Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Kris Draper On Filip Zadina And Michael Rasmussen

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

“We had him very high on our list. Goal scoring is so important at the level we play at, and when you get a chance to add a goalscorer, you have to go with that. It was a no-brainer. We are very excited to add Filip Zadina to the Detroit Red Wings.

“How soon is he going to be a Red Wing? A lot is going to depend on Filip. I would say there are a lot of us that are hoping that he makes it really, really hard on us to make the decision. He obviously has the mindset he is coming to training camp to make the Detroit Red Wings. You have a highly skilled player, a determined player, a focused player and someone who is driven. He is going to get a lot of looks in preseason and in the end have to make a decision: one, what’s best for him in terms of long-term development, and No. 2, what’s best for the Detroit Red Wings.”

There’s also great excitement about 2017 first-round pick Michael Rasmussen after he dominated the 2018 WHL playoffs with 14 goals and 17 assists in 14 games. He had multi-point performances in 10 games, and only went without a point in one game.

“We are expecting big things from Ras. At playoff time, when it’s the hardest to play and it’s the time you want your players and prospects to step up, he had an unreal year for Tri-City. He’s coming in and I think he has the mindset he’s going to make the Detroit Red Wings. We love that. We need that. We want him to do everything he can to make our hockey club."

more topics discussed by Draper...

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More Names Added To Stars & Stripes Showdown In Plymouth, MI

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Fourteen players have been added to the roster for the Stars & Stripes Showdown, a benefit hockey game featuring top American-born hockey stars that will take place Sunday, August 26, at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. Opening faceoff is set for 2 p.m. ET.

The group includes Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames), Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets), Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg Jets), Cam Atkinson (Columbus Blue Jackets), Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks), Nick Foligno(Columbus Blue Jackets), Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks), Matt Hunwick (Buffalo Sabres), Anders Lee(New York Islanders), Patrick Sieloff (Ottawa Senators) and Brady Skjei (New York Rangers).

To see the full list of participating players and coaches, click here.

Continue Reading »

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Young Athletes In Detroit

No. 10 Michael Rasmussen,

Red Wings (age 19)The Red Wings were criticized a bit when they made Rasmussen the No. 9 overall selection in the 2017 draft. It resembled a pick made through old-fashioned hockey scouting lenses (which overvalue size and, at times, character), especially since the team desperately needs speed and elite skill. Detroit passed on players with more high-end skill to grab the 6-foot-6 center, but he’s making the Red Wings look smart since being selected. He didn’t look out of place in training camp last year, then had a big season in the WHL with 31 goals in 47 games. He’s likely going to start this season in Detroit, and reviews now for this pick are much kinder. “I think it was a great pick,” said an Eastern Conference amateur scout. “When you go back and look at comparables to years past, there wasn’t a lot of 6-foot-6 centers who had a really good career in the NHL.

That's Craig Custance on Razsmussen in Max Bultman's Top 25 Under 25 athletes in Detroit sports scene.

There is more (paid subscription) from Custance on Rasmussen plus Dylan Larkin is at #1, Zadina at #4, Mantha at #5, Athanasiou comes in at #15, Hronek #17, Veleno at #22 and Cholowski is #25.

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The Season Outlook For Frans Nielsen

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2018-19 outlook: After playing on the third line last season, Nielsen likely will center the second line if Henrik Zetterberg doesn't play. His ice time should increase slightly, and he'll probably get more power-play minutes, which should lead to more production.

Nielsen fills many roles. He can play on scoring line or a checking role. He can play on the second power-play unit and the top penalty-killing unit. He is a go-to guy on the shootout as the NHL's all-time leader in that specialty.

Quotable: "I've stuck with the same couple of (shootout) moves, just doing stuff I'm comfortable with. For the most part I've kind of made up my mind before I even go in. In the beginning, probably for a couple of years, I went backhand every single time and they started figuring that out, so I had to start shooting." - Nielsen.

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Jimmy Howard,  Jonathan Bernier, Then Who?

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

The Wings chose not to re-sign Jared Coreau and Tom McCollum, two veteran minor leaguers who didn’t progress toward the NHL.  Coreau had brief opportunities at the NHL level the last two years, and failed to impress.

Replacing that tandem in Grand Rapids will be Harry Sateri (signed out of the Florida organization) and Patrik Rybar (European free agent).

Where there’s hope is in the past several drafts, and a group of goaltenders who could offer promise in the future.

Jesper Eliasson (2018 3rd round) and Victor Brattstrom (2018 6th round) were selections in June with plenty of upside.

Brattstrom, 20, (6-foot-5, 198-pounds) was rated higher in several mock drafts, and had a .919 save percentage playing Swedish junior last season.

“They’re great workers,” said Hakan Andersson, the Wings’ director of European scouting, of Brattstrom and Eliasson. “We’re hoping we have two good goalie prospects.”

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If Henrik Zetterberg Cannot Play

from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,

If Zetterberg is unfit to play in 2018-19, though, don’t expect a formal retirement announcement. Due to the nature of his contract — he signed a 12-year, $73-million pact in January 2009, the type of back-diving, cap-circumventing deal to which the NHL put an end — the next step for Zetterberg should he decide to hang up his skates would be a trip to the long-term injured reserve. By placing him on LTIR, the Red Wings wouldn’t be saddled with the full amount of his $6.08-million cap hit. And Zetterberg, for what it’s worth, wouldn’t exactly lose out on the high-paying years of his deal. After earning $7 million last season, his salary dips to $3.35 million in 2018-19 before paying out $1 million in each of the next two campaigns.

And while a Zetterberg-less Red Wings would mean the end of an era, the changing of the tides may be what’s best for the organization in the long haul. It’s no secret Detroit, after a long spell of success, are mired in a two-season drought and entrenched in a transitional period as the old guard passes the torch to a new wave. And in that sense, it was somewhat fitting that Holland copped to the continued uncertainty about Zetterberg and the potential for life without one of the franchise’s modern fixtures on the same day the team announced and celebrated the signing of Dylan Larkin to a five-year, $30.5-million pact....

And while Larkin’s role would potentially stand to increase the most on a Zetterberg-less Red Wings, with added on- and off-ice responsibility as arguably the new face of the franchise, he would be far from the only one who could benefit from the roster refresh that could truly be spurred on by Zetterberg’s injury-related departure. Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, both of whom were handed two-year contracts this summer, would almost certainly be among those to see increased playing time if Detroit were to hand the reins over to their younger talent. Both have seemingly untapped offensive upside, and on a goal-starved team, having one or both breakout with greater ice time would give promise for a brighter future for the Red Wings.

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Who Belongs On The Wings’ Mt. Rushmore/Puckmore?

from Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,

  • Players' contributions during their time with the team are what we've taken into account, rather than their career as a whole. Just because Wayne Gretzky and Martin Brodeur played for the Blues for a minute doesn't mean they make Mount Puckmore for St. Louis.

  • There are no positional requirements. In some cases, teams won't have a goalie on the mountain. In other cases, they'll have more than one.

Gordie Howe, RW (1946-1971)
Nicklas Lidstrom, D (1991-2012)
Ted Lindsay, LW (1944-57)
Steve Yzerman, C (1983-2006)

Potential replacements: Pavel Datsyuk, C (2001-16); Alex Delvecchio, C (1950-74); Sergei Fedorov, C (1990-2003); Chris Osgood, G (1993-2001, 2005-11); Terry Sawchuk, G (1949-64); Henrik Zetterberg, C (2002-18)

Puckmore coach: Scotty Bowman (1993-2002)

Puckmore GM: Jack Adams (1927-62)

more and other teams in the Atlantic Division...

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The Season Outlook For Danny DeKeyser

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

DeKeyser's offseason goal as always is to gain strength to help him win more puck battles. He said he's comfortable with his weight.

DeKeyser's strength is skating, so it took him a while to feel comfortable after missing five weeks with a fractured ankle. He was a minus-10 in his first 10 games after returning from the injury and then posted a plus-13 rating over the final 52 games. He was more consistent the second half of the season.

The Red Wings need DeKeyser to be a shutdown defender who can get the puck out of the zone quickly, like he was earlier in his career before taking a big step back in 2016-17.

The team planned on pairing DeKeyser with Trevor Daley heading into last season, but the injury changed things. Daley spent most of season playing alongside Jonathan Ericsson while DeKeyser was with Nick Jensen much of the time.

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Discussing The Dylan Larkin Contract

from Ryan Lambert of Yahoo,

I guess the question I have here is: “What’s the point?” Larkin is a “franchise player” in Detroit if only because they truly don’t have a better option and more to the point, if you think your “franchise player” is a winger who’s gonna score 50-something points every year, well, that’s not a very good franchise situation overall.

Not that anyone needed to be told Detroit was a mess, and not that this contract even pushes them into a worse situation. He’s a perfectly good player with room to grow, but if you’ve worked yourself into a corner where Larkin is a $6.1 million player for you, that says a lot more about the people who are still, inexplicably allowed to run this franchise.

Put another way: You don’t have to pay non-franchise players like they’re almost franchise players just because you don’t have anyone better than that. Unless you’re the Red Wings, I guess.

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The Season Outlook For Tyler Bertuzzi

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2018-19 outlook: Bertuzzi made an impact as a rookie, improving steadily and gaining confidence after joining the team full-time in late December. He brings a much-needed element of grit with his physicality and eagerness to go to the net and battle in the corners. He was a good complement on a line with skilled players Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist for part of the season.

After dealing with injuries the previous two off-seasons, Bertuzzi was looking forward to a healthy summer of training. The Red Wings opted not to send him back to Grand Rapids for the AHL playoffs. The club's message to Bertuzzi was to get bigger, stronger and quicker. He planned on working with a skating coach.

If skilled forwards Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen make the team, like the Red Wings hope and expect, this club will have many options for top-nine forwards. It remains to be seen where Bertuzzi would be slotted, but they'll find a place for him, valuing his combination of skill and grit.

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com

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