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Yzerman Takes Hatchet To Scouting Staff

July 11, 2019, 12:04 PM ET [5 Comments]
Bob Duff
Detroit Red Wings Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
On July 1, when Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman was asked if he planned any changes in the club’s hockey operations department, his answer was short and to the point.

“No I don’t,” Yzerman said.

Then he gutted the team’s scouting department.

Out of a job in Detroit is director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright, who oversaw last month’s NHL entry draft, as well as chief amateur scout Jeff Finley, amateur scout Andrew Dickson and pro scouts Glenn Merkosky and Archie Henderson.

A team source indicated that Merkosky, 59, had decided to retire. A former Wings player and coach of the AHL farm club when it was the Adirondack Red Wings, Merkosky had been a scout with the club for 21 years and part of the organization for 28 seasons.

Henderson, 62, a former NHL player as well, joined the Wings scouting staff in 2015.

Pro scouts Mark Howe, Bruce Haralson and Kirk Maltby were retained, as were North American amateur scouts Kelly Harper, Mark Mullen, Marty Stein and Ross Yates. Detroit’s entire European scouting staff - director Hakan Andersson, Vladimir Havluj, Nikolai Vakourov and Antonin Routa - all remain on staff.

Wright, 46, was hired by Detroit in 2013. He’d filled a similar position with the Columbus Blue Jackets prior to joining the Wings, replacing Joe McDonnell, who had followed former Wings assistant GM Jim Nill to Dallas when Nill was hired as GM of the Stars.

At the same time, Finley was promoted to chief amateur scout because Mark Leach also joined Nill in Dallas.

Wright and Henderson both weren’t long looking for work. The Edmonton Oilers, now run by former Wings GM Ken Holland, added both scouts to their staff. Holland had hired both men to work in Detroit.

Wright was a 1991 first-round draft pick of the Oilers, selected 12th overall, two picks after the Wings chose Martin Lapointe with their first choice.

While the Wings have yet to officially announce any of the replacements for the departed scouts, an NHL source indicated that Kris Draper would be replacing Wright as the club’s director of amateur scouting.

Center for years on Detroit’s Grind Line, Draper, 48, skated in 1,137 games as a Red Wing from 1993-2011, winning four Stanley Cups. He was Yzerman’s teammate for 12 seasons.

Since 2011, Draper was employed as assistant to the general manager, overseeing player evaluations for the entry draft, as well as potential trades and free agent signings.

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