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NHLPA adds a collective bargaining expert

From the NHLPA:

BRUCE S. MEYER JOINS NHLPA

TORONTO (July 28, 2016) – National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Don Fehr announced today that Bruce S. Meyer will join the Association as Senior Director: Collective Bargaining, Policy & Legal. Meyer will focus on a wide array of policy and legal issues as part of the NHLPA’s senior leadership team.

Meyer joins the NHLPA from the international law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where he worked for 30 years as a partner and member of the Complex Commercial Litigation and IP/Media practice groups. During his tenure at Weil, Meyer has represented the NHLPA, the NFLPA and the NBPA.

“Bruce will be a great addition to the NHLPA’s staff.  He brings a wealth of knowledge to this new role coming from his law firm where he gained three decades’ worth of valuable experience, including effectively representing the NHLPA and other Players’ Associations as outside counsel,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director.

“Protecting the rights of professional athletes has been a passion for me throughout my career,” said Meyer. “This is an exciting opportunity for me to join the NHLPA’s team, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge.”

Meyer will begin his new role with the NHLPA in mid-August, at the Association’s office in Toronto.

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Discussing Tomas Tatar’s pluses and minuses

The Free Press's Helene St. James spotlights Tomas Tatar this evening:

Looking back: After coming within a goal of 30 in 2014-15, Tatar didn't take the step forward last season the team had hoped to see. Tatar had an especially slow second half, scoring just six goals the last 30 games. He struggled to create his own chances. During playoffs, Tatar ended up being demoted to the fourth line while still used heavily on the power play. Disappointing playoffs with no goals, especially considering Tatar scored three goals in the 2015 playoffs.

Looking ahead: The Wings need Tatar, 25, to make more of a push to help take over for the older generation of scorers on the team (with Pavel Datsyuk gone, that's essentially down to Henrik Zetterberg). Tatar can be a hard-nosed player, making up for his lack of size with a willingness to go into corners. Maybe new assistant John Torchetti can prod more from Tatar. Maybe being in a contract year will help (he'll be wanting a raise similar to the $4.75 million annual average value of Gustav Nyquist’s contract). It's also feasible the Wings use Tatar as part of a trade package for an upgrade on defense.

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Mid-afternoon mishmash: on the ‘NJEC,’ Walleye’s A.J. Jenks and fantasy Zetterberg

Of Southeastern Michigan and Northwest Ohio hockey-related note this afternoon:

1. USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth is hosting the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp from July 30-August 6, and Vili Saarijarvi will be representing Team Finland at the camp. USA Hockey's website has more details regarding the event:

2. Today the Toledo Walleye announced that they've re-signed leading scorer A.J. Jenks:

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Krupa speaks with Petr Mrazek regarding his contract extension

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke with Petr Mrazek regarding his contract extension with the Red Wings in English:

“Yeah, really, really happy that it’s over and that I can be with the Red Wings for two more years,” said the presumed No. 1 goalie heading into next season, after he replaced Jimmy Howard in Game 3 of the five-game, first-round playoff elimination by the Lightning in April. "You know, it’s Hockeytown. The team is great, so I’m more than happy to be back.”

With the team straddling the salary cap, despite the relief provided by players on long-term injured reserve, with three new acquisitions in free agency and while looking at young members of the roster and prospects in Grand Rapids, things have gotten a little tight.

One example was the Wings filing for arbitration, when Mrazek’s salary request reportedly came in toward the top of what starting goalies make in the NHL.

No fun sitting around a room hearing from your nominal bosses that you should not be paid as much as you think – and here is why, specifically.

GM Ken Holland said the Wings were pleased about avoiding any such contretemps, with Mrazek or any other player. Mrazek liked the idea, too.

“It’s a business. I would say it has nothing to do with the personal stuff that you can hear in arbitration,” he said. “I don’t think Ken wanted to go, as well. But we made the deal before the arb started.”

Krupa continues, discussing Mrazek's role on the Czech World Cup team and getting Mrazek's take on his inconsistent 2015-16 campaign...

Update: Here's more from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

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‘Roughly Translated’: Jiri Fischer discusses Mrazek’s contract

Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer discussed Petr Mrazek's contract with iDnes.cz's Michael Beren and Robert Sara, and here's a rough translation thereof:

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Wings still dancing with the salary cap’s upper limit

The Hockey News's Jared Clinton discusses the Red Wings' cap issues:

Currently at $4.238 million over the cap, placing Franzen and Vitale on the LTIR the day before the season opens would free up $5.07 million in space. That would make the Red Wings compliant by more than $800,000. However, CapFriendly doesn’t take into account the additions of Andreas Athanasiou, who played 37 games last season and all five playoff games, and another defenseman, even from the AHL, who will likely be on the roster before the season begins.

Adding in Athanasiou and, say, Xavier Ouellet would mean adding another $1.34 million to the cap, putting Detroit back over the upper limit by more than $500,000. But there’s another Red Win who could be headed to LTIR: Teemu Pulkkinen.

Pulkkinen underwent off-season shoulder surgery and won’t be ready to start the season. If he and his $812,500 salary are also on LTIR, the Red Wings should be back under the cap. Sure, they’ll have minimal breathing room, but they’ll be cap compliant.

Making the pieces fit this off-season wasn’t going to be easy for Holland and he’s not exactly going to be able to go about managing the Red Wings’ salary cap in a traditional fashion this season. That said, he’s made it work.

The difficulty now will be improving his roster, if need be. Any deal Holland makes will have to either save the Red Wings money against the cap or be almost a perfect match, dollar for dollar. That’s not an easy task in today’s NHL, so Holland is going to need to get creative if he’s still seeking to add another defenseman.

Clinton continues

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Savage profiles Filip Larsson

MLive's Brendan Savage profiles Red Wings prospect Filip Larsson this morning:

Although his numbers weren't great, the Red Wings try to draft a goalie every year and they liked Larson's size – 6-foot-2, 180 pounds.

"I had a tough year," Larsson admitted. "I started as a second goalie in Djurgardens U-20 team. But I got a lot of chances. I think it went well at the end. But it was tough for my team in Djurgardens.

"I'm looking forward to the next year."

Larsson said he doesn't get to watch many NHL games in Sweden given the time difference but he tries to watch all the highlights the following morning.

His favorite player is Henik Lundqvist – "Swede goal with New York Rangers," he said – and he compares his game to that of the Washington Capitals Braden Holtby.

"I think we're kind of similar," he said.

Continued

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Panning the DeKeyser deal

TSN's Travis Yost argues that the Red Wings shouldn't have signed Danny DeKeyser to a 6-year, $30 million contract:

One of the key decisions every general manager has to make is knowing when it makes sense to play hardball with a pending free agent and when it’s time to lock a player in on a long-term deal.

The Detroit Red Wings decided the latter was the optimal route with defenceman Danny DeKeyser, avoiding  arbitration and securing the Western Michigan graduate to a six-year, $30-million deal this week.

I think they made the wrong choice.

Like many of my grievances with player valuations on the defensive side, I can’t reconcile the term or dollar amount of the contract with the DeKeyser we know – a defender who doesn’t belong on a first pairing and who has struggled to move the needle in any meaningful way since becoming a full-time player in the 2013-14 season.

Yost continues

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‘Roughly Translated’: Mrazek’s arbitration hearing ‘turned out beautifully’

Petr Mrazek spoke with iSport.cz's Miroslav Horak on Wednesday night, and here's a rough translationt thereof:

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Evening news: On Mrazek’s contract negotiations, criticism of Holland, drinking and softball

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke with Ken Holland regarding Petr Mrazek's contract negotiations...

A two-hour breakfast meeting with Mrazek’s agent in Toronto that began before a 9 a.m. arbitration hearing helped the Wings avoid what would have been their second arbitration in 21 years. The hearings, at which both sides assess the performance and comparative worth of the player while asserting their conflicting positions, sometimes cause fissures. Breakfast is nicer than potential irritation.

“Obviously, it’s good any time you can negotiate a settlement versus going through arbitration, where it’s never a great process in building relationships with your players,” GM Ken Holland said. “It’s not something that’s motivating for the player and motivating for the club.”

Holland said he texted Mrazek’s agent Don Meehan Monday night and the two agreed to meet at 8 a.m.

Mrazek, who was not available for comment, also was on hand. Two hours into the meal, the deal was done.

“The arbitration was supposed to start at nine, but we were engaged in back-and-forths,” Holland said. “We made an offer. We had more back-and-forths, and a little after 10 o’clock, we finally came to the solution.”

And the Wings' cap situation...

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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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