Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is sticking to his rebuilding plan, which includes not making a coaching change or attempting to pull off a splash in free agency.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – JUNE 22: (L-R) Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings attends the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Yzerman is not interested in short-term fixes such as firing coach Jeff Blashill or outspending other NHL teams to add available veterans on the open market.

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As painful as the retooling process has been in the Motor City, the Hall of Fame player is committed to doing what he thinks is best to help the franchise eventually add to its collection of 11 Stanley Cups.

“It’s going to take time,” Yzerman said.

Red Wings fans have heard that refrain often in recent years.

TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 13: Steve Yzerman speaks with the media on the red carpet prior to the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Brookfield Place on November 13, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Former general manager Ken Holland was preaching patience before, during, and after his final seasons in charge of Detroit’s front office.

After one year of trying to turn around the franchise he led to three Stanley Cups as a player, Yzerman sounds a lot like Holland, one of his mentors, as he reiterates that faring well in the draft and developing homegrown players is the key to success.

The Red Wings’ latest miserable season came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when the NHL abandoned the rest of the regular season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league plans to hold a 24-team playoff if it is able to resume play and Detroit’s once-proud team was not even close to making the cut in the expanded field.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 12: Head Equipment Manager Paul Boyer of the Detroit Red Wings rolls equipment bags down the hall after the Detroit Red Wings against the Washington Capitals game was postponed due to the coronavirus at Capital One Arena on March 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Today the NHL announced is has suspended their season due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus (COVID-19) with hopes of returning. The NHL currently joins the NBA, MLS, as well as, other sporting events and leagues around the world suspending play because of the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) at Capital One Arena on March 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Red Wings had a league-low 17 wins in their 71-game season. They trailed every team in the league by at least 23 points and finished 61 points behind the NHL-leading Boston Bruins.

Detroit has not earned a spot in the playoffs since 2016 when it capped a run of 25 consecutive postseason appearances.

The Red Wings’ four-year postseason drought is their longest since a five-year run without a shot to win the Cup from 1979-83.

“You have to use this as fuel,” center Dylan Larkin said.

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 21: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings argues his penalty at 17:30 of the third period against the New York Islanders at the NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on February 21, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Red Wings 4-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


Detroit has not played a hockey game since March 10 and no one knows when the 2020-21 season will begin. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, NHL teams don’t have offseason workouts and that’s a source of concern for Detroit’s players, coaches, and management.

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“It could be up to nine months without hockey,” center Luke Glendening said.


The Red Wings plan to keep a pair of promising players, forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha, instead of potentially letting them develop into stars on other teams.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – FEBRUARY 18: Tyler Bertuzzi #59 of the Detroit Red Wings takes a second period shot next to Nick Cousins #21 of the Montreal Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena on February 18, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 4-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“We’re not going to let them go anywhere,” Yzerman said. “We’ll get deals done. I can’t tell you that a week from now or sometime in the offseason. … the question is for how long and for how much.”


Larkin will likely be named captain during the offseason, giving the team a one-ice leader for the first time since Henrik Zetterberg retired prior to the 2018-19 season.

“The plan is to name a captain, prior to the start of the next season,” Yzerman said.

If Larkin gets to wear a “C” on his sweater with a winged wheel, he said it would be one of the greatest honors of his life.

“It’s something I would never imagined growing up as a kid in Detroit,” he said.

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – JANUARY 14: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the New York Islanders at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on January 14, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Red Wings 8-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


Yzerman said Blashill will be behind the bench next season, even with a record 41 games under .500 over five years in Detroit.

“It certainly means a lot,” Blashill said.

Holland gave Blashill a two-year extension in 2019, keeping him under contract through the 2021-22 season, and Yzerman has decided to retain him for a second straight year.

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