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I’d Bring Back Steve Yzerman to the Detroit Red Wings

Yahoo Contributor Network
I’d Bring Back Steve Yzerman to the Detroit Red Wings
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A plaque of Steve Yzerman, the NHL's longest-serving captain at 20 years.

COMMENTARY | The Detroit Red Wings have a long history of success and great players. With players like Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Sergei Federov and Nicklas Lidstrom, it was hard for me to choose just one player to bring back. However, if I had to choose, I would pick Steve Yzerman.

Yzerman was a member of the Detroit Red Wings from 1983-2006 and helped lead the team to three Stanley Cups, including breaking a 42-year Cup drought for Detroit.

While the current Detroit Red Wings certainly are deep at the forward position, in his prime Yzerman could eacily center the top line for the current team. This would allow coach Mike Babcock to have more productive third and fourth lines.

Yzerman had six 100-point seasons in the early part of his career, including 65 goals and 90 assists in the 1988-89 season.

He began his career as a pure goal scorer. However, it wasn't until the 1993 season when his point production dropped and he started concentrating more on defense.

The Red Wings are 18th in the league averaging 2.6 goals per game. Yzerman would not only be able to improve that, but he could improve the average goals against per game, which currently has the Red Wings in ninth place at 2.4.

Yzerman also could add an extra punch to the power play that has struggled this year. Although the Red Wings have scored a power-play goal in eight of their past nine games, they currently are 20th in the league at 17.3 percent.

Yzerman scored 202 power-play goals in his career, including nine seasons with 10 or more power-play goals.

Not only was Yzerman a force on the power play, but he played on the penalty kill as well. Yzerman had 50 shorthanded goals in his career, including three seasons with seven or more shorthanded goals.

The Red Wings are 23rd in the league in penalty kill percentage at 78.9 percent. Yzerman certainly could boost that percentage and help the younger defensemen kill penalties.

Pavel Datsyuk's three Frank J. Selke trophies suggest he is one of the best two-way players the NHL has ever seen. Imagine having two of the best two-way forwards on the ice at the same time.

Yes, Datsyuk and Yzerman did play together on the Red Wings, but Yzerman was nearing the end of his career and Datsyuk was just getting his first taste of the NHL.

Yzerman is not only a great player, but he is a great leader. He became the captain of the Red Wings when he was just 21 years old, and held that captaincy until he retired in 2006.

The current Red Wings team isn't short on leadership, but Yzerman is by far one of the best captains the game has ever seen. He would add insight for young players like Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist.

The Red Wings are a solid team that is capable of making the playoffs, but Yzerman is the piece that could put them over the top and help them contend for the Stanley Cup.

Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter @tom_mitsos.

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