The Free Press’s Helene St. James wrote an article discussing the Red Wings’ offseason moves this morning, suggesting that the Wings’ trades for Nick Leddy and Alex Nedeljkovic, the re-signings of Marc Staal, Sam Gagner and signings of Pius Suter and Jordan Oesterle all suggest that Detroit will ice a more competitive team this upcoming season.
She focuses on the comments made by Sam Gagner, who spoke with the media yesterday afternoon, comparing and contrasting Gagner’s remarks with those of Luke Glendening, who left the Wings to pursue a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars:
There will be one noticeable loss in the dressing room, as Luke Glendening’s decade-long tenure with the franchise ended when he signed a two-year, $3 million deal with the Dallas Stars. Glendening, an alternate captain since 2019, called it one of the toughest decisions of his life, “leaving what I’ve known, what’s been comfortable to me. But you never know if you don’t try.”
Gagner didn’t want to try free agency.
“I really enjoyed my time last year,” he said. “Right from the end of the season until now, my thought process was to hopefully be back with the Wings. I’m looking forward to getting back there and getting to work.”
Gagner had seven goals and eight assists in 42 games last season, despite missing two weeks in January after testing positive for COVID-19. He’s a right-handed shot with high-end smarts, and a calming presence. He has been a great resource for first-round picks such as Filip Zadina, as Gagner was the No. 6 overall pick in 2007. Gagner’s career has gone through some turbulence, and that’s part of what makes him so valuable as a mentor.
“I was a high pick in Edmonton and one of the guys who was expected to help turn things around,” Gagner said. “Handling that adversity has made me a better persona and it helps in the situation I’m in now, being able to impart some of that on our young group. You want to be a good hockey player. That’s the best way to help the group. If I can bring my best every night, my voice, it travels a little farther in the room. That’s what I’m focused on, making sure I come to camp ready.”
Continued; I don’t know whether the 2021-2022 Red Wings will make the playoffs in a stacked Atlantic Division, but my hope is that the Wings will be more bearable to watch–and more competitive–as the rebuild kicks into high gear.