Red Wings Organization Grade: Yzerman and Blashill

Steve Yzerman. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Steve Yzerman. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Yzerman’s Free Agency Signings

The Red Wings signed a slew of free agents in the offseason, and a few played relatively important roles on the team.

The biggest signing, Thomas Greiss, looked like the biggest whiff through the first half of the season; he held a sub .900 save percentage through the first three months and notched just one victory in that time (To be fair, goal support was not there during this stretch). But Greiss pulled a complete 180, and looked like one of the best goaltenders in the league during the final months of the season.

Bobby Ryan and Troy Stecher were the team’s best signings. Unfortunately, Ryan’s season was cut short just before the deadline; before the injury, he was one of the better depth-scorers on the roster (7 goals and 7 assists in 33 games), comfortably slotting into the second line. Stecher was a large reason for the defensive improvement of the team. While not flashy, Stecher rarely made mistakes and played a strong defensive game. He paired well with nearly every defenseman on the roster; in fact, for a good stretch of time, the Stecher-Staal defensive pairing was statistically best in the league during 5v5 play.

Jon Merrill and Vladislav Namestnikov were also solid signings. Merrill played safe defense throughout the year, and earned Detroit an extra fifth round pick at the trade deadline. Namestnikov didn’t really live up to expectations, but he was acceptable as a depth center.

The remaining three signed agents, Kevin Boyle, Riley Barber and Kyle Criscuolo all were assigned to Grand Rapids throughout the entire year.

The 2020 free agent class was just solid. Although Yzerman didn’t sign any game breakers, the players were certainly a step up from last year’s placeholders. Troy Stecher, Bobby Ryan and Thomas Greiss all played important roles on the team; each helped improve the team in some way when they were on the ice. A cynicism could say the class was underwhelming by looking at individual performances, but there was a tangible improvement on the ice. Much of that was due to the additions (And subtractions) to the team during the offseason. As a whole, the free agency was good – but not special.. . Detroit Red Wings. 2020 FREE AGENCY . B