The Detroit Red Wings made another move this Sunday like the last: waiving a high priced veteran in Frans Nielsen, exactly a week after doing the same with Danny DeKeyser. The current season has been littered with lineup choices that have bordered on bizarre when players who have played better have been left watching on the outside while Nielsen, Darren Helm, or Valtteri Filppula have played in place of them. The reasons for decisions have ranged from just having to change things up to younger players having to show they’re ready to “earn” ice time.
Which is understandable until the statistics don’t bear it out.
The Red Wings are “waiving” goodbye to previous practices
Placing Nielsen on waivers puts it in the same category as DeKeyser, Justin Abdelkader, and Jonathan Ericsson. The days are past where the idea of a veteran being waived was next to impossible. Ken Holland didn’t do that. But Steve Yzerman will.
It’s long been debated by fans whether the same “tie goes to the veteran” mindset was shared by Yzerman. The latest move shows that this isn’t the case. For Yzerman, it appears, the better player will play or at least have the opportunity. It’s just a matter of where that player is and how long they stay there.
The most likely destination for Nielsen will be the taxi squad–or as we saw with DeKeyser, back in the lineup after some time away. DeKeyser’s waiving was a bit different–more related to his body not being 100%, which was supported by Jeff Blashill’s comments via Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press (video below). Though he did defer it more to Stevie’s decision (which makes sense) and then talks later on about how he’s getting healthier.
He specifically says not to look into it more. And that’s fair. But what seems more likely as time goes is that on Yzerman is pruning the roster of those players who do not fit the Yzerplan. Many of whom, were lamented when either re-signed or plucked from free agency by Holland during the failed “Rebuild on the Fly.”
Though it’s another long season of rebuilding, if there’s any silver lining, it’s that the Yzerplan is being executed and while it will still take time, just a casual glance at Tampa Bay or even what several Yzerman drafted prospects are doing overseas provides relief in what has been a brutal storm of losing.