Most of us expect the Detroit Red Wings to finally make a serious push for a playoff berth this coming season following a very productive off-season, but general manager Steve Yzerman has quickly poured some cold water on that notion.
Recently, Yzerman was present at the annual West Michigan Sports Commission luncheon in Grand Rapids and served as a guest speaker at the function. Yzerman mentioned that he would like to see the Red Wings make the playoffs but quickly noted that this season will not be considered a playoffs or bust situation internally.
“The moves we’re making along the way aren’t necessarily designed toward, ‘Oh my god, we gotta make the playoffs this year, or playoffs-or-bust,’” Yzerman explained. “We’re trying to build a nucleus of a young team that’s going to be together for a long time that can compete in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup, and we’re sticking with that path.”
“We’ve been through the process” Yzerman said. “Our fanbase, the sports fans in Detroit, have seen it all. It’s understandable that they would want to see some success at some point. They want to see their teams win.
“I don’t feel any extra pressure. I was hired to do a job and I understand the job and the scrutiny that comes with it. But it doesn’t change what you have to do or what needs to be done.”
When many (myself included) felt the ‘YzerPlan’ had hit a speed bump, Yzerman said hold my beer. The Detroit Red Wings enjoyed a chaotic off-season and, on paper, vastly improved.
It’s not playoff or bust for the Detroit Red Wings.
When you start to dissect Detroit’s hectic off-season, it’s difficult not to get a bit excited. The Detroit Red Wings have desperately needed a top-end scorer to play alongside captain Dylan Larkin. Check. Yzerman went out and traded for two-time 41-goal scorer Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat, 25, is a Michigan native and requested out of Ottawa and mentioned Detroit as one of the few places he would like to play. Yzerman was able to land the scoring winger for pennies on the dollar. Detroit sent Dominik Kubalik, prospect Donovan Sebrango, a conditional first-round pick, and a fourth-round selection for DeBrincat. The Red Wings possessed two first-round picks for the 2024 NFL Draft, their own plus Boston’s, obtained in the Tyler Bertuzzi trade. Detroit has the option to send either selection to Boston following the season.
The Detroit Red Wings also landed a ton of depth/role-type players that will enhance their second, third, and fourth lines. Yzerman added J.T. Compher to stabilize the center position; he and Andrew Copp are comfortable playing on the second or third unit. Detroit also secured Klim Kostin, Christian Fischer, and Daniel Sprong. This group should be much more productive than last season’s group of Bertuzzi, Kubalik, Filip Zadina, Alex Chaisson, Pius Suter, and Oskar Sundqvist.
Yzerman also overhauled the team’s defense by adding a host of proven, veteran defenders. Detroit is expected to roll with the same top pairing of Jake Walman and Moritz Seider from a year ago. Then it will likely be Ben Chiarot with newcomer Jeff Petry. The two had been teammates in Montreal in the past. The third pair will likely be Shayne Gostisbehere, with a rotation of Olli Maatta and Justin Holl. The abundance of new faces on the backend suggests Detroit is content with allowing their top defense prospects another year in the minors, where they can continue to focus on their development.
I was quite eager to see Simon Edvinsson in Detroit as a regular this upcoming season. Still, it looks as though he, William Wallinder, and Albert Johansson will have to remain patient, barring injuries.
Yzerman has had the same mindset since returning home to take over the Red Wings. He wants to build a sustainable team, and he is willing to be patient in doing it. Player development and growth within is and always has been his main objective.