Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Detroit's Start And Upcoming RFAs

11/04/2019 at 8:28am EST

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

That the Detroit Red Wings would endure another tough season was not in doubt outside the locker room. They don’t have the players needed to be competitive, yet.

But one month into the season, the Wings have looked even worse than realistically expected. The joy in the locker room sparked by a 3-1 start that included the first regulation victory in Montreal in 12 years has dissipated, replaced by the misery of explaining one embarrassing loss after another....

How have things gone so badly so quickly, and who is to blame?


Steve Yzerman is seven months into his post as general manager of the Wings. He made it clear during training camp he is going to spend as much time as he deems necessary observing. It’s why the previous administration’s plans to name Dylan Larkin captain before the season began were postponed. It’s why Yzerman has made minor changes – additions Valtteri Filppula, Patrik Nemeth, Adam Erne and Brendan Perlini are all short-term contracts. But will all this losing lead Yzerman to make a major change behind the bench?

He will have heard positive comments about Jeff Blashill from colleagues within the Wings organization – Blashill is well liked and respected. Higher-ups are pleased with the job he has done considering the club lacks an elite defenseman and superstar scorer, hallmarks of good teams. Yzerman will also have heard positive comments about Blashill from Jon Cooper, Yzerman’s coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning and a close friend of Blashill’s.

The key will be how the Wings perform, more than the win-loss category. If they compete hard and lose, that’s one thing. If these self-destructive, poor-energy, lazy-defense outings continue, Blashill may pay the price. Assistant coach Dan Bylsma has head coaching experience (Pittsburgh, Buffalo) but he is also the one in charge of the power play, which has been atrocious.

read on

Steven Ellis of The Hockey News on upcoming RFAs...

So, if Barzal is the top RFA on the market heading into 2020, who are the other stars that’ll be ready for big deals heading into 2020-21?

Anthony Mantha, LW (Detroit Red Wings)

Mantha’s output has slowed since he notched seven points in the first two games of the season, but he finished October with 12 points in 13 games. Mantha is truly starting to find himself after a slow start to his NHL career. He has consecutive 48-point campaigns and has shown great chemistry alongside Dylan Larkin and fellow pending RFA Tyler Bertuzzi on Detroit’s top line, although Mantha has been moved to the second line for now. Mantha’s going to get a nice raise from his $3.3-million salary, which is fitting for a player who is primed to be one of Detroit’s best for the next several seasons. By the end of the season, he should have his first 50-point campaign. Not long after, he should have a hefty pay check hitting his bank account.

more players mentioned but not Andreas Athanasiou

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