Pat Verbeek, former Red Wings assistant GM, takes over as Ducks general manager

Detroit News

Detroit — Pat Verbeek isn’t going to an expansion team for an organization beginning a rebuild.

Named general manager of the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, Verbeek is going to an organization in third place in the Pacific Division, in a wild-card spot, and past the early stages of the rebuild phase.

“This team doesn’t need to be rebuilt; they’re in the middle of their rebuild, so this is a great opportunity to take this team forward and turn them into a contender,” Verbeek said during his introductory press conference. “You don’t have to come in there and look to take a long time. There’s good players in the NHL, good players in the minors and there are players that have been drafted. There’s a lot coming to support the growth of this team. That’s truly what I’m excited about.”

Verbeek was general manager Steve Yzerman’s assistant with the Wings the last three years, with Verbeek taking on the responsibility of being GM of the minor-league affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins in August.

Verbeek was also with Yzerman in Tampa Bay, serving as assistant GM and director of player personnel for the Lightning from 2012-19 after serving as director of professional scouting from 2010-12.

“Pat Verbeek is one of the brightest minds and hardest workers in the game and he has been a trusted and valued resource to me throughout my management career,” Yzerman said. “I will miss working alongside him but will continue to value the close friendship we have developed over the years. He is very deserving of his new role as general manager of the Ducks.”

Verbeek felt the variety of positions and roles Yzerman placed him in was beneficial and educational, and was a key factor in Verbeek’s management growth.

Yzerman’s patience and diligence are intangibles Verbeek would like bring with him to Anaheim.

“Steve’s an incredibly hard worker, very thorough in how he goes about making decisions,” Verbeek said. “If I were to try to follow him in any way, that would be the intangibles I would look at.”

Verbeek was thankful to Jimmy Devellano, senior vice president and alternate governor, and former Wings GM Ken Holland (now with Edmonton), for hiring Verbeek as a pro scout in 2006.

“I want to thank them both for their valuable guidance and mentorship and for giving me a blueprint to get here today,” Verbeek said.

Veleno sent to Grand Rapids

The Red Wings on Thursday reassigned center Joe Veleno to the Griffins.

Veleno has played in 31 games with the Wings, with four goals and two assists for six points. Veleno scored his fourth goal in Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to Los Angeles.

Veleno has played 36 games with the Wings in his career, with five goals and two assists.

In seven games with Grand Rapids this season, Veleno has three goals. In 65 games with the Griffins in his pro career, Veleno has 15 goals and 14 assists.

Veleno, 22, is averaging 12 minutes 13 seconds of of ice time with the Wings, but in Grand Rapids he’ll be able to play first-line minutes and in every situation.

Grand Rapids has two games this weekend. The Wings are off during the NHL All-Star break until Wednesday when they play in Philadelphia.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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