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Brian Burke On The Recent Moves By Steve Yzerman

from Mark Falkner of the Detroit News,

While on his book tour last week to promote "Burke's Law: A Life in Hockey," the 65-year-old Burke said Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is fast becoming the NHL's Mr. Fix-It after a last-place 17-49-5 season.

"He's MacGyver," Burke said of Yzerman, who signed free-agent forwards Bobby Ryan and Vladislav Namestnikov, defensemen Jon Merrill and Troy Stecher and goalie Thomas Greiss last week. The week before, he acquired defenseman Marc Staal and a 2021 second-round draft pick for future considerations.

"He's overhauled that team completely all on short-term deals," Burke continued. "No headlines, just solid signings. Bobby Ryan, who I drafted. Jon Merrill, who we tried to draft but he hit the gap on us. Stecher is a really good right-shot defenseman. Bringing back (Sam) Gagner, Namestnikov who I love. Greiss, Staal. In my mind, they are dramatically better than a year ago. It's sheer genius."

read on ($$$)

added 3:02pm, if you are interested in the sweater numbers for the new players...

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OlderThanChelios's avatar

It’s sheer genius.

Shhhh. Don’t anyone tell Murray about this. It will shatter his Yzerholland 2.0 fantasy.  LOL

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/22/20 at 03:25 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/22/20 at 03:25 PM ET

I was thinking the same exact thing

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 10/22/20 at 04:35 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

He’s made a last-place 17 win team with 5-6 guys rolling off the books, and frankly out of hockey, and the most available cap space in the league… better.  Genius. I’m sure he sleeps at a Holiday Inn as well.

If he didn’t improve the team next year and his name wasn’t a god in this town, wouldn’t he be fired?

You guys misunderstand me, don’t label me anti-yzerman.  I was expecting upper echelon GMing from Yzerman, elite, wow, maybe 1 more Staal move. I don’t hate any of these moves individually, this is fine, I just don’t like the quantity of the moves, that he didn’t take more advantage of the cap space we have to secure more prospects and talent vs. bringing in a bunch of lineup fillers.  His first two years have been a page out of the old Ken Holland playbook complete with bringing in “his guys” who were washed up/ineffective in Filpulla and Erne, a trade that appears to be a nice prospect for failed player we didn’t qualify in Perlini, and pushing a 1st round pick off the roster before he had a chance to play.

The real judgement of his ability will be his success in drafting and I have a lot more trust in Yzerman and team on that clock than the last GM, and many in the league for that matter.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/22/20 at 05:13 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Now we all agree with Brian Burke? Whatever fits the narrative I guess

Posted by ilovehomers on 10/22/20 at 06:07 PM ET


The Wings have almost $19m in cap space, and there are still teams who need to move salary to resign their key players.  Re-signing Mantha and Bertuzzi will probably eat up half of it, but that still leaves plenty of room to take on another bad contract or two.  We could still see the Wings acquire more assets for helping someone else clean up their cap mess.

Posted by MikeO on 10/23/20 at 08:11 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Posted by ilovehomers on 10/22/20 at 06:07 PM ET

You seem angry

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 10/23/20 at 08:34 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I don’t disagree with Burke exactly I guess, but I don’t fully agree with him either.

As a fan, Yzerman *seems* to be doing some good things.  We don’t know if all these extra draft picks will actually mean or net anything, nor do we actually know if Yzerman’s drafting is actually any better than Holland’s regime.  We don’t yet know how many of guys like Ryan, Stetcher, Merrill, Namestnikov, etc, will be duds like Yzerman did last year with Perlini and Comrie, or if any of them can be Fabbri.

So I think there’s some over-optimism among some at this point.  There’s a tendency in the off-season especially to make everyone either binary WINNERS or LOSERS with no gray area in-between.

It seems like Yzerman could end up more on the winner side.  But at this point I’m jaded enough that I want proof the cake isn’t a lie before I am willing to truly praise the cake…

Posted by Primis on 10/23/20 at 08:46 AM ET


I think we can say, whether the five guys signed plus Staal
really overperform or disappoint a little, they are all at least
legit NHL players. They add a little bit of value to a lineup
whereas the guys departing were all major drags at least
in their final season(s).

And the fact a number of younger players will be spending the season
or almost all of it abroad means it made some sense to bring in an
extra veteran or two.

Guys like Stecher and Namestnikov may even have a future
with the team longer term.

That a bunch of guys who are legit NHL players wanted to sign
in Detroit, after the season we just had, and they didn’t have to be
bribed in salary or term or both to do so, is great in and of itself in a lot
of practical ways. But it also helps set a standard and positive atmosphere:
this team is on the way up and optimism is rising. That’s good for the younger
payers on the team and in terms of attracting other veterans next Summer on
similar short-term, reasonable salary deals.

Who knows how many of these players there will be a market to flip, but at least
a couple probably. And Stevie can go back and sign a couple more flippable players and get assets for another bad contract or two.

As for now, a lot of teams are still in cap trouble.
Tampa *has to* move multiple players and will have to pay to do so.
They aren’t the only ones either.

Maybe Burke is being a little hyperbolic and, sure, he’s not
been infallible himself. But what we can say is Stevie Y has a plan
and is beginning to execute it effectively. We can criticize spending a
4th on Erne and trading Regula for Perlini. But I don’t see one bad
move this postseason. The one thing I wonder about is if Svechnikov and
guys like Smith and Rasmussen will have a place to play and improve,
in Detroit or otherwise. But I think Stevie has shown: he will waive and cut loose
unproductive veterans at a rate Holland wouldn’t.

And one last thing: I know no one hits on most of their picks and it’s
not reasonable to whine about how we didn’t draft so and so who went later
(when virtually every other team made the same mistake in not drafting that player).
But Holland and his scouts’ record in drafting was just not good enough for two
many years. You can’t contend or rebuild repeatedly making major mistakes in the first and second rounds. Time will tell with this draft and the last one for sure.
But Tampa had a mostly impressive record drafting and Detroit’s over the same period wasn’t as good.

Posted by lefty.30 on 10/23/20 at 09:53 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com