Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has been busy since the start of free agency, bringing aboard several new faces including the likes of forwards Bobby Ryan and Vladislav Namestnikov, as well as defenseman Troy Stecher and Jon Merrill, and goaltender Thomas Greiss.
Of course, that was proceeded by a busy 2020 Draft that saw the likes of Swedish forward Lucas Raymond selected with the 4th overall pick along with a bevy of other new faces.
For head coach Jeff Blashill, he’s optimistic about the additions to the roster.
“With how our season ended last year, we hope we have improved in each area,” he said. “We’ll get a chance to know that when the season starts. There are always unknowns going into every season. I’m looking forward to here at some point here getting started and getting the opportunity to get better every single day.”
“With the addition of Bobby Ryan and re-signing of Sam Gagner, you have two right-handed shot forwards that are natural power play guys. Bobby is proven to have high end skill, the reason he was drafted as high as he was, the reason he’s scored as many goals as he has. He’s gone through trials and tribulations the last couple of years and I was excited speaking with him, seeing where he’s at personally, how he feels going into the season, and how excited he is being a Red Wing.”
Forward Filip Zadina, whom the team loaned to HC Ocelari Trinec to continue his development during the COVID-19 pandemic, got his first real taste of NHL action last season prior to a season-ending injury. Blashill is encouraged by what he saw:
“When he came up to play with us last year, I thought he grew as a player,” he said. “He was more dangerous than he had been previously, more confident. He seemed to be a little quicker and stronger.”
Of course, Zadina wasn’t the only injury the team had to deal with. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser appeared in only eight games before requiring season-ending back surgery.
“If we get Danny DeKeyser back, he makes us a much better hockey team,” Blashill explained. “He was one of the players I didn’t think going into the season we could afford to lose. We were a little thin on the back side. He was an extremely significant piece that when he went down, it hurt us.”
– – Quotes via Ansar Khan of MLive Link – –