Yzerman not with rest of staff due to coronavirus concerns
Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is not with the rest of the team’s contingent during the NHL Draft Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Yzerman was exposed to someone with COVID-19, so he is taking part in the proceedings from a remote location.
“Yzerman has received multiple negative test results and is experiencing no symptoms,” the club said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Out of an abundance of caution, however, he will join the hockey operations staff virtually for the entirety of the 2020 NHL entry draft.”
The draft, originally scheduled for late June, was conducted remotely due to the coronavirus.
Director of amateur scouting Kris Draper announced the Wings’ pick of Lucas Raymond, right wing with Frolunda (Sweden), with the Wings’ first pick, fourth overall, on NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the first round on Tuesday night.
Abdelkader to be bought out
Justin Abdelkader has spent all but one season of his hockey career – which was 15 years ago – in his native state of Michigan. But that streak will come to an end if his NHL career continues.
Abdelkader, 33 and a native of Muskegon, was placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying him out, Detroit announced on Tuesday.
The physical winger will most certainly clear waivers by noon Wednesday, when he will be bought out with three years left on his contract at a cap hit of $4.25 million.
The move will clear salary cap space, but Abdelkader will remain on the Wings’ cap for six more years.
He will be paid $1.05 million in each of the next six seasons. He had been owed $9.5 million over the final three years of the contract.
Abdelkader played at Michigan State after skating for Muskegon Mona Shores High School, where he was named Michigan’s Mr. Hockey as a junior in 2005.
He did not score a goal and had only three assists in 49 games last season and has produced only 26 goals and 78 points in 259 games over the last four campaigns. He is minus-75 over the past five seasons.
The buyout allows Abdelkader the opportunity to sign with another NHL team, though at a much lower salary.
Free agency begins on Friday.
Abdelkader has appeared in 739 career games with the Wings, picking up 106 goals and 252 points, along with 608 penalty minutes.
Veleno heading to Sweden
The Red Wings have loaned center Joe Veleno, who was their second first-round pick (30th overall) in the 2018 draft, to Malmo of the Swedish Hockey League for the entire 2020-21 season, according to the Swedish team’s website.
It is very likely there will be no 2020-21 American Hockey League season despite the fact that the league has said it will begin play around the first of December. The AHL is an attendance-based league, so if fans aren’t allowed into arenas to watch its games, there would not be enough revenue to finance a season.
Veleno, 20, spent the 2019-20 season with Detroit’s AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. He had a tough transition to the pro game with11 goals and 23 points in 54 games. He was playing better following
Veleno is at least the ninth Red Wings player/prospect to be loaned to a European club during the COVID-19 pandemic. He joins forwards Filip Zadina (HC Ocelari Trinec, Czech Republic), Michael Rasmussen (Graz 99ers, Austria) and Mathias Brome (Orebro HK, Sweden); defensemen Moritz Seider (Mannheim, Germany), Filip Hronek (Mountfield HK, Czech Republic), Gustav Lindstrom (Almtuna, Sweden) and Jared McIsaac (HPK, Finland), and goaltender Filip Larsson (Almtuna).
The highest American Tuesday night was National Team Development Program alum Jake Sanderson, a defenseman who was taken with the fifth overall pick by the Ottawa Senators. The native of Whitefish, MT, is the son of former NHL player Geoff Sanderson and plays at the University of North Dakota.
The only other U.S -born player taken on Tuesday was incoming Michigan freshman center Brendan Brisson (Manhattan Beach, CA). He played with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League last season and was drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights with the 29th pick.
… Center Quinton Byfield (Sudbury, OHL) was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Kings. That makes him the highest drafted black player in NHL history. The San Jose Sharks’ Evander Kane (2009, Atlanta Thrashers) and Columbus Blue Jackets’ Seth Jones (2013, Nashville Predators) were both picked fourth overall.