The Athletic’s Craig Custance caught up with former Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma who had some thoughts on how the Detroit Red Wings should approach their roster. Ironically enough, Bylsma grew up a Detroit fan, since he was a Michigan resident. Custance quizzed Bylsma on a number of topics, including a Red Wings rebuild and his time with the Sabres. On the Red Wings, Bylsma admits that Detroit is no longer model franchise in the league and that fans will “never see” the team they once saw that featured bonafide stars like Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull, Steve Yzerman, and Sergei Fedorov, to name a few. The former bench boss guesses that the Red Wings roster will look dynamically different in three years as they’ll be forced to rebuild a team that has certainly struggled. He also believes fans are ready for a rebuild, preferring to see a competitive team that grows into playoff dominance instead of keeping the “streak” alive with aging players and early playoff exits. He doesn’t believe, however, that the Red Wings need a total teardown to win. Instead, he thinks that steady drafting can keep Detroit relevant without ripping out the foundation.
- When it came to talking about Buffalo, however, Bylsma was coy. When he arrived in Buffalo, the team was in the midst of a tear down and rebuilding with the likes of Jack Eichel, and other young, dynamic players. While there were some strides, last season was disastrous, costing both Bylsma and former general manager Tim Murray their jobs. Bylsma admits to Custance that he didn’t want to talk about what happened in Buffalo while explaining that Detroit hasn’t gutted things like Buffalo did. He also believes that a teardown-build up program takes several years, sometimes up to five. That’s understandable from his vantage point, given that he only had two years in Buffalo to try and win. It has to be said that Toronto’s resurgence couldn’t have helped matters, as the Leafs not only qualified for the playoffs, but gave Washington a scare in the first round.
- NBC Sports’ Adam Gretz writes that with Connor Sheary re-signed, the Pittsburgh Penguins will turn their attention to grabbing a third line center. He makes a couple suggestions, wondering if Jake Guentzel could move over to center line or if youngster Carter Rowney is ready for full time duty. The most realistic option, Gretz believes, is for Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford to explore trades to fill the vacancy and give the Pens a solid chance to win their third consecutive Cup.