Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has a looming decision on head coach Jeff Blashill

The Detroit Red Wings have finished another losing season. Rebuilds can be brutal. While development of young players is critical, at some point losses must turn into wins. Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill who has been the ire of the Red Wings fans everywhere for sometime now takes center stage for his job security. A short time ago, Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said he would address that quickly.

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)

There has been some improvement from the Detroit Red Wings play. I pointed this out not long ago. The questions that only Steve Yzerman is faced with are:

  1. Was there enough improvement show to merit bringing Jeff Blashill back for another season or more?
  2. Is Blashill a coach who can get the Red Wings to the next level?

While no one is sure which direction Yzerman is leaning and will go, all eyes are on this situation. If Blashill is relieved of his coaching duties who are some options Steve Yzerman could turn to?

I would have to imagine Yzerman would at the very least would put in a call to his former teammate Gerard Gallant. Gallant has maintained a win percentage of .523 or better and has one trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Perhaps, Yzerman could call former Michigan State Spartan hockey player and current head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind’Amour who’s team has this seasons best record and Brind’Amour is 111-63-15  since being named Hurricanes head coach.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 06: Head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings watches the play from the bench during an NHL, home opening night game against the Dallas Stars at Little Caesars Arena on October 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are other quality coaches that are out there. Again until Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings announce a press conference it is all just a guess. When the time comes for whatever is going to happen with the head coach it will kick off a very busy offseason for Yzerman ands the Red Wings.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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.

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.

 

With a new contract extension, the Detroit Red Wings Anthony Mantha needs to stay healthy

Anthony Mantha was always part of the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings future plans. A gifted two way forward, Mantha has value to the young Red Wings core. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman handed Mantha a new contract yesterday, it is the largest deal Yzerman has handed out in his time in Detroit.

The Detroit Red Wings and Anthony Mantha reached a  four year deal with an annual average value of $5.7 million. Making Mantha the second highest paid player on the team behind center (and line mate) Dylan Larkin at $6.1 AAV.

For all of Anthony Mantha’s scoring prowess, the thing that has held Mantha back from becoming the feared  player the Red Wings believe he can be, it is the fact Mantha has been marred by injuries.

A couple of weeks ago Steve Yzerman said that he felt good about getting a deal done with Mantha who was a RFA (restricted free agent.) The deal is the first Yzerman has handed out longer than two years.

DETROIT, MI – MARCH 08: Anthony Mantha #39 of the Detroit Red Wings watches the action from the bench against the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on March 8, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Tampa Bay 5-4 in a shootout. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Anthony Mantha can score goals by the bunches. With a history of injuries knee injury, punctured lung, broken hand just to name a few that has robbed both Mantha and the Red Wings from having his full-time help on the ice.

Of the new contract Mantha said  he feels the responsibility on his shoulders, that come with a new contract which include higher expectations. Yzerman has confirmed by the deal that he fully expects Mantha to be part of the long-term plans of the Red Wings organization and he also expects Mantha will do his part to stay on the ice, as well as help young players as the arrive in Detroit while helping the team come out of the rebuild phase.

This is the right move by the Detroit front office headed by general manager Steve Yzerman. Mantha is a young player who has shown more than enough flashes of what he brings to the table.

Now Mantha has to go show that he can live up to the new deal.

 

The Detroit Red Wings are in position to make big moves next offseason

The Detroit Red Wings have just eight players under contract beyond this season. Only Red Wings center Dylan Larkin is signed through 2022-23. What does that mean for Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman? It means the Red Wings will have a blank slate, tons of cap room and a lot of time and space to make big plans after the 2020-21 season concludes.

By large the Detroit Red Wings were one of the NHL’s offseason winners via free agency. The ever savvy Yzerman spent money on solid players on short one and two year deals. Players that given their track record he can flip at the trade deadline for more assets.

With Steve Yzerman now spearheading the Detroit Red Wings rebuild, he attracts free agents. That has never been a problem for the Red Wings mind you. But now the organization can pick the best free agents with nothing on the salary cap.

When he returned to Detroit, Yzerman preached patience. Not because the GM thought it would take years, but rather because Yzerman was willing to wait until contracts either ended or became tradable or the time was right for a buyout . That was the right course of action to take. It now has the Red Wings smelling the roses.

DETROIT, MI – APRIL 09: Former Detroit Red Wing Steve Yzerman #19 enters a ceremony honoring Joe Louis Arena on April 9, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Red Wings beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 in the last NHL game at the arena. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Something else to watch is how Yzerman views the RFA (restricted free agents) market as well. Part of the reason an offer sheet has not come the last few weeks of this offseason is a because a handful of teams that could make offers do not have the draft picks to give if an offer should be accepted. That is not an issue for Detroit who has nine draft picks next summer and will undoubtedly have more once the trade deadline comes and goes this season.

As for NHL general managers most  lack the ability to do anything. It is not so much that they would not, they simply can not due to salary cap issues. Their teams are handcuffed.

That is not the case for the Red Wings and Steve Yzerman.

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman speaks

He does not do it often, yet when he does fans and media tend to stop and listen. Steve Yzerman general manager of the Detroit Red Wings seldom offers glimpses into how he runs his team. He prefers to just do it. This past week Yzerman sat down for a ZOOM  call and actually laid out some of his vision for the future of the Red Wings as well as how he and his staff will approach the 2020 NHL draft.

This is one of the busiest times for NHL GM’s. The 2020 draft is next Tuesday with free agency to follow October 9. Through it all Steve Yzerman is not going to alter how he approaches building the Red Wings back into a playoff contender.

“Our plan right now is to draft and try accumulate, or add, additional picks along the way. Draft, be patient, and hopefully we draft well,” Yzerman said. The Detroit Red Wings GM is looking to build a solid nucleus around some of the young Red Wings talent already in Detroit.

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 Red Wings in the middle of a rebuild, they are not targeting specific position groups in the draft. At this point, they simply want to add the best prospects available.

The Red Wings were the worst team in the NHL last season and the organizations reward is the fourth overall first round draft pick, due to a faulty NHL lottery system that needs overhauled.

Even picking fourth, there is a fairly deep pool of talented prospects available in top half of the first round, the Red Wings will likely get a player who eventually will help them at No. 4 overall. Be it a year or five years.

Cole Perfetti, Marco Rossi and Lucas Raymond, and defensemen Jamie Drysdale and Jake Sanderson all have been linked to the Detroit hockey team. This is how Yzerman will draft and how he runs his team during a rebuild. Collect as many draft picks as you can. Detroit has three second round draft picks this year.

Collect talent and hope you strike gold on some of them. Steve Yzerman has a history of striking gold with later draft picks.

The Detroit Red Wings could be in position to be buyers

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has never had a problem working the phone when it comes to upgrading the teams he has been in charge of. The Red Wings with $43 million in cap space available and the NHL salary cap expected to stay at $81.5 million Yzerman could look to make a deal or two.

With only Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha needing new deals, the Detroit Red Wings will have enough money to sign a player or two to help begin to bring the Red Wings play back to a more respectable level.

NHL teams such as the Washington Capitols, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues who were beaten in the NHL playoffs and some others could look to to moves players in an attempt to shake up current rosters.

There is little doubt as Yzerman and the rest of the Red Wings organization waits for prospects to develop, he will be looking to upgrade the roster to help the continued growth of Dylan Larkin, Matha, Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek and a couple of others.

Bringing in savvy veterans be it by trade or free agent signings, will go a long way to help the Detroit Red Wings rebuild. Yzerman, has typically been able to get players to sign for reasonable deals in both term and length. That said it is possible the Detroit GM looks for a player who will be around longer than one to two years.

While the Red Wings rebuild presses on, steps need to be taken to ensure it is done properly. Steve Yzerman understands this and will make his off season to-do list with the intention of being smart with the cap space while improving the roster with an eye on the future. Even if that is to sign a player for three or four years.

This is a big off season for the Detroit Red Wings. It is time to begin to add a player or two, perhaps more to keep the Red Wings moving forward. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

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.