To fix Wings' spotty draft record, Yzerman purges scouts
Steve Yzerman is following the same playbook in Detroit that he did in Tampa Bay.
But this time, the Red Wings need a far more substantial talent upgrade than the Lightning did when they hired Yzerman to run their organization in 2010. Still, just as he did shortly after becoming the Lightning’s general manager nine years ago, Yzerman cleaned out his new team’s scouting department on Thursday.
He let go director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright, who had been in that position since 2013, along with chief amateur scout Jeff Finley and amateur scout Andrew Dickson.
Also, longtime pro scout Glenn Merkosky has retired, and pro scout Archie Henderson is expected to join the Edmonton Oilers, whose new GM is former Wings GM Ken Holland. Wright is also expected to join Holland in Edmonton.
Only pro scouting director Mark Howe, chief of European scouting Hakan Andersson and pro scouts Kirk Maltby and Bruce Haralson remain in the Wings’ scouting department.
"We are currently working through changes,” Yzerman told the Detroit Free Press.
The team has not announced any replacements for those who were let go. However, Kris Draper is expected to replace Wright as director of amateur scouting, according to www.mlive.com. Draper has been serving as an assistant to the general manager.
One of the biggest complaints against Holland in the last few years of his run as Detroit’s GM was the quality of the players the Red Wings drafted.
From 2005 to 2014, only six players drafted by the Red Wings – Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Petr Mrazek, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin – have had any kind of significant impact on the team’s fortunes.
Granted, their highest pick over that span was 19th overall in 2005, when they drafted defenseman Jabul Kindl. But it’s still tough for a team to thrive when it drafts only six players who make a significant contribution during a decade of drafts.
Things have seemed to improve in recent years, but we won’t really know about those players – including Filip Zadina, Filip Hronek, Joe Veleno, Dennis Cholowski and Michael Rasmussen – for another few years.
The organization had to upgrade their drafting process and clearly Yzerman agreed.
It appears the unexpected and unorthodox selection of defenseman Moritz Seider with the sixth overall pick in the NHL draft in Vancouver was only the first indication of how drafts will change under Yzerman.
Draper played 17 seasons with the Red Wings – he and Yzerman were teammates for 12 of those campaigns – helping them win four Stanley Cups, before retiring after the 2010-11 season and immediately joining the front office.
One of his responsibilities as assistant to the general manager has been helping to evaluate players at both the amateur and professional levels.
Apparently, Draper’s amateur scouting skills stood out for Yzerman.