Red Wings Future Looks Bright Thanks to The “Yzerplan”


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Dec 4, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider (53) celebrates after scoring the game winning goal in overtime against the New York Islanders at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As April 19th has come and gone, it marks the four year anniversary of Steve Yzerman returning to the Detroit Red Wings organization as the General Manager and the “Yzerplan” being set into motion. In four years, Yzerman and the Red Wings have been hit with some of the worst luck possible, but still remain on the rise with one of the youngest teams in the National Hockey League.

Yzerman’s first decision as GM was to go full tank mode, after finishing 28th out of 31 teams in the 2019 season. This poor finish gave the Red Wings a good shot at the lottery, or at least a top 3 pick. The Red Wings would go on to lose the lottery and drop to the 6th overall pick. The poor luck would continue in the 2020 season, When a last place finish in the league gave the Red Wings the highest odds of landing the number one pick. Once again, they would lose the lottery and receive the 4th overall pick.

Despite not getting a top three pick in either draft, Yzerman still found a way to have two of the best drafts in recent Red Wings history. He landed Moritz Seider, a defenseman out of Germany, in the 2019 draft. Seider would go on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy for the 2021-22 season, which is awarded to the league’s best rookie. Eric SoderBlom was also drafted in 2019, and was a steal for the Wings in the 6th round.

In 2020, Lucas Raymond was selected. While facing adversity in a sophomore slump, Raymond still found a way to tally enough points to bring his career total up to 100, which is impressive in just two years.

In 2021, The Wings had two top 20 picks in the draft, holding the 6th and 15th to their name. With the 6th pick, the Swedish defenseman Simon Edvinsson was selected. He definitely showed his potential in his short stint with Detroit, but clearly has some room to grow, which he did much of in the minors this year. Yzerman decided to attempt to add some depth and true talent at the goaltender position, which they haven’t really had since prime Jimmy Howard. He selected Simon Cossa with the 15th pick. The organization made it clear that they don’t want to rush the development of Cossa, so the patience they have with him will be key.

In the most recent 2022 draft, Yzerman completed a full circle of draft picks adding Marco Kasper. Kasper is a gritty forward out of Austria, and with that pick the Red wings had drafted all 5 positions since the Yzerplan was set into motion.

This year, Detroit finished with a 35-37-10 record, recording 80 points for the first time since 2015-16. After being eliminated from the playoffs with just about a week left in the season, the organization did what I believe was tank in their last few games to increase their odds at the lottery pick. Although it sucked to watch, it was smart to give themselves a chance at the most hyped up lottery pick in years with Connor Bedard projected at number 1. Adam Fantilli, the best player in college hockey, wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize either. The Canadian native played for Michigan, winning the Hobey Baker award (best player in college hockey) and is projected to go number two in the draft. The Wings have a 5% chance at the number one overall pick, a 5.2% chance at the number two pick, and their best chance is a 64.4% chance to get the ninth overall pick in the 2023 draft.

Next year will be a big one for the Wings, where we will hope to see the growth of their young stars. Adding one more elite forward from the draft would be huge, and Detroit has the opportunity to do that this year. Also, don’t be surprised if the Red Wings make a splash in free agency this off-season either.