With the NHL season on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and no return in sight, we’ll take a look at five free agents the Detroit Red Wings should target this offseason whenever that begins.
It’s been a season to forget for General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman. We’re just a year removed from Yzerman’s exciting return to the Detroit Red Wings, but there is nothing memorable about his first year as team GM.
The Detroit Red Wings on-ice production mirrors the early ’80s, a time Yzerman is very familiar with, a time the Wings were often referred to as the ‘dead wings.’ The Red Wings drafted Yzerman in 1983, the Wings won 31 games and then 27 during his first two seasons as a player. The following year, the Red Wings only mustered 17 wins in 80 games played.
Recently, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, Yzerman addressed many of the Detroit Red Wings season ticket holders. As he took the microphone in hand, waiting for the massive cheers to subside, he started off with a subtle joke, saying I hope you are still cheering for me in a couple of years. Along with preaching patience, he mentioned the finger shouldn’t be pointed at head coach Jeff Blashill. Yzerman seems to understand Blashill can only play the players available on his bench.
Sure, he hasn’t impressed many of us, but he has minimal resources, but I don’t expect that excuse will be able to secure his job. Expect a coaching change to happen this offseason. Yzerman also mentioned he’d hoped the current Detroit Red Wings surpassed the win total of that 85-86 Red Wing team.
At the time of the league pause, the Red Wings sit with 17 wins and 39 total points in 71 games played. Detroit is by far the worst team in hockey, but maybe with another successful draft and a couple of offseason additions, the Red Wings who have hit rock bottom can start climbing from the basement.
In 2019-20 the Detroit Red Wings produced the least amount of wins; the fewest goals scored averaging just two goals per game while allowing 3.75. Detroit owns the worst penalty-killing percentage of 74.3 and a poor power-play with a conversion rate of 15%, the fourth-worst in the NHL.
Yzerman needs to upgrade the roster across the board. With the expiring contracts of unrestricted free agents of Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson, Trevor Daley, Jimmy Howard, and Sam Gagner Detroit will have money to spend.
The first order of business is to identify which restricted free agents have earned themselves an extension. Anthony Mantha, along with Tyler Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri, will all be retained. Decisions need to be made regarding Madison Bowey, Adam Erne, Brendan Perlini, Christoffer Ehn, Dmytro Timashov, Taro Hirose, and Evgeny Svechnikov.
After those decisions have been made, here are five free agents Detroit should consider signing this offseason;