trade that will help speed up the rebuild, IF. We will also look at the IF.

First let’s look at Jakub Varna. Varna was the classic good player stuck behind other good players limiting his minutes to about 13- per game. Varana averaged more goals than Mantha even though he was behind players like Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and others.  This was a great get for Yzerman and the Red Wings.

Now for the IF. The draft picks are great to have. But as I have said from time to time, drafting players is like throwing darts at a dartboard. This is where the Detroit Red Wings scouting department must come through.

Richard Panik is a decent player, this was not a target for Yzerman. In order to make the trade happen the Red Wings took Panik which is in effect a salary dump for Washington.

Anthony Mantha had signed a contract extension back in November. He was thought to be part of the long term plans for the Red Wings. Steve Yzerman has said for a long time now that he will listen to any offer for any player something any GM should do.

DETROIT, MI – MARCH 06: Anthony Mantha #39 of the Detroit Red Wings skates up ice with the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on March 6, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Chicago 2-1. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mantha who has had consistency issues and lapses in play had frustrated Red Wings coaches. I have to believe it also frustrated Yzerman. Still Mantha has a lot of upside and perhaps he will do well in Washington.

With the trade Steve Yzerman has sent a message to the rest for the Detroit Red Wings, no player (well a select few) are off the table to be traded.

 

The Detroit Red Wings gain a fourth round draft pick as Steve Yzerman works some magic

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning were working on a trade for Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard. The two teams could not agree on a trade package because of the Lightning’s salary cap issues. That is when Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman stepped in and worked his magic.

It was reported yesterday, David Savard was going to be traded to Tampa Bay, which happened to be Steve Yzerman’s first GM job spot.  Yzerman came to the aid of both teams and a three-way trade was born.

COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 2: David Savard #58 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Boston Bruins on April 2, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The trade is a bit complex. Here is the breakdown: The Columbus Blue Jackets traded David Savard to the Red Wings and agreed to retain 50% of Savard’s cap hit. Detroit sent  Brian Lashoff to Columbus. The Red Wings then flipped Savard to Tampa Bay for a fourth round draft pick this year.

Steve Yzerman agreed to taken on 25% of Savard’s contract. The Blue Jackets meanwhile traded Lashoff to Tampa Bay and received 2021 first and second round draft pick’s basically for David Savard.

This is actually a very good and pretty shrewd move by Steve Yzerman. The Red Wings have a ton of salary cap room so to take on 25% of a contract for a player who will never (barring free agency) put on the Winged Wheel while gaining a draft pick was a easy choice to make.

The 25% that is on the books for the Red Wings comes off the books this summer. So really it is a no harm, no foul move. The real prize for the rebuilding Red Wings is the draft pick.

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 06: A general view of the draft board following the first round of the 2020 National Hockey League (NHL) Draft at the NHL Network Studio on October 06, 2020 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

This is how Yzerman was able to rebuild the Tampa Bay Lightning. He made simple yet very effective trades and moves that netted draft picks. While there are no guarantees when drafting players, the more picks a team has the more chances the team will hit on some draft picks.

This is how Steve Yzerman is rebuilding the Detroit Red Wings. It takes time but Yzerman will get the job done.

Detroit Red Wings Filip Zadina is settling in at the NHL level

Due to COVID-19 the NHL 2020-21 season is only 56 games. In games played thus far Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina has shown growth in his overall game. While his production is up and Zadina is now living closer to his pre draft status, the Red Wings believe even better days are ahead for the young  Czech Republic product.

This is the first season that the Detroit Red Wings have given Filip Zadina a chance to stick full-time with the team. Zadina has taken the opportunity to take full advantage of the Red Wings trust.

MONTREAL, QC – MARCH 12: Detroit Red Wings right wing Filip Zadina (11) skates while looking towards his right during the Detroit Red Wings versus the Montreal Canadiens game on March 12, 2019, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

While Zadina is still rounding his game into a top-six forward, he has given the Red Wings a good look at just what they have in a player who fell them three years ago. While Zadina’s goals are not eye-popping his total game is rounding out.

In 26 games played, the Red Wings have seen Filip Zadina score three goals with nine assists for 12 total points. nearly a half a point per-game. Zadina was touted as a goal scorer pre-draft. While the Red Wings believe goals will come his overall game has grown.

Filip Zadina has gotten much better in the defensive end of the ice. His forechecking has improved and the young forward is not as hesitant to jump into the mix on the boards as he was last season. Zadina has also improved on his passing.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 31: Antti Suomela #40 of the San Jose Sharks battles for position on the face off with Filip Zadina #11 of the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on December 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. The Wings defeated the Sharks 2-0. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Again, While the goals stand at just three on the season, Zadina has shown growth in other areas and has not been a liability when out on the ice. For a pure goal scorer such as Zadina the goals will come.

As for any young player in his first full season in the NHL, there is a lot to take in and responsibility to learn. Filip Zadina did not forget how to score goals. It is more likely that has been put on the back shelf while he learns other aspects of the NHL game.

Filip Zadina has shown the Detroit Red Wings enough for the organization to be excited about.

Rumor: The Detroit Red Wings could trade two young forwards

Rumors are just that, rumors. However, this seems to be one that is gaining momentum. It is widely being speculated that Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could move two of the teams young forwards. Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. While this may come as a shock to many, it should not. The Red Wings who will have much needed salary cap space would benefit further if they move Mantha or Bertuzzi or both.

First let me say that if Steve Yzerman moves Anthony Mantha and/or Tyler Bertuzzi he would have to be blown away by an offer. Both Mantha and Bertuzzi are on contracts that other teams would find attractive so money would not be an issue.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 17: Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings poses for his official headshot for the 2019-2020 season at Little Caesars Arena on September 17, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The real question is should Yzerman move the players at all? It seems like of the two players Mantha would not be moved due to his skill set. Yet that is exactly why other teams would line up for his services IF he is put on the trading block.

Tyler Bertuzzi, is a gritty players and has offensive scoring punch to go with his two-way play. Bertuzzi would be an easy trade as well. Teams would also line up for his service.

But as this rumor has gained traction what would it mean for the Red Wings? First and foremost it would be a very smart move for Yzerman if he does trade them. It would go a long way in speeding up the Red Wings rebuild. Both players would net a big returns.

This is what a rebuild looks like. Tough decisions need to be made. Steve Yzerman has done the tough decision part before when he took over as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. This would be nothing new for the seasoned Yzerman.

DETROIT – MAY 11: An octopus hangs above the ice before game one of the 2007 Western Conference finals between the Anaheim Ducks and the Detroit Red Wings on May 11, 2007 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Red Wings fans need to understand that while yes Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi are very good players. Their real value to the organization may be in the form of a trade.

 

With the 2021 NHL trade deadline approaching, the Detroit Red Wings are ready to deal

It was part of the “Yzer-plan.” That is what is lovingly referred to by Detroit Red Wings fans describing the teams rebuild under general manager Steve Yzerman. The part in question is when Yzerman signed aging defensive veteran Marc Staal and forward Bobby Ryan to one year deals. The hope was that they would play well enough for Yzerman to cash them in for draft picks. They have played well and that is good news.

News broke Thursday that Steve Yzerman has been fielding calls on both Marc Staal and Bobby Ryan, along with longtime Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening.

Luke Glendening is attractive to teams for a simple reason and a reason many team covet, he leads the league in faceoff percentage. For a team in playoff position looking to help a line out due to a weak faceoff issue, Glendening holds high value. Glendening who has been a Detroit Red Wings since the 2013-14 NHL season has been a fixture in the organization. But in a rebuild there is no room to be sentimental. Not when it come to returning the Red Wings to the playoffs.

DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 18: Bobby Ryan #54 of the Detroit Red Wings bumps gloves with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal in the 1st period of an NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on January 18, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bobby Ryan has found his scoring touch again. This is great news for the rebuilding Red Wings. Scorers generally bring in nice returns. With 5 goals and 11 assists on the season, teams will line up for his services.

That brings us to defenseman Marc Staal, who is playing very well and providing leadership for a young Red Wings team trying to find their footing. He will be a hot commodity at the deadline.

Steve Yzerman has taken calls on these three players and perhaps others. The process should be interesting to watch. In my opinion, Detroit should get good draft capital with picks as well as possibly a young prospect.

One thing is for sure, Steve Yzerman will not be short changed. He understands the league and the value his players have. Bobby Ryan and Marc Staal were never going to be Red Wings for long. Their play has now increased the odds both will be dealt.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 17: Luke Glendening #41 of the Detroit Red Wings faces off against Dylan Strome #17 of the Chicago Blackhawks during a pre-season NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on September 17, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The trade deadline is coming. The Detroit Red Wings are open for business .

 

Steve Yzerman is pleased with how the Detroit Red Wings are competing despite a losing record

The Detroit Red Wings are 5-12-3, and sitting 29th out of 31 teams in the NHL. That is not a great record. That said Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said that he is “generally pleased with the effort, competitiveness” of his hockey team. That may sound crazy, stupid or far fetched. But it really is not.

The Detroit Red Wings pushed through games in which players were out due to COVID-19. The Red Wings lost all of those games. Yet with the players on the roster the Red Wings were competitive in those losses. “It’s difficult to win with a healthy squad, and it’s a challenge when you’re not healthy,” Yzerman said.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 20: Filip Zadina #11 of the Detroit Red Wings battle for the puck with Nicolas Beaudin #74 of the Chicago Blackhawks during a pre season game at Little Caesars Arena on September 20, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Since players have been returning to the lineup the Red Wings have improved play. It is not showing in the wins and losses. It does not have to. More on that in a moment. In a lot of situations during games, The Red Wings have seen a significant step in the right direction.

From better passes to better play from the blueline (defense) to young players such as Filip Zadina showing growth in his game, the young Red Wings are actually beginning to look the part of an NHL team. This is why wins do not matter.

Much like a baby needs to learn to crawl before it can walk, hockey players need to learn what it takes to play at the highest level. This is where the Detroit Red Wings rebuild is.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – JUNE 21: Moritz Seider poses for a portrait after being selected sixth overall by the Detroit Red Wings during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)

Steve Yzerman is also aware that the organization’s top prospects are having very good seasons as well Yzerman is very pleased with the growth he has seen from Moritz Seider.

While the Red Wings record is not good. Throw that away. This season was never going to be about wins and losses. This season was getting young players to take the next step in development in order to push the rebuild forward.

That seems to be the case and Steve Yzerman is pleased.

 

Dylan Larkin named the 37th captain of the Detroit Red Wings

Being named captain of a team is an honor. It is an honor that only comes with sacrifice, dedication, hard work and leadership. Dylan Larkin a local Michigan resident from birth who played his college hockey at the University of Michigan, was drafted by the hometown Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Yesterday, Larkin took his place along some of the greatest names in NHL history and was named captain of the Detroit Red Wings.

In the rafters at Little Caesars Area are not only Championship banners but also retired jersey numbers of Red Wings legends. Ted Lindsay,  Alex Delvecchio, Sid Abel, Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom are some of the players who’s numbers are retired. They also have a common theme, those five former Red Wing players all wore the captain’s “C” .

Steve Yzerman, who is now the Red Wings general manager, yesterday announced Dylan Larkin will be the next captain of the fabled franchise. When asked what stood out to him about Larkin Yzerman stated “He stands out as a leader in his work ethic, his competitiveness, his commitment, his inner drive to be really good, to win.”

Yzerman knows first hand what is means to be captain in Detroit and for the Red Wings, he severed over 20 years as the organizations captain. As soon as he was drafted by Detroit, Dylan Larkin had been the center of much speculation that he would indeed one day be named captain.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Larkin said in a Zoom interview with media, “I understand the significance of this role. I’ve seen it, been around it, I’ve been a fan and been to games. I can’t be more honored. I try to be myself every day and I have a great support system. It doesn’t stop here. I don’t change who I am. It means so much to me.”

Dylan Larkin, becomes the first Michigander to be named captain. He follows Henrik Zetterberg as Red Wings captain. The Red Wings made the announcement on social media with a very effective picture.

 

The Detroit Red Wings are giving Anthony Mantha more responsibility

In order to stay on the ice more this season Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha has vowed to stop dropping the gloves. Mantha will not fight anymore, unless a situation calls for it. The narrative on Mantha has been if he could stay healthy, he would score 40 goals. The Detroit Red Wings also know Mantha needs to be on the ice and not the trainers room. So now after swearing off fighting the Red Wings are giving Mantha more responsibility.

At 6 foot 5 inch, 234 lb, Anthony Mantha is an imposing player. Gifted with elite speed and an elite wrist shot, Mantha is a gifted player. The Detroit Red Wings want more from Mantha, they need more from him.

The Detroit Red Wings are asking Mantha to stop goals on special teams. The Red Wings penalty kill has been lacking and they feel with the big Mantha on the ice he has the size, speed and ability to stop/block shots.

BUFFALO, NY – FEBRUARY 11: Anthony Mantha #39 of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on February 11, 2020 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Anthony Mantha said he has not been asked to work on shot blocking since his days in junior hockey seven years ago. So far in training camp Mantha has embraced his new position on the team.

Speaking of training camp, a big chunk of it is spent on special teams. Power play/penalty kill. It is the time coach’s and general managers weed out and carve who will be where with an eye on improvement over the previous season. It is that way for all hockey teams.

For the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings, it is important to identify those players early as some may find a permanent home on one of the two units or perhaps both. Anthony Mantha has been on the Red Wings power play now he will be on the ice for both special teams.

Playing on special teams means more ice time, that is good news, when factoring in Mantha’s goals scoring ability.

Detroit Red Wings Michael Rasmussen has a newly found confidence

Michael Rasmussen, was the Detroit Red Wings 2017 first-round draft pick. Playing the 2018-19 NHL season in Detroit, because the only other option was playing junior hockey. Rasmussen, struggled that season in Detroit. He would have been better off playing in Grand Rapids with the Griffins if that was in the cards.

Last season due to the pandemic, Michael Rasmussen played just 35 games for the Griffins, as did every AHL player. Sitting idle for long periods of time is not ideal for young players.  Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman lent the young center to a team in Austria this past fall.

It was in Austria that Rasmussen flashed the talent he is projected to have in the NHL. In 18 games played, Michael Rasmussen had 5 goals and 18 points. Along the way to becoming a point a game player at least in Austria, Rasmussen found his confidence.

Now in the mix for a roster spot with the Red Wings, Rasmussen entered training camp in the best shape of his career to date. Adding a little muscle, the young Red Wings prospect said he feels like he is in game shape and credits playing in Austria as the primary reason why.

Since being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings, fans want Michael Rasmussen’s development to happen at a faster rate, forgetting he is only 21 years old. Rasmussen is a big piece in the Red Wings future.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – SEPTEMBER 12: Michael Rasmussen #27 of the Detroit Red Wings poses for his official headshot for the 2019-2020 season at Center Ice Arena on September 12, 2019 in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rasmussen is a  6 foot 6 inch, 220 lbs center who is strong around the net and understands how to use his size and strength, for a young player he is not afraid to block shots as well.

Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill believes Rasmussen can be a shutdown center. Meaning he can face other teams best and hold his own. That is critical for the Red Wings moving forward to have a trusted center.

Early injuries  impacted Rasmussen at the junior and pro level. He is now mentally stronger and has overcome injuries, that is a big part of player development.

The Detroit Red Wings are looking and need more scoring depth. With a newly found confidence, Michael Rasmussen could provide the team what is sorely needs.