Earlier today, Pro Hockey Talk’s Scott Billeck examined the questions facing the Red Wings coming out of the 2018-2019 season to kick off “Red Wings day” on PHT, and three articles followed:
- In the first article, Billeck pondered where Wings coach Jeff Blashill fit into GM Steve Yzerman’s plans…
Yzerman now has his eyes squarely on the man leading the troops from ice-level. And contracts for coachings mean very little. Blashill’s leash will be as long as Yzerman permits it to be.
Yzerman knows how to build a winner. He did so as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2010-2018. And he knows what a good head coach looks like, whether it’s Jon Cooper in Tampa or Scotty Bowman, the GOAT and the man who Yzerman won his three Stanley Cups under as a player.
Blashill faces the pressures of any coach in a rebuild. There has to be tangible progress seen on the ice. The young core needs to get better and move into leading roles.
But Blashill also faces the pressure of not being Yzerman’s hand-picked bench boss. He could very well earn that title, of course. But he could also fall victim to the realities of a new GM coming in and wanting his fingerprints everywhere.
2. Billeck then examined the “Yzerplan“…
Yzerman seems content to let another year of the team’s rebuild run its course. There are low expectations in terms of the team’s success this year, and having a full season at the helm to assess where that rebuild is at will allow him to go into next summer armed with better knowledge (and more cash to work with.)
The Red Wings will have $13 million likely coming off the books after this year on defense alone, including Mike Green, Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley — all aging players who likely won’t fit into the team’s long-term plans.
Jimmy Howard, 35, is also set to become a UFA. With Filip Larsson signing a three-year entry-level deal earlier this year, he will get a lot of action in Grand Rapids. If that pans out, perhaps he’s ready to make the jump in 2020-21.
Yzerman’s biggest challenge is finding what young up-and-comers are ready to make the jump to the Show this season.
3. And Billeck wraps things up with a discussion of the Red Wings’ youth movement:
Filip Zadina stands out up front while Filip Hronek does the same on the blue line.
Filip Larsson, who dominated in the USHL two seasons ago and made waves in the NCAA last season in Denver will now try and take the next step in the American Hockey League this season. Watching the whole of the Red Wings organization should be interesting this season, including their farm team.
And all of this complements a young roster well.