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At the NHL trade deadline, Steve Yzerman's focus on the future of the Red Wings is clear

Steve Yzerman at 2023 NHL trade deadline
Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 03, 2023

With the 2023 NHL trade deadline coming to an end, Steve Yzerman made his focus and priority very clear: it's about the future for the organization.

The moves made prior to the deadline started with a few contract extensions, most notably the long-term contract of Dylan Larkin. From there, it was about acquiring future assets and Yzerman made it known that he believes the best way to build a sustainable winning organization is through the draft.

He spoke with the media following the deadline Friday evening, WXYZ sports reporter Jeanna Trotman tweeted a thread of Yzerman's thoughts:

Here are some major points that Yzerman Friday:

  • He's overall pleased with how the guys have continued to develop and grow. He says the younger guys are improving in the right direction and the older guys filling veteran roles well.
  • In regards to Jakub Vrana: "it was time for both parties to move on." Yzerman added that he wishes him the best, both on and off the ice.
  • The losses vs. the Sens: "reaffirmed where I think we are at. I'm pleased with the development of our team, but disappointed with how both games played out. We have a lot of work to do."
  • Ultimately, the moves that were made were about the return the team could get for those players. Yzerman weighed holding on to guys and losing people as UFAs in the offseason or focus on the future and get something in return now.
  • Yzerman said he talked with Bertuzzi's representative early in the season & again before the deadline and felt talks weren't going anywhere. After that consideration, he felt it was time to move forward with the return for Bertuzzi before he became a UFA this summer. Again, this goes back to his evaluation of where the team is at. If they Wings were trying to win the cup this year, he'd consider holding on to his UFAs.
  • Yzerman believes teams like Boston, Tampa Bay, Toronto are not the Red Wings competition or comparison because they're in "win now mode." Teams who are more in the realm of Detroit in terms of the future: Buffalo, Montreal, Ottawa.

Other news that came out of Friday aside from the trade deadline, the Red Wings are bringing goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic back on an emergency recall because Ville Husso is dealing with an injury. Head Coach Derek Lalonde said that he doesn't believe the injury Husso is dealing with longterm, but it has hindered his play as of late, specifically in the Wings' loss to the Kraken Thursday night.

Lalonde also said that the conclusion of the NHL trade deadline was a welcomed sight for his team. He has continued to reiterated how much he appreciates the line Steve Yzerman has drawn between GM and coach, but at the same time, the players have been on an emotional rollercoaster with what has transpired over the last week. Detroit went from being above the playoff line for first time in a long time, then lost bad back-to-backs in Ottawa. On top of that, they then dealt with the trades of their teammates, most significantly with Tyler Bertuzzi. Lalonde said the guys have dealt with it well and the overall mindset hasn't changed, but it will be a positive to move past the deadline.