Steve Yzerman describes state of the Red Wings after 5th season as GM

This past season was the closest they've come to a postseason spot since 2016.



There were plenty of highs and lows for the Detroit Red Wings that fans are looking back on, not the least of which were the six-game winning streak in February that built a nine-point lead from the cutoff line that was followed by a devastating injury to captain Dylan Larkin and a seven-game losing skid. 

It truly was a roller coaster season for the Red Wings, who were mathematically competing for the final Wild Card postseason spot literally until the final buzzer in regulation of the regular season. Despite a thrilling finish to each of their last three games, they fell short of playing beyond the 82nd game thanks to the Washington Capitals owning the tie-breaker in the standings. 

In his reflection on the Detroit Red Wings' performance this season, general manager Steve Yzerman provided an honest assessment of their achievements and areas for improvement.

"It was an exciting season, I think for us all, a bit of a roller coaster. A lot of highs and some periods of a lot of losses and lows," he explained. "Overall, it was progress."

"After five years, more so than just the Red Wings, but the organization in general, I’m somewhat pleased. I can’t say it’s perfect, but I’m somewhat pleased with the development of our organization. Some of the younger players, not only in Detroit, but in Grand Rapids, are excelling very well. So overall I’m encouraged with the progress of the organization and the development of some of our younger players.

I’m kind of disappointed, as most people are, at the end of the season here because particularly the last week was incredibly exciting."

Naturally, Yzerman was asked about the fact that the Red Wings have missed the playoffs now in all five years of his tenure as general manager. Does he anticipate breaking the now-eight year drought next season? 

“I hope we make the playoffs,” Yzerman said. “It’s going to be a challenge. I’m nervous. We as a management group, myself being in charge of management, have to make some good decisions. We’ll be sitting here next year saying, ‘That was a good decision,’ or we’ll be saying, ‘Steve, what were you thinking?’ A lot of decisions we make, the answer is decided by wins and losses, making the playoffs or not making the playoffs. It’s hard to make the playoffs in the NHL.”

One particular aspect that Yzerman was asked to touch on was the team goaltending situation. Right now, Detroit has two goaltenders still under contract for next season in Ville Husso and Alex Lyon, while James Reimer can become a free agent on July 1. 

"Everyone is looking for a goaltender, whether it’s a one or a two or a three," Yzerman explained. "All three of those guys at different points in the season had a very positive impact on us and played games that helped us win and put us in a position to almost make the playoffs. Having said that, they need to be better and we need to be better in all aspects of keeping the puck out of our net. Our play collectively has to be better."

"Goals-against is a challenge around the league, it’s a difficult league to defend in right now. It’s become a more offensive league and that’s entertaining and exciting, but the best teams in the league are near the top in goals-against and defensive play. Collectively as a team we have to get better, that’s the No. 1 thing."

Yzerman addressed the comments made yesterday by forward Patrick Kane, in which he didn't commit to a return to the team next season but also left the door open. 

"Patrick Kane is like a wizard with the puck," Yzerman said. "He brought a lot of swagger, he was great for us...its something he'd consider (coming back) and for us, likewise." 

Yzerman later addressed the status of another pending free agent, defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who racked up an impressive 56 points on the season and adding another punch to the power play. 

“I’d like to see if we can figure out a way to do it,” Yzerman said of Gostisbehere. “He’s a valuable player for how we’re set up on the back end. A different player that adds to our defensive corps, you need to be good defenders but you also gotta have some defense that generate offense and play on the power play. He was good at that. It is something I would like to consider, strongly consider. Contract aside, it’s making all this fit. One fitting into the cap. I’m probably comfortable carrying eight defensemen.”

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