Yzerman talks life after Holland, how to rebuild and Mantha
“In the Detroit organization, he's done so much for us,” new GM Steve Yzerman, right, said about former GM Ken Holland.
In a wide-ranging interview with nhl.com, Steve Yzerman talked recently about Ken Holland and his role in Detroit, the importance of the draft and some of the young Wings.
The new Red Wings GM admitted he wanted Holland to stay with the Red Wings but is happy for the new GM of the Edmonton Oilers.
“I was looking forward to working with him," Yzerman said. “I really enjoy being around him, talking hockey with him, listening to his rationale, how he manages situations. I was really looking forward to that.
“But I know – we talked about it – he loves managing. He has a burning desire to do it.”
Yzerman was named Detroit’s executive vice-president and GM on April 19, with Holland being the driving force behind his hiring. Holland was promoted from executive vice-president and general manager to senior vice-president at that time, but ultimately decided to move on.
“In the Detroit organization, he's done so much for us,” Yzerman said about Holland. “Not only building Stanley Cup teams, all of us who have worked with him, he's been a friend, a father figure, a professional adviser to us all, and he's looked out for us all. We're all grateful for everything he's done for us, and we're going to miss him."
Yzerman said he would continue Holland’s emphasis on drafting and developing players in the Red Wings’ rebuild.
“The draft is so important. You have to acquire your talent some way. To do it through unrestricted free agency, you're not going to build a team that way. At least I don't think you can build a team that way,” Yzerman said.
“How you do it is acquire the young talent and try to develop them. I think we're fortunate to have a small core of the (Dylan) Larkins, the (Anthony) Manthas, the (Tyler) Bertuzzis coming. There's the foundation there, and we have to add to it. They're all good young players."
Yzerman said it was good to see Mantha play so well in the World Championship for Canada. The right winger had seven goals and 14 points in nine games.
“It was great, good for him. I thought all the Detroit players did really well in the tournament. Was happy to see them go and to all play well,” Yzerman said. “For Anthony Mantha, I thought he progressed as he went on this past season. He finished the regular season strong as all the young players did in Detroit.
“Now, to go over to the Worlds to play with and against some of the best players in the world, I think it's a big confidence boost to play against these guys. I think it's a stepping stone to bigger and better things.”
Yzerman said he is still acclimating himself to his new surroundings.
“Just a lot of new faces in the organization since I left, so trying to get to know people,” Yzerman said. “It's June. It's the busiest time of year for teams whether you're playing or not – behind the scenes, getting ready for the draft, getting things in place. So when a new manager comes in, there's a lot of things to be done.
“It was a similar process when I went to Tampa. You go in, you're relatively unknown to a lot of people. It's the same process.”