Detroit, Mich — Former captain and 23 year Red Wings veteran Steve Yzerman has been named vice president and general manager of his former team. He replaces Ken Holland, who has been promoted to senior vice president.
“It is an extremely exciting day in the history of our franchise,” said owner Chris Illich. “I am thrilled to announce today that Steve Yzerman will return to the Detroit Red Wings in the role of executive vice president and general manager.”
“We continue to be laser focused on building a team for our incredible fans that consistently competes for Stanley Cup championships. And we believe Steve Yzerman is the perfect choice to lead our efforts,” Illich added.
Yzerman ranks first all time in assists (1,063), second in points (1,755) and goals (692), and fourth in games played (1,514) with the Red Wings. He is also a 10-time All-Star and won the Conn Smythe trophy in 1998.
“I’m extremely excited to be back in Detroit with the Red Wings,” said Yzerman. “This city, Red Wing fans, the state of Michigan, were incredibly supportive of me throughout the ups and downs of my playing career.”
Yzerman began his managerial career with the Red Wings in 2006, when he was named a team vice president and alternate governor. His time in his positions allowed him to gain experience for his ultimate goal of one day running a team. He gained further experience while helping build the 2007 and 2010 rosters for Hockey Canada’s international amateur teams.
On May 25th, 2010, Yzerman was named the vice president and general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. His best draft pick came the following year when he drafted Nikita Kucherov in the second round. Some of his notable transactions include extending Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. Yzerman doesn’t appear to mind trading away talent, as he traded then-captain St. Louis for New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan in 2014.
On September 11th, 2018, Yzerman announced that he was stepping down as the Lightning’s general manager. He stayed with the team as an adviser for the 2018-19 season. The Red Wings gained permission to start talking to Yzerman in March of 2019 and ultimately brought him back to Detroit.
Yzerman inherits a Red Wings team that is currently in the middle of a rebuild. During his press conference this afternoon, he stated that he believes the core of the rebuild is in place. Yzerman also asked for patience during the process and stated that it will take time for the rebuild to come full circle.
“Now, after we get through today, it’s time for me to get to work. There’s a lot of work to be done. This organization and this fan base, as you all know, is used to winning and being successful. We’ve got a lot of work to do and depending on your age, you know this takes time,” said Yzerman.
“It’s up and down for an organization. It takes time, and I caution everyone to temper and the excitement. This takes time,” Yzerman added.
Pieces in place
The core pieces of the rebuild are Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Hronek, Michael Rasmussen, and Anthony Mantha, according to Yzerman. Taro Hirose also made a case for himself to be one of the main pieces of the rebuild after his 1 goal, 6 assist performance over the last 10 games of the season. Filip Zadina and Dennis Cholowski figure to round out the rest of the rebuild’s core.
Age is still a factor for the veteran heavy defense. Niklas Kronwall (38) and Trevor Daley (35) are both approaching the ends of their careers. Kronwall has one year remaining on his contract and was expected to talk with Holland about his plans for next season after finishing this season. Mike Green (33) also dealt with a virus and complications that cost him 39 games this season.
Thomas Vanek (35) represents the oldest member of the Red Wings attack and has also contemplated retirement. Vanek has said that his family will be a huge factor in his decision, per the Detroit Free Press.
The Red Wings have the 6th overall pick in the 2019 draft which takes place on June 21st. Yzerman may make his first splash as general manager during free agency, but the draft will be the biggest concern for him and Holland.