The Malik Report
The Red Wings and Griffins have kept me particularly busy over the past couple of weeks, so I haven't been able to spend as much time talking about Friday and Saturday's draft as I usually do (and I tend not to do a ton of pre-draft coverage as there's usually a 1-in-10 chance that the 10 prospects linked with the Wings are actually picked by Detroit, especially in a year where the Wings have historically "traded down" to the second round to maximize their picks).
In any case, Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray penned a fantastic summary of the mock drafts versus his pick for the Wings (NTDP forward Kyle Connor), and Hockey's Future's Ryan Womeldorf made a pick for the Wings in his "Draft Preview" as well:
MLive's Ansar Khan examines whether Cody Franson might fit into the Red Wings' free agent plans this morning, and if I may be blunt, the 28-year-old right-shooting defenseman never really impressed me:
How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He could play on the top pairing with Niklas Kronwall or the second pairing with Danny DeKeyser. He could join Kronwall on the first power-play unit or lead the second unit. His long reach could make him an asset on the penalty kill.
What it might take to get him: Based on the contract Jeff Petry signed with Montreal (six years, $5.5 million per season), Franson likely will command at least $5 million per season for five or six years.
I'd rather give Mike Green that kind of money...
Three key questions: 1. Is Franson capable of producing more points or has he reached his ceiling? 2. Should the Red Wings commit big money and a long term to a player who might not be a top-pair defender or should they seek a better alternative? 3. How imperative is it for the Red Wings to have a right-handed shot among their top four defensemen?
These three articles have little to nothing to do with each other, which is aggravating from a "storytelling" perspective, but this time of year is feast or famine--with this week's emphasis on "feast" as the Wings will announce their assistant coaches soon, the 15-16 schedule is coming out on Wednesday, there's that whole draft thing going on Friday and Saturday, and the Hockey Hall of Fame will name Nicklas Lidstrom and probably Sergei Fedorov inductees next Monday--so:
1. The Free Press's Helene St. James asks yet another trade-related question given that Newsday's Steve Zipay reported that Kyle Okposo may be on the block in a draft-pick-related deal.
St. James suggests that the Wings should be all over Okposo and his $2.8 million cap hit despite the fact that he's going to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, and hre's where St. James' argument that the Wings ought to pursue Okposo (or any of the other players that she's listed over the past five days) has me shaking my head:
It doesn't make sense to trade for Okposo without being able to re-sign him, and he's going to want to want a significant raise (think $5 million annually as a starting point, probably more) and a lot of term. On the other hand, Okposo is just entering the prime of his career, he's a proven scorer, and he'd add size and a right-handed shot. What it comes down to is figuring out whether Okposo is worth the risk.
Okposo going from a $2.8 million salary to a $5+ million salary alone would be a concern given, as Ken Holland pointed out, that the Wings will have to re-sign Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Riley Sheahan, Danny DeKeyser and Petr Mrazek next summer.
Given that the U.S. National Team Development Program is moving to the now-former Compuware Arena this fall, this lengthy read from the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy is worth your time because it does a fine job of describing the tradition and work ethic that have been built in Ann Arbor over the past 13 years:
These days, joining the NTDP is a priority for many elite American teenaged players. “The aspect of representing my country appealed to me,” said right winger Christian Fischer, a Notre Dame commit from Illinois. “Putting on the USA jersey is something special. Also, they have a reputation for producing a lot of NHL players.”
The key is in the program itself. Collecting the best talent from around the country helps, but the NTDP has specific goals in mind. An almost universal need for teenaged players is strength, which is best achieved in the weight room, not on the ice. To that end, off-ice workouts are the No. 1 priority. Coach Don Granato, who followed the 1997 birthdays from the under-17s to the under-18s, began the run by giving strength and conditioning coach Darryl Nelson a calendar with the first two months left blank, telling him to fill it out for strength development. “On the ice, the kids are passionate,” Granato said. “It’s not going to be hard to implement systems or develop their skill because they’re made for the ice. But I wanted to make sure we hammer them in the weight room, and if we need rest and have to shorten or cancel a practice, I’m willing to do that.”
The results can be impressive and are propelled by internal competition. According to Wesolek, the players know when they’re a pound up or a pound down. While bigger kids like Fischer and [Jordan] Greenway are molding the frames they were blessed with, an undersized dynamo can really transform himself. Kane stands out in Monaghan’s mind, and the similarly crafty 5-foot-9 Bracco is the latest success story. “Last year I came in about 150 pounds,” he said. “Now I’m 173.”
Kennedy continues, and this paragraph matters to fans like you and me:
Next season, the operation will move into a new home in Plymouth, just 20 minutes east. It’s the old home of the OHL’s Whalers, who decamped to another Michigan locale in Flint. It will be interesting to see how many people flock to see Team USA, since Ann Arbor games were mostly family and opposing fans from Midwest USHL opponents such as Bloomington and Muskegon. What the program lacks in a following, it makes up for in closeness. Though the 44 players from the two NTDP squads come from 17 different states plus Washington, D.C., at least half a dozen families have taken up temporary residence in Ann Arbor, acting as both parents and billets. And the bloodlines are showing, too. Keith Tkachuk’s son Matthew has been dynamite on a line with fellow 2016 hot-shot Matthews, while ex-Washington Capitals GM George McPhee can watch his son, Graham, play for the under-17s.
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
The 2015 NHL Draft will be a great opportunity for teams to shore up positions of need with an injection of energetic, young talent.
As the first round of the draft draws near, there's no better time to take a glimpse at the possible draft needs of all 30 NHL teams.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Top priority: Depth at wing
The situation: The Red Wings have been dipping into their prospect bank regularly of late, and it has paid off in spades as many young players have had major impacts. It's never a bad idea to bolster the system with offensive talent, which is something the Red Wings scouting staff always has taken great pride in. That said, right wing Anthony Mantha (2013, No. 20) had a bit of a setback earlier this season after sustaining a fractured right tibia. It shouldn't be long before he makes it to Detroit. Right wing Teemu Pulkkinen (2010, No. 111), centers Andreas Athanasiou (2012, No. 110) and Dylan Larkin (2014, No. 15) and defensemen Xavier Ouellet (2011, No. 48) and Ryan Sproul (2011, No. 55) are also players close to earning bigger roles with the organization. Goaltender Petr Mrazek (2010, No. 141) has already taken the next step in his career, and Jake Paterson (2012, No. 80) awaits his opportunity.
read on for a look at the other Atlantic Division teams...
Okay, this entry isn't as much an, "I want to do it" as, "I have to do it." This is "stuff you should know," but it's not particularly exciting stuff.
1. The reason Gordie Howe's family decided to adopt a no-comment policy regarding their father's stem cell treatments is that the Detroit News's Karen Bouffard penned a 29-paragraph article discussing Stemedica, the company that administered Howe's stem cell treatments, and its choice to not differentiate between adult-derived and embryo-derived stem cells.
The audience of this blog has had a good discussion about the issue, and we've decided that this is not a topic that we want to get into big nasty arguments about, so we're going to leave it at "contentious topic" which you may form your own opinions upon/about;
2. Yes, Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov both reported that Pavel Datsyuk was in St. Petersburg, Russia to visit SKA St. Petersburg co-owner Roman Rotenberg, who stated that he had dinner and went to the theatre with Datsyuk, and Lysenkov theorized that SKA would somehow buy out Datsyuk's contract with the Wings to bring him back to Russia.
The Grand Rapids Griffins posted an 11-minute interview with new Griffins coach Todd Nelson speaking with Griffins play-by-play announcer Bob Kaser, and it's a very good way to get to know the man who's going to be in charge of the Red Wings' prospects for at least the next season--starting with the summer development camp in July:
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
... rumblings out of Chicago have the asking price for Sharp at a first-round pick, a top prospect, and an NHL forward on an entry-level contract. That's best described as absurd. Sharp is a proven winner, but he's 33 and coming off a season that saw him limited by injuries to 68 games, where in he produced 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points. He'd been close to a point-per-game player in three of the previous four seasons.
Sharp would undoubtedly look at home playing next to Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg, and help out the power play. But if the asking price involves Anthony Mantha and a first-round pick, it doesn't make sense for the Wings. They'd be trading a 20-year-old potential building block for a sunset player.
If the Blackhawks were willing to take a second-round pick and a lesser prospect, it'd be a deal worth making for the Wings, but odds are the Blackhawks will find a taker audacious enough to offer closer to Chicago's steep price.
Via RedWingsFeed, this report from the Windsor Star's Bob Duff is less than surprising: according to Duff, the Howe family is no longer going to speak about their father's stem cell treatments given the high level of criticism that's surfaced of late for the procedure and Stemedica:
Their openness was greeted in some corners with criticism and skepticism from members of the medical community, and since a recent New York Times Magazine article that questioned what the Howes were doing with their father, the Howes have opted to go underground as their famous father continues his treatments.
Howe underwent a second stem cell treatment earlier this month.
“He continues to participate in an ongoing stroke trial, and we prefer to not provide any more updates until that trial is completed,” Dr. Murray Howe, Gordie’s youngest son, said in a text.
The Howes are adamant that since their father’s first stem cell treatments in early December, he was lifted from death’s door to a place where he is able to enjoy some of the simple pleasures of life.
“Currently, dad is living with me (in Toledo) and is happy and comfortable and doing well,” Murray Howe said. “He goes for daily walks and helps out around the house. He is surrounded by friends and family and is showered with love.”
Among this evening's Red Wings-related news stories:
1. Here's the Todd Nelson press conference from the Grand Rapids Griffins...
2. And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner penned two articles about Nelson, discussing his return "home"...
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.