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Red Wings Insiders Duff and Allen on Blashill’s Job, Rebuild Timeline

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Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings are a week from the end of the regular season and the attention turns from what is happening to what could happen. Red Wings insiders and Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen and Bob Duff answer five questions that range from Jeff Blashill’s job security to how much longer it’ll take for Detroit to make the playoffs.

1. Will Jeff Blashill still be the Red Wings coach next season?

Duff: In a word, no. His time is up. Considering the manner in which this team has sunk like a rock in the second half of the season, combined with their absolutely horrid defensive play and dismal special teams performance, there’s just no way that Blashill will be back behind the Red Wings bench next season.

We’re continually hearing the same message – the team needs to be better defensively, the club must adopt a shot mentality and go to the net with gusto, yet these problems are never solved. Can a new coach with a different message get through to this bunch? It’s time to find out. And if that doesn’t improve matters, then the next step is to begin changing the players.

Allen: No.  We’ve been hearing for a while that Yzerman is angered over some of the embarrassing losses. He knows this team isn’t talented enough to be a playoff team. But he does expect his team to be ready to play every night.  They weren’t ready on many nights this, especially after the All-Star break.

Blashill will pay the price for that.

I’m already hearing Yzerman will look at some tough, demanding coaching candidates if he replaces Blashill. It also wouldn’t be surprising if Yzerman offers Blashill another job in the organization. He doesn’t think this is all Blashill’s fault and Yzerman is also displeased with several players, too.

But Blashill will still want to coach–so if offered another job within the organization, he might not take it.

2. Filip Zadina: Will it be a bridge deal or will he be part of a deal?

Allen:  Yzerman has not completely given up on Zadina. However, I believe Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Hronek and Zadina are players who could be moved if Yzerman makes a significant trade or two.  Zadina still has trade value.  He could be part of the package to acquire a veteran defenseman.

But Yzerman isn’t going to deal Zadina just to move him. The Red Wings appreciate that Zadina wants to be a better player and continues to works at it.  Even if Zadina goes from 10 to 15 goals next season, he still has value to this team. Maybe a new coach can help him pull his talent together.

Duff: Zadina is clearly on a bridge – or is that a plank? These last five games may determine his Red Wings future, if his fate isn’t already sealed. Detroit does contain an overabundance of top-six wingers – Zadina, Jakub Vrana, Tyler Bertuzzi, Lucas Raymond, Robby Fabbri. They can afford to deal one of them for sure.

The likely trade candidates are Zadina and Bertuzzi. Zadina is up for a new contract. In another year, Bertuzzi is a potential UFA. If the Red WIngs don’t see either of these players in their long-range plans, now is the opportune time to move on from one or both of them.

3. Will Moritz Seider win the Calder?

Duff: If he doesn’t, it will be a crime against hockey but that doesn’t mean that Seider will win the Calder. Plenty of deserving candidates have been overlooked in previous years. Defense is absolutely the toughest position to step in and play in the NHL. Seider has come into the league and instantly become the No. 1 defenseman for the Red Wings, playing at a borderline all-star level. That’s Bobby Orr/Denis Potvin/Ray Bourque territory. This just doesn’t happen and when it does, those guys win the Calder.

Allen: I believe he will win the Calder because he is hockey’s version of a five-tool player. He can skate, score, pass, hit and defend. He stepped into Detroit’s lineup and instantly became the No. 1 defenseman. Seider is the rock on which a contending team will be built.  In the second half of the season, he has continually shown how polished he is for such a young player.  He is far more valuable to his team than the other Calder candidates.

Voters will see that, won’t they?

 4. What’s the biggest priority for Steve Yzerman this offseason?

Allen:  Yzerman’s top priority has to be landing a true No. 2 center and a proven second-pairing defenseman. With Simon Edvinsson joining Seider on the blue line next season, Yzerman will want a veteran on the second pairing to help them continue to develop.

He also doesn’t want a repeat of this season when his team led the NHL in surrendering dangerous scoring chances. His free agent center options are limited. Michigan native Andrew Copp and Vince Trocheck, who played his OHL hockey in Michigan, are possibilities. But the Rangers are going to push hard to keep the Rangers.

Duff: There’s lots of scuttlebutt in NHL circles that Yzerman is ready to make major changes this offseason, both through free agency and trades. He has to find the club a No. 2 center, either via trade or through free agency. Pius Suter isn’t the answer there.

Two names that I hear frequently linked to the Red Wings at forward are left wing Filip Forsberg and center Vincent Trocheck. Forsberg could be a tough sell. He figures to gain a lot of suitors as a UFA. Trocheck has connections to the Detroit area but he’s not the biggest guy and a lack of size at forward has proven to be an issue for this club.

5. Yzerman won’t give a timeline, but you can. Where do you think the rebuild is at?

Duff: It’s further away than I would’ve figured at the start of this season. The regression this team has taken in defensive play from last season is frightening. But at least the Red Wings have some defensive prospects in the pipeline. It’s the lack of forward prospects that is most alarming.

The situation grows even more grim if Zadina and Joe Veleno don’t pan out. The Wings need Jonatan Berggren and Elmer Soderblom to be home runs. But it’s wise to remember that rookies fitting into the NHL as seamlessly as Seider and Raymond did this season are the exception and not the rule. I don’t see playoff hockey on the horizon for at least two more years at minimum.

Allen:   The Red Wings probably will miss playoffs next season, unless Yzerman pulls a rabbit out of his hat with a trade and free agent signing.  The Red Wings have some pieces in place with Dylan Larkin, Lucas Raymond, Vrana, Bertuzzi, and Seider. Might Edvinsson step in and help right away?

If they can’t get Bertuzzi signed to a reasonable extension,   they will get back a player or two via trade who will be part of the rebuild. That’s a guarantee. Bertuzzi’s value is high. My guess is that Yzerman would be extremely disappointed if the Red Wings are not a playoff team by 2023-24.

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Robert Alpiner

Just too many blow out losses including probably close to 30 games of giving up 5 or more goals in a game. Too embarrassing to watch. I can deal with 2 to 1 or 3 to 2 losses because I believe the team is at least competitive. have been a fan since 1956; I just do not get the feeling the team is consistently competitive. Agree time for a change in coaches.

Ronald Braden

How high can Bertuzzi’s trade value be? He’s good but not THAT good. He makes a lot of mistakes at the worst possible times. And not to mention he’s the ONLY unvaccinated player/personnel in the entire NHL! What team would want him if he still can’t play in Canada next season and if he’s the only person in the ENTIRE NHL unwilling to get vaccinated? Certainly no playoff contending team would be interested.

Randy Thornton

6 years to rebuild!! Sorry these are supposed to be pro’s.This is a joke.Bring up the young players and let them play if your gonna screw around with rebuild as you say well bring them up.Your a joke.You waited to bring up Dots and Zetterberg and they were your big power players.THINK ABOUT IT YZERMAN.

Bill

The rebuild started when SY arrived not 6 years ago. I expect to see a much improved team next year but maybe not a playoff team yet.

Randy Thornton

Where is COSSA ? OH!!!! LEAVE HIM IN THE MINORS….THE DETROIT WAY!!!!

J b

Robby Fabri is not a top six winger. He is a 20 goal scorer who is bad defensively, takes idiotic penalties, makes poor passes and constantly turns the puck over.

Frédéric Prescott

They need Martin Necas to play with Vrana and Zadina.

Gordon Cheswick

Bertuzzi MUST stay in Detroit. I would certainly appreciate him getting vaccinated so he can play 82 games. A healthy Fabbri and Larkin, continued growth of Seider, Raz and Raymond, Suter and Veleno learning and using their skills, Edvinsson and Berggren being the next Seider and Raymond, and getting that #2 center – are the real needs. Trading a player to get another D-man is not productive. I think if DRW needs experience, then a UFA or perhaps a draft choice or two for a good young D-man would suffice until the rest of our many defensemen get ready to play here.

John P.

I would say Bertuzzi would already be gone but he made himself untradeable. He is part of the leadership that has failed this team.

Mark W

This rebuilding team needs everyone playing full-time. Forget about why. A key player not playing when healthy isn’t a good example for the younger ones. Its a contract year. There are teams needing a good part-timer so he’ll be in a better place soon.

Bren

I still think some GMs would’ve traded for him this season. Strong rumors about the Islanders for example. But yep, he sabotaged his own value. I think Yzerman would trade him without a second thought if the return is good though. So I do think he’s gone before the next trade deadline, maybe the summer. Mixed feelings because I do love his play (mostly).

PRRawlins

I see the Wings with as many as 3 top rookies next season making the playoffs…Blashill coaching the Wings?….Maybe not but i don’t think he would take on another rebuilding team…7 years of low talent made Blashill look bad to the non hockey knowledgeable public

Last edited 26 days ago by PRRawlins
John P.

I agree it’s wrong to blame Blashill for everything. The Wing’s culture has dropped and I blame that on the players, especially the leadership on the team. Someone should’ve been raising hell after some of those performances but they seem more concerned with the players being comfortable. Yzerman needs to and will bring in some new veteran leadership. I expect a lot of player movement this off-season. It’s impossible for ANY coach to lift a bad team up for as long as Blashill has. The winds of change are blowing.

Bren

Thanks to Kevin and Bob, the best site for Wings stuff IMO. Cheers guys!

Vince

Excellent article and thoughts.

1) There needs to be a coaching change for sure and for a variety of reasons.
2) If Yzerman can get a younger establish player and picks for Bert, then you do it. For me, just an example of the Wings could get Seth Jarvis, Jack Drury and a 2nd round pick for Bert.. it should be done.

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