It's a new day for the Detroit Red Wings, who made several key offseason acquisitions courtesy of general manager Steve Yzerman as he continues his work in building the team back into contending status. And as they gather for Training Camp in Traverse City, Yzerman is looking forward to seeing a much improved product on the ice.
“We made several changes, we signed some free agents in the offseason with the idea that it would improve our team,” Yzerman said Wednesday during his media availability session. “We’re hopeful that all our young players continue to take a step forward."
I believe we'll be a better hockey team this year, I expect us to be," he continued. "Having said that, with a lot of changes it can take some time for things to settle in. Hopefully that translates to more wins."
One of the biggest changes on this year's edition of the Red Wings is the new look coaching staff, as Derek Lalonde and Bob Boughner are now behind the bench for Detroit while Jeff Blashill and Doug Houda weren't retained. And Lalonde as well as the rest of the staff will be tasked with helping the Red Wings improve their woeful defensive numbers from last season.
“I think we were 30th in goals-against in the league,” Yzerman said. “Our special teams were at the bottom of the league. We want to improve in all those areas, and that will translate to wins. Defensively, we have to cut our goals-against down, through better goaltending, through better defensive play.
“It’s not like we’re not going to try and score, we want to do that as well, but there is a certain responsibility for all players when they are on the ice, to have in the back of their mind regardless of where the puck is, to be on the right side of the puck, and sometimes the right side of the puck is defensively. All those things will be attributes that Derek and his staff have to really firmly implant in the players’ minds so when they’re out they’re playing, they have to think responsibly. That’s what good teams do.”
Of course, this will be the second season of NHL hockey for reigning Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider. Could Detroit have another gem in the making in defenseman Simon Edvinsson?
"Simon is 19, one year from his Draft," Yzerman said. "Moritz had the benefit of playing a year in the American League and going over to Sweden during the pandemic, getting that extra year in his development. I think Simon has a good chance, I can't sit here and tell you he'll be in the lineup on Opening Night, but we're pleased with what we saw in the Prospects Tournament in the three games he played."
"He's a good athlete and had a great season last year, and a good offseason. We'll see how he does."