Detroit Red Wings: Transaction history of General Manager Steve Yzerman

Five years ago, Steve Yzerman made his return to Detroit as a General Manager. Five years into this position, he has made many moves. Are they working?
2022 NHL Draft - Round 2-7
2022 NHL Draft - Round 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman was appointed to the position on April 19, 2019, replacing Ken Holland.

With the new position came huge expectations and the hopes of bringing back the Stanley Cup to the city of Detroit. He is almost 5 years in now and we still do not have a Stanley Cup contender. Is he rebuilding the Red Wings the right way?

Yzerman is not one to stand pat at the trade deadline or in the off-season. He is also not one to make a move just to make a move, like this past deadline. He had a powerhouse with the Tampa Bay Lightning, including the likes of Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Nikita Kucherov.

When he came to Detroit, he did not have that luxury. He took over a team that was riddled with bad contracts because of Holland. He is still finding ways to get out of those in their entirety but has he made the team better or worse with the moves he has made?

The Red Wings are still mathematically in the race for a wild-card playoff spot. The lack of movement at this trade deadline raises some concerns about not being able to upgrade in any way possible.

The Detroit Red Wings have had some ups and downs this season

As for the signings this past off-season, they have all played important roles this season and offensively contributing. However, some of those deals were a disaster and he may look to let them walk this off-season.

Since his Detroit debut in the front office, Yzerman has signed, or re-signed, the following players:

There are 57 players that Yzerman has brought into the fold or brought back. Only 18 of those players have made any kind of contribution or are still with the team.

With that said, Yzerman has also been busy trading, both acquiring talent or sending away players who have underperformed under his reign.

There have also been a ton of players traded away during this tenure of Yzerman. It has been a mix of players that moved on and either succeded or continued to fail.

Of those traded, only five have made a significant contribution to the Red Wings. With that said, Yzerman could have received more prospects instead of draft picks that were in the later rounds.

Draft picks are unknown but prospects are already somewhat developed and could see more action than a draft pick might.

With Yzerman's signings, one may wonder how things could have been different. Most of the players he has signed have been third-liners of depth pieces at best.

What would have happened if Yzerman did not sign as many lower-end pieces and went after a big fish with that money?

Instead of players signed at the league minimum, he could have added a top-six player or a top-pairing defenseman to put a foot on the gas of this rebuild. He could have filled in the roster with players from the minors as a way to develop them and fill a hole at the same time.

Yzerman has not quite filled the roster with younger players. Instead, he has signed more experienced in the prime of their career. At some point, he has to focus on developing their top-tier prospects and bring them up tom play significant games.

If he is drafting these players and letting them sit in the minors, he might as well trade them because this is hurting their development. Players with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League are playing well and deserve a call-up and play some big minutes.

Next season, the Red Wings are going to have trouble with their cap space with important players deserving of new contracts. This means he may not be as active in the free agent market this off-season and bring up some quality younger players who deserve their time in the NHL.

Prospects like Marco Kasper, Carter Mazur, Sebastien Cossa, Albert Johansson, and Amadeus Lombardi are options that could play a significant role with the Red Wings due to the salary cap issues because they have excelled in Grand Rapids.

For the most part, the signings of Yzerman have not worked out. Re-signing Raymond and Larkin, while signing DeBrincat and Kane, have been the best, and only significant deals that he has made.

Every other signing could have been prevented because they have those same types of players in the minors for a much lower cost, thus preventing salary cap issues.

Yzerman can not find a consistent team and one that can compete for a Cup because he never re-signs players who fill an important role.

The roster turnover year after year is immense and they have a different team almost every season. He needs to re-sign players to get consistency to get a playoff team together, instead of having new players come in every season trying to get a winning formula.

If one were to look at every roster in the NHL, the elite teams have a group of players who have been there for years together and have built chemistry.

Detroit has not done that in many seasons and recently they have missed the playoffs. Some may laugh at the thought of firing Yzerman because of the idea he would change things. If this continues, it may be an all too real idea that he could be gone.