With the trade of Tyler Bertuzzi, it eliminated the third of four names that was once considered the Detroit Red Wings core. Even in his introductory press conference back in 2019, Yzerman cited Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha as the young core of a rebuilding team.
Four years later, only Larkin remains, signing his eight-year extension just a day before Bertuzzi was shipped to Boston.
While it’s anyone’s guess now as to who the core may or may not include, it seems that the Red Wings are now building around Larkin, Moritz Seider, and Lucas Raymond. If anyone is to listen to what he said during his post-trade deadline press conference, it’s building around the young core that will return Detroit to its glory days.
But what more evident than ever: Yzerman’s fingerprints are all over the new young core.
Red Wings GM Steadfast There is No Timeline
Just like when he took the job, Yzerman was noncommittal when it comes to the end of the rebuild.
“I won’t say ‘Hey the rebuild is over’ or anything like that,” Yzerman explained. “We’ll see what happens between now and next year’s deadline. What we will try to try, we will try to improve our team between now and the start of next year.”
Everything is on the table, however. Whether it’s picking where the draft dictates or packaging it up to get a younger, NHL impact player, Yzerman isn’t going to turn his nose at how to make it happen.
“If you can get a player, it’s gotta be a player you like, I think we would all do that,” Yzerman said. “It’s a known quantity and you decide if that player’s worth a first, a second or a third? I think every team would like to do that. Really good players are hard to get.”
Over the past four years, Yzerman has been able to work the draft and the phones to get those really good players. Ville Husso was had for a third round pick. Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond were the sixth and fourth overall picks respectively. It’s been methodical, and certainly a patient process, but the results are beginning to show.
Interestingly, Yzerman indicated he never considered anything but selling.
“I was not going to be a buyer under any circumstances,” Yzerman admitted. “Not this year. If I was buying, so to speak, it was going to be for players that were going to be here, younger guys that fit the time frame.”
Those he dealt no longer fit the window.
The Young Core Now Has Yzerman’s Fingerprints All Over It
Athanasiou was coming off a 30-goal season when Yzerman started. He didn’t last a season. Mantha was next, dogged by inconsistency. He headed to Washington at the buzzer of the 2021 trade deadline. Bertuzzi was the last of the four, sent to Boston on Thursday.
Larkin is the lone member of the initial young core that remains, a young core built by former GM Ken Holland. Though it appeared contentious at times, it turned out to be much ado about nothing. With Larkin in the fold, it turns to the continued growth and development of Raymond and Seider. Beyond that, the players around them will serve as the crucial role players who return Detroit to its perennial playoff status.
Though the core is different than from when he arrived, the message remains the same.
“It just takes time,” Yzerman said. “We’re going to stick with it. I hope the media, the fanbase continues to be patient. But ultimately, myself and my staff, we’ve got to run a good program and draft well to get these guys to the NHL. It is going to take time. I’m going to stick with it and I’m going to try to make some moves along the way that can expedite it and hopefully those are good moves.”