The Malik Report
MLive's Ansar Khan examines the "outlook" for Justin Abdelkader going into the 2016-17 season...
2016-17 outlook: Abdelkader, following a breakout season, was rewarded with a seven-year, $29.75 million extension, demonstrating how much the organization values his all-around game.
He'll be counted on to contribute offense (in the 20-goal, 45-point range), possibly on a top line with Dylan Larkin and Henrik Zetterberg, and will continue being the net-front presence on the first power-play unit.
Just as importantly, he provides a much-needed gritty, physical element as someone who can be hard to play against. He consistently leads the team in hits and fighting majors and has a way of disrupting opponents. He also kills penalties.
He must be more consistent, limit bad penalties and improve last season's poor plus-minus rating.
Abdelkader will play for Team USA in the World Cup next month.
He is likely to be named an alternate captain for the Red Wings following Pavel Datsyuk's departure to Russia.
Key question: Will Abdelkader continue playing on the top line?
(Yes, he will continue to play on the top line...)
And the Free Press reports that Abdelkader and Dylan Larkin's immediate outlook involves aerobatics:
NHL.com's "30 in 30" series examines the Red Wings today, discussing the 2016-17 Wings team in video form, where Dan Rosen suggests that the Wings will miss the playoffs...
And via a series of articles in which, well, Paul Harris receives the company line...
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. iSport's Kvetoslav Simek spoke with Petr Mrazek regarding his World Cup preparations, and what follows is roughly translated:
Mrazek started preparing for the World Cup. Palat and Faksa are firing at him
He phoned friends from overseas and began a stiff preparation for the World Cup and the upcoming season in the NHL. Goalkeeper Petr Mrazek signed a new contract with Detroit over the summer, and now he's preparing for his place. On Monday afternoon he began full training in Ostrava's ice rink RT Torax. Ondrej Palat, Radek Faksa and Matej Stransky were firing pucks at him. "Tomas Fleischmann will arrive soon," says Mrazek. "I'm glad that I can train with the guys who play in America, against whom I play in the NHL."
At the first session Mrazek wore a completely new outfit. Including a mask tuned in the national colors for the World Cup. It features Mrazek's popular character Peter Griffin. He's kept the painting on the mask since he played for the farm team Grand Rapids Griffins.
"This time it's Peter Griffin on the CN Tower in Toronto and there are airstrikes on the small aircraft of other teams," he recalls with a smile, noting Mrazek's opponents of the Czech team at the World Cup in Toronto. "So I hope the tower will keep for a long time!"
DetroitRedWings.com's Joshua Berenter penned an article chronicling the Red Wings' mural-painting of Detroit's Jack Adams Arena:
The 95-degree heat on Friday was no match for the 1,000-plus volunteers who gathered at the corner of Lyndon and Meyers in northwest Detroit to help transform the exterior of Jack Adams Memorial Arena and Adams Butzel Recreation Complex into a spectacular work of art.
The gathering was part of the annual Finale Friday celebration hosted by Summer in the City, a non-profit organization whose goal is to create a “Fun, Flexible and Fulfilling” environment for young people in Detroit by creating murals, building urban gardens and running youth enrichment programs throughout the summer.
The Detroit News reports that Little Caesars Arena is part of a series of bids for NCAA championship play:
The Detroit Sports Commission and Little Caesars Arena, the new home of the Detroit Red Wings, have applied to host multiple NCAA championship events in the coming years.
The bids are for the first and second rounds of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, the regionals of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, the NCAA hockey Frozen Four and the NCAA Division I wrestling championships.
All four bids are for tournaments in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Bids are submitted in four-year blocks to streamline the application process.
From MLive's Ansar Khan, here's Tomas Jurco's 2016-17 season outlook:
2016-17 outlook: Jurco, with his skating ability and offensive skills, showed much promise as a rookie in 2013-14. But his career has gone south ever since. He didn't take the next step in 2014-15, when he would have been better off in Grand Rapids, and continued to regress last season.
Now, with a crowded roster, he'll have a tougher time cracking the lineup.
Former coach Mike Babcock wanted Jurco to utilize his size by playing more physical, going to the hard areas of the ice, including the net front, and wear on defenses by forechecking hard, instead of trying to beat opponents one-on-one. He would need to adjust his game to play on the fourth line and embrace the role because his skills are more suited for a top-nine role.
Jurco will need to distinguish himself in training camp and the preseason, when the team will be missing six forwards who'll be playing in the World Cup, plus the injured Teemu Pulkkinen. But even if he does, it might not be enough to avoid being a regular healthy scratch.
Jeff Blashill said last season the organization has a long-term plan for Jurco. But if he's still with the team following the season he is likely to be exposed for the expansion draft.
Of very brief Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Champions Hockey League begins play this week, and Axel Holmstrom's Skelleftea AIK and Christoffer Ehn's Frolunda Indians will be taking part in the tournament;
2. DRW Prospects on Twitter reports that two Red Wings prospects, Alfons Malmstrom and Mattias Elfstrom, will be taking part in the Under-20 Four Nations Cup late this month:
3. If you find yourself in Yekaterinburg, Russia this Friday, the "Pavel Datsyuk Arena" will open with an All-Star Game in which Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin, Valtteri Filppula, Alex Ovechkin, Artemi Panarin and Vladimir Tarasenko will all take part in the "Friends and All-Star" tilt;
4. And USA Hockey's Harry Thompson added another note from USA Hockey's coaching symposium in St. Louis last week, pointing out that Jeff Blashill believes that the "selfie generation" prefers to learn quickly:
Ansar Khan of Mlive answers some questions from the fans...
Q: One of the most disappointing things about our defense last season was that we were playing (Jonathan) Ericsson and (Kyle) Quincey over (Alexey) Marchenko and (Brendan) Smith. While I understand everyone's frustration about obtaining a top-three D-man proving to be too difficult through trade, I'm all right with our current defensive pairs so long as we put Ericsson-(Niklas) Kronwall on the bottom pairing, reducing their minutes. I know Marchenko will probably never be a top pairing D-man, but I truly believe that Smith has potential to be at least top three, especially after seeing his advanced stats compared to other D-men. Am I crazy thinking that we could be all right (and possibly even successful) with the current D-men we have right now?
A: You're not crazy for thinking that. But, defense remains a big concern and many things must fall into place. How will Kronwall's knee hold up? Can Ericsson rebound from a bad season? Will Smith step up in a contract year? Will they get more production from Mike Green? Can Danny DeKeyser and Marchenko take the next step? Is Xavier Ouellet ready for full-time duty? What do they have in Ryan Sproul?
They're essentially replacing Quincey -- one of their more consistent defensemen the past couple of seasons, someone who played with grit – with Ouellet (on the roster, not necessarily in the lineup). That, in itself, doesn't make the defense better. But, individually, they all have room to improve.
Kronwall's minutes must be trimmed. He should be rested on some back-to-back situations. He can't be matched up against top lines as much and should be shifted to the second power-play unit.
Even if some of these players improve to make the unit better, they still need that top-three defenseman at some point.
read on for more Q & A...
Every Monday, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose or Dana Wakiji has examined a Red Wings player's 2015-16 campaign "By the Numbers," and today, Roose examines Gustav Nyquist's 15-16 season:
The Red Wings current iron man takes full responsibility for the dip in offensive production that he experienced in 2015-16.
Nobody was immune to the criticism for a team that underperformed down the stretch and suffered another first-round playoff exit.
“That’s a big part of it,” Nyquist said, in April. “A lot of guys didn’t reach to their potential this year. Obviously for myself I just wasn’t able to put the puck in the net as much as last year and for sure that’s on me. I’ve just got to be better.”
208 | The Swedish forward is the Red Wings’ current iron man, last missing a regular-season game in December 2013. He is the only Wings player to appear in every game of the past two seasons.
Roose continues, noting that the studious Nyquist is still either the leader or near-leader in several offensive categories. Ideally, Nyquist rebounds from his 17-goal, 43-point 15-16 campaign, but at this point, we don't know whether Nyquist or Tomas Tatar will open the 16-17 season as members of the Red Wings, either. The team may have to trade one of their two offensive contributors to acquire a top-pair defenseman.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
2016-17 outlook: This is an important season for Smith as he approaches unrestricted free agency. Can he demonstrate enough improvement defensively to prompt the Red Wings to attempt to sign him to a long-term deal? If not, they might look to move him by the trade deadline him rather than lose him for nothing in July.
Smith has always had offensive skills – he's a good skater who likes to rush the puck, thinks offensively and has quarterbacked the power play at lower levels. But it comes at the expense of his defensive play because he takes a lot of risks.
Jeff Blashill gave Smith an occasional look on the power play, but it didn't last.
He must continue improving in his own zone – not getting caught out of position and making better decisions with the puck to limit turnovers.
Smith is competitive, has decent size and plays with an edge, a much-needed dimension for the team.
Key question: Does Smith have a long-term future with the organization?
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.