Steve Yzerman addresses the state of Red Wings rebuild and other issues during his press conference today
The Detroit Red Wings are on the verge of starting Training Camp, and it will be the first time that several new players donning the Winged Wheel take part in the annual camp in picturesque Traverse City. General manager Steve Yzerman, who was busy during the summer making adjustments to the roster, continued to preach patience while speaking with media members this afternoon.
On the new faces on the Red Wings roster
“We had some spots on the roster to fill, and we were able to do that through free agency, so it's a bit of a new group, particularly on the blue line,” he said.
“Some new faces and younger players that are closer to or potentially pushing for a spot on the roster, so I guess what stands out is that it's going to be interesting to see how the new faces come together.”
Is this the deepest version of the Red Wings he's built?
“Probably, in terms of NHL experience – particularly on the blue line,” he said. “The additions of guys up front who have played for a number of years in the League makes us a little deeper through and through on the roster. We kind of have an idea of what to expect from the guys based on their careers, so yeah, there's a little more depth on the roster.”
On Red Wings free-agency additions
“I think first and foremost, you need a roster of 22-23 players – you dress 20 players every night, and my feeling is that I'd rather go to the free-agent market instead of hoping or forcing any of our young guys in,” he said. “Filling our roster and completing the roster not only this year but over the last few years with some of the free agents is to be patient and allow these younger players to develop and play at a reasonable pace instead of just throwing them into the NHL and hoping that they're okay and that we'll win games.”
“When we're 100% certain that they're ready to play and help us win games, they'll be in the NHL. But until then, they have to earn it and be ready in our judgment to play.”
On the Red Wings 0-3 record in the Prospects Tournament
“You get a chance to watch your own players but the other three teams there as well,” he said. “Not everyone has their entire group of prospects – the college kids and the majority of European kids aren't there. You throw these teams together – literally our team had one practice the day before, and the games are kind of scrambly. I don't read a lot into it, at least the results. You kind of watch the individuals.”
On the Red Wings making the 2024 Playoffs
“Well, I think every team would love to make the playoffs,” he said. “Again, we'd be thrilled to make the playoffs. Is it playoffs or bust? I guess that means you're prepared to trade all your draft picks and whatever you have to do at some point, so no, it's not playoffs or bust. But we're going to try to win every game and make the playoffs, but it's not at the expense of the future. I'm trying to build a team that can make the playoffs on an annual basis. If you squeak in one year but don't have the foundation to sustain it, we're going to be sitting here two years from now and wondering again.”
“I'd love to make the playoffs, the whole city would, every player in our organization would love to. We'll give it a shot – we did what we could in the offseason to improve our team without really mortgaging any part of the future. We'll continue to try and get better, and hopefully sooner rather than later we'll be a playoff team.”
On the state of the Red Wings' rebuild
“I don't know when to announce what stage of the rebuild we're at,” he said. “Each year, we've tried to add draft picks and sign any of our unrestricted free agents that we could or wanted to, and the players that we couldn't, we traded at the deadline. I guess you're out of your rebuild when you're not doing that at the deadline, so we'll see. But again, I think we're still being patient and waiting for our younger players to develop. I intend to hold on to our draft picks for the foreseeable future and be patient and let them develop while adding to the core that we have.”
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman addresses media members this afternoon
- Steve Yzerman discussed the state of the Red Wings rebuild along with the prospects of making the playoffs
- Steve Yzerman also discussed the additions in free agency as well as the winless record in the Prospects Tournament
Bottom Line: Will the Red Wings return to the postseason in 2024?
The Red Wings were once a postseason mainstay, qualifying for 25 straight years and winning the Stanley Cup four times while adding another two appearances in the Stanley Cup Final.
Yzerman certainly had his work cut out for him upon his return to Detroit in 2019 – has he done enough to have the Red Wings realistically challenge for the playoffs next spring?