Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman Silences Critics with Tarasenko Signing

The Hockey Writers

Social media has impacted our lives in more ways than we sometimes realize. Everything nowadays is quick and on demand. We want it now. One of the biggest drawbacks of all of this is that patience is harder to come by. That was never more evident with Detroit Red Wings fans than after the first day of free agency. Something? Anything? What is the general manager doing? But that’s not the game Steve Yzerman is playing this summer. Patience is key to his approach. He re-signed forward Patrick Kane to a team-friendly deal on the night before the market opened. Then after an underwhelming start on the first day of free agency, which included some low-key acquisitions, the Hall-of-Famer spiced things up by inking Florida Panthers forward and two-time Cup champion Vladimir Tarasenko to a two-year deal worth $4.75 million annually.

Vladimir Tarasenko Florida Panthers
Vladimir Tarasenko, Florida Panthers (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tarasenko may still be hungover from the Panthers’ parade celebration, but he just became a pretty valuable addition to the Red Wings lineup for the 2024-25 season. The 32-year-old winger will be playing for his fourth team since being traded by the St. Louis Blues to the New York Rangers during the 2022-23 season. With Tarasenko now in the fold, the Red Wings have a top-six forward group that includes Dylan Larkin, Lucas Raymond, Alex DeBrincat, J.T Compher and Kane. Later in the day, Yzerman moved forward Robby Fabbri and a conditional 2025 fourth-round draft pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for goalie prospect Gage Alexander. That move shed close to $4 million while putting Detroit’s cap situation in a good place to negotiate long-term deals with youngsters Raymond and defenseman Moritz Seider. The Russian winger brings much-needed skill to a team that lost Fabbri, David Perron, Shayne Gostisbehere and Jake Walman; all in the past week.

Related: Worst Trades in Red Wings History

Tarasenko is no longer the game-breaker that he once was but still has a skill set that should mesh well with the core forward group. He has racked up 553 career points in 644 games (262 goals and 291 assists) during his 12-year career and instantly replaces the offense that Perron, who signed with the Ottawa Senators, provided in that top-six role. Last season he split time between the Senators and Panthers while posting 23 goals and 32 assists in 76 games. He was a key contributor in the playoffs with five goals and four assists as the Panthers clinched their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Did I also mention he’s a two-time All-Star and former 40-goal scorer? Tarasenko will not look out of place with the likes of Kane, Larkin and Raymond. He will be a valuable power play asset and reaching 20 to 25 goals is not out of the question, all things considered. The best part? Yzerman didn’t have to forfeit any major assets while adding skill to his top six.

Role Play

Tarasenko will most likely slot in on the second line with Compher and Kane. He still possesses a wicked release that strikes fear into opposing goaltenders. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound winger also adds a little more size up front. While he’s not overly physical, Detroit desperately needed to get bigger in their top six. But the most valuable trait he brings is that Cup pedigree. Everyone saw what three-time Cup winner Kane did for Raymond last season. Tarasenko has hoisted Lord Stanley’s chalice not once, but twice – the other with the Blues in 2019. That can be invaluable as the Red Wings continue to bring up young forwards to mix in with a veteran group. This season could see players like Jonatan Berggren, Nate Danielson, Carter Mazur and Marco Kasper get accustomed to NHL life and that’s why I really like this move.

Final Word

Now does this mean the Red Wings will end their eight-year playoff drought after the 2024-25 regular season ends? Absolutely not. But here’s why I love it. A good majority of the league was playing checkers during the first day of free agency while Yzerman was playing chess. The NHL announced teams committed a record $1.12 billion in contracts as over 100 players changed teams. That is the most ever spent in any single day of free agency in NHL history.

There were enough six and seven-year deals going around to make your head spin – see Chandler Stephenson with the Seattle Kraken – or the same feeling that the Cup champs are waking up with this week. Yzerman waited it out, refusing to go long-term on any of his signings. He has a plan in place; short-term, low-money deals that will help bridge the gap to the prospects who are almost ready, while also staying competitive in the playoff hunt. There looks to be more moves still on the horizon and at this point, I wouldn’t put anything past Yzerman. The chef is still cooking and the kitchen isn’t closed just yet. Patience is a virtue.

The Hockey Writers Substack banner Detroit Red Wings

Articles You May Like

Which NHL Playoff Drought Will End This Season?
Red Wings Top 25 Prospects: Post-2024 NHL Draft
Red Wings’ Playoff Drought Will End This Season
Grading the Red Wings’ 2024 Offseason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *