Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Rebuilding? No Thanks

Want to know the part that frustrates them all the most? The Wings have done this without having to sacrifice a single thing.  It's killing GMs, coaches and, oh especially, fans from every other city and every other team.  23 is a nice number, but blink an eye and it's going to be 30.

Chicago, St. Louis, Denver...all the teams we point to as having built through the draft? They paid their dues. Severely. The Wings paid in the 80's, but then the dividends started paying off in '91.  And they haven't stopped.

Denver is a nice, young, fast team.  They'll be competitive for years.  They've got three top five picks playing tonite.  A 1 (McKinnon), a 2 (Landeskog) and a 3 (Duchene).  Of the 11 players on their roster who were drafted by the team, their average pick comes out to 42. I only have so much energy, so I'm not going to get the numbers for the Pens, Hawks, Blues, or any others. But I'd bet their average is close to that, too.

Naturally, Denver fans (all those who have stuck by them, and I'm sure that number's in the hundreds of thousands of millions, right?) had to suffer to get where they are now.  And we know the other "powerhouses" across the league took their lumps, drafting high, sucking, waiting. But hey, sufferage means eventual success, right?

The Wings?

13 players skating tomorrow were drafted by Detroit. Kindl is the highest pick at 19. Sheahan at 21.  Of the remaining 11? None under 30.  The average? 87.  

Helm at 132. Nyquist at 121.  Even Quincey at 132. Franzen at 97, Tatar at 60. Howard at 64.  And we're all well aware of Zetterberg falling to a respectable 210, preceded by Datsyuk's draft position of 171.

I started thinking about this last night.  Even if they lose this series in 5, the future is unbelievably good and that is just highly irritating for the teams who've had to almost deliberately suck (again, Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh) in order to get where they are. 

This Wing team is a Holland/Babcock original. We've never seen anything like it, really.  There is literally no limit to the expectations you should have in coming years, and yet they haven't had to take a single step back in order to get there.  Yes, the summers have been difficult--Suter and Parise signing in Walnut Grove was a crusher. Hossa's departure hurt.

But, holy Hell, is Ken Holland looking like a genius right now. 

And we haven't mentioned DeKeyser (who could have gone anywhere, you'll remember) and Glendening (Uncle Mike's favorite player).  

They're fearless, fast and seasoned. But young.  This process, this system, it's unprecedented.  Drafting low, finding nuggets, keeping them in Grand Rapids until they're "over ready", teaching them the system there, bringing them up and not losing quality.  No one has done it. Not for this long, not like this.  No one has done it without sacrificing the now for the later.  

No matter what happens over the next ten days or so?  This organ-I-zation deserves all the kudos it should be getting right now.  

Amazing.

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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