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Hunches And Expectations From The Hockey Insiders


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No Doubt, It Will Be An Interesting Period For Ken Holland

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Should The Wings Target David Backes?

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Why he would interest the Red Wings: He would fill their need for a top-two center who can provide offense and their desire for a big, physical forward.

How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He would be their second-line center and play in all situations (power play, penalty killing).

What it might take to get him: Term could be the sticking point. The Red Wings would be hesitant to give more than three years and he probably wants four or five, perhaps at between $5 million and $5.5 million per season.

Three key questions: 1. How risky is it to sign a 32-year old with a lot of hard miles on him to more than three years? 2. He stepped up in the playoffs, but how concerning is his decline in production during the regular season? 3. Is it a red flag that the Blues didn't re-sign their captain – at least not yet?


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‘Three Things’: Free agency talk and promotional chatter

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. Via RedWingsFeed, hockey was on the 6 PM news this evening as WXYZ's Brad Galli wondered what the Wings should do after not landing Steven Stamkos...

There is no free agent close to Stamkos' skill set, but the Red Wings must find alternative, secondary ways to improve.

On Thursday, I ran a Twitter poll to see which free agent people thought Holland should pursue.

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Wings Should Focus On Defense

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

A difficulty presented by the Red Wings roster last season was too many players featuring similar skills. Holland and Blashill have talked about a more diversified group, hence the pursuit of big, tough forwards like Okposo and Troy Brouwer.

Similar players on a roster provides opportunities for trades.

While the cost of Kevin Shattenkirk of the Blues and Cam Fowler of the Ducks is high, some patience might bring it down.

The Bruins, Canucks, Flyers, Oilers, Rangers and Sabres all have expressed an interest in Shattenkirk, who moves the puck with aplomb, shoots well, scored 43-45 points in three of the past four seasons, and plays 20 minutes per game.

Edmonton reportedly offered Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — and was told it was not enough.

Fowler has similar skills, although he is not quite as sound defensively. The Ducks reportedly are looking for a top-six forward or a top-nine and perhaps a mid-draft choice.


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Detroit Sports 105.1 FM never got the chance to get off the ground floor

As a hockey fan, I had high hopes for Detroit Sports 105.1 FM, and they were mostly fulfilled--at least when Drew Lane was on the airwaves interviewing Mickey Redmond on a weekly basis, and when Sean Baligian landed a show and made hockey a priority--so it was disappointing to hear that the station dropped its sports-talk format last night...

Most disappointing because the good folks at the station never really got their chance to establish themselves as a true alternative to the Flagship Station. The Detroit Free Press's Carlos Monarrez spoke with Baligian and Tom Mazwey about the station's struggles:

[Tom] Mazawey said he heard rumblings Tuesday about an imminent change. At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the station’s full-time staff gathered for the formal announcement from WMGC vice president and market manager Steve Chessare.

“He felt bad. He honestly felt bad,” Mazawey said. “And they just told us that (Greater Media) pulled the plug on us maybe five days ago and he was trying to fight for us, but couldn’t talk them into it to save us. Said we lost some $2 million, I think he said, the first couple years. This year, I don’t know.

“We were showing some growth. We really were and you could tell. I’ve been in the radio business 20 years. You can tell between the texts and the tweets and the phone calls, people listened, people were talking about the shows. There’s always the combustible few haters that are out there, but you can’t pay any attention to them. I can’t tell you how many hundreds — hundreds — of e-mails and texts and stuff I’ve gotten. I can’t even keep up with people wishing us well.”

They did a helluva job in my opinion, but between canning Drew Lane and shifting their hosts around, they were mismanaged.

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Evening UFA talk from Burnside, Khan

Updated 3x at 7:33 PM: ESPN's Scott Burnside has a theory about the Red Wings' free agency strategy...

The Detroit Red Wings have cap room and had been expected to make a play for Stamkos. They could now turn their attention to some of the other forwards on the market (more on that below), but Red Wings GM Ken Holland also needs to find out what his current core of young players is capable of following the departure of Pavel Datsyuk and the wake of waning productivity from captain Henrik Zetterberg. Detroit will move into a new building in October of 2017, and that's when the team needs to be arcing upward -- so Holland may be more conservative this time around because he's keeping his powder dry for next summer.

And he continues...

Meanwhile, MLive's Ansar Khan has other theories regarding the Wings' free agent spending, at least in terms of the "bottom of the roster":

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Detroit Is Still Talking With Darren Helm

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It’s about price and term

I realize that the vast majority of you are going to be very angry at Ken Holland regardless of what moves he makes or does not make tomorrow as that is the way of the Wings fan base on the internet. However:

I'm going to be relatively comfortable if Holland signs any of the available free agents at the proper prices and terms. We know that his modus operandi is to make his moves during free agency.

That would indicate that the Red Wings will add one or two forwards from a list that includes David Backes, Kyle Okposo, Troy Brouwer, Andrew Ladd, Frans Nielsen, Milan Lucic, Jason Demers and more...And my biggest concern, especially given that most of those forwards are north of 30 years of age, is that Holland spends wisely and that he doesn't over-pay in terms of term.

Mike Green's 3-year, $18 million deal is a good example of paying "market value" over a shorter term, and if you're looking at somebody like 32-year-old David Backes, that's the kind of deal you'd want your GM to offer. Not too long, not too expensive, a nice shrubbery...I mean contract...That would make good sense for both parties.

That's where I'm headed in terms of expectations. I'm sure you're going to tell me what you're expecting.

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St. James talks free agent fits

The Free Press's Helene St. James disusses the "pros and cons" of the free agents the Red Wings may or may not be able to sign...

Frans Nielsen has been tagged within the Wings organization as a target because he'd fill a need at center following the departure of Pavel Datsyuk. He's versatile enough to play in all situations, trustworthy defensively and a good passer who could help set up Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar.  Bearing in mind that overpaying is inevitable, maybe the Wings offer Nielsen, 32, four years at $6 million annually. Yes, that's a lot of money, but it's better to overpay in money than term.

Nielsen would enable the Wings to use Dylan Larkin as their first-line center, maybe between Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader. Larkin mostly played wing last season, but his speed makes him a natural at the center spot.

Milan Lucic, 28, beckons as the biggest name after Stamkos -- and with Stamkos no longer available, Lucic is likely to get an even bigger offer from a team such as Edmonton.

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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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