Steve Yzerman is a household name in the city of Detroit and in the hockey world. He has shown time and time again he knows the motions of the game, on and off the ice.
I’m sitting on my couch at my family’s timeshare every April just outside of Tampa, Florida. I was watching the NHL Network on April 12, 2021 which was the trade deadline at 3:00pm for the 2020-2021 season in the NHL. I see a bunch of teams making moves and I think Steve waited until ten minutes to 3:00pm to pull the trigger on a trade that not many people saw coming.
The Detroit Red Wings traded Anthony Mantha, who was supposed to be a winger to help the rebuild, To the Washington Capitals for Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first round pick, and a 2022 second round pick. At that point in time, Vrana was a top 9 forward in Washington as the Capitals have magnificent forwards and a Stanley Cup in 2018, the franchises first. Vrana only played eleven games in Detroit before the season came to an end with 8G, 3A and 11 total points. A point per game player and a shot to get double the ice time in Detroit. He will be a part of the long term here in Detroit and already a fan favorite. A magic move by Steve Yzerman.
Fast forward to the off-season looking ahead to the 2021-2022 NHL season, Yzerman made a trade that made one fan base absolutely salty. on July 23rd, 2021, The Detroit Red Wings trade goaltender Jonathan Bernier and a 2022 third round pick from Vegas, to the Carolina Hurricanes for goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. Now, let me tell you, this was another fleece job by Yzerman. Alex played his junior hockey in Plymouth, MI for the Plymouth Whalers before being drafted by Carolina in the 2014 Entry Draft. He won the Calder Cup in Charlotte with the Checkers in the 2018-2019 season. He was a Calder trophy finalist this year with Carolina. Safe to say, Nedeljkovic has so much upside, that this trade doesn’t get accepted in NHL Be A GM mode. Alex led the NHL this past season in SV% with a .932. Played 23 games posting a 15-5-3 record. Carolina fans thought they had their future goaltender, only 25 years old, right before their eyes. Yzerman called and said I’m going to take Nedeljkovic from you. They said okay sir. The biggest fleece job thus far in the off-season.
July 24, 2021 was the NHL Entry Draft. With the sixth pick, the Red Wings selected Simon Edvinsson, a tall defenseman from Frolunda, in the Swedish Hockey League. He looks to be very very solid on the blue line. Detroit then traded up for goaltender Sebastian Cossa from the Edmonton Oil Kings. Now this pick is amazing in my eyes, Sebastian posted a 17-1-1 record with a .941 SV% and four shutouts. This reminded me when Steve traded up with the Lightning and drafted Andrei Vasilevsky. A similar move. I love everything about it.
The Detroit Red Wings are still a few years away from a deep playoff push, but things are looking quite amazing with Steve Yzerman at the helm. Looking to steer this ship back to hockey glory.