Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

A2Y- Back To Work

04/17/2023 at 8:38am EDT

from Nate Brown of Detroit Hockey Now,

“From where we sit here today from four years ago, I’m not disappointed at where we’re at,” Yzerman said. “I guess I’m OK with it. I intend to stick with the process, the plan. Nothing is going to dramatically change. We’ll continue to look for opportunities to expedite the process. That is difficult to do but we’ll continue to do that.”

One potential way to expedite the process could be acquiring Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat is the type of scorer Detroit desperately needs, a two-time 40 goal scorer. He was down a bit this season, with just 27, a 14-goal drop from 2021-22. But with a hefty price tag attached to his name and also being a divisional foe, would either team want to help the other?

Yzerman noted that the free agent crop isn’t expected to be strong but there are potential pieces if need be. Trades might be the other viable, likelier option.

Regardless of what it is, the five-year mark Yzerman mentioned four seasons ago is but a year away. The noise to make the playoffs grows louder and Yzerman, fully aware, is one who will make the changes needed to get them there.

But as it has been since that opening press conference, he’ll go at the pace that ultimately works best for the team.

“I’m OK with where we’re at,” Yzerman noted before adding: “Like all of you, I wish we were further ahead.”



A few days ago I posted what the NYR GM said in February 2018 about throwing in the towel and having to get “younger players with speed, skill, and character even if it means losing players we respect and care about.”

The two franchises weren’t in exactly the same boat but I’ve charted out a bunch of teams over the past ten years and it is quite normal to see teams improve, and drop, drastically from year to year.  You can make the case that Detroit’s talent and draft cupboard were bare and not get much argument from anyone.

But whatever the reasons, the Rangers' dramatic plunge into the sub .500 peloton of suck was brief, and they have risen back into the top clubs in the league.  Detroit’s stay is persistent and its escape seems to depend on a number of young players unproven at the NHL yet.  Teams have turned things around quickly, maybe Detroit will catch lightning in a bottle.

NOTE:  The covid seasons’ points of 2020 and 2021 were extrapolated to an 82 game season.

I have versions of this chart to include the eight teams of the Division but it’s too busy unless you put a lot of study into it.  I’ll see what else may look interesting.  Clearly other franchises have been in the NHL sediment for long periods of time too, but that is not the desired standard for the Detroit Red Wings.

NYR vs DRW 10 year


The Rangers were a giving better team, over 100 points/year and getting better, got a lottery pick while going to the playoffs and immediately turned it around. The Wings were still intentionally being driven into the ground to make the playoffs until Mike Illitch died, part of the strategy of which was drafting large players with a high floor regardless of their ceiling, dealing with traded away draft picks and terrible long term contacts that had to be buried and bought out because there were no assets left to sweeten a deal to get rid of those players. And the Wings got absolutely screwed by the lottery every year. To the point the NHL changed the draft lottery significantly because the worst team in the league wire to wire still lost.

I would argue the Wings and Rangers situations were WAY different than just looking at points.


I do not follow other teams that closely so I do not know how they did it, but the Rangers rising from non playoff team to a legit cup contender in just a few seasons is puzzling to me. I understand they had lottery luck in getting first and second overall picks, but Lafrenier and Kakko are not even difference makers there. They got Fox for a second rounder? I did not even know who Fox was until he won the Norris:). Zibanejad (acquired for Brassard and a 7th?!), Panarin, Trouba, how do they stay under the cap? Where Shesterkin came from?! He played in Russia with no NHL experience I believe prior to becoming an instant star. 

Another team that I am not getting is Boston. Their stars were not even picked in the first 10 picks of the drafts. McAvoy was 14th, Bergeron 45th, Marchand 71st, Pasta 25th. 

Another team, Carolina. I really do not know much about them, but it seems like only Svech was a high pick there and he is injured and they are still top 3 team in the East.

So I guess you do not need to have Oilers draft luck or abundance of first rounders like NJD to be a cup contender. 


It wasn’t just lottery luck—the NYR had draft capital to move because they traded away Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Nick Holden, Derick Brassard, JT Miller, and Ryan McDonagh. That got them 2x 2018 1sts, 2x 2nds, a 3rd, and Zibanejad. Trading Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta got them a 2017 1st plus Anthony DeAngelo.

Those picks got them K’Andre Miller and Nils Lundkvist (plus Zibanejad and DeAngelo).

Then they trade Zuccarello for a 2019 2nd and 2020 3rd and Kevin Hayes for a 2019 1st. They used part of that extra capital package it with Neal Pionk to get Trouba. They used the other part to get Adam Fox.

That’s there 2 top d-men because of trades.

Brady Skjei became another 2020 1st round. They packaged that to move up from 22 to 19 to get a RHD who will still be on his ELC next year after a 5 goal season.

Now add in the lottery luck and that 8 starters the NYR acquired.

Hitting on a 4th round goalie helps.

As does a couple of top UFA signings (big markets are attractive to some players).

Those NTC’s really hurt Detroit towards the end of some careers. So does Detroit’s prospect stew in the minors mentality. The NYR simply play them tank a year or two and rebound.


That's pretty telling, and we really don't look good in this comparison. But NYR hit on a goaltender that is probably going to be winning Vezinas for the next decade, and were gifted a lottery pick in a year when they also went to the playoffs (that was the playoffs. Fight me.).

The big, precipitous drop happens right when Stevie takes over and has to sort out Kenny's ridiculous cap hell and NTCs-for-everyone! policy. 

I don't claim any inside knowledge of where we "should" be (and not saying you are, either), but we're getting better, developing prospects, taking some chances on some reclamation projects, and are competing with 31 other teams for talent.

Edit to add that we're also in a much tougher division. TBL, BOS, TOR, even FLO are (or should be) powerhouses of the league with their talent. There's even the idea that biding our time is the best course, bkz of those teams, BOS is the only one likely to drop off significantly in the next year or two (unless, like TOR get eliminated early again and blow everything up).


from  Dan Kingerski at Detroit Hockey Now,

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman doesn’t over-hype his prospects. That’s not his style. He patiently waits for draft picks to earn their place before saying too much.

That’s why it seems telling that Yzerman seems more willing to speak about Carter Mazur’s potential.

“We signed him and he’s played a half dozen games in GR and he looks like a real good prospect,” Yzerman said. “Is he ready to play next year? Maybe. Maybe not. But he looks like a good prospect.”

Not over the top. But it is certainly an optimistic tone.

“He looks like an NHL player,” Yzerman said. “He skates well, he’s got good hands, he knows where to go on the ice.”



The Red Wings need some "Luck" in this years draft. Who am I kidding? They will more than likely drop a spot or two.


To me, the Rangers have done better because of three things.

One, they drafted better than the Wings until Stevie Y arrived. Holland's last 1st-round pick was maybe the biggest disaster of them all, taking Zadina at #6 instead of Quinn Hughes. Imagine a blue line of Seider, Hughes, Walman, Edvinsson, Maata and Chiarot next year.

Two, they made better trades until Stevie Y arrived. New York's trades were detailed in dca's post, and are topped by the Zibanejad for Brassard trade. Holland's trades were "topped" by giving Quincey away for nothing on waivers and then trading away the Wings 1st round pick to T.B. in order to get him back. Stevie Y turned that pick into Andrei Vasilevskiy. Ugly.

Three, New York is a place where a lot of the top talent want to play. The taxes are ridiculous, but if you want a "celebrity-type" lifestyle, it's far more attractive than Detroit.

The biggest thing the Wings have going for them right now is Stevie Y. He's made four consecutive pick in the 1st round that look like can't-miss players. You probably can add in Cossa if he keeps going the way he is right now. And I think a guy like Perron chose the Wings because of Yzerman and his reputation as both a player and a GM. That's only going to happen more often as the Wings get better.

And at some point, the Wings' draft lottery luck has to change. If this is the year it happens and they move up from #9 to #1 (or even #2), the future will get a lot brighter a lot quicker. The key may be to keep Buttman distracted when the lottery balls are being loaded into the machine so he can't slip in an extra couple hundred balls for the Hawks.


C'mon everyone knows that Buttman freezes the lottery balls of the Wings and Sens so that they are too heavy to be sucked into the tube. Just like everyone knows that he injects helium into NJD, whatever expansion franchise that is struggling, a team from southern California, or a big market (think NYR, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto).


I'm a little surprised that another factor not mentioned in the Rags rise was the hiring of "Spuds" to be head coach. I personally always wanted the Wings to hire him. I was disappointed when they didn't. (nothing against Newsy)    

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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.

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