The Malik Report
According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the Red Wings are "cautiously exploring" the trade market ahead of the draft and free agency:
"We’re always looking to upgrade, but it’s hard to upgrade," Holland told ESPN.com Monday. "Part of what we're also doing is that we're going with our young people. We're like every other organization in the cap world, it starts at the draft table and it's got to work through your farm system."
Part of the delicate balance for Holland is to continue to try to improve his team while not blocking kids who need a chance. For example, starting next season forward Teemu Pulkkinen, 23, needs to clear waivers if he's sent to the minors. The Wings need to give him a chance on the big club. Other Wings prospects will be in the same boat over the next two years. More than half of the team is under 25 years old. The Wings have turned the roster over in the last half-decade while not missing the playoffs. Amazing.
"The more young people, the more speed, the more energy we can bring," Holland said about his group.
"Can you find a player that upgrades your top 4 [defensemen] or a player that upgrades your top 6 [forwards]? Realistically? It’s hard to do," Holland said. "Because those people for the most part aren’t available. Then you add in the salary cap and the people we got to sign over the next two years. ... It’s a long way of answering, for the most part I’d like to stay the course, keep going with the young players."
Which doesn’t mean, for example, the Wings won't take a look at a UFA blue-liner such as Mike Green. But at what cost? The price has to be right.
"I’m exploring the market, I’m going to explore July 1, we’re trying to find dimensions that upgrade your team," said Holland, refusing to mention any specific names. "But the direction of our team is keeping with the young guys."
Daniel Cleary's $1 million bonus will be "tolled" to the 2015-16 cap as well.
The Grand Rapids Griffins have posited two interviews with new coach Todd Nelson, constituting about 25 minutes' worth of viewing, and here are parts one...
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan reports that Ken Holland will name two of Jeff Blashill's three assistant coaches on Tuesday (three because Blashill will need a video coordinator)...
General manager Ken Holland said he will name two assistants today — likely Tony Granato and Chris Chelios — and hopes to add another at a later date.
(For what it's worth, Blashill worked with one full-time bench assistant for his first year in Grand Rapids)
And he updates the statuses of Daniel Cleary and Marek Zidlicky...
Holland has not talked with forward Daniel Cleary or defenseman Marek Zidlicky, both potential unrestricted free agents. Cleary, who had two points (one goal) in 17 games last season, turned down three-year contractsthree years ago from other teams to remain with the Red Wings for a lower salary.
With with another season of little playing time likely — there are several young prospects ahead of him — Cleary might pursue other opportunities or accept a coaching role similar to what Chelios had in Grand Rapids.
Zidlicky also is facing a tough battle to return with a deep corps of defensemen. In addition to several veterans — Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl — Zidlicky also faces a crop of young talent itching to reach the NHL.
Holland has said one spot will go to either Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen or Ryan Sproul.
Update: FYI from the Free Press's George Sipple:
Asked about assistant coaches for new head coach Jeff Blashill, Holland said: "We're close.... Pecking away. We're just about there." The assistant coaches could be announced as early as Tuesday.
Updated 2x at 9:29 PM: Of very brief Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan reports that we'll learn the identity of the Wings' assistant coaches on Tuesday:
2. The Red Wings have a draft page up on their website, and it includes the Wings' "order of selection" and links to NHL.com's by-position-and-nationality player rankings. It also includes a photo gallery;
3. Speaking of photos...
4. Regarding photos of a different kind, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that no other Red Wings or Griffins players were involved with the gambling ring to which Nathan Paetsch pled guilty of participation with today;
Update: Make it six items, because ESPN's Ben Arledge suggests that the Red Wings are a good "Value bet" for a Stanley Cup championship next year:
Quite happy to spread the word regarding these two events:
GRIFFINS' YOUTH HOCKEY CAMP AND GOLF OUTING RETURN
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – This summer, the Grand Rapids Griffins are inviting fans to participate in either of two long-running West Michigan traditions: the Griffins’ Youth Hockey Camp, to be held the weeks of July 27-31 and Aug. 3-7 at Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park, and the 21st annual Griffins Youth Foundation Golf Classic at Egypt Valley Country Club on Monday, Aug. 31.
The Griffins Youth Hockey Camp will be conducted by Griffins assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler, who will be joined on a part-time basis by four notable hockey pros from West Michigan: former Griffins and current Red Wings Justin Abdelkader and Luke Glendening, current Griffin Mitch Callahan, and longtime NHLer and current Grand Rapids assistant coach Mike Knuble. Offered to kids ages 6-16, the camp helps players maximize their skills through on-ice instruction, dry-land training and off-ice video sessions.
Paul found this Tweet from the National Post's Michael Traikos, and if it's accurate, it's intriguing:
One could argue--as we've been arguing in the Franson thread--that there are or are not any real upgrades on the market, and if the Wings really want to "let the kids play," that may not preclude the team from cutting ties with Jakub Kindl....
Update: For what it's worth, Pro Hockey Talk's Dhiren Mahiban posited the following:
With their lone right shot defenseman, Marek Zidlicky, likely headed for unrestricted free agency next week, the Detroit Red Wings will attempt to fill the void internally.
Dion Phaneuf has been rumored to be headed to Detroit, and there are options on the open market come July 1 (i.e. Cody Franson and Mike Green), but PHT has learned the Wings would like to give their young blue liners a chance.
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, noting that the Griffins have experienced a rare spate of coaching stability over the past three years, wondered aloud how long Todd Nelson might call Grand Rapids "home" again before pursuing NHL employment:
The 46-year-old Nelson also made it clear his goal is to be an NHL coach. But whether that happens because of success in Grand Rapids – or even how fast that might happen – wasn't his concern.
"Oh, I don't know. Right now the way my track record has been, I might be sticking around for a while," he said with a laugh. "But I just take each year the same way. Obviously, I have aspirations to be a head coach and had that opportunity last year and because of circumstances it didn't work out. In this position, you just take it day by day and hopefully at the end it's always positive. The future's unknown; you never know what can happen."
The Detroit organization knows the risks. They ran into it with Blashill, who attracted attention after winning the AHL title his first season and prompted to Red Wings to give him a new three-year extension after last season, when as many as six teams inquired about him.
This is not Red Wings-related per se, but shocking nonetheless. Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford reports that Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Nathan Paetsch has pled guilty to charges related to sports gambling, per the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle's Kevin Oklobjiza:
Former Rochester Americans and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nathan Paetsch faces eight months home detention and must pay the U.S. government $265,000 as punishment for his role in an illegal gambling operation that was shut down last summer.
Paetsch, 32, pleaded guilty on Monday morning to two charges relating to an off-shore gambling enterprise run out of The Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte.
Paetsch was accused by the government of recruiting hockey players and others to place bets, and also of aiding in the transmission of wagering information as well as collection of debts, according to papers read this morning in U.S. District Court in Rochester before Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.
He agreed to plead guilty to two charges: transmission of wagering information and structuring a bank transaction to evade reporting requirements (all cash transactions in excess of $10,000 must be reported by banks).
He will be allowed to continue playing hockey, his attorney, David R. Morabito said.
Update: FYI from the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
I posted this in KK Hockey last night, so consider this FYI news regarding the Red Wings GM, per Sportsnet:
Doug Armstrong has been named Canada’s general manager for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Monday.
Hockey Canada also announced that Ken Holland, Bob Murray, Marc Bergevin, Rob Blake and Scott Salmond will join Armstrong’s staff.
Armstrong is the general manager of the St. Louis Blues and is a member of the “Triple Gold Club” — winning a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal and world championship.
Holland and Bergevin currently work as GMs for the Red Wings and Canadiens, respectively. Murray is the GM for the Anaheim Ducks while Blake is an assistant GM with the Kings.
Update: Here's Ken Holland speaking with David Amber about the coaching situation:
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:
About The Malik Report
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