Any Detroit Red Wings fan who watched the post-lottery press conference saw a very straightforward Steve Yzerman give some pretty clear answers. In short:
- Anyone looking for a timeline on the Yzerplan can keep guessing
- Any rankings of prospects are subjective
- The Yzerman dry wit is alive and well
While Detroit will be picking sixth in the draft, Yzerman doesn’t seem too concerned about not winning the draft or being in the line where the draft could be unpredictable. Yzerman, as per usual, was cool and calm without revealing too much.
The Yzerplan Has no Definitive Timeline
Staying consistent with the comments he made in his opening press conference when he took the job, Yzerman won’t commit to a timeline and was ambiguous when pressed on it. Said Yzerman in the press conference when pushed by the Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James:
“What’s your timeline here or there? I simply can’t give one. It’s a guess.”
Paraphrasing after that, Yzerman indicated that if a team is able to rebuild quicker than expected, then it was some good fortune that got them there. For all the posturing, questioning, and guessing about when this team will turn the corner, Yzerman wasn’t willing to commit. But it’s in line with everything we’ve come to expect from him. Anthony Mantha is signed to a four-year extension before the season begins: he’s dealt away just six months later.
There’s no predicting what he’ll do which is the fun of all of this. It’s evident that there will be some term to the rebuild, but he’s stockpiling through the draft to rebuild the organization. No matter how long it takes, he’s sticking to his draft-first mentality while adding through free agency and trades in the meantime.
Your Guess is as Good as Yzerman’s in the Draft
One of the more interesting exchanges came near the end of the interview where MLive’s Ansar Khan asked Yzerman about his ranking of the prospects. Khan insinuated that the first two choices were secure but Yzerman pressed him on it. After Khan revealed that he thought Owen Power and defenseman Simon Edvinsson were the top two choices, Yzerman responded with a chuckle and an “interesting.” Prior to questioning Khan, he said this:
I think there’s a variety of guys that could go in any order. I don’t know what other teams are thinking. I have a pretty good idea what our guys are thinking. We haven’t really finalized it yet but there’s players at every position and it could go in any order.
The exchange was humorous but revealed that this draft is viewed as wide open as it can be by those scouting the talent. Beyond that, Yzerman isn’t exactly one to reveal his thinking. So whether he agreed with Khan’s assessment or not, a laugh and a shrug were all anyone was going to get.
Regardless, Yzerman is “excited about the possibilities” at sixth overall and Khan included that quote in his story:
“I think we’ll get a good prospect,” Yzerman said. “I’ve seen the majority of the kids that’ll be in the 1-10 range. We’re excited about the possibilities that’ll be there.”
Yzerman and the amateur scouting staff have a solid month and a half to get their lists in order. With 12 picks in the draft, the spin at the draft wheel will provide a wealth of options. Along with the Expansion Draft, and free agency, there will be plenty to watch as the offseason continues on.