The Detroit Red Wings welcomed back legendary captain Steve Yzerman to take over the reins of general manager from Ken Holland three years ago today. Of course, Yzerman had to deal with numerous regrettable contracts that Holland gave out like candy to underachieving players that immediately hamstrung his rebuilding efforts.
Today, the team is in a better position than they were three years ago, but we're hoping to see Yzerman's “low and slow” approach to the rebuild get a jolt this offseason.
For the sixth straight season, the Red Wings will be on the outside in looking at the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Of course, for the first few months of this campaign, they actually flirted with a Wild Card playoff spot before crashing back down to earth in recent months with several performances that highlighted just how thin they are on the blue line.
Of course, had it not been for rookie phenom defenseman Moritz Seider, who is arguably the only bonafide NHL blueliner on the roster, their fortunes would have been far worse. The drafting of Seider with the 6th overall selection in 2019 looks like an absolute home run for Yzerman, who also took scoring Swedish forward Lucas Raymond the following season with the 4th overall pick. The young pair figure to be a major part of Detroit's future success.
But we can't blame fans for starting to feel a bit impatient with once again having to watch the postseason without their favorite team participating. And needless to say, there are plenty of fans and pundits alike who would prefer the Red Wings to make a change behind the bench, especially after several games that saw them surrender five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and even eleven goals against. While Yzerman has stated that it wouldn't be right to judge the performance of Jeff Blashill due to the roster that he has to work with, he may have no choice as the season winds down.
Yzerman has acquired a key talent through trade, sending checking forward Jacob de la Rose to the St. Louis Blues in November of 2019 for Robby Fabbri, who fit in like a glove with his new team and provided a much-needed scoring punch. However, the likes of Pius Suter and Vladislav Namestnikov, both of whom were acquired via free agency, haven't cut it as top-6 forwards; Namestnikov was already sent on his way to the Dallas Stars at this year's Trade Deadline.
The Red Wings are still a long way off from contending. They took considerable strides early this season, and it's time to start adding established players to the roster through free agency to help aid the young players selected through the Draft. There will be a considerable amount of cap space made available, given that Danny DeKeyer‘s exorbitant salary given to him by Holland will be coming off the books this summer. A legitimate top-6 forward and defenseman would go a long way towards the team taking the next step.
We hope that it won't be long before the Red Wings begin another playoff streak.