Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman answers important question: ‘Do we really want to win?’

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Heading into the 2020-21 NHL season, the Detroit Red Wings were expected to be one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Well, the Red Wings absolutely are one of the worst teams in the league but with just 12 games remaining, they are behind three teams in the standings (based on win %). If the standings hold true, the Red Wings would have the fifth-best chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. (This includes the expansion Seattle Kraken, who will also be part of the draft)

So, the question is, do the Red Wings “really want to win” or is it better if they lose as many games as possible down the stretch to increase their lottery odds?

On Tuesday morning, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman joined the Stoney and Jansen Show on 97.1 The Ticket and he was asked that exact question.

“It’s funny. We all hate when we lose, we’re all mad when we lose, and then when we win we’re like, ‘Oh, do we really want to win?'” Yzerman said Tuesday on the Stoney & Jansen Show. “It’s a strange kind of dynamic.”

“I’m watching the young guys, really. We have (Gustav) Lidstrom and (Dennis) Cholowski in the lineup. I’m watching Michael Rasmussen, Givani Smith, just to see how they do,” Yzerman said. “We have to make decisions on our roster next year on the protected list for the expansion draft, so trying to figure things out. As we go down the stretch here, that’s really what I’m focused on.

“Ultimately, it’s tough. The draft lottery in our league is what it is. It’s unpredictable. You can sit there and say we want to lose every single game and still, there’s no guarantees. It’s hard to do that. So I’m happy that our kids are playing and doing well. And the veterans out there, the guys that are (going to be) free agents, they’re fighting for contracts for next year. There’s scouts in the building, we’re watching, so everyone’s got a lot to play for. At the end of the day, if our team plays well we’re happy.”

Nation, are you rooting for the Red Wings to lose out?