Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan spoke with Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the top story lines for the team as training camp begins on Friday…
“This is going to be a competitive camp for a variety of reasons,” general manager Ken Holland said. “We want the young kids to push for a spot on the team. I’m holding a spot on the back end and I’m holding a spot or two, maybe three, up front.
“But they have to earn it. I just can’t throw out a Kiddie Corps out there. I’m hoping some of these kids we have to send back, that they’re ready, and they’re going to be up here as the year wears on.”
Holland also sees plenty of competition among returning veterans.
“There’s internal competition,” Holland said. “We’re in rebuild mode and there’s going to be more opportunity. I’m hoping for young people (to claim some jobs) but if they don’t, the veterans who are here will have to.
“Some of these veterans maybe haven’t been doing these jobs (special teams, scoring lines) and maybe they pick up the responsibility because the kids haven’t grabbed it. We’ll see.”
2. And the Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo weighed in regarding what he believes is an inevitability in Steve Yzerman returning to the Red Wings to work as their general manager:
The Lightning were floundering when he took over as GM. He did inherit Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, first and second overall NHL Draft picks, but made the most of it, finding gems such as free agent Tyler Johnson, and landing one of the league’s great players, Nikita Kucherov, in the second round.
Yzerman has been gutsy, letting a solid goalie, Ben Bishop, depart, while being one of the rare GMs in recent years to lead an organization in identifying a first-round goalie with actual different-making talent in Andrei Vasilevskiy.
My favorite Yzerman move was taking advantage of the Canadiens need for splash moves by trading former third overall pick Jonathan Drouin, who has mostly underachieved, for a potential first-pairing defenseman, who contributed immediately at age 19, Mikhail Sergachev.
Honestly, I didn’t think Yzerman would come back. The Red Wings are in a difficult situation when you compare expectations to reality, while the Lightning are set up to contend for The Cup for a decade. But Yzerman, interestingly, really took over the celebration after the final game at Joe Louis Arena in 2017. It was as if he was “The Captain” again. He spoke so eloquently and from the heart, I told people at the time it looked like he wanted to come back.
Maybe he will. Certainly it’s more of a possibility than it had been.
My best and educated guess is he will.