Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

A2Y- Wings Need To Get Harder To Play Against

04/16/2023 at 8:48am EDT

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings were flirting with a playoff spot four days before the trade deadline when they visited Ottawa for a pair of games that would define their season.

The Senators spanked them, almost literally, winning both games by a combined score of 12-3 and pushing them around in the process. General manager Steve Yzerman probably would have sold at the deadline anyway, but those beatings made the decision easier.

The Red Wings didn’t need to fight, but those games showed why they need more grit and abrasiveness and why the must be harder to play against next season.

“That’s an area that needs to improve,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “I think it can be learned within the group. I think you saw there’s times that we had good push back. There’s times that we were more engaged, and it probably led to a better performance, or even success that night.

“But there’s times that we got pushed around. The Ottawa series, that’s a reality in those two games. We got pushed around without pushing back much. I think it’s today’s NHL, you don’t need to fight after every whistle, but you do need to stick up for teammates and push back. And you saw this group at times this year did that. That’s another area where we’ll try to improve on either within our group or through free agency.”



from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The Wings have focused on drafting and developing as the foundation of the rebuild, and added a couple of building blocks two years ago in defenseman Moritz Seider (No. 6, 2019) and forward Lucas Raymond (No. 4, 2020). Defenseman Simon Edvinsson (No. 6, 2021) and Marco Kasper (No. 8, 2022) project to push for spots next season. Michael Rasmussen (No. 9, 2017) was having a strong season when he suffered a season-ending injury Feb. 25.

But other picks have not worked out: It's been clear for a couple of years that the Wings should have taken defenseman Quinn Hughes at No. 6 in 2018, instead of forward Filip Zadina, who has yet to demonstrate he belongs in the lineup. The first-round picks from 2015 (Evgeny Svechnikov) and 2016 (Dennis Cholowski) washed out of the organization.

Yzerman took over a mess when he was named GM on April 19, 2019, inheriting a team that would go on to win just 17 games the following season, before the pandemic shut things down with 11 games left. He focused on drafting, and made some trades that worked out well, like acquiring Robby Fabbri. Last offseason, Yzerman took advantage of a rich free agent market to add forwards David Perron and Andrew Copp, and defensemen Ben Chiarot and Olli Määttä. Goaltender Ville Husso was brought in via a trade, using some of the draft capital Yzerman had acquired.

Yzerman acquired two first-round picks and a second-round pick when he traded Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek at this year's deadline. Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana, who also was traded, were projected to score 30 goals each when the season began, but for a variety of reasons, neither was available much. Now Yzerman will have to find a way to boost the Wings offensively, an area they really struggled this season....

The players who are pending unrestricted free agents now might be re-signed by their current teams by July 1 — and it's not a particularly strong market.

"I look at the group and I believe there are players that would help us and I would like to sign," Yzerman said. "The issue is, there are 31 other teams, and the list isn’t really that long. That makes it challenging.

"We’ll do the best we can to fill our roster. I still want to be a competitive team next year, I want guys that fit the position, the type of player, and maybe most importantly, the character of the person, that fits into our lineup. I’ll be active; how much I can accomplish, I don’t know. Last year there was a bigger group of players available in free agency. There’s not as big a group this year."

In addition to offensive help, Yzerman needs a goaltender to back up Husso. Alex Nedeljkovic could be in play, if he is willing to take a pay cut from the $3 million he made each of the past two seasons.

more ($)


One of the names being tossed around for the Wings is Tom Wilson.


from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,

The Red Wings signed Wallinder as soon as his Swedish team was eliminated from the SHL playoffs. They wanted him to play several games for the Griffins. However, he was only able to play one game before becoming injured. The Griffins don’t provide information about injuries.

“Expect him to be back over here next year but he’s worked hard and come a long way,” Yzerman said.

Wallinder is a big, puck-moving defenseman with an evolving defensive game.

“He’s got a lot of work to do still, but he is a prospect,” Yzerman said. “His skating has really improved, as has his puckhandling and his play. He was in a very good program in Rogle in Sweden. We’ve got Nik Kronwall and Nick Lidstrom close by watching him and working with him to the extent that they can. He’s developed nicely. He’s maturing as a young man as well, so we have optimism for him.”

Analysis: The Red Wings are excited about Wallinder’s progress. However, he’s not a finished product. He needs more polish to his game. Based on what we are hearing, he’s not yet ready for NHL defending. Simon Edvinsson and Albert Johansson are ahead of Wallinder, just based on their experience

Forecast: Unless Wallinder takes a giant step early in the season, he probably will spend the entire season in the AHL But at some point, the Red Wings could have three Swedes (Edvinsson, Johansson and Wallinder) in their top six.


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