I could be dead wrong on this but I’ve also got a certainty tied to it, so here goes: I have an inkling, this feeling, that Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn is Detroit-bound.
If it ain’t Killorn, it’s going to be somebody wrought through the Tampacuse system. All with thanks to the fact what Stevie Y wants, Stevie Y gets.
Former Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman, now head honcho of the Detroit Red Wings, gave Killorn an immaculate seven-year contract after the 2015-16 season. It read like loyalty and respect for Killorn and featured a nice little touch with a no-movement clause that kicked in after the 2016-17 NHL season.
Not as if a no-movement clause can’t be waived.
My point here is that Yzerman has the task of rebuilding the Red Wings at the NHL level and the entirety of the organization. While he has to help the Wings reach competitiveness, he also should need or want things that fit his game-plan (both literally in on-ice competition and figuratively). That makes it seem obvious that cogs from the Lightning would be sought – be they contract-bound roster players like cited in Killorn or looming unrestricted free agents like Anton Stralman, or prospect commodities within the Tampacuse system. They were assets brought into the system by Yzerman, they have the skills and experience to fit what Yzerman is trying to employ with Detroit.
Yzerman has the knowledge of the Bolts system not only to see what he wants and likes but to also know that certain cogs can be taken by Julien BriseBois as expendable assets. That’s why I see Killorn as someone who may become a sought-after commodity for the Detroit Red Wings. If not Killorn, than perhaps Ondrej Palat. Tyler Johnson would be a much higher price, as would be Brayden Point – prices that the Red Wings can’t meet.
I’m citing veteran talent in Killorn, Palat, and Johnson, but that’s because they can be seen as system-leadership strengths. If Yzerman gauges the Wings as in prime shape to transform without it, he may be more keen to go after a side-item like Yanni Gourde or another out-of-spotlight expendable option on the Lightning roster.
For the sake of system production, I am not keen on giving
away developing talent currently in Syracuse or Orlando, or drafted talent
still in juniors and college. To do that jump-starts Yzerman’s reproduction efforts
while setting the Lightning back (or turning the Tampacuse system of
player-development into a shell game as new pieces or draft picks come into the
system and need time to find their place – if one is ever found).
That actually leads to another cog that could be a
sought-after acquisition for Steve Yzerman; someone completely expendable
within the system but who is also a long-standing benchmark within. Cory
Conacher is someone who has been a standard and an expendable for Steve
Yzerman, and when it looked like things were over for Conacher in pro hockey, Yzerman
brought him back to the Lightning system. Could Yzerman eye Conacher as a
guiding point within the Red Wings system? Or a starting cog with a less costly
price for Detroit itself? That’s up for debate.
What shouldn’t be seen as up for debate is if Yzerman will end up acquiring talent who played within the system he built in Tampa.
One last thing, and it’s one not to draw any conclusions on in assumption of what Yzerman does in Detroit, but I just find it interesting (if not just coincidental) that the first head coach Yzerman hired as a General Manager, Guy Boucher, is available. Boucher, who last helmed the Ottawa Senators, took the Bolts to quick success in 2010-11, though he struggled in 2011-12 and was dismissed late in the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Yzerman knows Boucher’s strengths and flaws, as does the rest of the NHL by now. There’s no telling if Stevie Y would willingly incorporate Boucher’s variation of the 1-3-1 again… or anyone else for that matter. We’ll see as the NHL off-season progresses.