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Detroit Red Wings Prospect Tournament Kicks Off Growing Anticipation



Elmer Soderblom, Detroit Red Wings

It wasn’t that ago that Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman tempered his arrival with pleas for patience and time. In what will be the fourth season of the Yzerplan, there’s a growing anticipation as the new season dawns that a big jump might be about to happen.

But Yzerman will be the first to caution patience again. After all, there is no timetable.

When it happens, it will be when it’s supposed to. But it’s hard for fans to look at the collection of talent skating in Traverse City and not find themselves giddy with anticipation.

On one side you have the towering forward Elmer Soderblom, who very well could be a steal in the sixth round of the 2020 Draft. Patrolling the blue line will be six-foot-four Simon Edvinsson, a giant in his own right. Sure, he’s trying to be the third first-round pick in consecutive years to be on the opening roster following training camp and the preseason.

Edvinsson will be player many fans and analysts are watching closely. But it goes beyond him. In fact, the Red Wings are sitting in one of their best spots in over half a decade. No longer will the prospects signal the future. Many of them could be “right now” if they continue the trajectory they’re on.

But the biggest difference: the angst over whether they’ll make it or not has been replaced with more of “when they’re ready.”

The patience it turns out is more organic now.

Red Wings Spending Means A Stronger Roster for Prospects

Gone are the days of Yzerman just icing a team. When he spent in July, he targeted specific needs as well as landing some impressive names. While in the past the top six could be muddled, Detroit appears to have a solid top nine forward group at the very least. Defensively, Detroit is tighter, too. It doesn’t even factor in some of the prospects who are potentially knocking on the door. Albert Johansson is one name that could very well impress and push for a position with Edvinsson. So too could Eemil Viro. Or how about Donovan Sebrango, who has been sneaky good for Grand Rapids?

Even Seth Barton could make some noise.

No, it’s not declarative that one of them–if any–will make the final roster. Seasoning in the AHL is certainly likely but it’s a different feeling. Reading social media or even listening to fan or pundit podcasts revealed a certain level of angst when it came to prospects in the organization.

To wit: Yzerman was spending all of this capital and would it pan out? Thus far, he’s looked to strike gold in both Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. Now, as the team appears to be ascending and Yzerman has put more of the pieces together, the angst eases and becomes more of an observation of what the young prospects can do. The Red Wings are becoming a team that will have pieces in place to bring those prospects along.

It’s certainly a different feeling than four Aprils ago when then GM Ken Holland and Yzerman couldn’t have been further apart in their respective appraisal of the team.

It’s a feeling Red Wings fans have certainly been waiting for.

All that remains to be seen now is if what they hoped and waited for does indeed pan out.