Detroit Red Wings: Another swing and miss for GM Steve Yzerman

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings missed another opportunity to add a young defenseman without giving up anything in exchange.

A couple of weeks ago Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman had a chance to claim veteran defenseman Jake Gardiner from the Carolina Hurricanes but chose not to.  I don’t know if there is an unwritten rule this season about claiming players others place on waivers for the purpose of adding them to the taxi squad or what.  I say that because I feel Detroit has missed a few opportunities so far this season.

You make shake your head at that notion, but it could be one of those 2021 silent agreements due to COVID-19.  I feel the Detroit Red Wings, who have an abundance of salary-cap space, could have easily added a 30-year old defenseman with offensive upside in the second year of a four-year deal that averages just $4 million per season.

Gardiner had been a player I hoped the Red Wings were interested in adding through free agency before the former Maple Leaf signing with Carolina.  Although Gardiner is fighting to fit in with the Hurricanes, he’s still an effective defender.

More from Detroit Jock City

In 636 NHL games, Gardiner has recorded 49 goals and 276 total points while maintaining an above-average Corsi For Percentage of 51.5%.  Notwithstanding just recording seven points in 17 games this season, Gardiner playing as a third-pairing defender owns a CF% of 54.3%–very impressive.

A similar situation recently arose with the same result, which begs my original question; is there an unwritten waiver rule this season with NHL GMs?

The Detroit Red Wings missed an opportunity to claim defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere from the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers recently placed their once highly-touted defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere on waivers, but he will be relocated to Philadelphia’s taxi-squad after clearing.  A player placed on an NHL taxi squad can play up to 10 NHL games or remain secure for the next 30-days without having to clear waivers again.

The former third-round pick of the Flyers hasn’t lived up to the hype he once had within the organization after completing three straight tremendous seasons with the organization to begin his professional career.

As a rookie, Gostisbehere recorded 17 goals and 46 points in just 64 games played.  In year two, the young defender took a bit of a step-back, scoring just seven goals while accounting for 39 points in 76 games.

It was in year three where the kid they’ve nicknamed ‘ghost’ really made his presence felt, recording a whopping 65 points (13 G, 52 A) in 78 games while maintaining a career-best plus-10 rating.  That same season Gostisbehere earned a CF% of 51.5% and a Relative Corsi For of 3.2.

The 27-year old defender has five goals and 11 points in 25 games this season, with the Flyers playing as a second-pairing defender when he finds himself out of the press box and on the ice.  Despite playing in just 25-games, the young defender is averaging a touch over 20-minutes of ice-time per game and a CF% of 49.7%, a bit lower than his career average, but that number would look elite on the Detroit Red Wings.

This is exactly the type of player Yzerman needs to add.  Another young reclamation project that may help a sputtering Red Wings power-play down the stretch and in the future.

The Detroit Red Wings will see the expiring contracts of UFA’s Marc Staal, Patrik Nemeth, and Jon Merrill at season’s end, plus Christian Djoos and Filip Hronek are set to become RFA’s.

Next. 5 players likely on the move at the Trade Deadline. dark

Gostisbehere is under contract until 2023 at an affordable $4.5 million per season.  With Yzerman not claiming the young defender is a swing and miss for the organization.