Yzerman’s Free Agency Review

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: (L-R) Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings attends the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If you would have told me that the additions of Staal, Stecher, Ryan, Namestnikov would translate into some positives I would have called you a liar. For the most part these free agent acquisitions by Steve Yzerman have panned out very well. Players such as Ryan, Stecher, Namestnikov were just looking for a second chance with a different team and Staal was a different story but still turned out positive. Yzerman seems to have not only planned for this current season but also the upcoming trade deadline. “Stevie Y” has already proved that his methods work, If you’re looking for an example there is a team in Florida that continues to just dominate the Central Division. In this article we will talk about some of the moves and free agent acquisitions that Steve Yzerman has made and see how they immediately impact the future of this organization. 

If you talk about one, you have to talk about the other. I’m talking about the pairing of Marc Staal and Troy Stecher. Yzerman acquired Staal with a tactic known as “weaponizing the cap”. The Rangers were not looking to pay the high dollar amount that remained on Staal’s contract. Yzerman had the cap space to make something happen and was able to acquire a second round draft pick from New York in exchange for the Red Wings taking on the last year of Staal’s contract. Stecher became a piece via a simple free agency signing and appears to have been worth every penny of the 3.4 million, two year deal. Stecher continues to play fantastic, to the point when he is paired with Marc Staal, then become one of the best defensive pairings in the league. Look for Staal to be moved around the April tread deadline, it would not shock me to see Yzerman get two draft picks for one player’s tenure with the team. 

Bobby Ryan has led in more ways than one. Ryan brings a veteran presence that otherwise would be lacking with a mostly young forward group. Players like Larkin, Mantha, Fabbri have all used their time with the veteran forward wisely cashing in on some creative passing plays and determination in the offensive zone. Bobby Ryan only playing on a one year deal with Detroit may see himself become a trade acquisition come April, as his play flashes around the league. Detroit may only get a 3rd or 4th round pick in return for Ryan, however Yzerman still looks to build the organization’s prospect pool through the draft, and the best way to do that is acquiring picks.

Namestnikov has had his ups and downs this season, however for the 4 million over two years deal that he signed in the offseason, it has paid off. Vladislav has accumulated 10 points in 31 games with most of his ice team being bumped back and forth between the 2nd and 3rd lines. I do not see a strong market for the likes of Namestnikov however he could serve as an important bridge player as the rebuild continues in Detroit. Most of his early childhood and most summers were spent in Detroit with his uncle Slava Kozlov being part of the origination through the 90’s Stanley Cup runs. Yzerman in control gives me more confidence that a player like this will not turn into the nightmare contract’s of Helm and Frans Nielson that have imprisoned the Wings since the departure of Ken Holland, current General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers.

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Joel is originally from Mayville, Michigan. He graduated Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science towards Multimedia & New Technology with an emphasis in Sports Broadcasting. He started his career doing play-by-play broadcasting for the Marquette Royals of the MNJHL. After the league folded, he moved to Appleton Wisconsin and started working for a Pharmacy Benefit Company. In January of 2021 Joel joined TheFHN and has loved doing it ever since. Since starting, he has written for Winged Warriors and added In the Wild for the Minnesota Wild. Starting this upcoming season, he will be hosting a weekly podcast highlighting the Detroit Red Wings.


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