Sports Illustrated’s hockey staff compiled a list of pressing off-season questions for each and every one of the NHL’s 31 teams. As the Red Wings prepare for free agency, SI’s staff suggests that Steve Yzerman’s free agency and summer trade season plans serve as the Wings‘ biggest unknown:
Detroit Red Wings: What will Steve Yzerman do?
Back in Detroit, Yzerman has the keys to the team that Ken Holland built. Yzerman made his first mark on the rebuild at the draft, selecting German defenseman Moritz Seider earlier than anyone anticipated. The undertaking is similar to his time in Tampa Bay: Find the pieces to supplement the team’s core. Yzerman is stocked with nine picks in the first three rounds of the 2020 and 2021 drafts. Bonfide No. 1 center Dylan Larkin headlines a forward group flush with talent, including Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. The defense, though, is shaky at best and needs some attention.
I’m just not sure whether the Red Wings need to address their defense via free agency. If they’re not going the “veteran route” (think Dion Phaneuf or Anton Stralman), the names out there (per CapFriendly) are going to be Joel Edmunson, Ben Hutton, Jake Gardiner, Patrik Nemeth, Joe Morrow or Ben Chariot (among others).
Aside from Gardiner, the long story shot for the 20-somethings is that they’ve either got a limited offensive upside or they have to answer serious questions about their consistency and form.
We’ll see what the Yzerplan is for both the Red Wings and Griffins over the course of the next 7 days. I am hoping that Yzerman sits on the sidelines and allows as much of that $12 million in cap space to sit fallow as possible, but that’s just me.