With the Detroit Red Wings looking for a new head coach here are some names to know

With Jeff Blashill not having his contract renewed, the Detroit Red Wings are in the market for a new head coach. General Manager, Steve Yzerman said he will look everywhere until he finds the right fit. The NHL is a league of retreads. Unlike other sports, NHL teams have never been shy about bringing in a coach who has been in the league. So which direction will Yzerman go? That is anyone’s guess. Here is a list of names to know.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 16: Rick Tocchet 2021 Flyer Hall of Fame inductee speaks at a press conference prior to his pregame ceremony at an NHL game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Calgary Flames at the Wells Fargo Center on November 16, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rick Tocchet, who has a history with Steve Yzerman as the two played against each other. Tocchet has worked with rebuilding teams before so that is a plus. Tocchet also has  three Stanley Cup rings (1 as a player and 2 as a coach.)

The Red Wings were by all accounts a “soft” hockey team. If Yzerman wants to instill grit and toughness in his young team then a coach who could fit the bill is John Tortorella. ‘Torts” as he is known as, is abrasive and demanding which is why he has enjoyed success. Tortorella has finished .500 with every team he has coached.

Now we come to two coach’s who would be a bit of a stretch, but this is Steve Yzerman. The same Steve Yzerman who gave a lawyer (Jon Cooper) a head coaching job and has lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. Both coach’s are former Detroit Red Wings and teammates of Yzerman.

TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 06: Sergei Fedorov takes part in a press conference at the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum on November 6, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Fedorov will be inducted into the Hall on November 9, 2015. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Sergei Fedorov, who is the head coach of CSKA Moscow and who won the championship. It was Fedorov’s first season behind the bench. While I do not see Fedorov as a legit candidate simply because he needs more seasoning behind the bench, Yzerman’s former line mate could be an attraction of sorts.

Another former teammate and winner of three Stanley Cup Championships in Detroit is “The Professor,” as he is known as, Igor Larionov. Larionov was part of the legendary “Russian Five.”

Named by teammates “The Professor” because he studied the game like few others and has a very good philosophy and understands the game like a coach who has been in the NHL for years. Not that Larionov will get the job, but he fits the bill almost perfectly. He has made no bones about the fact he wants to be a head coach.

Again, no one knows what is going through Steve Yzerman’s mind. He could bring in a retread or go his own way.

Drop a comment and let me know who you think the next Detroit Red Wings head coach should be.

 

Are Moritz Seider and Simon Edvinsson destined to be a top line pairing for the Detroit Red Wings

Just three short years ago the Detroit Red Wings lower levels were in near shambles as a result of the Red Wings 25 year playoff run. Enter Steve Yzerman who when he took over as general manager said one of his first orders of business was to build up the lower levels. The Red Wings were void of any real defensive prospects, but that has changed. The Detroit Red Wings now boast of some of the best defensive prospects in all of hockey. That said the team looks set to have a solid tandem on the top line for some time.

Words can not express just how good defensemen Moritz Seider was this season for the Red Wings. In his rookie season Seider, played in all 82 games and was the best defensive player on the ice for the Red Wings, 7 goals, 43 assists and and eye popping 50 points has landed Seider as the odds on favorite to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie.

Seider was much more than numbers for the Red Wings. He was a physical presence on a team that did not have many. Seider also pushed the tempo for the Red Wings when leading the rush up ice.

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – JULY 23: With the sixth pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings select Simon Edvinsson during the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Simon Edvinsson, really took a big step in his development this season playing in the Swedish Hockey League. Edvinsson is a good skater with excellent hands. Where he really improved was in the defensive end. Edvinsson learned to use his large frame to his advantage.

When I say large frame, both Moritz Seider and Simon Edvinsson are 6′ 4″. Steve Yzerman has a history of drafting big defensive players who can push tempo, that are also a physical presence and can help out on both the power play and penalty kill.

It was Yzerman who during his time as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, pushed for Victor Hedman to win a roster spot. The 6′ 6″ Hedman is one of the NHL’s best defensive players year in and year out.

DETROIT, MI – MARCH 22: Moritz Seider (53) of the Detroit Red Wings and Oskar Lindblom (23) of the Philadelphia Flyers battle for position during the second period of an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on March 22, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

So are Moritz Seider and Simon Edvinsson the future top line defensive pairing for the Detroit Red Wings? It sure looks like it. Red Wings fans should be excited for the future of the Detroit blueline. There are some very good players being developed and it starts with Seider and Edvinsson.

 

Drafting #8 overall, the Detroit Red Wings will land elite talent

As many of you who read this blog know by this time, I can not stand mock drafts. I have never been shy about that fact. That said the NHL Draft lottery has found the Detroit Red Wings slotted at #8 overall. Heading into his fourth season as Red Wings GM, Steve Yzerman has yet to draft first overall. That is okay, as he has built the Red Wings pipeline up and it is currently ranked #2. That is why picking #8 is not a big deal. So who could the Red Wings be looking at? Let’s take a closer look.

The 2022 NHL Draft does not have a ton of elite defensive talent to choose from. If a team needs a winger or center, this is a very good draft. After Dylan Larkin who is the teams top line center and Joe Veleno who took positive steps in his development and looks to be a third line center, the Red Wings have a need at that position.

Three players come to mind who I really believe can help Detroit sooner than later. The first is Danila Yurov, right wing (RW) Russia, A smooth skater with speed. Yurov has no trouble going end-to-end and is blessed with a great shot. He could compete for a roster spot in training camp if selected by Detroit.

Next is a player that would have to slide a bit for the Red Wings to nab and it is center, Matt Savoie. This is a highly skilled center and could very well find himself in Detroit and wind up on the second line. With outstanding stickhandling and puck control, excellent vision, great passer and elite goal scorer, Savoie would be my first choice, but I am not Steve Yzerman nor is there any way to tell if he would be there at #8.

My third choice for the Red Wings is a player that played through a shoulder injury and saw his production drop, but is still a great young player. Joakim Kemell, RW, his skating needs cleaned up that said, Kemell is a pure sniper, his one-timer is absolutely lethal and the best in the draft. Kemell is also a very skilled playmaker. If you need a player Kemell sort of resembles I’d say Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine is close.

Steve Yzerman is his own man. He has rebuilt the Red Wings future with excellent scouting and great draft picks. I believe this is the year he drafts for need and not best player at the draft slot. The Detroit Red Wings need more high end scoring and this is a draft that can go a long way in helping that deficit.

Drop a comment and let me have you choice for the Red Wings first round draft pick.

 

Detroit Red Wings season review

With another playoff-less season in the books, all was not lost during the 2021-22 Detroit Red Wings campaign. One thing that marred the Red Wings was inconsistent play throughout the season. Detroit played well until the All-Star break and then the wheels fell off, the Red Wings are now looking for a new head coach and to get back on track. Again all was not lost.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – APRIL 03: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his third period goal against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on April 03, 2022 in Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)

For the Detroit Red Wings some players took a step forward. Dylan Larkin became a 30 goal scorer and a point-per game player. Tyler Bertuzzi scored 30 goals, Jakub Vrana spent most of the season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery played in the final 26 games and scored 13 goals. Rookie forward, Lucas Raymond was as advertised scoring 23 goals with 57 points. Rookie defensemen Moritz Seider was an impact player in the defensive end and had 50 points.

Those are the highs. The lows are well low. The team lacked consistent play all around. Some players took a clear step backwards (Filip Hronek, Filip Zadina, Danny DeKeyser to name a few.)

I thought Dylan Larkin brought up a very good, very interesting point during his end of the year interview. The Detroit Red Wings captain said there was next to no on-ice communicating going on during games. This is not the first time Larkin has mentioned this.

No players interacting and helping each other out seems odd. It must be addressed by the next head coach. Communication during games on ice MUST take place or the Red Wings will not find traction, it’s that simple.

One player who I felt took a big step forward this season was center Michael Rasmussen. It was more than his 15 goals, 27 points. Rasmussen really looked better in the defensive end and battling for the puck. He became more of a presence in both ends of the ice.

General manager Steve Yzerman has some important details to work on this offseason. Both Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi need new contracts and Yzerman has said he wants to sign both. The team has plenty of cap space to do that.

Yzerman must address the Detroit blueline. The defensive unit that completely fell apart as the season went on. Scoring was not as big a problem however, like many NHL team the Red Wings could use some more scoring.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 09: Lucas Raymond (23) of the Detroit Red Wings skates up ice with the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period of an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on April 9, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. Columbus defeated Detroit 5-4 in O.T. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Yzerman hinted that he would be using the allotment of cap space for free agents. This is a big summer for the Detroit Red Wings.

What’s next for the Detroit Red Wings after the coaching staff has been fired

In the eye’s of general manager, Steve Yzerman the Detroit Red Wings had regressed this season to the point that head coach Jeff Blashill and his coaching staff have been relieved of their duties. Now Yzerman must open a coaching search to see if the Red Wings can get back to moving forward. Yzerman is unsure what he wants in terms of a new coach, just that a new voice, new coach are needed at this time in order to turn the organization around.

 

DETROIT, MI – FEBRUARY 18: Head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings watches the action from the bench against the Montreal Canadiens during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on February 18, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. The Wings defeated the Canadiens 4-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Steve Yzerman said the Red Wings have some talented players, in his very next breath the GM said they all need to play better. Steve Yzerman said he is going to look everywhere at coaching possibilities and that he will find the right person.

As the 2021-22 NHL regular season came to and end it marked Yzerman’s third as general manager of the Red Wings. When asked where in the rebuild he feels the team is he said “We are the end of year three and heading into year four.” Yzerman went on to say there is no timeline as to when the rebuild will be over and the team will be playoff ready.

The plan as Yzerman laid out is to continue to draft well and to try to sway free agents to Detroit. Yzerman also said  that he had conversations with Jeff Blashill about the defense not playing well. He did quickly say part of it was personnel but overall Yzerman saw no improvement with rookie Moritz Seider being an exception.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 16: A view of the logo of the Detroit Red Wings on a player’s jersey during an NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 16, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Steve Yzerman has been blunt in his assessment of players and the coaching staff. Simply put he expects more from both sides. He sounded frustrated as he began assessing but he is determined to get his hockey team where it needs to be.

In my opinion, Steve Yzerman is right in parting ways with Jeff Blashill. A new voice is needed in the locker room and in players ears. Detroit Red Wings fans took to social media to offer thoughts on who they would like to see as the next head coach.

I will not take part in this, only to say I trust Yzerman to find the right coach.

Final thoughts on the 2022 Detroit Lions draft class

Six defensive players drafted, while only two offensive players were selected. With that the Detroit Lions and general manager Brad Holmes concluded the 2022 NFL Draft. So what gives? The rebuilding Lions have needs up and down the roster, which Holmes drafted some of those areas of need and rather masterfully. The Lions defense definitely got a boost. The offense while needing some upgrades was and is in better shape.

Ranking 31st in scoring defense and 29th in total defense in 2021-22 made upgrading the unit paramount. I do not believe for one moment Brad Holmes and the rest of the Detroit Lions front office walked into team headquarters in Allen Park with the mindset of drafting six players on the defensive side of the ball. I do believe as the draft was taking shape and players fell to them they made the call.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE SEPTEMBER 11: Jackson State DE James Houston was selected in the 6th round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Houston had a prolific year during his final season of play at Jackson State University after transferring from the Florida Gators. He finished the season with 16.5 sacks, named SWAC Newcomer of the Year and also named to the SWAC First Team Defense. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU University Communications/Jackson State University via Getty Images)

Needing a lot of help at edge rusher the Lions selected three (Aiden Hutchinson, Josh Paschal and James Houston.) Needing both help and depth in the secondary Holmes found two to his liking (Kerby Joseph, safety and Chase Lucas cornerback.) for good measure Holmes drafted linebacker Malcolm   Rodriguez to round out the defensive draft picks.

Only wide receiver Jameson Williams and tight end James Mitchell were selected for the offensive which may be telling of how the Lions brass feel about the offensive side of the ball. In a lackluster quarterback draft, the Lions will ride Jared Goff once again, which is not a bad thing.

Brad Holmes once again did a masterful job at addressing needs. As the dust settles on the 2022 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions are a better football team. The team now has edge rushers who can get to the quarterback. The secondary looks more solid while the linebackers are still a bit weak. You simply can not fix every area in one draft.

The Lions offense looks to be able to make things uncomfortable on opponents. Jameson Williams once he returns (rehabbing from a torn ACL) gives the Lions the deep threat they have been missing, which should help the running backs and with play action.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 01: Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 1, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

All and all, this was a very good draft for Brad Holmes and the rest of the Detroit Lions front office. I don’t like to give out grades as the proof is on the field. But a knee- jerk  grade would be a solid A.

Drop a comment and let me know what you think of the Detroit Lions draft class.

The Detroit Lions add more defense Day two of the 2022 NFL Draft

A defensive ranking of between 29th-31st depending on who you read is not good. To say the Detroit Lions needed help on the defensive side of the ball is like saying water is wet. Lions general manager Brad Holmes has insisted since becoming GM he was going to build his team through the draft. Three of the Lions first four draft picks have been defense. Here is what happened day two of the 2022 NFL Draft.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 14: A detailed view of a Detroit Lions helmet prior to a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 14, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Selecting Aiden Hutchinson with the second pick in the first round meant the Detroit Lions wanted to get more of a pass rush, something they have sorely been missing. With the teams second round pick Brad Holmes selected Josh Paschal from the University of Kentucky. Another edge rusher.

Being a stout player, Josh Paschal is tough to handle. Paschal is very good against the run most experts say that he has the ability to develop into a solid pass rusher. What may have attracted the Lions to Paschal is the fact he lined up all over the defensive line while at Kentucky, so he has proven to be versatile.

NFL draft experts either liked the pick or loved the pick. I loved the pick, to me this was Brad Holmes saying “we are going to get to the quarterback come hell or high water.”

Now the Lions defensive line is armed with Charles Harris, Alim McNeil, Levi Onwuzurike, Aiden Hutchinson and Josh Paschal, this should give the Lions a better pass rush.

Not done and needing a safety very badly the Lions drafted Kerby Joseph from the University of Illinois. This is a draft pick I feel the Lions got some good value on. Joseph has very good range, he had five  interceptions this past season which paved the way for an All Big-Ten Honor.

EAST HARTFORD, CT – SEPTEMBER 07: UConn Huskies wide receiver Heron Maurisseau (80) gets stopped for a short gain by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Kerby Joseph (25) during the game between the Illinois Fighting Illini and the UConn Huskies played on September 07, 2019 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, CT. (Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kerby Joseph is a bit of a ball hawk. He seemed to always be around the ball and has very good instincts. He does need help in supporting the run better, and the Lions coaching staff believes he will get there.

Brad Holmes and the Detroit Lions are having another good draft. What should excite the Lions fan base is that Holmes is bent on improving the defense, which he has done through two days.

Drop a comment and give me your day 2 thoughts.

Looking at the Detroit Lions first two draft picks

Brad Holmes, Detroit Lions general manager is a man of his word. Leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft Holmes said he was looking for impact players, who could step in from day 1 and make the Lions a better football team. Thursday night’s round one of the draft saw Holmes make good on that. Selecting Michigan Wolverines defensive end/ edge rusher Aiden Hutchinson and then trading up to draft Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams.

CLEVELAND, OH – NOVEMBER 21: A Detroit Lions helmet on the sideline during the second quarter of the National Football League game between the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns on November 21, 2021, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Defensive standout Aiden Hutchinson does not have to move far. The Detroit native is staying in Detroit and said he wanted to be a Detroit Lion from the beginning of the draft process. By all accounts the feeling was mutual. Many NFL experts said the Lions had Hutchinson at the top of their draft board.

In Hutchinson the Detroit football team gets a player who is relentless and plays with a high motor every snap. The team who lacked a consistent pass rush now have a player who at Michigan was very consistent in the pass rush.

With a select few elite edge rushers in the draft, Hutchinson was widely considered the safest pick. The Detroit Lions defense got better with the selection, and yes there is still more work to be done. Drafting Aiden Hutchinson was a excellent start to the draft.

Next one of the Lions more pressing need was at wide receiver. Brad Holmes rolled the dice if you will by trading out of pick #32 and moving up to #12 to take Jameson Williams from Alabama. Williams who tore his ACL is already running. One can only be lead to think the Lions talked with Williams doctors and all is good.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 28: (L-R) Jameson Williams poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell onstage after being selected 12th by the Detroit Lions during round one of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Speed, speed and more speed, this is what Jameson Williams brings to the Lions. Wide receiver was a big issue last season and a rash of injuries at the position did not help. Now suddenly armed with Williams, D.J. Chark and Amon-Ra St. Brown, the Lions wide receivers look dangerous.

All and all, it was a tremendous first night for the Detroit Lions. Brad Holmes was aggressive in moving up, but not overly so. Heading into day 2 of the NFL Draft the Detroit Lions are a better football team.

Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts on the Detroit Lions two first round draft picks.

Detroit Lions 2022 player to watch: LB Derrick Barnes

The Detroit Lions front office just had to have him last year, so the team traded up and drafted linebackers Derrick Barnes out of the University of Purdue. It seemed at the time a bit of a daring move as Barnes was projected by some as a special teams player. Give Lions GM, Brad Holmes and his scouting department some credit, Derrick Barnes turned out to be better than his projection.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 17: Derrick Barnes #55 of the Detroit Lions breaks up a pass intended for Drew Sample #89 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at Ford Field on October 17, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Derrick Barnes is one of my Detroit Lions players to watch this coming NFL season. While it is true that Barnes played with a lower snap count as a rookie last season, he did actually perform well. Barnes posted 67 tackles 4 for a loss. The coaching staff brought the linebacker along slowly mostly due to defensive scheme and substitutions.

Derrick Barnes showed quickness sideline to sideline, as well as attacking the line of scrimmage. He dropped back into zone coverage well and was able to cover both tight ends and running backs.

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell wanted and wants players who attack and are around the ball. Barnes checks those boxes. A strong argument can be made that no Lions linebacker looked better in pass coverage than Barnes, and he is a inside linebacker.

For a closer look at what the future holds for Barnes and the Lions defense, just look back at the game against the Cincinnati Bengals. In a bad loss, Derrick Barnes stood out.

With LB, Jalen Reeves-Maybin leaving via free agency the door is wide open for Barnes to earn more snaps. While the young linebacker did have some wrong reads last season he showcased enough to suggest he is ready to take the next step for the Lions this coming season.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 19: A.J. Green #18 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball against Derrick Barnes #55 of the Detroit Lions in the third quarter at Ford Field on December 19, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Both Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell having talked about changing the culture in Detroit by bringing in hard nosed players who want to win. Once again Derrick Barnes checks that box.

The Detroit Lions should not add Baker Mayfield and or Deebo Samuel

Detroit Lions general manager, Brad Holmes told the media and the Lions fan base at his introductory press conference that he intended to build the core of his roster through the NFL Draft. Holmes cautioned this would take some time without putting a timeline on the roster restructure. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has asked for a trade as the Browns have brought in  Deshaun Watson to call plays. In San Francisco wide receiver/ running back, Deebo Samuel has asked for a trade due to being over used and wanting to lineup just at receiver. The Detroit Lions should stay away from both players, here is why.

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 26: Detroit Lions helmets in the bench area prior to the week 16 NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons on December 26, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

If the Detroit Lions were closer to the end of a rebuild and ready to compete for division titles and playoff spots, then trading for either Samuel and or Mayfield could make some sense. After all both players are young and talented.

Jared Goff the current Detroit Lions quarterback is and should be the stopgap quarterback until the team is ready to draft a QB (which could happen in this years draft.) Baker Mayfield who’s character has come into question is better suited to call plays elsewhere in my opinion as Lions head coach Dan Campbell is still building the culture he wants.

Deebo Samuel is talented. There is not question, and no debate about it. While the Detroit Lions do have a need at the wide receiver position, does it make sense to either give up draft picks as well as then sign Samuel to a $20-$30 million per-year contact for a team that is not close (at this time) to winning?

Back to the comments Brad Holmes not only made but continues to bring up, building through the draft. Everyone likes quick fixes, I know I do. But in sports quick fixes are the equivalent of a band-aid. Meaning there is still much work to do to stop the bleeding of losing.

Holmes also said that the organization needs as much draft capital as they can get. Trading Matthew Stafford to the Ram last offseason helped the Lions acquire precious first round draft picks in 2022 and 2023. Judging by his comments made a few days ago, Holmes does not sound thrilled with the rising costs at the receiver position.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 02: A detail view of a NFL Crest logo is seen during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 2, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That cost would not only be in money form, but if they traded for a player like Deebo Samuel it would surely cost at least one if not two first round draft picks. This is a retooling of a roster that has needed one in the worst way. I echo what Brad Holmes said the proper way is to build is through the draft and not rush by costing the team draft capital and salary cap space.

Drop a comment and let me know what you think of the Lions plan to build through the draft.