Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Is Andreas Athanasiou About To Have A Breakout Year?

Rory Boylen of Sportsnet lists a few players who could have a breakout season, including Andreas Athanasiou.

There is some speculation that the Red Wings could still trade Athanasiou before the start of next season as their group of forwards gets a little more crowded with the additions of Filip Zadina and Thomas Vanek. His explosive speed makes him exciting to watch and the offensive upside is still there — the question is whether Athanasiou’s defensive game will become strong enough that a coach can comfortably make him a top-six player.

In Athanasiou’s first two NHL seasons, his shooting percentages were 17 and 15, but that dropped to 9.4 in 2017-18 as he registered 16 goals. It’s fair to say that over a full season he should be at least a 20-goal scorer with the possibility for more.

Remember, too, that the 23-year-old missed training camp and the first 10 games in 2017 due to a contract dispute and that often leads to an underwhelming season. Now he’s locked in with a two-year, $6 million deal so should get off to a better start. On top of that, only three of his 33 points came on the power play despite averaging 1:44 PP minutes per game, so there could be an uptick there as well. The crux of Athanasiou’s breakout candidacy is in how much ice time the Red Wings (or an acquiring team) give him.

If his goals come up as expected, can his assists and ice time rise to a level that allows him to have a true breakout?

read on for a chart comparing him to other Detroit players and also read about the five other players he mentions from around the league...

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

The Rebuild

from Adam Gretz of the Sporting News,

The Red Wings had 11 draft picks in 2017, including six in the first three rounds.

They made 10 selection in 2018, including seven in the first three rounds (with four of the first 36 picks in the draft).

They already have stockpiled 11 more for 2019, including three in the first two rounds.

Detroit accumulated those picks by trading the likes of Brendan Smith, Tomas Junco, Vanek, Steve Ott, Jakub Kindl, Scott Wilson, Petr Mrazek and Tomas Tatar, not to mention picking up an extra second-round pick from the Coyotes in exchange for moving back four spots and sending Pavel Datsyuk’s contract the other way.

That means over a three-year stretch between 2017 and 2019, the Red Wings could potentially add 32 young players to the organization, including as many as 14 in the first three rounds. That is a lot. They also increased their odds at finding an impact player or two by loading up the picks.

Not all of them are going to turn into NHL players, and once you get beyond the first half of the first round the odds of selecting an All-Star-level talent drop significantly. Those picks can be nothing more than lottery tickets. The best way to win in that drawing is to give yourself as many chances as you can possibly get.


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Wings Needed A Defenseman Like Jared McIsaac

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

With nifty footwork, Jared McIsaac navigated the Power Edge Pro system obstacles like a pro during Detroit Red Wings development camp.

Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon, who was putting 40 or so prospects through the paces at the Belfor Training Center inside Little Caesars Arena, was impressed.

"Some guys have trouble doing that and it's tough, not just physically with your feet but mentally just to remember this stuff," Simon said. "That was one thing you notice with him, phenomenal footwork. He did a great job with his mobility.

"He does a lot of good things. He's put together well as a hockey player. I think his feet are one of his biggest attributes."

McIsaac was the first defenseman the Red Wings selected in this year's draft, at No. 36, after they grabbed three forwards who were too good to pass up.

Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright described the 6-1, 193-pound left-shooting McIsaac as steady and hard-nosed, a good skater who can play against the opposition's top line.

"With McIsaac, we liked the defense," Wright said.


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

A Look At The Detroit Red Wings

2 1/12 minutes to watch.



Nicholas J. Cotsonkia takes a look at the Wings too.

What they still need

Difference-makers. The biggest reason the Red Wings have fallen off after a quarter-century of success is the erosion of their top-end talent. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom retired in 2012. Center Pavel Datsyuk returned to Russia in 2016. Center Henrik Zetterberg is 37 and battling back problems, and although he is expected to return this season, it is not certain. The Red Wings need to draft and develop not just NHL players, but impact players. Can Zadina be one?


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Questions On Detroit’s Goaltending

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers questions from the fans...

Q: What is going on with the Red Wings’ goaltending situation, now and in the future? Is this the last year for (Jimmy) Howard? Why was (Jonathan) Bernier signed for three years? Why not one or two years? Are any kids in the system close to making the jump (to the NHL)?

A: Howard is entering the final year of his contract. I think the Red Wings will sign him to a one- or two-year extension. None of their junior/college/European prospects is close to being NHL-ready. I believe the organization would prefer Howard, even at age 35 in March, over Grand Rapids goalies Harri Sateri and Patrik Rybar in 2019-20. And it appears to be a thin free-agent market for goalies in 2019, assuming Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus) and Pekka Rinne (Nashville) sign with their teams.

I think they will have a Howard-Bernier tandem for the next two or three years.

Bernier wasn’t going to sign for one year and they might not have gotten him for two years. They felt comfortable with three years because it’s safe to assume none of their prospects will be NHL-ready during that time.

read on for more Q & A including more goalie talk and do the Wings need to tough guy...

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Talking With Ted Lindsay

Craig Custance of The Athletic recently spent some time with Ted Lindsay,

Aside from being one of the best left wingers to ever play the game, Lindsay put all his personal success and comfort on the line by organizing the first NHL players’ association in 1957, along with Bill Gadsby, Doug Harvey, Fern Flaman, Gus Mortson and Jim Thomson. He did it because he saw young players shipped out on a moment’s notice. He saw injured players discarded. He observed a former Maple Leafs star selling broken sticks for a quarter, in an attempt to squeeze out extra money. So he organized.  And those efforts had massive repercussions.

From a pure hockey standpoint, it likely cost the Red Wings a few more Stanley Cups, because Lindsay was banished to the Blackhawks in a trade with fellow Hall of Famer Glenn Hall — an attempt by team management to cut off any union talk by removing Lindsay from the equation in Detroit.

From a personal standpoint, it cost Lindsay a relationship with Red Wings general manager Jack Adams and, on some level, Gordie Howe, whose support for the association efforts wasn’t on Lindsay’s level.

much more (paid sub.)

added 9:28am,


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Video- Jeff Blashill On A Few Topics

via NHL.com,

Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill talks about Dan Bylsma joining the coaching staff, and strides the team has made during the offseason


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

What The Next Contract For Dylan Larkin May Look Like

from Craig Custand of The Athletic,

Based on Larkin’s performance so far, not to mention the Red Wings’ cap situation, a full-term eight-year contract seems like it would be very hard to pull off.

That puts us in the six-year range.

The floor would likely be a player like Vancouver’s Bo Horvat. He signed a six-year deal worth $5.5 million annually. He signed his contract last September coming off a 20-goal season with 52 points. Larkin had 11 more points last season and probably has more upside than Horvat. So that’s the minimum.

On the higher side of the six-year comparable is Boston’s David Pastrnak. He signed a six-year deal worth $6.67 million per season, also last September. He signed his deal coming off a 34-goal, 70-point season.

The Jets got Nikolaj Ehlers done at $6 million per season on a seven-year deal after his 64-point season last year, one more than Larkin finished with this season.

If you’re Larkin’s camp, you’re pointing out that neither of those players are a center, which comes at a premium.

more (paid subscription)

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Time For #91 To Be Put Up In The Rafters

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The bitterness between the organization and Fedorov — and fans and Fedorov —  appeared to subside in 2015 when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. And as more time passes, it becomes more likely that his No. 91 will become the eighth number retired by the Red Wings.

“Sergei had a fabulous career in a Red Wings uniform,” general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press. “He had a tremendous impact on this franchise. I would assume as we continue to go forward there will be ongoing conversations about his impact on this franchise.”

Attempts to reach Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch were unsuccessful.

Scotty Bowman, who coached Fedorov from 1993 to 2002, did not hesitate with his answer when asked if Fedorov’s number should be retired by the Wings.from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Video- Anthony Mantha Highlight Reel From The Past Season

Two minutes to watch.


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

 1 2 3 >  Last ›      Next »

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


Recent Blog Posts (Page 2)