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Abel to Yzerman

How Will The Roster Look In A Few Days?

Brendan Savage of Mlive looks at a few options the Wings have in the coming days...

"What we're going to do is talk about it and the best guys are going to play," Babcock said after Sunday's 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers at Joe Louis Arena.

"It's not going to have anything to do with age, it's just going to be what have you done here lately. They're pushing real hard. Riley Sheahan, (Tomas Tatar), Jurco, that line was really good" against Florida.

To keep the youngsters around, the Red Wings could opt to expose some of their veterans to waivers, something they've already done this season with Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo, Patrick Eaves and Mikael Samuelsson.

Potential candidates could include Daniel Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi, who have both struggled offensively this season.

Cleary, who was supposed to be a healthy scratch vs. Florida before Henrik Zetterberg missed the game with a back injury, has four goals and four assists in 51 games while Bertuzzi – who was a healthy scratch against the Panthers – has six goals and five assists in 44 games.

But the Red Wings might be reluctant to waive either.

Cleary and Bertuzzi are team leaders both in the dressing room and on the ice and the Red Wings might want their experience in the postseason if they can extend their playoff streak to 23 seasons.

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Comments

Alan's avatar

We have to get to the second season before we talk about their experience in the second season.

Like Babcock said, “what have you done for us lately?” When you look at Cleary and Bertuzzi, can anyone answer that question with a positive response?

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 01/27/14 at 10:58 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Cleary, who was supposed to be a healthy scratch vs. Florida before Henrik Zetterberg missed the game with a back injury, has four goals and four assists in 51 games while Bertuzzi – who was a healthy scratch against the Panthers – has six goals and five assists in 44 games.

But the Red Wings might be reluctant to waive either.

Cleary and Bertuzzi are team leaders both in the dressing room and on the ice and the Red Wings might want their experience in the postseason if they can extend their playoff streak to 23 seasons.

That excuse is getting old.

First of all, we may not make it to the second season if those guys continue to eat away minutes more effective players could be playing.

Second, how much leadership do you need in a dressing room? I’m assuming Z leads the way. I’ll also assume Kronner has a say, too.

Pav and Alfie can be leaders too, in their own way.

Too many leaders would get in the way, no?

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 01/27/14 at 11:07 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Cleary and Bertuzzi are team leaders both in the dressing room and on the ice and the Red Wings might want their experience in the postseason if they can extend their playoff streak to 23 seasons.


This quote speaks to two major issues I see with this team, issues that in my opinion are even more important than age, talent gap, injuries, what have you.

I think this franchise is in desperate need of re-mythologizing itself. The old guard is gone. This isn’t “Hockeytown” anymore. They have to move on with a new mindset and a new group of leaders.

I like Cleary and Bertuzzi as people, but they represent something that doesn’t exist anymore. And the playoff streak has become an albatross. It seems like it’s become a stand-in for actual, real success. It is impressive, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t really mean anything.

I continue to believe that the best thing that could happen would be to miss the playoffs this year. Recharge the batteries, get healthy, drop some dead weight, and start forging new leaders and new memories.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/27/14 at 11:36 AM ET

Avatar

But the Red Wings might be reluctant to waive either.

In the past I might have agreed, but the fact that they’ve sat Bert for two straight games and were planning on sitting Cleary, coupled with the fact that they’ve waived Emmerton, Tootoo, Eaves and Samuelsson -nevermind the fact that they sat veterans in favour of youngsters down the stretch and into the playoffs last year- lead me to believe that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to win.

I’m sure they re-signed Cleary solely based on his playoff performance last year so they might not be willing to waive both of them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they waived Bert.  Or at least tried pretty hard to find a trade partner for him.  I think he could be a decent veteran presence on another team, but I just don’t buy the need for leadership on Detroit when they’ve already got a ton of leaders as it is.

Posted by Garth on 01/27/14 at 11:39 AM ET

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I continue to believe that the best thing that could happen would be to miss the playoffs this year.

This is something I don’t get.  If the Wings make the playoffs and lose in the first round, how is that worse than missing the playoffs?  They’re never going to drop down low enough to get a really good pick, and the odds of them winning the lottery are so small that there’s really no benefit from having an extra week or two off in the summer.

And if they’re going to “re-mythologize”, wouldn’t it be better to start that off with having a roster full of young guys that play well enough to drive the team into the playoffs (and possibly deep into the playoffs)?

I mean, if you want to “rebrand” the team, in what way is it a positive to miss the playoffs -breaking a decades long streak- in the first year of having the new guard on the team?  Nevermind what a good thing it would be to allow the likes of Sheahan, Tatar and Jurco to experience playoff hockey in their first year on the team.

Posted by Garth on 01/27/14 at 11:46 AM ET

El Gringo's avatar

Miss the playoffs?  What then is the point of an 82 game schedule?  Sorry, the playoffs are everything and anything can happen once a team hits the post season. This is especially true coming from the East.  Steal a series, find some grit and the Wings could find themselves in a Cup final.  Stranger things have happened.

El Gringo

Posted by El Gringo on 01/27/14 at 11:48 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

I think he could be a decent veteran presence on another team, but I just don’t buy the need for leadership on Detroit when they’ve already got a ton of leaders as it is.

Posted by Garth on 01/27/14 at 10:39 AM ET

“Leadership™” and “Veteran Presence™” are the kind of vague concepts that play well in the sticks and among sportswriters, but my guess is both are drastically overvalued. I’m not completely dismissing their importance, but I think if you got a few beers in most coaches and GMs, they’d probably admit it’s overrated.

To paraphrase Scotty Bowman, nothing trumps talent.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/27/14 at 11:53 AM ET

Avatar

To paraphrase Scotty Bowman, nothing trumps talent.

there are lots of talented players and lots of talented teams who experience a minimal amount of success both in the regular season and the playoffs.

The key to Detroit’s near quarter century of consistent success is that they’ve always struck a balance between ‘talent’ and ‘grit’.  There have been many players more talented than the Drapers, Maltby’s, McCarty’s, Kocur’s and Holmstrom’s of the world, but it takes a mix of those guys in addition to ‘talent’ for a team to win, and win often.

So sure, it’s tough for guys like Cleary and Bertuzzi to win beauty contests here as they near the ends of their careers.  That’s not always the thing to be worried about, though.

You can’t fall into the trap of having too much ‘grit’ either, though, and that’s the critical issue for the Wings over these next two weeks as they try and figure out how they’re going to set up the roster for the rest of the year.

IMO I think Shehean and Tatar are locks.  Those two guys look like they’ll be able to perform in a tighter game.  Glendening just isn’t good enough and Jurco’s too raw for me to trust yet.  I’ve seen flashes from him but the playoffs aren’t about flashes.  Toss in Eaves and there are three prime cuts to make room for D and Z at least.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/27/14 at 12:06 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

I mean, if you want to “rebrand” the team, in what way is it a positive to miss the playoffs -breaking a decades long streak- in the first year of having the new guard on the team?  Nevermind what a good thing it would be to allow the likes of Sheahan, Tatar and Jurco to experience playoff hockey in their first year on the team.

Posted by Garth on 01/27/14 at 10:46 AM ET

You make some good points, but I doubt the “new guard” sees this as their team yet, nor should they, I guess. I do like the idea of them getting playoff experience, though.

I suppose I just see a lot of lethargy and disinterest around the Wings (present company excluded, of course). Hell, just look in the stands or listen to the radio. I think it may have something to do with the ho-hum nature of how things have been done around here forever at this point. It just isn’t enough newness to give casual fans hard-ons anymore, and I wonder if that isn’t seeping it’s way into the lockeroom.

I don’t know, dude. I’m just pretty much typing words. I’m not foolish enough to think I have the answers anymore.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/27/14 at 12:07 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/27/14 at 11:06 AM ET

I don’t disagree with any of that.

I think you’re right about Sheahan, too. It doesn’t seem possible that if they make the playoffs, he won’t be on the roster and playing meaningful minutes.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/27/14 at 12:14 PM ET

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HiHD - I agree with your assessment of the “kids” currently playing, although I wouldn’t even have mentioned Tatar specifically, since he has clearly locked himself into the lineup without question. Sheahan, I agree, has the build and has shown he can play and score in tight quarters (and he’s got a wrist shot that I have never heard about until I saw it).

Jurco, I agree, is raw. I’ve been extremely impressed with how he has been heavy on the puck - he hits, takes hits, and digs it off the wall. And he has gotten remarkably better since he first came up. If he continues progressing as he has, he may end up being a keeper this year.

The idea that Cleary and Bertuzzi are needed to provide a “veteran presence” or “leadership” is probably overvalued, as some have mentioned. If the Wings were like Edmonton, where the most talented guys are youngsters, they probably do need a few veteran guys to keep it steady.

In Detroit, the mix of veterans with grit and talented guys, the formula that’s won 4 Cups (and been to two others) in the last 20 years, is different that this year’s team. The Drapers, Maltbys, Dallas Drakes, McCartys, and the other guys who played the grit role could generally skate better than Cleary and Bertuzzi can right now. That’s why Cleary and Bertuzzi have fallen out of favor - the game is too fast for them.

So I don’t discount the point - but Glendening, Miller, Abdelkader - these are the guys who are expected to provide the grit with the “younger’ lineup in. If the team decides to roll with these guys instead of Cleary and Bert, I bet they go and get Steve Ott to add grit but in a guy who can skate better.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 01/27/14 at 12:19 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/27/14 at 11:07 AM ET

Fair points, but I think that a lot of the “old guard” are going to be gone this off-season (Cleary, Bert, Samuelsson, along with the likes of Quincey, Eaves and Tootoo) so, unless they were to slide low enough to get a really solid pick, I don’t see a lot of positives that would come from missing the playoffs.

I also honestly think that a healthy Red Wings team, with the right vets on the bench and the right youngsters on the ice, could cause some havoc in an Eastern Conference playoff picture and I think that would be better for the"new guard” than watching from the sidelines would do.

Having said that, I would rather they go with the “new guard” (and frankly, trade every expiring contract, save possibly for Alfredsson, if he plans on playing another year) and let them make or miss the playoffs on their own merits rather than having them send down all the youngsters and keep the old guard in place for the remainder of the year.

If they did that and missed the playoffs, I wouldn’t be overly disappointed, as long as the effort and we got a glimpse of future potential.  If they barely missed the playoffs with Sheahan, Jurco and Oulette or Almquist firmly entrenched on the roster moving forward, I would be OK with that.

Posted by Garth on 01/27/14 at 12:29 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

This quote speaks to two major issues I see with this team, issues that in my opinion are even more important than age, talent gap, injuries, what have you.

I think this franchise is in desperate need of re-mythologizing itself. The old guard is gone. This isn’t “Hockeytown” anymore. They have to move on with a new mindset and a new group of leaders.

I like Cleary and Bertuzzi as people, but they represent something that doesn’t exist anymore. And the playoff streak has become an albatross. It seems like it’s become a stand-in for actual, real success. It is impressive, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t really mean anything.

I continue to believe that the best thing that could happen would be to miss the playoffs this year. Recharge the batteries, get healthy, drop some dead weight, and start forging new leaders and new memories.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/27/14 at 10:36 AM ET

I agree with your two points, but I don’t consider Cleary or Bertuzzi as representative of those problems. The issue with Cleary looks to be strictly one of him being a favorite of Babcock (and possibly Holland). It took a long time for him to finally pull the trigger on scratching Cleary when (as advertised) he was completely healthy.

With Bert… yeah, he’s been in and out of here since the 2007 trade, but he wasn’t here for the Cup in ‘08 or the run in ‘09. I have liked what he’s brought to the team for a decent cap number in his time here, but he’s not really in that fabric of “Hockeytown.” The connection to that era (that now, pretty clearly ended in ‘09) is mostly severed, and is only retained by the fact that Pav and Z significantly crossed between the Yzerman Wings and the Lidstrom Wings.

With Bert, I can’t help but think it’s just two simple factors—first, Pavel has been hurt a lot this year, and Bert is best (not surprisingly) when he gets to ride shotgun with one of Pav or Z… they own the puck, he keeps the flies off, and chips in with a nice pass or hard earned goal every couple games. And secondly, he’s old by hockey standards, especially for a guy his size with his style, and has had a history of chronic problems with his back. Maybe it’s just time catching up finally. He did a nice job partially reinventing himself after he came back to Detroit for this second stint and has been able to stay pretty healthy from it. But maybe now he’s pretty healthy, but at an age where a reliably healthy Bert just doesn’t quite have the pace any longer.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/27/14 at 12:37 PM ET

awould's avatar

Here are some stats.

Player 1: 5 pts, 13 games, +1
Player 2: 8 pts, 12 games, +3
Player 3: 11 pts, 44 games, -16, veteran leadership
Player 4: 8 pts, 51 games, -9, swell guy

Yeah, small sample size and all, but I think if they continue to cling to Cleary and Bertuzzi at the expense of the youth, the leadership they’ll provide in the post-season will be on the golf course.

I’d rather they waive Bertuzzi, but I hope they waive one of them.

Posted by awould on 01/27/14 at 01:04 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

To paraphrase Scotty Bowman, nothing trumps talent.
Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/27/14 at 10:53 AM ET

For Scotty, at least towards the end of his coaching career, talent=seniority. He never trusted younger more talented players whenever there was an aging vet available. Who do you think taught Babs to love vets and mis-trust youth? Babs certainly didn’t learn that while coaching the Ducks.

 

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/27/14 at 02:19 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/27/14 at 01:19 PM ET

I agree with that. The difference for Babcock now is that Cleary and Bertuzzi aren’t Igor Larionov and Brett Hull. The level of talent in that veteran leadership is vastly different with what Bowman had to work with and what’s on the team today.

Posted by awould on 01/27/14 at 02:25 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

The level of talent in that veteran leadership is vastly different with what Bowman had to work with and what’s on the team today.
Posted by awould on 01/27/14 at 01:25 PM ET

Uncle Mike seems to have missed that part of the lesson.  rolleyes

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/27/14 at 02:28 PM ET

awould's avatar

Uncle Mike seems to have missed that part of the lesson

I agree, though it is Holland too.

On one hand, I like that Holland and Babcock aren’t prone to drastic moves. They’re patient and I think that’s kept them successful over a long time. But that can lead to complacency or to letting inertia lead the way. ‘Stay the course’ and ‘I like the team we have’ is sort of deciding to not make a decision. Clearly now is a time when decisions need to be made. I felt like the re-signing of Cleary was sort of a desperate grab at holding onto the past. I wasn’t happy they re-signed him because I doubted that he’d contribute much as his body can’t handle the rigors anymore, but also because it seemed like Holland was planting a flag in the past when I had hoped they’d make a decisive move to the youth. I’ve been happy to see the young guys get more of a chance than I thought they would, but a lot of that is because of injuries, not a change in philosophy. The change in philosophy is coming because these guys have taken good advantage of the opportunity.

Posted by awould on 01/27/14 at 02:49 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

This comment im about to post will have no bearing on THIS season. But I say keep showcasing the kids. All the energy, excitement and highlight reels they generate will hopefully attract some big names to come and sign with Detroit in the off season. Some of the players out there are definitely attracted to this, so lets sell it and take advantage of it.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 01/27/14 at 03:24 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

oh yea, and get rid of the @!#%$#@!%$!#$%^@! boat anchor named Samuelsson

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 01/27/14 at 03:25 PM ET

pgoody's avatar

All kidding aside with this post…

The next captain of the Redwings once Zetterberg retires will be SHeahan…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9oVbV41JKg

Posted by pgoody on 01/27/14 at 03:38 PM ET

Avatar

Also, the top-end talent on this team is not as good as it was for Bowman,  I’d take the 2002ish top 6, top 2 dmen and starting goalie over this years squad by a huge, huge margin.

That’s a big part of the reason Babcock’s tried so hard to get something out of the other vets on the team.  He needs it to offset what he’s not getting from the top end.  He hasn’t gotten truly elite production from his best players since 2008-9, and now the players who were doing the producing then are either lesser through age (D and Z), or gone entirely (Lidstrom, Rafalski.)

Cleary didn’t produce, Bert didn’t produce, Sammy pissed off the organization and then didn’t produce, Weiss didn’t produce, Alfredsson produced but misses games all the time, so with that and then four billion injuries eventually they had to go deeper and deeper in the organization to find somebody, anybody, to do something.

So, they go roughly 8-9 deep into the Griffins roster and end up finding 3 guys who can play this year instead of in a year or two at the expense of around 15 points in the standings so far, give or take.

That’s why the Wings usually have vets with a track record win the ties with kids without one.  The phrase ‘a bird in the hand…’ didn’t just get made up for no reason.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/27/14 at 03:42 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

Like Babcock said, “what have you done for us lately?” When you look at Cleary and Bertuzzi, can anyone answer that question with a positive response?

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 01/27/14 at 09:58 AM ET

Well they haven’t killed anybody…...

have they?

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 01/27/14 at 06:41 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Fair points, but I think that a lot of the “old guard” are going to be gone this off-season (Cleary, Bert, Samuelsson, along with the likes of Quincey, Eaves and Tootoo) so, unless they were to slide low enough to get a really solid pick, I don’t see a lot of positives that would come from missing the playoffs[

   

Exactly. No matter what happens this season, I expect a lot of the “old guard” will be gone next season. With the salary cap increasing, and contracts expiring, the Red Wings will be younger with money to spend. It depends what Ken Holland decides to do with it. Not sure what he will do if anything at the trade deadline as he does have many prospects, and cannot keep all of them without losing them through waivers next season.

Posted by bigfrog on 01/27/14 at 09:56 PM ET

awould's avatar

The only positive to missing the playoffs is a slightly higher draft pick and a lengthy period of rest and recuperation for the players. Definitely not worth ending the streak and missing the playoff experience for the young guys. Would waiving Bert and/or Cleary to make room for some young guys help or hinder making the playoffs? Beats me. My opinion is to waive these guys, give some ice time to a youngster and let them make the best of it. They’ve stepped up so far, pretty much. I mean, with the injuries the team’s had and the up and down goaltending, things could be much worse.

But yeah, these two will be gone after this season anyways, clearing over $2.75MM of cap space. This summer will be interesting, Holland will have some money to spend, some players to replace, and a lot of contracts to get renewed.

Posted by awould on 01/27/14 at 10:09 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I’ve enjoyed (for a change) reading all the comments on this topic.  I agree with shedding Bert and Cleary and I do believe making the playoffs is preferable to not, just to give the kids some valuable playoff experience.  I also have a feeling that a totally healthy Red Wings roster (dare I dream of such?) could make a serious playoff run.  Stanley Cup?  Probably not, but I’m OK with that as the Wings are clearly in a major transformation phase.

I interpret Babcock’s recent comments as an indication that he is on board with the youth movement.  Whether KH is there yet remains to be seen…

Someone said the Wings should keep Fred (Alfredsson).  I agree.  If he can stay healthy, I see him as a calm, patient playmaker who can also score goals.  This is the kind of leadership (teaching) the kids need.  Along with Z, Pav, Kronner, Mule and Ericsson, there is enough leadership and playoff experience on the roster.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/28/14 at 10:34 AM ET

Bill from GR's avatar

I, too, want to see the playoff streak continue.  But I want to see that happen with the kids.  They have earned the opportunity and are producing on the score sheet.

Some of the young ones have felt some playoff atmosphere by being a Black Ace.  Also, while the AHL playoffs can’t compare to the Stanley Cup, our young guys did go four rounds and win a Cup last year.  That experience has taught them something.

So, I say, give these young bucks a chance and we can always bring up our “veteran leadership” group as a pack of Black Aces this year.

Posted by Bill from GR on 01/28/14 at 12:28 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Franzen rejoins the injured list along with Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Weiss.  How much in salary is tied up there?  About $22M probably.

The question soon will be not which Griffins and young players get to stay in the line up for injured veterans, but which of the young players will be entering the injured reserve list next.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 01/28/14 at 01:20 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Scotty’s philosophy was “nothing trumps talent, especially in a veteran player.”

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 01/28/14 at 01:22 PM ET

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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