Detroit Red Wings’ season preview: Will the Yzerplan deliver in 2023?

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The Detroit Red Wings preseason is wrapping up in the coming days. For NHL fans, speculators, doubters, and haters, this is the best time to predict, to use our crystal ball, or to be on record for all to see if we are indeed hockey’s Nostradamus or a clown…

I will subject myself to the potential ridicule and praise as I dive into the four divisions and analyze the Detroit Red Wings against the competition, key factors in the head-to-head, and spotlighting impact players or familiar faces along the way. Let’s talk about the Red Wings first.

The Yzerplan is alive and well. Rome was not built in a day, and neither are hockey dynasties. Trolls and John Scott’s alike have called for change and want results yesterday. This is not a reasonable ask for the task of repairing an organization that once stood as the most feared in the league for a quarter century.

Prior to their continued run at excellence, Steve Yzerman was the center of the Detroit Red Wings rebuild as a player. Nearly 40 years later, he is the architect of the Red Wings. The team utilized the draft, trades, and free agency to ascend to greatness. We are seeing the same things right now happening. The future is bright with players selected over the past five drafts. The draft has brought the Red Wings the following 1st rounders: Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, Simon Edvinsson, Sebastion Cossa, Marco Kasper, Nate Danielson, and Axel Sandin Pellikka. That is not even mentioning the depth of Trey Augustine, Carter Mazur, Amadeus Lombardi, and William Wallinder. The team will have a solid core with this group of Yzerman draft picks.

In building a team, you have to look in the cupboard for what you inherited. Yzerman needed time to let bad contracts expire and move on from players who did not fit the mold of the Detroit Red Wings going forward. While the team needed to be competitive to keep fans engaged, we have seen a collection of stopgap signings until last summer when Andrew Copp, David Perron, and Ben Chariot were added to the lineup.

Yzerman contained his run of improving for now by adding the likes of JT Compher, Justin Holl, and Shayne Gostisbehere. Yzerman improved the team via trade by obtaining Ville Husso, Jake Walman, Jeff Petry, Klim Kostin, and Alex Debrincat (who should have been drafted by the Red Wings in 2016, but hey, Cholowski it was).

With these additions surrounding Dylan Larkin (the newly crowned longest-tenured Detroit athlete), the team’s growth will be a sight to see. It would kind of be like how Tampa Bay struggled, moved on from fan favorites and poor contracts, and then won back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Another key piece to the Detroit Red Wings future success is coach Derek Lalonde. The guy is a proven winner from the junior level, the minors, and the show. His ability to motivate and push players effectively is remarkable. You don’t win championships wherever you go by mistake. His ability to learn from Jon Cooper is also invaluable to leading the Red Wings back to the playoffs.

With so much to be excited about that is new, it is important to know what you have. This is a big year for three Detroit Red Wings forwards: Robby Fabbri, Michael Rasmussen, and Joe Veleno.

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