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Yzerman not committing to Red Wings ending playoff drought this season


The Detroit Red Wings just missed the playoffs on a tiebreaking scenario last season, but general manager Steve Yzerman isn't ready to declare that the team will end their eight-year postseason drought in 2025.

“I expect us to be a comparable team, although the players might be better fits as far as their roles,” Yzerman told reporters Thursday of team's outlook for this season. “I think we’re in that group of teams that if we stay healthy, our goaltending is good, and some players outplay their expectation, we might get in. Or you might just miss by a point on the last game of the season.”

Yzerman tinkered with the Red Wings roster of the past three weeks, moving out defenceman Jake Walman and forward Robby Fabbri in trades and adding Vladimir Tarasenko, Erik Gustafsson and Jack Campbell on the free-agent market. The 59-year-old said he was interested in one of the bigger names on July 1, but couldn't reach a deal with the unnamed free agent.

Since taking over in 2019, Yzerman has overseen an improvement every year during his time with the Red Wings, with an 11-point jump from 2022-23 to this past season. Detroit missed the playoffs due to having less regulation wins than the Washington Capitals, who also had 91 points to claim the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Yzerman admitted Thursday he is feeling some pressure to make the playoffs for the first time in his tenure, but won't change his long-term vision for the club. 

“Yeah, a little bit, honestly,” he said. “Pressure, whatever you want to call it, it’s not gonna change what I’m trying to do. It’s the right way to do it, and it’s taking some time. I can’t tell you it’s five years, seven years, 10 years, I’m just gonna stick with it.

"We’d all love to win, me, you, our fan base, I understand.”

Yzerman noted he hasn't closed the door on making another roster move this summer, but currently has nothing in the works. According to CapFriendly, the Red Wings have more than $20 million in cap space with restricted free agents Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond and Joseph Veleno still in need of new deals. 

Detroit's 25-year playoff streak came to an end in 2016, with the franchise now in their longest postseason drought in their history.