Recap: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman's season-ending news conference
Below are comments from Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman's season-ending news conference on Wednesday.
Steve Yzerman on Jeff Blashill returning as coach: Yzerman noted that his thoughts on Blashill haven't changed since February. "I have no plans on making a coaching change at this time.”
Yzerman added he felt Blashill has done a good job despite being in a tough position with a rebuilding team. "It’s unfair to judge him (Blashill) based on our record at this time. We need to improve the team to truly critique the coaching staff.”
Yzerman said he didn't have a specific conversation with Blashill about his future. When asked if the team picked up Blashill's option, Yzerman reiterated, "Jeff is going to be the head coach of the team and we’re going do everything we can to make sure he’s the head coach of the team."
As far as the rest of the coaching staff, Yzerman said there will be offseason discussions and determinations whether any changes will be made.
Yzerman on naming captain in 2020-21: "The plan is to name a captain prior to next season. I can't give a timeline when we'll do that."
Yzerman on not being able to finish regular season: “We would’ve liked to. Most of our players would've liked to come back and play. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way."
Yzerman on preparing for draft: Yzerman said he doesn't anticipate the NHL Scouting Combine happening and is operating under the assumption that it won't take place since prospects are spread across the globe. He added he's comfortable with the virtual meetings the team has had in its draft preparation.
Yzerman on making any splashes in free agency: Yzerman said the team will look to make sensible signings, and will target the "right type of people" to help the team's young core. "We're prepared to do anything we can but not get a player at all costs."
Yzerman said the Red Wings might be aggressive in free agency but won't offer a max contract just to get a player. "We’re trying to improve the team but not do everything overnight because it could handcuff the team (in the future).”
He added the team needs to improve in every area. "We need to score more goals. We need to improve defensively. We need to improve in net. We're going to improve in every aspect and it takes time to do that."
Yzerman on restricted free agents: Yzerman said the team will prioritize retaining younger guys on the roster, like Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. "Those are some of best players. We're not going to let them go anywhere. We’ll get deals done with them." Terms and AAV, though, remain to be seen.
Yzerman on passing time during coronavirus pandemic: Yzerman said he has been reviewing last season, holding meetings, preparing for the draft and free agency, and doing some budgeting for next season. "Usual end of season stuff. We've been meeting with players and coaches. We just have more time to do them. It's been productive for us."
Yzerman on team getting back together on ice: Yzerman said he'd like for it to happen sooner rather than later but added "it's not feasible" between league rules and government restrictions during the pandemic.