The Malik Report
We've talked about Drew Miller before, and this morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James analyzes Miller's value to the Wings.
As Miller goes into a "contract year" along with Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, Darren Helm, Kyle Quincey and Brad Richards as unrestricted free agents-to-be, and with Riley Sheahan, Danny DeKeyser and Petr Mrazek to re-sign as restricted free agents (per War-on-Ice.com), I still wonder whether this is Miller's last season in Detroit due to the limited offense that he provides:
Looking back: During his first few seasons in Detroit, Miller looked like a bargain bottom-six forward by contributing in the 10-goal/20-point range. The past two have been more mundane, but then Miller isn't counted on for offense, so any he provides is a bonus. He is a good grinder and penalty killer, and he turned it up in the playoffs.
Looking ahead: Miller is entering the last year of his contract, one that might be his last with the Wings. He is 31, and the Wings have a handful of prospects ready to challenge for jobs. He is a good veteran, though, one who can be trusted to play well in his zone. He's also a top-notch penalty killer, second on the team in shorthanded minutes per game to Luke Glendening. For the young guys trying to earn minutes, Miller will be tough to oust.
Otherwise, it was all smiles at the Ilitch Charities For Children golf classic today, as WXYZ's Brad Galli reported...
Everyone has an opinion regarding the two most divisive Red Wings players this side of Jimmy Howard, and I suppose that Monday evening's news that A) Daniel Cleary will probably return to the Red Wings' "family" for the 2015-16 season and that B) Johan Franzen will most likely be cleared to play by neurologists at the University of Michigan at some point should generate discussion...
But neither news item is particularly surprising.
I can give you fifteen different reasons why I don't believe that the Red Wings "owe" Daniel Cleary anything else after last year's $2.5 million in salary and bonuses for 17 games' of service, and I can tell you time and again that the Flyers scribe with the most knowledge of the situation insists that Daniel Cleary was offered a pro try-out, not a 3-year, $9 million contract...
But I can also tell you that every interaction I've had with Ken Holland and every decision of Holland's that I've studied over my nine years doing this job for a living inform me that Ken Holland is nothing but relentlessly consistent, and I am absolutely, positively, 100% sure that Ken Holland believes that he owes Daniel Cleary one more year's worth of pay and some sort of guarantee of professional hockey employment, even if that means--as Khan's reporting--a 1-way, $950,000 contract that can be fully buried in Grand Rapids.
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland at today's Ilitch Charities for Chlidren Celebrity Golf Classic; Holland expressed optimism regarding Johan Franzen's status and uncertainty about Pavel Datsyuk:
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is “cautiously optimistic” about Franzen’s status for training camp, which starts in mid-September, and the regular season.
“Everything I hear is positive,” said Holland, who along with Franzen, participated in the Ilitch Charities Golf Outing at Oakland Hills Country Club on Monday. “I saw him before the round (Monday) and he’s in good spirits. He’s out here competing and golfing.”
Franzen, 35, has had previous concussion issues. During last season’s playoff series against the Lightning, Franzen skated with the team and was optimistic he’d be ready to play had the Red Wings advanced. They, however, lost in the first round.
“He’s getting in better shape,” Holland said. “When a guy doesn’t have camp (skating, conditioning) from January to June, it takes a while. But he looks good.”
According to Kulfan, the Wings won't reevaluate Datsyuk's condition until the middle of September, and that seems to jibe with the surgical timeline of Datsyuk returning anywhere from mid-October to mid-November, depending on how fast he heals:
“We don’t really have a time frame (on a return),” Holland said. “But he’s doing good, he’s feeling good. I got a text from his agent Dan Milstein saying Pavel is in good spirits and feeling good.”
Update: Here's more on Franzen from MLive's Ansar Khan:
The Red Wings usually announce this via a press release, but the team did so via email this time, so: the $9 tickets that the team sells, usually on an in-person basis with a limit, are apparently going to be on sale online as well starting tomorrow, August 25th, at 10 AM EDT. There is a four-game limit this time:
The Detroit Red Wings still might sign forward Daniel Cleary, who is not ready to retire into a front office job.
But if the Red Wings sign Cleary, it won't come at the expense of a younger player they wouldn't ordinary waive or move and it wouldn't affect their salary cap situation. So Cleary might start the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, depending on injuries.
The Red Wings have 24 players (those projected to make the roster), one over the limit, and are close to $1 million over the salary cap, according to http://www.hockeyscap.com But J.ohan Franzen, who's awaiting medical clearance following his latest concussion last season, and/or Pavel Datsyuk, who's recovering from ankle surgery, could start on long-term injured reserve, providing cap relief.
If Cleary is signed and assigned to the AHL, a maximum of $950,000 of his salary wouldn't count against the cap.
If there are a couple of injuries, the Red Wings wouldn't have any issues with having Cleary on the roster as the 13th or 14th forward. They're not going to keep a younger player, like Dylan Larkin or Anthony Mantha, on the roster as a spare when he could be playing regularly in Grand Rapids.
Yeah, but Landon Ferraro was better than Cleary last year. And Mitch Callahan isn't waiver-exempt. And Teemu Pulkkinen needs to play. And if Dylan Larkin's ready, he's going to need to play, too. And Jokaim Andersson is already the designated warm body. And Andrej Nestrasil did pretty damn good in Carolina after the Canes picked him up off waivers so the Wings could keep Cleary on the roster. But a promise is a promise!
On the ice, he hasn't played in an NHL game since January 6, when he suffered a concussion. The Red Wings signed him through 2020, but his future seems in doubt ever since that hit kept him out of game action.
Yet there he was Monday, confident in the upcoming season, in a conversation with WXYZ.
"I'll be ready," he said at the Ilitch Charities Golf Classic at Oakland Hills. "I've been skating for a week."
Franzen said Nyquist "just got back" in town, and the two plan to keep skating before the season begins. Despite missing more than half of the regular season and all of Detroit's first round playoff series, Franzen seemed at ease when talking about the new year.
Also of Red Wings-related note this evening (in short form):
The Red Wings' players and coach are busy with an off-ice activity today...
But just as single-game tickets went on sale this morning at 10 AM, the Wings released what's being called a "hype video" for the 2015-16 season, and it does the job very well:
Within the next two weeks, the hockey news cycle will begin to ramp up with daily practice reports and news from prospects junior teams' training camps, but for the present moment, things remain relatively quiet.
1. The Joe Kocur Foundation Tweeted that its inspiration has good taste in goalies--though one Spencer Hale's favorite goaltender wasn't in attendance for Saturday's charity softball games...
2. DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose examines Pavel Datsyuk's 2014-15 season on a statistical basis, and it's not surprising that even an injury-hampered Datsyuk's "numbers" are of the superlative variety:
... Ran a lawn maintenance business during his playing days and also competed in a NHL arm wrestling championship in Las Vegas.
Who is it...
I don't quite know how AWood40 does it, but he compiled every goal scored by the Red Wings' Hall of Fame lineup from the 2002 playoffs, and as you might imagine, when you've got 8 skaters in the mix, you...
He still found 23 minutes' worth of highlights, which certainly seems to indicate that the Red Wings' key performers were their "best players."
Oh, and they're cataloged on a player-by-player basis, which cranks up the degree of difficulty to the mid-teens:
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.