GM Steve Yzerman made 11 picks in his first draft since taking control of the Red Wings. Filmed June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
     James, Detroit Free Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Steve Yzerman will be making calls when the free agency interview period begins, but not to one of his own guys.

NHL teams can begin reaching out to free agents Sunday, getting a head start on the signing period that begins July 1. Yzerman has repeatedly said he is not going to make a big signing just for sake of making a splash in his first offseason as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, but naturally he will do due diligence.

"I'm going to make some calls and see," he said. "There are players we're interested in. I will get a feel for one, if they have any interest in coming to Detroit, and then what are the parameters of what they're looking for. "

Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall body checks Sharks defender Justin Braun during the first period on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at Little Caesars Arena (Photo: Raj Mehta USA TODAY Sports)

More: Red Wings 2019 NHL draft class: Here's our scouting report potential unrestricted free agents

The San Jose Sharks re-signed pending unrestricted free agent defending Erik Karlsson before he reached the open market. The Winnipeg Jets traded pending restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba (Rochester) to the New York Rangers on June 17.

The Wings are not likely to be a playoff team next season , but they have roster spots available on front and on defense.

"Before doing it through trade I would look at the free agency to fill those roster spots," Yzerman said. "We also want to have some opportunity for our younger players to fill those spots, but we will look at free agency. But the player has to fit what we are trying to do. The value of the contract has to fit. "

One free agent who has won the right to make his own call is defender Niklas Kronwall. Kronwall, 38, led the team with 79 games played last season. (19459033) More: Steve Yzerman (19459034) Steve Yzerman (19459033) Steve Yzerman (19459034) explains how Moritz Seider fits into Red Wings rebuild

"We're going to go about our business," Yzerman said. "Nothing really changes. If Nik wants to come back and play, he'll have a spot on the team. "

The Wings have four veteran defenseman under contract next season in Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green, Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley. However, there's uncertainty with Green because of the virus he handled last season, and Ericsson and Daley both missed significant time with injuries. Filip Hronek and Dennis Cholowski headline the young generation of defensemen, and free-agent signing Oliwer Kaski is expected to challenge for a position. More: Red Wings preseason schedule features rivals, lot of internal competition

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames .


New Detroit Red Wings Prospect Moritz Seider says he was stunned to be drafted at sixth overall. Filmed June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
     James, Detroit Free Press