Steve Yzerman confirms what Red Wings fans were thinking

He also explained it was “time to move on” from Jakub Vrana.

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Published 1 year ago
Steve Yzerman confirms what Red Wings fans were thinking
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The Detroit Red Wings were once again sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline, having already parted ways with scrappy forward Tyler Bertuzzi and offensive-minded defenseman Filip Hronek. They made two additional moves today, dealing Oskar Sundqvist to the Minnesota Wild while also sending Jakub Vrana to the St. Louis Blues; both players fetched draft picks in return. 

And based on general manager Steve Yzerman's comments this afternoon after the Deadline was officially in the books, he's in no mood to engage in debates on the speed of the rebuilding process. 

"Well I think overall it's been a positive season to date, I think our younger players have continued for the most part to develop," Yzerman explained. "The veteran players, I think, have provided leadership and experience on the ice that we were hoping they would, so I think our team is improved. In general, I think we are going in the right direction. We can debate if it's at the speed - are we ahead or behind or wish it was faster? I'm not going to debate it. I believe we're moving in the right direction." 

With the Red Wings having suddenly thrust themselves into the postseason picture thanks to an impressive 4-1 road swing, there were fans who were hoping to see Detroit potentially add pieces to bolster their lineup. However, Yzerman said that there was no chance of that happening, regardless of the team's record. 

"I was not going to be a buyer under any circumstances, not this year," he said. "And if I was buying so to speak, it was going to be for players that were going to be here - younger guys that fit the time frame. We spent time prior to the deadline coming up with a plan and preparing. The win streak prior to the deadline, if anything, probably gave food for thought and delayed some things to kind of see where we were."

"But ultimately, kind of stuck to the plan with what we had in place, and that in general was to keep our young players, and maybe look at opportunities maybe to make a trade for whatever a team was trying to do and see if there was a fit. And then ultimately decide on any of our pending UFA's, the guys we couldn't sign or wouldn't be able to sign if we got reasonable return was to move them for future assets." 

It was two straight brutal losses against the Atlantic Division rival Ottawa Senators in which Detroit was essentially bullied both on the scoreboard and physically that "reaffirmed" Yzerman's view of the overall standing of the team. 

"It made it a little bit easier," Yzerman said of the two losses against Ottawa. "Again, going into our western road trip, we had a plan in place and knew what I wanted to do. Did I do everything I wanted or was hoping to do? Not necessarily, but we had a plan in place. Winning kind of just delayed things. The two games in Ottawa against the Senators kind of reaffirmed where I think we're at, and I'm pleased with the development of our team, but obviously disappointing. Not necessarily the score, but how both games played out."

"We have work to do, a lot of work to do. I don't want to say it pushed me over the edge....in the last few days, it was pretty clear to me that I felt the right thing to do was look towards the future." 

One of the major story lines with Detroit this season was the status of forward Jakub Vrana, whom fans and management were understandably envisioning being a significant offensive contributor. But just two games into the schedule, Vrana entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program for an undisclosed issue. He would be reinstated two months later, only to be waived and eventually assigned to the AHL affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins. And while he made brief appearances in the Detroit lineup, he was often listed as a healthy scratch. So, why did things not work out between the two sides? 

"Well, I don't think I can really go into details on a lot of the things that have gone on," Yzerman said. "I just say I wish Jakub the best of luck in his hockey career, both on and off the ice. It was just time for both parties to move on." 

Yzerman also stated that it was time to move on from Bertuzzi, with whom negotiations didn't yield any fruitful results.

“I wasn’t expecting us to get a deal done,” Yzerman said. “I felt the return: I was comfortable with it. It was fair for both parties. And we move on.”

Source: YouTube