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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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Custance: Trouba, Fowler should be Wings’ Plan B targets

Updated 2x at 12:09 PM: ESPN's Craig Custance examined the "Plan B's" (I'm pretty sure that, technically speaking, it should be "Plans B," but that sounds a little stuffy) for the teams that were interested in Steven Stamkos, and in his Insider-only article, Custance suggests that the Red Wings now need to make a trade:

Detroit Red Wings

New target: Jacob Trouba

Signing Stamkos would have given the Red Wings a replacement for Pavel Datsyuk. It would have given them a headliner for their new arena and a supserstar for the next era in Detroit.

It also wouldn’t have addressed their biggest need, which is getting younger and more mobile on defense.

The Jets would move Trouba for the right price, especially with Trouba’s big contract looming as a restricted free agent and Winnipeg facing expansion draft protection challenges in less than a year. The Jets ideally want a left-handed defenseman who can play in their top four and would be willing to commit to Winnipeg long-term as part of the package back. There may not be a fit there with Detroit. If not, Holland should turn his attention to Cam Fowler.

Custance continues...

Update: NHL.com's Nichols J. Cotsonika also weighs in:

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‘Two things’: Stats comparisons for defensive targets and Givani Smith’s workout

Updated 2x at 11:10 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. MLive's Tom Mitsos compares the advanced stats of Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Fowler, Dan Hamhuis and Jacob Trouba in a superb article...

2. And via Reddit user anigrell, it turns out that Givani Smith is on Instagram, and he posted a cool video of himself and his brother Gemel Smith training for the upcoming season:

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Red Wings release summer development camp roster and schedule

Updated 2x at 12:57 PM:

… Camp Begins Wednesday, July 6 in Traverse City; All 2016 NHL Entry Draft Selections Slated to Attend…

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today released the schedule and preliminary roster for their 2016 Development Camp, which will be held at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Mich., from July 6-10. The camp begins on Wednesday, July 6 and features on-ice skill development and off-ice workouts each day, including scrimmages on Friday, July 8 and Sunday, July 10. The camp roster currently consists of 39 players: 23 forwards, 11 defensemen and five goaltenders.

The camp will be split into two sides, Team Howe and Team Lindsay, and will feature daily on-ice instruction and skill development from a team of coaches, led by Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Todd Nelson. Attendees will also take part in NHL-level off-ice workouts and attend classes designed to help players transition to professional hockey, while receiving feedback from Red Wings coaches and management.

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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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