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Kulfan examines the free agent class

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan examines this year's rop of unrestricted free agents-to-be via a photo gallery and feature article discussing those who might be of interest to the Red Wings. Kulfan believes that Steven Stamkos is the target of choice, should he choose to test the market:

Steven Stamkos, who scored 36 goals for the Lightning this season, becomes an unrestricted free agency July 1.

Stamkos, who is not playing in the postseason because of a blood clot, and the Lightning have apparently not come close to reaching an agreement. If he were to become a free agent, it would lead to a huge bidding war between his hometown Maple Leafs and the Sabres, Bruins, Canadiens, Canucks and Rangers, among others.

Like the Red Wings, assuming they can create some cap space. That would become more possible if they can trade Pavel Datsyuk’s cap space if he leaves for Russia, as expected. Datsyuk has one year left on his contract worth $7.5 million.

Stamkos, 26, is a rare player in his prime. But Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is expected to look over what is otherwise an uninspiring free-agent class.

“We’re going to explore free agency like we’ve done,” Holland said. “Those players that are out there on July 1, for the most part, are support players, secondary players, and they’re not players that carry franchises around.”

Kulfan continues, discussing both the free agent marketplace and the Red Wings' unrestricted free agents-to-be (Darren Helm, Drew Miller, Kyle Quincey, Brad Richards and Sweden-bound Joakim Andersson). The photo gallery is also worth your time as Kulfan goes through over 30 free agents-to-be.

What he doesn't discuss is the fact that the likely-to-be flat salary cap and the Wings' significant restricted free agents-to-be (Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek, Alexey Marchenko and Riley Sheahan, among others) and Justin Abdelkader's $4.25 million contract extension will likely take up the vast majority of the Wings' available salary cap space this summer.

Unless the Wings really do move Datsyuk's salary cap space, it will probably take a meaningful trade (i.e. moving salary for salary added) for the Wings to meaningfully upgrade the roster.

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Jeff Blashill appears on WBBL’s ‘Huge Show’

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill spoke with WBBL's Bill "Huge" Simonson today, discussing the Red Wings' post-season reevaluation, the "Swedish Mafia" theory--which he shoots down with some fervor--the roles of Pulkkinen, Athanasiou and Mantha and much more over the course of 15 minutes' worth of discussion:

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A conversation with Chris Chelios

Chris Chelios engaged in a long conversation regarding his tenure as a player and evolution as an assistant coach while speaking with ESPN's Paul Grant, and here's part of the interview:

ESPN.com: How does that work when you, as a former player who went through that -- you open the door and you go out kind of thing -- work within the real structured system now as an assistant coach? How do you reconcile those two?

Chelios: I always said that if I was a coach, I'd let them have a bit of a leash, but I found myself in the World Juniors tightening that leash up because that's just the way things are. You want to be a good guy, you want to be a nice guy to the players, you want to be a players' coach, but at the same time you want to win, so it's hard, especially for me. I'm adjusting now and that's why I'm taking my time. If I do happen to take that next step to be a head coach, a full-time coach, I hope I'll be ready. Again, I feel bad sometimes after games not allowing the defensemen to be more creative -- but now I get it, always second-guessing coaches as a player, now I get it.

ESPN.com: How would Chris Chelios, the player, fare in today's system?s

Chelios: Well, I adjusted I think because I played so long and had been through different types of games. Mike Babcock, I don't think there's a more structured coach than him, and I struggled with him. I tried to do what he wanted me to do, I was one of those players, you talk about elite players, I had a vision, I could see the puck and plays developing before it happened, but once he had me doing straight lines, I was worthless. Then I knew the end was there.

Grant and Chelios continue...

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The Assistant Coach Hunt Is On For The Detroit Red Wings

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Detroit Red Wings expect to move fairly quickly in hiring an assistant coach, making a decision in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner, general manager Ken Holland said Wednesday.

"(Coach) Jeff Blashill and I have gone over a bunch of names. We've interviewed a couple of people," Holland said. "Jeff Blashill also has talked to a number of other people. Does it lead to an interview process? That's to be determined."

The Red Wings are replacing Tony Granato, who after two seasons with the organization took the head coaching job at Wisconsin, his alma mater.

Holland said they will hire an assistant with extensive NHL experience.

"We lost a guy with a lot of experience in Tony Granato," Holland said. "We want to replace him with someone with a lot of experience."

more inlcuding possible candidates....

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What About Martin Frk?

from Helene St, James of the Detroit Free Press,

As the Detroit Red Wings' top farm team continues its playoff run, one prospect, in particular, is under scrutiny.

The Wings drafted Martin Frk in the second round in 2012. After a quiet pro debut -- understandable, considering Frk's linemates in juniors -- Frk erupted in 2015-16 with 27 goals and 44 points in 67 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He takes three playoff goals into the Griffins' second-round series against the Lake Erie Monsters, which starts Thursday in Cleveland.

Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin called Frk one of the Griffins' most improved players.

"Coming into his pro career, he wasn't used to the pro style, wasn't used to not playing with the puck," Martin told the Free Press today. Frk, a product of Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Halifax Mooseheads, spent his final junior season playing with Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, who were drafted first overall and third overall in 2013. The line dominated nightly....

What does that mean for the Wings? That's the intrigue. While Frk has a year left on his entry-level contract, he no longer is waiver-exempt, so the Wings have to figure out whether Frk is part of their future come next season.

more on Frk who is listed at 6' 00" 193 lbs...

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Ken Holland to take part in Cleary University’s ‘Vehicle to a Better Future’ event

From a Marketwired press release:

Cleary University today announced that Ken Holland, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings, and Adam Genei, owner of Mobsteel and Detroit Steel Wheel Company, will keynote the university's signature event, Vehicle to a Better Future, on May 19, 2016 at Cleary's Livingston campus from 5-9 pm. The event will raise funds for new teaching and learning tools that will foster innovation across campus. Kevin Clark, founder and CEO of Critter Control, who will serve as the university's commencement speaker on May 21, 2016 in celebration of Cleary's commencement weekend, will also be honored at the event. Tickets for Vehicle to a Better Future are available to the public for $75 per ticket or $500 for a table at Cleary.edu/Vehicle or by calling 800.686.1883.

Prior to addresses by Holland and Genei, and dining and mingling with the Cleary Class of 2016, attendees can enjoy a "Signature Stroll" across Cleary's Livingston campus. The car exhibit will feature Mobsteel's vintage Detroit street machine creations, unique showcase and custom vehicles from owners throughout the region and new vehicle displays from local partner dealerships.

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More Datsyuk decision discussion from Duff

You already know this, but the Windsor Star's Bob Duff hammers it, well, home. Pavel Datsyuk's probably heading back to Russia, and during the Red Wings' locker room clean-out day, Datsyuk's teammates and GM made it sound almost inevitable:

“That's a decision, you're not going to change his decision,” Detroit left-winger Justin Abdelkader said. “He has in his heart what he's going to do. All we can do is, obviously, thank him for what he's done for this organization for each player.”

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall was another Wing who seemed resigned to a future without Datsyuk.

“Yeah it kind of feels like he’s made up his mind but at the same time there’s a part of you that wants to keep the hope alive,” Kronwall said. “I say let’s keep hoping until we hear something.”

Datsyuk continues to insist that isn’t the case at all - that his mind is not 100 per cent made up as to his future plans.

“I don't want to make a fast decision,” Datsyuk said. “I need more time. I go to world championship, play there and of course during world championship, I'll be thinking about it more.”

Detroit general manager Ken Holland acknowledged that Datsyuk’s decision is the linchpin to his planning for the 2016-17 NHL season.

“I have to find out about Pavel Datsyuk,” Holland said. “That’s going to be priority number one.”

Duff continues...

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‘Roughly Translated’: Gustav Nyquist discusses joining Sweden’s World Championship team

Hockeysverige.se's Ronnie Ronnqvist conducted a long interview with Gustav Nyquist, and here's a rough translation thereof:

Unhappy with his season in Detroit, now Gustav Nyquist wants to take revenge with a World Championship gold: "There was no doubt"

Late last year scoring fell sharply for Gustav Nyquist, who was not happy with the way the season unfolded with the Detroit Red Wings. He's now in place in Russia to take revenge by playing in the Tre Kronor for a World Championship gold.

"To come here and get the chance to win a World Championship gold in Moscow is very special," says the Swedish NHL player to Hockeysverige.se.

Continue Reading »

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‘Three Things’: On Datsyuk’s ‘farewell,’ Miller’s injuries and gratuitous blood and guts

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The World Championship begins on Friday in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, and whlie the games will a) mostly take place starting at 8:15 or 12:15 PM EDT and b) mostly won't be available to watch legally in the U.S., they do provide intriguing hockey viewing.

For Red Wings fans, there are six reasons to watch the Worlds--Pavel Datsyuk and Alexey Marchenko playing for Russia, Dylan Larkin playing for the U.S., Teemu Pulkkinen playing for Finland, Tomas Jurco playing for Slovakia and Gustav Nyquist playing for Sweden.

Sportsnet's Luke Fox penned a list of 10 reasons to watch the World Championship, and one of them involves a possible "farewell":

9. Fare thee well, Magic Man: Pavel Datsyuk has one more season remaining on his contract with the Detroit Red Wings. He has said he'll wait until after he competes at the worlds before meeting with GM Ken Holland and making a final decision on his future. This will be the last chance to watch him play with the hope that he might give NHL fans a farewell tour in 2016-17.

[Edit/update: For what it's worth, Datsyuk wouldn't tell Sport-Express's Vladimir Domrachev, Sportbox or R-Sport anything about his future career path during the Russian national team's formal introduction in Moscow, stressing that he's focused on the World Championship. /end edit]

2. MLive's Ansar Khan penned a column about a much lower-key player who might not return in Drew Miller, who suffered a broken jaw in November and then suffered a knee injury in January:

Continue Reading »

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Ken Holland talks about Dylan Larkin’s ‘ceiling’

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding Dylan Larkin's future with the team, and at present, it involves #71 playing a center's role:

"I think we see him as a center, that’s what he’s been,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during a recent phone interview with The Macomb Daily. “A center has way more responsibility than a winger so in order to kind of take some of that responsibility away from him (this year) and let him use some of his assets, his speed and his ability to transport the puck, we had (Henrik) Zetterberg, (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Riley) Sheahan down the middle.

“I’m not sure if Jeff Blashill is going to move him to the middle to start training camp,” Holland continued. “I know Blash sees him as a centerman.”

Larkin became the first rookie, and sixth overall, since Dale McCourt in 1979-80 to lead the team in goals. He also recorded the most goals (23) by a Wings rookie since Sergei Fedorov in 1990-91 (31) and the most points (45) by a first-year Wing since Nicklas Lidstrom in 1991-92 (60).

“He was a great story for us, great pick by our scouts,” Holland said. “He brings skills, but he’s very competitive and in the league you need competitive people. He’s ultra-competitive. He’s physical. When someone hits him he goes right back at them. He was physical in the Tampa (Bay) series.

“Really for a 19-year-old player to have that kind of an impact on a team that qualified for the playoffs makes for a very impressive rookie year and certainly we’re looking forward to things to come,” Holland added. “I really don’t know where he’s going with his career.”


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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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