I grew up worshipping Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman as a player and can still remember the ovation he received from the Joe crowd during the 1995-96 home opener. Rumors swirled that he would be traded, and while the boos rained down from the rafters for Scotty Bowman, the cheers were resounding for the Captain.
A season later, he won his first Stanley Cup. Five years later, he’d have three.
If there was one thing everyone learned, it was to never give up on Steve Yzerman. He will lead Detroit to its rightful place as a champion.
As the trade deadline came to an end and all was silent, the fan base wondered if it would pass without Yzerman making any noise. Luke Glendening and Jonathan Bernier were rumored to go, but it was very still on the Red Wing front.
Until this tweet:
Red Wings Twitter absolutely exploded. It only went crazier after Weekes reported that a first and second were included, too. After what felt like a disappointing trade deadline day had morphed into an unbelievable burst of excitement.
Though many (including myself) were fans of Mantha, it was an unbelievable haul for Yzerman and the Red Wings.
It was one that couldn’t be passed up.
It is one that makes a lot of sense.
Red Wings’ Yzerman Shows Again Why He’s One of the Best
If there was any doubt whether or not this is now Yzerman’s team, it ended today. Yzerman mentioned both Andreas Athanasiou and Mantha as pieces to build around during his opening press conference on April 19, 2019, and now he’s shipped both out. Time will tell if he’s won both deals but early indicators appear that way.
The Red Wings now have twelve picks (12!) in the 2021 NHL Draft, giving Yzerman and his brain trust an awful lot of chances at picking the right players for the future. Cap room also opens up as several contracts expire, and Yzerman will continue molding this team more to his blueprint.
When he was with Tampa, Red Wings fans watched longingly as he built the Lightning into a juggernaut while Detroit spun its wheels in the draft and free agency. Worse, Detroit was failing to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs an choosing to rebuild on the fly instead of starting fresh.
Make no mistake: the Yzerplan is in full effect. This is his team, and he continues to make both small and big moves that will make this team a force in the future.
Years down the line, he shouldn’t be surprised to hear another ovation when the Wings are contending again.