The Athletic’s Max Bultman penned an article regarding the Red Wings’ addition of 33-year-old defenseman Marc Staal on Saturday. After analyzing Staal’s impact (it’s not huge), Bultman notes that both of the Red Wings’ moves on Saturday (the other was re-signing Sam Gagner to a 1-year deal) involved keeping a veteran presence on the roster:
“Trying to add these veteran guys that can help our younger players, not only fill a hole in the roster, but help the culture, help the locker room, and I guess help the entire organization, really,” Yzerman said.
Of note on Gagner, in particular, are his right-handed shot and ability to help the Red Wings’ power play, Yzerman said. Luke Glendening is currently the Red Wings’ only other right-handed forward. The general manager did acknowledge Gagner’s ability play all three forward positions, including center, and also said the team plans to give Robby Fabbri at least a look at center.
But with both Gagner and Staal on one-year contracts, the second-round pick will likely stand as the most significant of Saturday’s acquisitions to the future of the Red Wings. Second-round picks are not sure things, but with three in three straight drafts, Yzerman certainly is giving his staff as many chances as possible to find difference-makers for the rebuild.
It’s now been more than six months since the Red Wings last took the ice. But with the 2020 draft just 10 days away, and free agency not far behind, what looks like a busy offseason for the second-year GM is officially ramping up.
Continued (paywall); what do you feel is the right balance between veteran players, the Wings’ ready-to-play core, and the youngsters they’re trying to promote?
Do the Red Wings need to add any more veterans, or should they continue to press forward with a relatively youthful movement?
For what it’s worth, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks had this to say about Staal’s battle scars:
Staal, of course, has been a mainstay through the Rangers’ past four coaches. He made his debut under Tom Renney, and had his best days under John Tortorella as Dan Girardi’s first-pair partner before suffering the memorable concussion-inducing hit delivered by his brother, Eric, at Carolina on Feb. 22, 2011. Marc Staal played through the remainder of that season, then missed the first half of 2011-12 with post-concussion syndrome, making his debut at the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia. But he was never quite the same.
Staal worked his way back from third-pair duty with Stu Bickel to a second-pair assignment with Anton Stralman. The following season, on March 5, 2013, he was struck around the right eye by a Jakub Voracek deflection of a Kimmo Timonen slap shot. Staal effectively lost the vision in his right eye, yet played a significant role in the run to the 2014 Stanley Cup finals under Alain Vigneault. Then, after a string of unprecedented healthy scratches under David Quinn this year, Staal steadied and provided the stay-at-home work that complemented DeAngelo.
Staal has been a hockey warrior, a particular irritant to Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin through all of the playoff duels. He has been hard on the puck and an exemplary teammate.
FYI: WXYZ’s Brad Galli filed a report about the Gagner re-signing and Staal trade: