Embed from Getty Images During his eight years as Tampa Bay Lightning general manager, Steve Yzerman was aggressive and also progressive. Yzerman bought out Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier. He also traded star Martin St. Louis. He traded forward Jonathan Drouin, a third overall pick, for defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, swap of young talent for young talent . Yzerman oversaw NHL drafts that netted high end players such as Nikita Kucherov, Andre Vasilevskiy and Braydon Point.
When Steve Yzerman, who succeeded Ken Holland on April 19 was named Detroit Red Wings general manager, many media members and fans thought an even wrote stories that Yzerman would have an immediate impact with a series of bold moves. Fans and media braced for a significant trade, a buyout, a big name free agent signing. It did not happen.
Yzerman’s plan will not be felt until next off-season. The Yzer-plan as Red Wings fans have dubbed it. The Red Wings GM is absolutely correct taking a measured approach with a team likely to miss the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.
There are players Detroit Red Wings fans think should be bought out.
Justin Abdelkader, four years remaining at a $4.25 million cap hit, Frans Nielsen, three years at $5.25 million and Darren Helm, two years at $3.85 million. But the Red Wings do not need the salary cap space or roster spots, so the question is why would one of the top GM’s in the NHL saddle his team with dead money for the next six-to-eight years?
Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi will all need new contracts after the 2019-20 season. It is possible at that time Yzerman will choose to buy out one or more players.
Steve Yzerman used the draft this past June to make his boldest move, with the shocking selection of defenseman Moritz Seider with the sixth overall pick.
This years free agent market was thin. It was hard to see a team mid-rebuild sign top-tier players Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene or Sergei Bobrovsky. Yzerman chose more wisely. Bringing in NHL veterans on cheap two year contracts. This buys the team time for younger players and prospects to develop.
The Detroit hockey team has stockpiled young forwards. Given his history Yzerman might look to package one or two with other assets for a young defenseman.
So while it looks like he has not done much, Steve Yzerman has done a lot and done it wisely.