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05-09-2012, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by TheOctopusKid View Post
As a life long Red Wings fan, what went from general curiosity over the fan reaction of the three-team trade has evolved into a vested interest in the debate over the strategic direction of the team. More specifically, if Steve Yzerman is attempting to rebuild the franchise, why sacrifice what is assumed a valuable piece of the team's future for a draft pick?

Although there is surrounding controversy around this particular move, it is apparent that Yzerman is working towards a systemic transformation of the Tampa organization to better position it for consistent and sustainable success in the Modern Era NHL. Yzerman has adopted, whether good or bad, a similar managerial style of those of his mentors, Ken Holland and Jim Nill of the Detroit Red Wings. Whether or not their system is directly applicable to the Tampa Bay organization remains to be seen. There are very stark differences between the two clubs.

The Wings have had the benefit of a long-standing championship caliber core of players and this has afforded them the luxury of building a robust, and codified development process with their young prospects. The Wings are structured, methodical, and forward-looking in timing prospect growth to correspond with player decline. Typically any draft pick made by Detroit has a 5-6 year development cycle before they take a minor role with the parent club. This is partially the result of their consistently poor position within the draft due to prior year's success. Often organizations who pick earlier in the draft are looking for more "NHL Ready" prospects who can contribute in the very near term, leading to the often overlooked physically underdeveloped, albeit skilled prospects in the later half. Since the Wings do not require a immediate impact player, the Wings will often take an underdeveloped prospects (typically small in size or has demonstrated poor skating) as these players are available when they draft, and they give them time to develop in the Major Juniors, College, and AHL. Typically, the Wings evaluate their prospects looking for key attributes (high skill, high hockey IQ, solid positioning, etc). The list of these examples are numerous and each very thematically similar (Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Hudler, Filppula, etc.)

This has also helped perpetuate the stigma that the Wings are "soft". Very rarely do the Wings have ready access to a 6'4" 210LB Power Forward with excellent all round skills as these are highly coveted metrics by other teams and they are left with 150LB pound 5'10 prospects (i.e. Datsyuk).

The point of all of this as it pertains to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Almost all of the current Red Wings are a direct product of their strict adherence to drafting prospects with specifically identified qualities, developing that prospect over the course of their early career, and placing them in the best position to succeed in gradual levels of responsibility (CHL, AHL, 4th, 2nd, 1st). The root cause, the foundation of the Detroit organization is based upon this simple philosophy. Almost every star on the Wings roster was a direct result of this system and every "rookie" that's added to the team in actuality has been schooled and seasoned by Detroit for the better half of a decade before they see limited minutes.

Yzerman recognizes that the lifeblood of any organization is their prospects and the ability to effectively reload on the fly with quality talent with little disruption as possible. Yes, it is possible to build a team around blockbuster trades and overvalued contracts (a la Brian Burke), but it often leads to massive dismantling following a suicide run at the Cup. Yzerman is building for a long term, sustainable model and has started with the restructure and refocus of building a team through sound drafting and player development. I don't believe that it was coincidental that after his hiring, Yzerman appointed a new General Manager to the Admirals, a new Director of Player Personnel, and a new Head Director for Amateur Scouting.

In the meantime, Yzerman has been filling potential gaps on the main club with cap-friendly veterans in short term contracts while they flesh out the prospect pool. Currently, Hockey’s Future has the Tampa Bay Lightning as 25th out of the 30 NHL clubs in terms of prospect strength. By adding more draft picks, Yzerman is raising the overall strength of the organization and positioning it for long term success. I know that you all must be tired of hearing this, but have faith in your management that they are doing everything they can do ensure long-term success.
One of the most articulate and informative posts I have read on this board and spot on. Bravo!

While I believe in Yzerman's philosophy of building for the long term success of his mentors he will be somewhat handcuffed by the previous regime's ineptitude and futility of drafting (Feaster) and the reckless abandon of fantasy hockey-like signings of the Cowboy era.

The future is bright in Stamkos and Hedman and shrewd free agent signings of Conacher, Johnson, etc.

Yzerman is right on track to restock the cupboards and I feel this trade was the right call in the end. We have the option of selecting a top flight goalie with Detroit's pick and under the highly skilled scouting eyes of Al Murray we are well underway towards consistent success and eternal glory! Go Bolts!

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