Stevie Y Isn’t Messing Around
Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman (pictured) made a loud statement on Monday when he traded talented, but wildly inconsistent forward Anthony Mantha (who signed a four-year contract with the Wings just before the season started) to the Washington Capitals for forwards Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, and two future draft choices.
The statement was "If you're not going to play hard all the time (a major criticism of Mantha), eventually I'll get rid of you. I don't care how talented you are."
After Monday's trade, the Red Wings now have 29 draft choices over the next three seasons (according to capfriendly.com). The next step is to now pick the right players with those accumulated draft picks.
Stevie Y also needs to replenish this roster while still getting bad money off of their salary cap. The Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss buyout money expires after this season. So do the contracts of Darren Helm, Luke Glendening, Valterri Filppula, Marc Staal, and Jonathan Bernier (all unrestricted free agents).
They still have Danny DeKeyser and Frans Nielsen under contract for next year (still a problem, thanks Ken Holland). But that can be managed with all the money coming off the books this year.
I love all the moves that Steve has made so far. They are better this year because of an upgrade on defense and goaltending. They just need to find more scoring depth. That is objective #1 this offseason on the ice.
Off the ice, figuring out the head coaching position is paramount. Head coach Jeff Blashill's contract expires at the end of the season. And Yzerman said on Monday that his status will be determined quickly after the season is over.
Steve inherited a big mess when he got here two years ago. But now, they're at the point of the rebuild where they need to start showing major progress towards a playoff berth. That's why this summer is a big offseason for the Winged Wheelers.