Earlier this week, the Detroit Red Wings announced that they were bringing back defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom to join the hockey operations department. It was a long-awaited move as fans have already voiced their warm welcome back to the former captain and long-time NHL defenseman.
Detroit Red Wings General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman has done an excellent job of assembling his staff and bringing in players whom he has played alongside or at least were former members of the team.
While Lidstrom returning to the organization is exciting, he may not be the last to rejoin this organization. However, it may not be a move that happens immediately or even this year.
A while back, I wrote about the concept of Sergei Fedorov or Igor Larionov returning to the organization as a coach. While it’s unlikely as the years go by and both continue to garner experience overseas, that glass ceiling may just be broken.
Could members of the Russian Five return to the Detroit Red Wings?
The Detroit Red Wings thrive with all of these members back in the organization; it’s not the first time they have brought back former team members either. It’s not impossible to think that someone like Fedorov or Larionov would return to the Red Wings organization.
Fedorov and Larionov have both been coaching over in Russia, and while coaches in the NHL tend to be North American, it’s not hard to think this ceiling could be broken. While head coach Jeff Blashill has been reliable so far, there’s no way to say that Yzerman may not be interested in bringing in someone else he used to play with, even if it means going against the norm.
There are plenty of former Red Wings who work for the organization already, so the Russian Five is not the only area to target. Looking at the team’s website, here’s a list of former Red Wings players working in the organization’s hockey operations department.
- Pat Verbeek, Assistant GM
- Niklas Kronwall, European Player Development
- Jiri Fischer, Associate Director of Player Personnel
- Dan Cleary, Assistant Director of Player Development
- Doug Houda, Assistant Coach
- Mark Howe, Director of Pro Scouting
- Kris Draper, Director of Amateur Scouting
- Jesse Wallin, Chief Amateur Scout
- Kirk Maltby, Pro Scout
It’s a big group of former Red Wings, and they could most likely be seeing more in the future. It’s not just the Russians who could be likely to make a return.
Do not forget about Detroit Red Wings Swedish connection.
The Red Wings and Swedes have always had a connection. First, it was the Russian Five, and then it was the Swedish 10 (basically). Many Swedes have come to the organization courtesy of Director of European Scouting, Hakan Andersson.
There’s still a healthy pipeline to the leagues over there, and other former Red Wings may be keen to get involved. With one former captain in Lidstrom already returning to join Kronwall, who was already here following his retirement.
Henrik Zetterberg is another former captain who may just wind up back with the organization. Whether it’s a scouting and player development position overseas or something here in the states for Yzerman’s hockey operations group, he’s another name to watch out for.
The stream of players coming to the Red Wings organization is growing, and Lidstrom certainly won’t be the last one to do so.