The Malik Report
from Bill Rose of the Wings' website,
Is it possible that the Red Wings make franchise history tonight when the first night of the NHL draft commences at BB&T Center?
Several mock drafts certainly believe so.
Should the Red Wings hold on to their first-round pick at No. 19 and not trade down to obtain additional picks in later rounds, many hockey analysts think they will use it to select Joel Eriksson Ek, a highly-skilled Swedish center.
For two decades, the Wings and super scout Hakan Andersson have carved out a reputation for unearthing virtually unknown prospects in the late rounds who have developed incredible careers, namely Swedes Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall.
Their careers continue to validate the masterful work performed by the team’s amateur scouts.
However, if the Wings do call Eriksson Ek to the podium tonight, it would be the first time they select a Swedish forward in the first round.
Ansar Khan of Mlive answered numerous questions today...
Q: My question/problem is this Dan Cleary situation. I don't understand Ken Holland's issue in speaking with him to "possibly" bring him back for one more year. The excuse is that he had offers three years back from three teams. From every non-Detroit based source, I had read that those contracts were all based on if he made the team out of camp, which is why I believe he chose to "come back" to Detroit.
A: The Red Wings might sign Cleary, but I don't think he'll be on their roster. They could assign him to the Grand Rapids Griffins and they'd receive up to $950,000 of cap relief. Cap space isn't an issue this season.
You are correct in stating Cleary did not have any guaranteed offers in 2013. He said the offer he received from the Philadelphia Flyers was for a training camp tryout.
Q: Are the Red Wings going to buy out Weiss?
A: I don't think so. They have debated this internally and opinions are divided. The buyout period ends on Tuesday. Ultimately, they don't want him on their cap for the next six seasons if he's not playing for them, even though it would be a fraction of his $4.9 million annual salary ($1.066 million the next two seasons, $2.56 million in 2017-18 and $1.67 million for three seasons after that). They're hoping Jeff Blashill will get the most out of him. If not, they'll exercise the buyout next year.
more Q & A...
The Red Wings' summer development camp takes place in Traverse City, MI next week, and because former Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek spent half a decade helping develop the Red Wings' prospects, the Red Wings and Dallas Stars (helmed by one Jim Nill) have chosen to give three tryout spots to Korean hockey players.
The Yonhap News Agency reports that two skaters from Paek's South Korean ice hockey team will take part in the Red Wings' development camp, and a goaltender will take part in the Dallas Stars' development camp:
Three South Korean hockey players will report to a summer training camp for prospects run by the world's top competition, the sport's national federation said Friday.
The Korea Ice Hockey Association said forwards Ahn Jin-hui and Kim Won-jun and goalie Park Kye-hoon will join the National Hockey League (NHL) Development Camp next month.
Ahn and Kim will join the Detroit Red Wings next Wednesday. Park will report to the Dallas Stars' camp on July 5 after working out with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League (AHL), the primary developmental league for the NHL.
All three players competed for South Korea at the Division I Group B World Championships in April in the Netherlands.
It marks the second time for South Korean players to work out at NHL Development Camps. In 2003, three players went to the New York Islanders' camp.
The report continues, and this is just plain old neat.
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff asked Red Wings GM Ken Holland whether the team might make a trade at the draft, and he got a yes-and-no answer--as in yes, the Wings have more assets than they have in many years, but no, the Wings' philosophy of drafting and developing home-grown players hasn't changed:
“I’d love that somebody would drop us a superstar,” Holland said. “It’s not going to happen. You need superstars, you need difference makers. We’ve got some superstars, some difference makers but Father Time’s pecking away.”
Holland is referring to captain Henrik Zetterberg (34) and fellow veterans Pavel Datsyuk (36) and Niklas Kronwall (34), Detroit’s core leaders.
“Those players can last longer,” Holland said. “Even as their skills diminish, they may not be superstars but they’re still good players. That’s what happened with (Steve) Yzerman, (Nicklas) Lidstrom. They could play until they’re 40. So we’ve got a core that’s older but if we can support them with youth, enthusiasm, speed, energy, it allows those players to kind of hold and maintain their status.”
As such, the Wings' "next generation's" development holds the key for Detroit going forward...
The Red Wings' first-round pick will become the "flavor of the month," but the guts of the Wings' drafting and developing tends to take place in rounds 2 through 7, and the Free Press's Helene St. James offers up the example of one Alexey Marchenko as a good example of the efficiency of the Wings' draft-mining operations:
Players taken past round four often don't pan out, but the Wings have a great example from 2011 of why it pays to have good scouts across the world. In the seventh round of that year, the Wings had the seventh-to-last pick. A throw-away? Hardly. On the urging of Russia-based scout Nikolai Vakourov, the Wings went with Alexey Marchenko.
Marchenko, 23, is pencilled in to be a part of Detroit's lineup next season.
"Marchenko was a pick that Nikolai really liked," assistant general manager Ryan Martin told the Free Press. "That's a great example of an area guy that really liked a particular player and didn't stop lobbying for him as the draft got into later rounds. That's really what you want your area scouts to do so you might find those steals."
Jeff Finley, the chief amateur scout based in North America, and Hakan Andersson, the Sweden-based director of European scouting, don't have time to go out and see as much, if any, of the later-round options. Those two, and director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright, are the top three men in charge of what the Wings do at the entry draft. But as Saturday drags past noon, the Wings' four European scouts, which also includes Finland-based Ari Vouri, as well as three part-time amateur scouts, start to be more involved.
This morning, MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright about the team's draft strategies, and this evening, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness continues that conversation:
"Last year we didn’t really target centers,” Wright said. “At that point the depth of defense went away. We’re excited about the bigger centers. Just because they’re centers doesn’t mean they’ll be a center at the next level. I don’t think we’re really going to target specific needs,” Wright continued. “But if you never draft right-handed defensemen you’re not going to have right-handed defensemen. If there’s one area we’re looking at, that’s it. But we want good players regardless.”
The depth on the blue line in the organization is lacking with their top four prospects – Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul – will no longer be waiver-exempt after this season.
“I really like our depth,” Wright said. “You get all excited about prospects, but at the same time they haven’t played a game in the league. Young kids need to develop and get better. I think we’ve got a cluster of really good prospects. We have to continue to develop them. Until they’ve been regular NHL players they have to prove it every day.”
The final six rounds of the draft will take place Saturday.
“You look at all three positions,” Wright said. “It’s a fairly deep goalie draft. You try to add a goalie if it’s the right pick at the right time. I think goalies are a little harder to judge as far as development. If you have too many goalies that are good, that’s a good position to have.”
Wright and Pleiness continue...
Of brief Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. The Grand Rapids Griffins posited their latest episode of "Between the Benches"...
2. And WDIV's David Bartkowiak Jr. penned a fine draft preview that also checks in with the Wings' 2014 draft picks:
Updated 7x at 10:51 AM: Here's the Detroit Red Wings' 2015-16 regular season schedule, from NHL.com:
In what is a very rare instance, WDFN's Matt Sheppard spoke with Red Wings assistant coach Tony Granato for 14 minutes this morning, discussing Granato's decision to remain with the team, the Wings' transition away from the Mike Babcock era, his role under Jeff Blashill and the almost-all-American coaching staff. This is very, very good stuff:
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright about the Wings' plans for tomorrow and Saturday's draft, and Wright isn't ruling out anything come tomorrow:
"Everyone says it's a deeper draft," Tyler Wright, Red Wings director of amateur scouting, said. "I think every draft is a deep draft. You have to dig and find players. Once you get out of the top 10-12 players there's a group of players that could go into the second round and be successful players – at all three positions."
The first round is Friday and the final six rounds on Saturday at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
The Red Wings have six selections. They traded their second-round pick to Dallas for forward Erik Cole but received the Stars' third-round pick in return (No. 73). They dealt their own third-rounder to New Jersey for defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
"We're confident we're going to get two pretty good players at 19 and 73," Wright said. "We have options, too."
That includes trading down in the first round. In 2013, they moved down two spots, from 18 to 20, in a deal with San Jose and still landed Anthony Mantha. They used the additional pick to select Tyler Bertuzzi at No. 58.
"We're going through every scenario as far as moving back and picking up extra picks," Wright said. "I'm not opposed to moving up either. Not going to leave any option closed."
Khan continues, and let's just say that in keeping his "options open," Wright also works very hard to not show his cards.
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.