Red Wings fans expect GM Steve Yzerman and his managerial team to deliver fireworks in the form of sensational trades, big free agent signings and home-run draft picks, but Hockeybuzz’s Kevin Allen suggests that Yzerman’s best moves are often made in the form of smaller-scale trades:
Last season, Yzerman gave up fourth liner Jacob de la Rose for Robbie Fabbri, 24, who ended up playing in Detroit’s top six. He also secured a pair of second-round picks from Edmonton for speedy Andreas Athanasiou. Now, Edmonton is moving on from Athanasiou.
When Yzerman was named Detroit general manager, some fans thought his tenure would be marked by big name acquisitions. The thought was Yzerman would use his sterling reputation to attract high profile free agents.
He may eventually bring in a free agent, but that’s not how Yzerman builds teams. He starts by acquiring draft picks and putting together a strong foundation of talented youngsters.
That’s what the Staal deal is about. He received another second round pick to carry Staal’s $5.7 million contract for a year. The New York Rangers needed cap relief. Yzerman wants to be more competitive than the Red Wings were last season, and Staal is a veteran who can help in that regard. Yzerman said Trevor Daley and Jonathan Ericsson are moving on. When playing well, Staal is a solid performer. There’s a chance that the Red Wings will be able to move Staal at next season’s trade deadline, perhaps adding more value to this deal.
Continued; it’s hard to disagree with Yzerman pulling of wise “small deals” given that he once traded Kyle Quincey for a first-round pick that became Andrei Vasilevskiy (thanks, Kenny Holland), but no GM worth his salt makes only massive moves, and it is in the “small trades” that one is judged.
Hell, Yzerman made a miscalculation last year in trading Alec Regula, and up-and-coming defenseman, for Brendan Perlini, who may not even be retained. Those kinds of small deals and small details can come back to bite you if you’re not careful with which assets you’re able to move to make small adjustments and improvements.