Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

The Work Begins

05/09/2021 at 8:43am EDT

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Yzerman may take Sunday off to celebrate: It is his 56th birthday, and it is Mother’s Day. But business beckons.

First up

The coaching situation appears to be first on Yzerman’s list, given that last month he said he’d “sit down very quickly after the season and discuss that” with Jeff Blashill. The perception within the organization is that Blashill has done a good job with what he has been given. The work ethic and culture, of which the Wings are so protective, has been maintained, and it speaks well for Blashill how hard the Wings competed, even as Tyler Bertuzzi, Bobby Ryan, Robby Fabbri and captain Dylan Larkin all suffered season-ending injuries.

Yzerman’s second task includes exit meetings with players, many of which will be conducted virtually. Young players such as Filip Zadina, Michael Rasmussen and Joe Veleno will receive feedback on their performances and what they need to work on over the summer. Meanwhile, the veterans will find out if they fit into next season’s plans.

Who to retain

A number of players are eligible for unrestricted free agency, but it’s unlikely all hit the market. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier figures to top that group, given how well he has played in two straight seasons. There’s no one in the farm system ready to push for an NHL job, and signing Bernier for two years provides a degree of stability. (Thomas Greiss is under contract through next season, as well.)

Luke Glendening is another clear-cut candidate to bring back — he’s a reliable defensive forward who is one of the best faceoff guys in the NHL and a big part of the locker room culture.

Forwards Sam Gagner and Ryan are likely to figure into next season’s plans, too...

read on (paid)

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