Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman touched on quite a few subjects throughout a uncommon information convention. Filmed Feb. 24, 2020 in Detroit.

Detroit Free Press

Steve Yzerman spent his first yr as common supervisor of the Detroit Red Wings observing and assessing.

As a workforce, there wasn’t a lot to love. It was dismal — a league-worst 17-49-5 (even 30th-place Ottawa had managed to win 25 video games when the season was shut down March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic). The Wings had the worst offense (2.00 targets per recreation), protection (three.73 goals-allowed per recreation) and penalty kill (74.three%), and the 29th-ranked energy play (14.9%).

Yzerman watched them follow, watched them play. He was within the locker room after residence video games, and sometimes after practices.

Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill talks to gamers, as Dylan Larkin (71) listens throughout motion in opposition to the Dallas Stars, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 at Little Caesars Arena. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)

“You learn a lot about the players, you get to know them personally, you get to know them better,” he mentioned. “We’re assessing them. Are they part of the plan shifting ahead, are they not.

“I didn’t know what our report was going to be stepping into — whether or not it was going to be what it was, or higher or worse. We felt it was going to be a stretch to be a playoff workforce, and we weren’t a playoff workforce. I’ve realized loads about our group.”

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The Wings were ravaged by injuries, to the point 34 skaters and four goaltenders  appeared in games. Players listed below had to log at least 10 games to receive a grade — hence the absence of defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who lasted eight games before a season-ending back injury.

Players with potential to fit into the rebuild in some capacity were included, even if they didn’t finish the season in Detroit.

[ Detroit Red Wings’ adjustment to pandemic: Puppies, rollerblading and Zoom calls ]

F Justin Abdelkader

Age: 33.

Stats: 3 assists in 49 games. 

Status: Signed through 2022-23 at $4.25 million salary-cap hit.

Evaluation: Didn’t produce, didn’t play with physicality. Likely to face waivers next season if there isn’t any uptick in his play. Grade: F

G Jonathan Bernier

Age: 31.

Stats: 15-22-3 with a .907 save percentage and 2.95 goals-against average. 

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $3 million hit. 

Evaluation: He struggled the first two months (.890 save percentage, 3.34 GAA) but was strong from mid-December on, posting a .919 save percentage and 2.65 GAA in 26 games. Grade: B

[ Red Wings’ Steve Yzerman: Detroit ‘a very resourceful city,’ will survive COVID-19 ]

F Tyler Bertuzzi

Age: 25.

Stats: 21 goals, 27 assists in 71 games. 

Status: Restricted free agent, will be re-signed.

Evaluation: Plays a smart and gritty game. Thrived in the early months with 14 goals and 16 assists up until Christmas, but slowed in the second half. Grade: B-minus

D Alex Biega

Age: 32.

Stats: 3 assists in 49 games.

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $875,000 cap hit.

Evaluation: Hard worker who provides organizational depth. Nothing flashy, but he’s reliable and generally makes smart decisions with the puck. Grade: C

D Madison Bowey

Age: 25.

Stats: 3 goals, 14 assists in 53 games.

Status: Restricted free agent, likely to be re-signed.

Evaluation: Struggled to make good decisions with the puck, but has offensive skill on a team low in productive defensemen. Yzerman was willing to lose Bowey on waivers, but there’s little risk in bringing him back for another year. Grade: C-minus

D Dennis Cholowski

Age: 22.

Stats: 2 goals, 6 assists in 36 games.

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $894,166 cap hit.

Evaluation: The skill is there, the skating is there, but Cholowski didn’t make the most of an opportunity to gain a foothold during Mike Green’s absences. Grade: D

D Trevor Daley

Age: 36.

Stats: 7 goals, 7 assists in 43 games. 

Status: Unrestricted, won’t be back.

Evaluation: Struggled to stay healthy, made little impact when in the lineup. Grade: D

F Christoffer Ehn

Age: 24.

Stats: 2 goals, 2 assists in 54 games. 

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $759,167 cap hit.

Evaluation: Serviceable grinder, reliable in his own zone but still reluctant to do little more with the puck than skate it out of his own zone. Grade: C-minus

D Jonathan Ericsson

Age: 36.

Stats: 0 points in 18 games.

Status: Unrestricted, won’t be back. 

Evaluation: Was waived and assigned to the minors, but brought back to offset injuries. Grade: D

F Adam Erne

Age: 25.

Stats: 2 goals, 3 assists in 56 games.

Status: Restricted, will be re-signed.

Evaluation: Plays with physicality, but was expected to do more offensively. Grade: C-minus

F Robby Fabbri

Age: 24.

Stats: 14 goals, 17 assists in 52 games.

Status: Restricted, will be re-signed.

Evaluation: Acquired Nov. 6, he maximized coming to a new team. Added much-needed scoring, but deficiencies showed in the defensive zone, to the tune of a minus-29 rating. Grade: B-minus

F Valtteri Filppula

Age: 36.

Stats: 6 goals, 15 assists in 70 games.

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $3 million cap hit.

Evaluation: Didn’t help out offensively as much as hoped for, despite playing in the top six and on the power play, and wasn’t as sound defensively as expected (team-worst minus-42 rating). Grade: D

F Luke Glendening

Age: 31.

Stats: 6 goals, 3 assists in 60 games. 

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $1.8 million cap hit.

Evaluation: Had a down year after posting 23 points last season, and his minus-29 rating was a career worst. Grade: D

F Darren Helm

Age: 33.

Stats: 9 goals, 7 assists in 68 games. 

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $3.85 million cap hit.

Evaluation: Credit Helm’s defensive savvy for a minus-6 rating on a team that had a minus-122 goal differential. He also finished fifth in goals. Grade: B

F Taro Hirose 

Age: 23.

Stats: 2 goals, 5 assists in 26 games.

Status: Restricted, likely to be re-signed.

Evaluation: He’s a smart player but was overmatched physically. A long offseason in the gym should earn him another look. Grade: D

G Jimmy Howard

Age: 36.

Stats: 2-23-2 with a .882 save percentage and 4.20 goals-against average. 

Status: Unrestricted, won’t be back.

Evaluation: What a disappointing denouement for a guy who spent 11 seasons with the Wings, earning two All-Star nods. His last victory dated to Oct. 29, and he was pulled his last two starts. Grade: F

D Filip Hronek

Age: 22.

Stats: 9 goals, 22 assists in 65 games. 

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $714,166 cap hit.

Evaluation: Did a good job considering how he was burdened after the loss of DeKeyser. Played in all situations and against the opponent’s top line. Grade: B

F Dylan Larkin

Age: 24.

Stats: 19 goals, 34 assists in 71 games. 

Status: Signed through 2022-23 at a $6.1 million cap hit.

Evaluation: Struggled up until Christmas, but had a team-leading .94 points-per-game average the final 33 games. Led the team with 223 shots. Grade: B

D Gustav Lindstrom

Age: 21.

Stats: 1 assist in 16 games.

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $775,833 cap hit. 

Evaluation: It was a small sample size, but he played a smart game and looked like he can be a third-pairing guy. Grade: C-plus

F Anthony Mantha

Age: 25.

Stats: 16 goals, 22 assists in 43 games.

Status: Restricted, will be re-signed.

Evaluation: Missed six weeks recovering from a punctured lung suffered going after Toronto’s Jake Muzzin. It’s the second straight season Mantha has missed at least a month recovering from injury while defending a teammate. The Wings need someone else to do that, because Mantha is too important to lose. He led the team with a .88 points-per-game average. Grade: B

D Patrik Nemeth

Age: 28.

Stats: 1 goal, 8 assists in 64 games.

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $3 million cap hit.

Evaluation: Played physical, and did what he could in the defensive zone. Grade: C

F Frans Nielsen

Age: 36.

Stats: 4 goals, 5 assists in 60 games.

Status: Signed through 2021-22 at a $5.25 million cap hit.

Evaluation: Had a dismal year, not scoring his first goal until Dec. 28. Is still a smooth skater, and maybe he rebounds enough to flip him for a draft pick. Grade: F

F Brendan Perlini

Age: 24.

Stats: 1 goal, 3 assists in 40 games.

Status: Restricted, unlikely to be back.

Evaluation: Failed to make the most of a new start, despite seeing time in the top six and on the power play. Grade: F

F Givani Smith

Age: 22.

Stats: 2 goals, 1 assist in 21 games.

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $714,166 cap hit.

Evaluation: His enthusiasm is infectious, and he’s learning to balance being physical without being undisciplined. Grade: C-plus

F Filip Zadina

Age: 20.

Stats: 8 goals, 7 assists in 29 games.

Status: Signed through 2020-21 at a $894,167 cap hit.

Evaluation: Gained confidence as he gained experience, and was starting to look dangerous with the puck when his season came to a halt because of injury at the end of January. Grade: B-minus

Coach Jeff Blashill and his staff

The Wings were a one-line, one-goaltender team that suffered so many injuries, 14 players were used on the back end alone. Yzerman charged Jeff Blashill and his coaching staff with focusing on developing the young players key to the rebuild.

Larkin, Mantha, Bertuzzi and Hronek endured rough patches but showed growth. Blashill scratched underperforming veterans when he could, but injuries limited his ability to do so. He had no choice but to keep playing Howard (when Bernier needed a break) because neither Calvin Pickard nor Eric Comrie was a viable option.

Throughout the losing streaks, players bought into Blashill’s program. Yzerman noted on multiple occasions he didn’t think it fair to blame the record on Blashill. Grade: C

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