There is no doubt it has been a busy offseason for Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman. Since taking the job as the Red Wings’ top decision-maker when it comes to player personnel on April 19, 2019, it was obvious that the Red Wings were in a rebuilding stage. They had not made the playoffs since 2016, and there was going to be a lot of work for Detroit to get back to their glory days and the reason why the club was known as simply “Hockeytown.”
In Yzerman’s first season in Detroit, you could tell he was in an evaluation approach. Prior to the start of the year, defenseman Niklas Kronwall retired, and the Red Wings were not all that active in free agency prior to the 2019-20 regular season. Their biggest free agent splash was Valtteri Filppula, who the Red Wings picked up from the New York Islanders and signed to a two-year deal worth $6 million. Then at the trade deadline, Detroit moved Mike Green and Andreas Athanasiou in separate trades with the Edmonton Oilers. At the end of the regular season, the Red Wings were last in the NHL with 39 points (17 wins, 49 regulation losses and five losses in extra time).
So far in the 2020-21 offseason, Yzerman has been busy. They have re-signed forwards Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. Mantha in fact signed a four year contract worth $22.8 million. Detroit also signed right winger Bobby Ryan to a one-year contract worth $1 million from the Ottawa Senators, defenseman Jon Merrill to a one-year contract worth $925,000 from the Vegas Golden Knights, goaltender Thomas Greiss to a two year deal worth $7.2 million from the New York Islanders, defenseman Troy Stecher to a two year deal worth $3.4 million from the Vancouver Canucks, and center Vladislav Namestnikov from the Colorado Avalanche to a two year-deal worth $4 million.
Greiss will look to be the undisputed number one goalie or Detroit. Last year with the Islanders, he had a record of 16-9-4, a goals against average of 2.74, and a save percentage of .913. Stecher had five goals and 12 assists for 17 points last season with the Canucks, and Namestnikov had 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points with the Senators and Avalanche.
The one intriguing signing by Yzerman though is that of Bobby Ryan. Six times in his career Ryan has reached the 50-point plateau, and even though he only had eight points in 24 games this past season, Ryan does have the skillset to be part of the Red Wings top six.
It will take some more time for Yzerman to turn things around in Detroit. However, he had great success in an executive role over the last decade with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and we are now seeing progress made with the Red Wings when it comes to their player personnel.
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