Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has had a busy offseason thus far, continuing to put his mark on the team as he enters his third season on the GM since taking over for Ken Holland in 2019. And among the decisions that he's made as the upcoming campaign approaches is to part ways with the likes of Mathias Brome, Darren Helm, Richard Panik, Frans Nielsen, and Evgeny Svechnikov.
Could this create an opportunity for 24 year old Chase Pearson to step in? He's hoping for it.
“The goal is making the Red Wings roster on opening night,” Pearson said. “Just give them a reason for me to stay. I’m going to try to do that every day and have a positive attitude around the rink. That’s about all I can do, and things will face into play, or they won’t. We’ll see.”
While playing with the Grand Rapids Griffins last season, Pearson scored eight goals with 22 points in 28 games played, a step he called crucial to his quest to make an NHL roster for the first time.
“Last year was huge for me,” Pearson said. “I earned the coaches’ trust a little bit more, which enabled me to play in all situations and take a step forward. I think I got better defensively and on the offensive side.
“The biggest thing was being around the net, being a little harder, and those areas just battling for pucks around the crease. That’s going to be my MO – face-offs, defensive center, 200-foot player. Offensively, that’s where I kind of keyed on this summer.”
Pearson, who scored two goals with one assist in the recent NHL Prospects Tournament, was Detroit's 5th round draft selection in 2015. And Griffins head coach Ben Simon has noticed.
“Chase took a big step in the right direction last year, both offensively and defensively,” Simon said. “He’s got to take that confidence and parlay that into a bigger step this year. Coming into this tournament as a third-year pro, it gave him the ability to potentially get a little bit of a step ahead going into training camp, having played a few games. He looks strong, like he put on a little bit more muscle. He was in great shape before but looks like he’s ready to go for camp and let’s see where the cards fall.”