Yzerman deal for five years
Amidst the hype and the euphoria as he was introduced as the new general manager of the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, Steve Yzerman continually emphasized notes of caution, reminding everyone of how much work is still left to be done before this team can be considered a legitimate Stanley Cup threat . . . or even a playoff contender, for that matter.
“It takes time,” Yzerman stressed. “Our goal is to the fan base, management itself, we want to be a good playoff team, we want to be team that ultimately competes for a championship. That takes some time.
“The kids, you’re drafting them as 18-, 19-year olds. It takes time for them to go from prospects to NHL players to NHL players who win.
“There is a good foundation here. We have some draft picks, we have some good kids coming. How well we draft, how quickly these players develop into impact players in the NHL will determine. The plan doesn’t change.”
Fortunately for Yzerman, time is on his side. An NHL source confirmed that Yzerman’s contract with the Wings is a five-year deal.
With his promotion to his new title of senior vice-president, former GM Ken Holland was offered a three-year contract extension on top of the one year remaining on his previous deal as GM.
Senior vice-president Jimmy Devellano also remains with the organization. His role is unchanged.
As for others in management, Yzerman thinks highly of assistant GM Ryan Martin. He sought to take Martin with him when he left nine years ago to take over as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Yzerman also holds a strong bond with former teammate Kris Draper, who works in the role as special assistant to the GM.
“When you sit there and you listen, you can hear the passion that he has of where he wants to get the Detroit Red Wings back to,” Draper said. “That’s the passion that he has, the determination that he had as a player and obviously as a general manager.
“That’s why he’s had the success in Tampa and that’s exactly what he’s going to bring to the Detroit Red Wings.”
Yzerman and Draper are off to Sweden this week to scout the World Under-18 Championship as Yzerman begins the process of familiarizing himself with the team.
“Some of the kids are going to be at the World Championship,” Yzerman said. “I’ll go to the U18s, get a chance to spend some time with the amateur scouting staff over there. I’ll have a chance to come back and meet with (Wings coach) Jeff Blashill. I’ll meet with as many people as I can as soon as I can, to touch base.
“Whenever there’s changes made, there’s uncertainty and it’s important to reach out. I’ll be spending some time with everyone I can in the organization.
“The U18s, we got a little bit more scouting to do, meetings leading up to free agency. The draft is the No. 1 priority. ”
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