The Detroit Red Wings are trending the wrong way, and Steve Yzerman is coming back as general manager.
After a 25-season streak of playoff appearances, the Detroit Red Wings are watching the postseason for the third straight spring. So some changes are coming, and according to multiple reports Steve Yzerman is coming back as general manager.
Yzerman spent all 22 seasons of his playing career with the Red Wings, helping to lead a franchise previously known as the “Dead Wings” to three Stanley Cups. After his career ended he moved right into the Red Wings’ front office alongside general manager Ken Holland as the team’s vice president. With the move to hire Yzerman, Holland, who has been with the Red Wings’ organization since 1983 and has been general manager since 1997, will shift into an advisory role for the final year of his contract.
Yzerman was general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2010-September of 2018, before stepping down as he cited wanting to spend more time with his family. But rumors attaching him to the Red Wings surfaced immediately, and now have come to fruition.
From 2015 to when Yzerman stepped down, the Lightning reached the Eastern Conference Finals three times with one Stanley Cup Final appearance. It also goes without saying he built this season’s Tampa Bay team, which won 62 regular season games before losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a stunning first-round playoff sweep.
Despite the downturn for the Red Wings on the ice over his four seasons behind the bench, but with a nod to his acumen for developing young players, coach Jeff Blashill got a two-year contract extension just before the season ended. That move came to keep him from being a lame-duck coach next season, and instead of firing him.
With the close timing to Yzerman officially being brought back, extending Blashill also should have come with some (however unofficial) stamp of approval from the new Red Wings’ general manager. If that somehow isn’t the case, with a public comment on the matter not coming during Friday’s introduction if a media member ventured to ask, Yzerman could be looking for a new coach a year from now if the Red Wings miss the playoffs again.
Yzerman has taken what is rarely a smooth path, from Hall of Fame player to successful NHL executive. Time will tell if he can bring Stanley Cup glory back to Hockeytown, but Yzerman should bring a fresh voice to an organization that really seems to need it in the front office.