Follow me on Twitter
The first round of the draft
and Day two of the draft
weren’t earth shattering. Honestly, the picks all feel like “wait and see” and as usual, Yzerman sticks to his vision. Free Agency
, on the other hand was almost overwhelming. Bobby Ryan and Jon Merrill were a nice start. It felt like things were going to be a little better. Thomas Greiss and Troy Stecher got the excitement going. Hearing Vancouver pundits react to the deal Yzerman made for Stecher makes it even more fascinating. Is this a pickup that will be with Detroit well past his initial deal? It feels like an impressive add, more so as each day goes by. Gergeswillems eerily predicted Greiss, and what a welcome prediction it was!
Vladislav Namestnikov was another nice addition. Comfortable at center or wing, the 2nd line seemed to improve (assuming Fabbri-Namestnikov-Zadina) and Bobby Ryan slotting in somewhere at the 2nd or 3rd line. All of a sudden, there is some depth (not championship, I know) and the defense had what feels like a fairly major overhaul. We knew an upgrade in net was imminent and it looks good having Greiss come to town. All these players are happy to be here. The entire mood seems to have changed. What a whirlwind.
And so, I’m left in awe of Yzerman’s execution. No drama, no tug of war or waiting on someone to make up their mind. Moves that made sense, didn’t break the bank, and players who are excited to be part of the Red Wings organization. Going into last season, there were 20 expiring contracts. Going into next season there are 19. We’ve had some good back and forth about the implications of everything. Last year feels like it was an audition. Some veterans were for certain going to be done when their contracts were up. Abdelkader was bought out. Athanasiou was traded. By the time the draft came around, Yzerman had done some very definitive assessments and set up the 2021 season. More stability, younger players, and an identity being formed.
It’s a bit surreal still. Trying to imagine what the roster will look like when the puck drops. There may still be some moves, but I’d be hard pressed to think anything major is coming. Mantha and Bertuzzi need new deals. Hronek needs one after this season.
I do find myself pondering the future of Nielsen. Detroit could very well decide to have a 25 man roster in anticipation of injuries or illness for the coming year. The club will have gone almost 10 months without competitive play. The AHL is still a bit up in the air, though the ECHL has come up with a multi tiered approach. (Some teams start in December, some start in January and play fewer games, one club is taking the season off). A veteran player could find themselves waived into the minors.
With the dust settling, where are your thoughts at? Do you have more optimism going into the new season? Are you bracing for a repeat of last year? Who was your favorite acquisition?(Stecher is my personal fave). Let me know where you’re at, and what you think this year is going to look like. Thanks for making the draft and free agency memorable, as it was my first time covering both. Here’s to many more.