The Malik Report
Ansar Khan of Mlive is correct when he states the Wings may need a 2nd line center...
The NHL's shallow free-agent pool just got a little deeper, as the Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they will use a compliance buyout on center Vincent Lecavalier.
Lecavalier will become an unrestricted free agent on July 5, eligible to sign with any team except the Lightning.
The Detroit Red Wings will be in the market for a second-line center if, as expected, Valtteri Filppula, leaves as a free agent.
Lecavalier, the NHL's first overall draft pick in 1998, has seen better days, as his offensive game is in decline, but the 6-foot-4 center still has tremendous reach and vision and a good shot.
He had 10 goals and 22 assists in 39 games this past season, after scoring 20 or more goals in 12 consecutive seasons.
So, do the Wings try to sign Lecavalier and if so, what kind of contract do you offer him?
Okay, as we approach the draft on Sunday and what certainly sounds like a busy off-season in the making, things got kind of yell-y in the overnight report and mid-day news entries, so please try to remember that the foundation of spirited debate is understanding that not all of us are going to agree with divergent points of view, but that everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if we disagree and/or think that the other person is nuts.
Because I've been doing this for a long time now, and I've learned that the period of time from just before the draft until the middle of July involves readers and commenters being very passionate about their point of view and very prickly when someone posits a suggestion that might conflict with theirs...
Updated 3x with forward talk, Brunner gabba and another mock draft at 2:38 PM: This afternoon's Red Wings-related stories basically keep the conversation started during the overnight report going. After profiling David Clarkson, Bryan Bickell and Nathan Horton (who will need shoulder surgery), MLive's Ansar Khan looks at the "bargain" goal-scoring forward that the Wings may be interested in pursuing as an unrestricted free agent in one Michael Ryder.
Ryder's 6 feet tall, 198 pounds and 33 years old, and he's averaged about 25 goals per season since the last lockout, really, but he's a one-dimensional player...Who earned $3.5 million this past season, and could probably be had for somewhere between $3.5-4 million.
Here's Khan's take on Ryder:
via Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Sept. 16 at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Boston, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 vs. Boston at Joe Louis Arena, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs. Chicago at Joe Louis Arena, 5 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Pittsburgh at Joe Louis Arena, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 vs. Toronto at Joe Louis Arena, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Dates for sales of individual preseason tickets have not been announced.
The American Hockey League's apparently starting to get its scheduling wheels in motion, because the Grand Rapids Griffins posted a press release listing the dates of their home-opening tilt and six other games:
The Grand Rapids Griffins will unveil a championship banner and play their first home game in defense of the Calder Cup on Friday, Oct. 18 at Van Andel Arena, one of seven 2013-14 home dates that have been confirmed by the American Hockey League.
The Griffins will also host the Toronto Marlies on Monday, Dec. 30 at Comerica Park in Detroit as part of the 2013 Hockeytown Winter Festival, a series of NHL alumni, junior, college, high school and youth contests that will lead up to the 2014 NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1. Tickets for the Winter Classic and the Griffins’ outdoor game are currently available with a 10-game, 20-game or full-season ticket package at http://griffinshockey.com.
This talk kind of scares me, because I remember Jiri Hudler's agent, Petr Svoboda, insisting that Hudler, "Loves Detroit" right before he bolted for Dynamo Moscow, but I'll take what I can get.
After a week in which Damien Brunner pondered the lure of free agency while speaking to the Swiss media, Brunner's agent, Neil Sheehy, spoke with the Free Press's Helene St. James about Brunner's situation (which she assessed last Friday), and while cringe-worthy in the "I've heard this before" department, she delivers good news:
Brunner’s agent, Neil Sheehy, told the Free Press on Tuesday that Brunner “will sign longer than one year.”
Sheehy also emphasized that Brunner “loves Detroit.”
Updated 2x at 2:11 PM: If there is any consolation in the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win last night, the Free Press's Helene St. James suggests that, after two years' worth of, "You need to be gigantic, strong and proficient at muck-and-grind, dump-and-not-chase hockey to win the Cup" suggestions, a smaller, speedier, puck possession team win the Cup...
And St. James feels that the Hawks' win "validates" the Wings' style of play:
The Blackhawks embody skill, top to bottom. Like the Wings with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, they are headlined up front by a pair of superbly talented players in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Chicago's defense is anchored by Duncan Keith, whose style is in the mold of Nicklas Lidstrom.
Right on down through the fourth line — populated by the likes of Andrew Shaw, Michael Frolik, Marcus Kruger and Viktor Stalberg — the Blackhawks fielded players who belong in the NHL, not bubble players doing little but killing time while the top lines get some rest.
As the Globe and Mail's Alan Maki notes, hockey fans can thank Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay for establishing the tradition of players taking twirls with the Stanley Cup:
On night of April 23, 1950, Lindsay’s Detroit Red Wings and the visiting Rangers went into double overtime of Game 7 to decide the Stanley Cup champion. It was the first time in NHL history a Cup Final had gone to overtime in Game 7. And, in the end, Pete Babando scored to give Detroit its fourth Cup. Here’s what happened after the Babando goal, according to Lindsay, still spry at 87:
“At that time, they had a table (on the ice). They took it out of the garbage or from some place in the Detroit Olympia. It was just a little table with four wooden legs and that’s what the Stanley Cup was sitting on. There wasn’t a drape over (the table). They presented it to Jack Adams (Detroit’s general manager). When that was over, the players took it to the room where you’d never see it again unless you won it again. There was no parade, no day with the Cup.”
Between Rocky Wirtz's comments to SportsBusiness Journal's Christopher Botta and Gary Bettman's "state of the game" speech, this Red Wings fan and hockey fan feels like the NHL's executives have almost said, "Great season...And we got away with another lockout, moohahaha, moohahaha!"
I'm still "sore" about the third owners' lockout some six months after it ended--to the point that I've boycotted purchasing Red Wings and NHL merchandise since the lockout began, I haven't worn anything with a Red Wings logo on it since last September 15th, and I don't plan on doing so (or placing the Red Wings magnet on the trunk lid of my car) until September 16th of this year, if I ever choose to wear stuff supporting my favorite team again. I don't really miss wearing Wings stuff all that much.
I was hedging my bets when I suggested that the Red Wings might change the script on us and make multiple moves to move bodies and clear cap space on Sunday morning, but I still did a spit take when reading MLive's Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness report that, starting at the draft this Sunday, the Wings will avail itself of its options to make trades, buy out players, and possibly ship Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo and Carlo Colaiacovo elsewhere, that Mikael Samuelsson's healthy enough for the team to buy him out, and that there's no chance in hell that the Wings will re-sign Valtteri Filppula, yielding a "flip" of Fil's rights at the draft.
The Free Press's Helene St. James one-upped Khan and Pleiness to some extent by confirming the Wings' plans with a quote from Ken Holland himself (and noting that Holland will attend the Board of Governors meetings on Thursday):
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.