Yzerman?s Work Begins

from Joh Niyo of the Detroit News, ...then it’ll be up to Yzerman and his front-office staff to make the decisions that'll shift this rebuild into its next phase. That starts with Blashill's expiring contract, of course, a topic Yzerman politely tabled until after the season when asked about it Monday. But like Bertuzzi, Vrana is scheduled for restricted free agency this summer as well, giving Detroit the option of re-signing him to a short-term contract before deciding whether to extend him on a deal similar to the one Mantha signed last November. Detroit also took on Panik’s remaining contract in the trade, giving Washington salary-cap relief in exchange for more draft compensation. But that also helps the Wings in this summer’s NHL expansion draft for the new Seattle franchise. Now Yzerman can leave Panik exposed along with Frans Nielsen, if he chooses, and protect a player like Vladislav Namestnikov instead. As for all those draft picks? With a dozen in his pocket, including two first-rounders and seven over the first three rounds, Yzerman has more to work with than any of his peers heading into this summer’s entry draft, whether he gets lucky in the lottery or not. That could add more leverage in a year where the class of prospects is more of a mystery than usual, thanks to a pandemic that wreaked havoc with junior hockey in North America and Europe this season. “It probably is more unpredictable this year,” sa

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