The Malik Report
You’ll have to thank Paul for posting the Red Wings’ prospect tournament schedule and roster as my ISP mysteriously decided to conk out for the entire day.
The roster lacks several AHL’ers who’ve played in too many pro games, are too old (it’s usually a combination of both) to participate (like Tomas Tatar, Thomas McCollum, Jordan Pearce, etc.) and/or are simply being held out of the tournament for the sake of younger players gaining experience, but the roster looks very solid and really highlights a core of players who are either eligible to turn pro or are ready to take bigger roles on the Grand Rapids Griffins’ roster.
The Wings also brought most of their try-outs from the summer development camp back, including players who are no longer the organization’s property in Nick Oslund and Bryan Rufenach, a trio of players who infamously were discovered to have been linked to Shop.nhl.com’s Wings jersey customizer by the Production Line in diminutive forwards Zachery Franko and Adam Estcolet as well as cookie-cutter Quebec Butterfly goalie Evan Mosher…
See the Wings roster below…
Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings will host the 2011 NHL Prospects Tournament at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, MI beginning Saturday, September 10, through Wednesday, September 14. The eight-team tournament includes the best prospects from the Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and the New York Rangers. Detroit’s roster includes the club’s first-round draft pick from the 2007 NHL Entry Draft (defenseman Brendan Smith), along with the Red Wings’ first selections in the 2009 and 2011 drafts (center Landon Ferraro and right wing Tomas Jurco).
The tournament consists of four games on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is just $10 per day. Tickets are available in advance at http://www.CentreIce.org or at the arena doors beginning one hour before each day’s first game. Daily morning practice sessions are open to the public and free of charge.
We can talk all we want about Jimmy Howard needing to take a little refresher course on rebound control or the fact that the Red Wings can’t rely on one person to step up and fill the leadership voids left by Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper and Chris Osgood, but of all the players that the Free Press’s Helene St. James has focused upon as potential difference-makers (Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall, Danny Cleary, Jonathan Ericsson, Ian White and Johan Franzen), I’d argue that three players will determine whether the Wings eventually need to acquire assistance at the trade deadline, and they might not be the players you’re thinking of.
Updated 4.5x with Stanley Cup appearance news at 4:52 PM: August must translate to “multiple personality disorder” in the hockey dictionary, because this morning we were talking about Ian White the x-factor and whether the Red Wings’ new team plane can fly to San Jose without refueling (answer:
[edit: See below, because the answer is apparently yes!]) and this afternoon, the Red Wings’ “Operation Bobblehead” campaign and fan voting takes a strange turn as Todd Bertuzzi’s sent some jabs at Danny Cleary’s via the Wings’ Twitter account, and Jake Duhaime posted an interview Kris Draper conducted with 95.5’s Mojo in the Morning which revealed the following:
1. Chris Osgood will essentially be known as the team’s assistant goalie coach;
2. Draper will “share an office” with Chris Chelios as Draper begins his managerial career;
3. These guys are making sure that they take maximum enjoyment out of razzing the hell out of each other:
The first player to wear #18 for the Red Wings since Kirk Maltby hung up his skates is the sixth subject of the Free Press’s Helene St. James’ off-season spotlights (with Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall, Danny Cleary, Jonathan Ericsson and Johan Franzen as players previously profiled), and as St. James notes, the well-traveled White settled for a slightly below-market value salary for the sake of planting some roots in Detroit, where the Wings hope that he can grow into a top-four role while at least partially offsetting Brian Rafalski’s loss in terms of point production:
White, who finished the season with the Sharks, signed for two years and $5.75 million. Those are good financial terms for the Wings, as it’ll allow them the flexibility to retain both Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart, who are both in the last years of their contracts. It’s a good deal for White, too, as he gets a chance to make a name for himself and aim for a bigger contract when he’d still only be 29.
White could be a nice fit among the top four, helping to offset some of the offense lost with the retirement of Brian Rafalski. Rafalski was in a class of his own when it came to making passes, but he was so hampered by injuries last season that he wasn’t very effective. White will add a fresh look to the back end. He’s a thicker, bigger and younger body than Rafalski.
Updated 4x at 4:16 PM with aviation news: I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to say about the fact that, according to Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski, the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper and many others, former Red Wings defenseman Brett Lebda went from boasting that he was playing in the “real” Hockeytown and would prove his doubters wrong while establishing himself as a top-four defenseman in Toronto to becoming a now bought-out punchline within the span of a year.
Let’s go with, “Ouch” and leave it at that, because he earned $1.5 million last year (with a $1.45 million cap hit) and will be paid, per Wyshynski and Hockey Night in Nashville, another $478,500 for the next two years to go away, and even in August, I can state the obvious:
NHL.com’s “30 teams in 30 days” feature focuses on the Red Wings this morning, with some very familiar themes dotting Dan Rosen’s preview—injuries and age supposedly catching up to the Wings in a big way—but Rosen believes that the Wings have a secret weapon of sorts with which to shore up a roster ever-so-slightly in flux thanks to the retirements of Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper and Chris Osgood:
Detroit remains deep and versatile up front, skilled and big on the blue line. [Jimmy] Howard is coming into his prime years as a No. 1 goalie and with [Ty] Conklin riding shotgun, the Wings could have one of the League’s best goaltending duos. Conklin is used to playing between 20-30 games a season, which seems like the appropriate amount of work to keep Howard fresh into the spring.
If injuries become an issue, Detroit might have to dip into a pool of unproven yet promising players like Cory Emmerton, Tomas Tatar and Jan Mursak, who have a combined 30 games of NHL experience.
However, unlike in previous years, Holland still has plenty of wiggle room below the salary cap to make some in-season moves. According to capgeek.com, the Red Wings are $5.845 million under the cap even with a full 23-man roster. There are 12 teams in the NHL that currently have higher payrolls than the Wings, who spent to the cap last season. If they keep that cushion through the winter, Detroit might be a major player at the trade deadline to beef up in time for another run at the Stanley Cup.
This morning, fantasy hockey expert Darryl Dobbs suggested that Ty Conklin will acquit himself well in his second stint with the Wings, and today, Dobbs offers an assessment of the Wings’ prospects,’ well, prospects, from a fantasy hockey-focused perspective, via the Hockey News:
Red Wings fans who aren’t able to attend the team’s prospect tournament and training camp in Traverse City will receive quite the consolation prize, per DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness:
RED WINGS 2011 HOCKEYFEST TICKETS NOW ON SALE … Fun-Filled Event Scheduled to Take Place September 10 at Joe Louis Arena …
Detroit, MI… HockeyFest returns to Joe Louis Arena with a vengeance on Saturday, September 10 (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.), providing Red Wings fans with an unforgettable day of hockey-related activities as well as the chance to meet their favorite players. Tickets to this family-friendly event are now on sale, with general admission adult tickets priced at $25 apiece and kids (12 & under) tickets available for $15 each.
In addition to an all-day autograph session featuring members of the 2011-12 Red Wings and your favorite Hockeytown alumni, this year’s HockeyFest will be highlighted by several interactive fun zones, an exclusive tour of the Red Wings’ locker room, photo opportunities with Detroit’s 2008 Stanley Cup banner and the official JLA Zamboni, Q&A sessions with players, staff, and alumni, a live DJ, a historical memorabilia exhibition and contests/prizes galore. Fans wishing to acquire a general admission ticket to HockeyFest are invited visit the JLA Box Office (313-396-7575) or any Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) location. Tickets can also be obtained by logging on to DetroitRedWings.com.
On a very rainy Tuesday morning, we already know that nobody wants Brett Lebda and that the Red Wings’ re-signing of Jonathan Ericsson to a 3-year deal averaging $3.25 million per season might be Ken Holland’s least popular move in, well, a really long time, but just as this summer’s wacky unrestricted free agent market proved Holland’s estimation of Ericsson’s asking price right, the Free Press’s Helene St. James believes that Ericsson can live up to greater expectations by living up to his nickname, “Big E”:
By salary alone Ericsson should be propelled into a larger role in 2011-12, but a spot in the top four next to Lidstrom, Stuart and Kronwall isn’t a given. Newcomer Ian White is going to challenge, and possibly Brendan Smith, whom officials are eager to see force them to keep him in Detroit rather than send him down.
The key for Ericsson will be to use his 6-foot-4, 220-pound size: clear the crease, force forwards to the outside, play with an edge. He’s a big body and needs to play like it. He’d benefit from playing with Lidstrom because Lidstrom is a great safety net, but Ericsson also could thrive playing 20 minutes a game anchoring the third pairing and killing penalties.
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.