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‘Two Things’: On Libor Sulak and Thomas Vanek

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings will be able to bring defenseman Libor Sulak over to North America for the Wings' prospect tournament and main training camp despite his having contract with the Finnish Liiga's Lahti Pelicans, whose regular season begins around the same time as the prospect tournament:

“He skates really well, moves well for his size,” director of player development Shawn Horcoff said. “He is strong. I was really impressed. His skating ability was really impressive and he has a good shot. He was physical. He was really good.”

Sulak, 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, had 10 goals and 18 assists in 54 games last season with Orli Znojmo, a Czech-based team in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, the top professional league in Austria. Then came an opportunity on a much bigger stage.

“The Czechs invited him to their camp prior to the World Championship and every week he just kept getting better,” Fischer said. “He was not a high-profile player, but by the end of the World Championship, he ended up playing top-four minutes for the Czech Republic. He did that in the quarterfinal against Russia, and Russia had some really good forwards like Nikita Kucherov and Artemi Panarin — guys that are elite in the world, elite in the NHL — and he did a good job.

St. James continues, and as she notes, Sulak will probably play for Lahti this upcoming season, but he's committed to playing in North America next year...

2. And in a subscriber-only article, The Athletic's Jack Han suggests that the Red Wings ought not to sign Thomas Vanek as he needs to be used in the kind of sheltered finisher's role that the Wings played him in last season to have any sort of effectiveness:

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Evening news: On Larkin’s charity game, the Wings’ goaltending and Tatar

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Dylan Larkin is holding a charity hockey game an autograph signing this Tuesday at Waterford's Lakeland Ice Arena, with the game taking place at 6 PM:

2. The Free Press's Helene St. James discussed the Red Wings' goaltending situation:

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With Tomas Tatar Signed What Happens Next?

from Craig Custance of The Athletic,

According to CapFriendly.com, the Red Wings are $3 million over the salary cap with Tatar signed. They’ll eventually place Johan Franzen on long-term injured reserve, which will wipe that out and add an additional $900,000 or so in flexibility. That’s not going to be enough to get restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou signed.

He is on deck for a contract.

“Nothing imminent,” texted one source close to Athanasiou on Friday night.

That the Red Wings are so squeezed against the cap would leave them vulnerable to an offer sheet on Athanasiou, if that sort of thing ever actually happened in the NHL. The reality is, if an offer sheet is going to happen, the best candidate is in Nashville where Ryan Johansen sits as a 24-year-old restricted free agent center, but that’s a debate for another day.

The other interesting thing is that the conversations continue between the Thomas Vanek camp and the Red Wings. That he hasn’t signed anywhere yet is an indication that he’s willing to wait this out a little and see how things play out in Detroit, although one source close to Vanek said there a “couple things” in play with him.

The Red Wings aren’t going to buy anyone out, so that leaves only a salary-clearing trade as a possibility if salary needs to be cleared.

more (paid subscription)...

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The NHL Tonight previews the Red Wings’ 2017-18 campaign

Via Paul, on Friday, the NHL Tonight's Steve Mears, Kevin Weekes and EJ Hradek took part in an 11-minute discussion of and/or 2017-18 season preview for the Red Wings. It's a little "blabby," but solid nonetheless:

Also of Red Wings-related note this morning: we'll call this marginally-related. Via Championat, Evgeni Svechnikov spoke with NHL.com's Pavel Lysenkov regarding his brother, Barrie Colts forward Andrei Svechnikov, and the brothers' agent, Mark Gandler, suggested that a lot of things would have to go wrong--and right--for the brothers to play together in the NHL. There's not much there, but it's what's out there on a quiet late July morning.

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WXYZ’s Galli speaks with Dylan Larkin about the ‘learning curve,’ Wings’ outlook

WXYZ's Brad Galli spoke with Dylan Larkin (while at Larkin's hockey school in Waterford) regarding the state of his NHL learning curve and the Red Wings' literal and figurative prospects for the upcoming season:

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Tomas Tatar On His New Deal

Updated at 10:14 PM: from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

“I can’t be more happy,” Tatar said during a conference call. “I’ve been on my phone talking to (friends) in the Detroit area and it’s just been real nice.

“I have a very special relationship with the Red Wings. I was a huge fan and it’s a really big relief for me to stay and continue my NHL career in Detroit.”...

“It’s really exciting that we found a way to get the deal done,” Tatar said. “It was a little stressful. We had a great relationship with (general manager) Ken (Holland) in arbitration. (Arbitration was) not even close to as bad as people were picturing. They (the Red Wings) were real nice and we were always finding a way to sign a deal without waiting for the arbitration.

“I’m real glad we did.”

Listening to the Red Wings state their case during arbitration didn’t leave a bad taste with Tatar.

“It’s a business,” Tatar said. “You just have to listen in one ear and out the other ear. It’s a business and I can understand it.”


Update: The Free Press's Helene St. James also weighed in...

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Tomas Tatar signs a 4-year, $21.2 million contract

From Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman:

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan confirms:

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‘Two Things’: On Cholowski and the Calder Cup’s busy schedule

Updated 3x at 1:53 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Brendan Savage posted a profile of defenseman Dennis Cholowski...

The plan now is for Cholowski to get a shot in Grand Rapids but if the Red Wings don't think he's ready to join the Griffins, he could go the junior hockey route with Prince George of the WHL, according to assistant general manager Ryan Martin.

If he does go to Prince George, Cholowski won't be able to rejoin the Griffins until after the WHL season ends.

Cholowski began preparing for the 2017-18 campaign at this year's Red Wings development camp. One of the things Cholowski said he wanted to do last year was get bigger and stronger and he's taken a step in that direction during the past year after weighing in at 196 pounds in Traverse City.

"We drafted him and he was 170 pounds," said Tyler Wright, the Red Wings director of amateur scouting. "Some of it's just physically getting mature and growing into becoming a man but a lot of that also is the work that nobody sees and he's putting time and the effort in. You get excited with that and you get more excited because you know they're doing the work."

2. And the Calder Cup's Twitter accout lets us know that the Griffins have been enjoying their "Days With the Cup" recently:

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Krupa sits down with Jeff Blashill

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa engaged in a sit-down interview with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill recently, and Blashill spoke optimistically about the Wings' outlook for the upcoming season:

Blashill said he thinks Trevor Daley, a free agent who played for the reigning two-time Stanley Cup champion Penguins, will provide a significant boost to a needy defensive corps.

He said he has no concerns about the coming performances of goalie Petr Mrazek, whom the Wings left unprotected in the NHL Expansion Draft, or Tomas Tatar, who entered salary arbitration Thursday — the first time since 1995 the Red Wings have gone through arbitration with a player.

Blashill’s confidence the Red Wings return to the playoffs is “100 percent, absolutely.”

“I do think (general manager) Ken (Holland) did a good job of making our team better with what we did in the offseason here,” Blashill told The News in an exclusive interview earlier this week. “They’re not big splashes. I don’t think big splashes necessarily always make the difference. I think there is a great chance to make our team a little bit better. Now, let’s go to work once we get to camp.”

Krupa continues at length...

Update: The Detroit News also posted a 4-and-a-half-minute-long video of Blashill's remarks:

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‘Two Things’: Griffins continue ‘Between the Benches’ series; new digits for 3 Wings

Of Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins-related note this evening:

1. The Griffins posted a 12-minute video in which they recap games 3, 4 and 5 of the Calder Cup Final against Syracuse...

2. And the Red Wings revealed the numbers that Trevor Daley, Luke Witkowski and Ryan Sproul will be wearing:

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.


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