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Abel to Yzerman

Thoughts On The Wings

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Yzerman’s progress is remarkable, even for a man who was known as a great competitor during his playing days.

Here are 18 thoughts on his first 18 months in office.

Depth charge
Only having one effective line on offense was among the many things that hurt the Wings in 2019-20. Injuries to Mantha (28 games), Andreas Athanasiou (17) and Filip Zadina (17) limited coach Jeff Blashill’s options because the Wings had no depth. Yzerman addressed the dearth of effective forwards by signing Vladislav Namestnikov (2 years, $4 million) and Bobby Ryan (1 year, $1 million). Those two, along with Mantha, Bertuzzi, Fabbri, Zadina and Dylan Larkin give the Wings good options for the top six and beyond.

Cleaning house
Since Yzerman took over as GM two weeks after the end of the 2018-19 season, 13 NHL regulars are no longer part of the roster. In addition to buying out Abdelkader and trading de la Rose, Yzerman opted not to re-sign Howard, Thomas Vanek, Luke Witkowski, Trevor Daley, and Jonathan Ericsson, did not make qualifying offers to Martin Frk, Madison Bowey and Christoffer Ehn, and traded Andreas Athanasiou and Mike Green at the 2020 deadline.  That's 12.

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Comments

Paul's avatar

Ansar Khan of Mlive considers the Wings one of the winners as the available pool of UFA players shrinks…

General manager Steve Yzerman moved out several players who might not appear in another NHL game and signed five free agents (forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Bobby Ryan, defensemen Troy Stecher and Jon Merrill and goaltender Thomas Greiss) to reasonable, short-term deals. He utilized his ample cap space to acquire a serviceable defenseman (Marc Staal) and second-round pick. The Red Wings will still be at or near the NHL’s basement, but they improved in all areas. They also are set-up to acquire additional draft picks at the trade deadline by moving some of these players and others.

more winners and losers…

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/19/20 at 05:36 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I am optimistic about all the moves being made, but… let’s not get carried away, this was all set up to happen, any GM, including Holland, would have made the same moves. Yzerman has yet to make a move that to me that another GM would not have made other than minor stuff at best. The real “change” or impact of Yzerman will be out of the last 2 drafts and the next 2.

HSJ lists 12 players that were never coming back. Another GM might not have bought out Abby this year, might have brought back Ehn for 1 more turn, but also may not have resigned Erne and Gagner, but these are bottom line guys.

He brought in middle aged plugs that might be flipped for pieces at deadline, might provide a few more W’s, but block the path a younger players playing, the single greatest Ken Holland complaint when in fact there was nobody being held back, this actually does keep our youth off the roster.

Frankly I was hoping for more, Yzerman should have used more of our cap space for deals like Staal, it was a good start, but he should have made 1 or 2 more, maybe he still will.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/19/20 at 07:09 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

any GM, including Holland, would have made the same moves

That is painting with much, much too wide a brush

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 10/19/20 at 07:23 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 10/19/20 at 08:23 AM ET

You’re probably right, maybe Holland 1.0 doesn’t sign a bunch of players that block Evegeny Cholo and Lidstrom from playing like Yzerland 2.0 did. 

Otherwise, the contracts of the 12 players HSJ notes, rolled off and went away as scheduled, this would be no different if someone stepped into Yzerman’s shoes today, the new GM should not get kudos for all the players he just signed rolling off in the next 1-2 years, including DDK.

The real impact won’t be known until the draft classes of the first four years are in or out of the NHL.

 

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/19/20 at 07:29 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

You’re probably right, maybe Holland 1.0 doesn’t sign a bunch of players that block Evegeny Cholo and Lidstrom from playing like Yzerland 2.0 did. 

Oh, he certainly does…but that’s not something any reasonable fan had a problem with. There will be injuries and depth is required so that you’re not throwing in someone who isn’t ready and completely destroying their confidence.

I think every GM feels like they need to be somewhat loyal to ‘their’ guys, which is why I think it was essential a new GM came in to view this team with unbiased eyes. I think a lot of GMs would have probably done similar moves to Yzerman, but I don’t think Holland would have let so many of ‘his’ guys go had he stayed. Yzerman is even starting to show a little of this himself by keeping ‘his’ guys, Erne and Biega, around. But, as you said, the big difference will probably be in drafting and I think he will be slightly better at attracting free agents.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 10/19/20 at 08:06 AM ET

Avatar

——-any GM, including Holland, would have made the same

——I doubt it very much. At least 2-3 contracts to UFAs would have been for more than 2 years with NTC.  Convincing a player like Ryan to come to a bottom dweller team without even listening to other offers I feel is not something that KH was capable of doing.
I do agree though that it would be nice to see more trades taking other teams bad contracts and getting picks, but maybe nothing interesting was presented and also maybe more deals are coming.

Posted by VPalmer on 10/19/20 at 09:40 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

There will be injuries and depth is required so that you’re not throwing in someone who isn’t ready and completely destroying their confidence.

I agree with you on the injury side, and made that argument many a times in the Holland 1.0 era and agree that players like Gustav Lindström, Givani Smith, Michael Rasmussen can be injury replacements and come up/back after the deadline, played big minutes and developed and then slowly cracked the lineup.   

But unlike many years in the past, we do have two 1st round picks Evgeny and Cholowski who frankly need to play, we need to make decisions on them.  Now if he’s decided they’re both done, ok so be it, hope neither come back to bite him in the arse over the Sam Gagner farewell tour and Tory Stretcher.

I don’t think Holland would have let so many of ‘his’ guys go had he stayed.

Who would he have kept? Maybe Ablekater for another year, whose buyout now appears more to be about the expansion draft next year, and maybe Ehn?  I guess had he not gone to Edmonton, maybe we get 2nd round value for AA, who just needed good team and a real coach to show how elite he was.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/19/20 at 09:47 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

But unlike many years in the past, we do have two 1st round picks Evgeny and Cholowski who frankly need to play

I assume Svech is going to make the 23 man roster and I think he’ll be the first to insert in the lineup when there is an injury. Although I’m a little concerned that Yzerman wasn’t sure if Svech was waivers exempt in his latest interview (Shouldn’t he know this?).

Cholowski is waiver exempt so he can play in GR and go up and down for another season. And if he’s not at least the 6th d-man, he should be in GR. I believe the plan is to have Lindstrom and Seider stay in Europe so it’s not like they have a bunch of defensive prospects waiting for playing time. Dennis will probably be the first call up.

Who would he have kept?

I think he re-signs Howard and one of Daley/Ericsson. I also think he refuses to trade AA in hopes of a bounce back year.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 10/19/20 at 10:20 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

Nevermind on the AA point. For some reason I thought he had one more year of team control.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 10/19/20 at 10:23 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I think he re-signs Howard and one of Daley/Ericsson.
Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 10/19/20 at 11:20 AM ET

Come on, I know we don’t like what Holland did in the back end of his tenure, but the guy is not a circus clown, these 3 guys aren’t even NHL players anymore, they didn’t even play 20 games last year.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/19/20 at 10:45 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

Yes, I could see a one year, low salary deal to any of those 3. Do you not remember the Daniel Cleary saga? These re-signings would look good compared to that.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 10/19/20 at 10:54 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 10/19/20 at 11:54 AM ET

Ah yes, all roads lead back to Dan Cleary.  Cleary played 75% of the games the season prior to his last,  the coach actually wanted him back, and there was some sort of handshake between him and Holland in season’s prior. There also was never NHL ready prospects he held back outside of 2-3 weeks of Gustov Nyquist.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/19/20 at 12:20 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Come on, I know we don’t like what Holland did in the back end of his tenure, but the guy is not a circus clown, t

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0’s pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/19/20 at 11:45 AM ET

I think the perspective is determined by your locale. Detroit or Edmonton. Go check out the Oiler blogs. Yikes. You thought we were nasty.

But i agree with you to a point. Holland may have parted with some of the players Stevie has, but I believe the reason Holland was replaced by Stevie is Stevie’s willingness to part with his players or even popular players.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 10/19/20 at 12:32 PM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0’s pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/19/20 at 01:20 PM ET

KH signed Cleary to a deal after it was clear he wasn’t an NHL player anymore. That’s my point. I don’t care about anything else you mentioned.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 10/19/20 at 12:53 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Frankly I was hoping for more, Yzerman should have used more of our cap space for deals like Staal, it was a good start, but he should have made 1 or 2 more, maybe he still will.

Good point, but the old saying is: “He has to start somewhere”. smirk

Posted by bigfrog on 10/19/20 at 06:36 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

We were told many moons ago that signing all these vets is bad. And its bad because the kids look at the lineup and they dont see an open spot, they already see a vet penciled in.

And we still have Blashill, afterall.

Posted by ilovehomers on 10/19/20 at 08:05 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

In one of the many youtube interviews with SY in the past week, he flat out said that he wanted veterans on the team so that (paraphrasing): “the kids could develop appropriately.”  Clearly his philosophy is similar to championship-years-era Red Wings, in that you let prospects (over) ripen in the minor leagues so that they get plenty of reps.

That said, what SY had done this off-season seems to be pretty indicative of where they expect Svetchnikov the Elder to be in terms of a NHL future.  Either he takes away a job from one of the many vets (or Timoshenko) signed in the off-season, or the team does not care if another team snags his rights.

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 10/19/20 at 10:16 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

Ha.  His name is Dmytro Timashov.  Timoshenko is a beam theory used in engineering analysis.

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 10/19/20 at 10:19 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

I’ll be blunt…

When did we hire Stevie? Yeah , lets just cal it “way back when”.

So while I was distracted earning a living, which I do every day, apparently olde Stevie finally busted a move this week and got to work since “way back when”....

First off….thanks Steve for finally, A. Acknowledging you have a job and B. Actually doing it.

Congrats!

Now do it again…... and again….

Get to work…today!

What are the Red Wings on….. a 20 rebuilding year plan?? Boy, the 2040 NHL season will be ours!! How many other NHL GM’s have that luxury?

None.

LGRW !!!!! (this decade)

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, waiting for YzerMan Plan...... on 10/19/20 at 10:48 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by ilovehomers on 10/19/20 at 09:05 PM ET

Stevie did say that he learned and respected Old Kenny Boy… Yzerholland2.0

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 10/20/20 at 08:16 AM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

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