Detroit — The Red Wings’ season concluded two weeks ago. But even if they were still playing, Dylan Larkin wasn’t going to be in the lineup.
General manager Steve Yzerman said Tuesday on a Zoom call announcing the retention of coach Jeff Blashill, that Larkin is progressing and is expected to be on the ice when training camp begins in September.
Larkin took a crosscheck to the neck area from Dallas forward Jamie Benn on April 20 after a faceoff and missed the remainder of the regular season.
“He’s recovering and we expect him to make a full recovery from his injury,” Yzerman said. “He’s being monitored. and they’re very cautious in the approach. But right now, he’s in kind of a rest period in healing before he gets into training again fully.
“If we were playing today, he wouldn’t be cleared to play. But we expect him to be ready to go once the season starts.”
Yzerman wouldn’t get into the specifics of the injury.
“To be consistent, he suffered an upper-body injury and is day to day,” Yzerman said, adding surgery is not necessary.
Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi is also rehabilitating.
Recovering from late season back surgery, Bertuzzi played nine games and didn’t play after Feb. 1.
Wings’ Steve Yzerman on Jeff Blashill’s ‘calmness and patience’ during the rebuild
Ted Kulfan asks the first questions to Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman about bringing back coach Jeff Blashill.
The Detroit News
Yzerman was optimistic about Bertuzzi, although the rehab process will be deliberate.
“He’s doing real well,” Yzerman said. “I can’t say I see him every day but we’re down here at Little Caesars (Arena) and he’s coming down (for treatment), he’s limited in what he’s doing but he comes in and he seems to be doing well.
“Tyler is pretty quiet. He doesn’t say a lot, but he’s very upbeat and positive and we expect him to be full steam ahead in September. It’s just a slow process initially after the surgery, and gradually ramping things up.
“He appears to be doing well and we don’t expect any complications along the way. It’s just a deliberate and methodical rebab process for him.”
Prospect Moritz Seider was honored Tuesday by the Swedish Hockey League as the best defenseman.
The 2019 first-round draft pick had seven goals and 21 assists in 41 games with Rogle in the SHL, with one goal and four assists in 13 playoff games.
Seider, 20, who had a strong rookie pro season in Grand Rapids two years ago, is penciled in to be on the Wings’ opening night roster.
“Moritz had a great year in Sweden,” Yzerman said. “He made the decision to want to go play and we supported that decision and as it turned out, he played a lot, played in all situations on a very good team, and the Swedish League is a very good league.”
Yzerman was cautious about Seider jumping into the NHL next season.
“I want to temper the enthusiasm, or the excitement, he’s a great young player and his next move is to the NHL, (but) we’ll see how training camp and the preseason goes,” Yzerman said. “It’s a huge step up from the American League or the Swedish League to the NHL.
“But he probably exceeded expectations last year in the American League and I’m not surprised he did very well in the Swedish League.
“He has a real head on his shoulders, has good hockey sense, and he’s real competitive. He has size and his skills are good. He has a lot of work to do, but there’s a lot of potential for him.”
Forward Lucas Raymond, who was drafted in the first-round (fourth overall) last year, has also signed with the Wings and will be competing for an NHL roster spot as well.
“We’ll let the situation play itself out,” Yzerman said. “If they’re ready to go, they’ll be on the team. But again, we just have to wait and we’re not going to force it.
“But if they’re on the team and playing, we’ll be very happy. We have high expectations for them, and is it next season, or the season after? I’m not sure. We’ve love for them to play, but they’ll have to earn it.”
Now that the coaching situation has been resolved, what’s the next item on Yzerman’s priority list?
Basically getting everything in order for the expansion draft stocking Seattle’s new roster July 21 (the Wings and every other team will lose one player). Then the NHL Entry Draft (July 23-24) and the start of unrestricted free agency July 28.
The amateur draft, where the Wings have 12 picks including seven in the first three rounds, is where plenty of emphasis will be directed.
“The priorities now are really to get with the amateur scouting department to get organized for the draft, and make sure we know our draft list is in order,” Yzerman said. “Things will happen real quick once you get to closer to the expansion draft.”