The Malik Report
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
As NHL free agency heats up Wednesday — any unrestricted free agent can talk to any team, though not sign until Friday — the Wings’ focus is shifting more to keeping two of their own guys than bringing in someone new.
That’s because of prohibitive prices: Lecavalier, 34, wants a five-year deal averaging around $5 million a season; the Wings are too concerned about his pace to commit that much. Clarkson, of New Jersey, is pushing for seven years at a $6 million average; this for a guy who has one 30-goal season to his credit. Boston’s Nathan Horton wants to play in a warm climate.
The Wings are looking for a second-line center, and would have liked to add Lecavalier if he was agreeable to a two-year deal. There’s a spot open in the top-six group because negotiations with Valtteri Filppula have revealed a wide chasm, one that won’t be closed by the end of the week....
The Wings also have to consider that in another year, they likely will be adding three talented forwards from their system in Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Landon Ferraro. If prices for this year’s scant crop of UFAs is as high as it appears, the Wings may well decide to go into the season with what they’ve got, and see what happens.
update 8:22pm, St, James updated the same link with this...
General manager Ken Holland is continuing talks with his other two unrestricted free-agent forwards, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner, and the negotiations are close enough deals could happen. Cleary should come in around three years and $9 million, while Brunner is seeking in the $2.5 million range.
The Wings already have 12 forwards under contract for next season, a number that will grow by two when restricted free agents Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist get new contracts. Depending on what happens with Cleary and Brunner, the Wings may not buy out any forwards. Mikael Samuelsson, 36, and Todd Bertuzzi, 38, both were injured much of last season, but each has just one season left on his contract.
read more at the link above...
It turns out that MLive's Ansar Khan and the Free Press's Helene St. James were on to something:
Updated 2x with super conflicting reports at 3:07 PM:
Because the comments sections in my previous two blog entries are currently blowing up with suggestions that Ken Holland has failed as a GM because MLive's Ansar Khan and the Free Press's Helene St. James have suggested that Vincent Lecavalier is headed to Dallas, let's hear what ESPN's Pierre LeBrun has to say about Lecavalier's decision, or the lack thereof:
It is very possible, although not quite a guarantee, that Vincent Lecavalier will choose his next team by the end of the day Wednesday. The UFA center, who is allowed to speak with teams earlier than other UFAs because his contract was bought out, has been deliberating with family where the best fit might be for him to continue this career.
Updated 2x at 2:38 PM: As noted in the mid-day entry, the NHL's "wining and dining" period for free agents-to-be gets underway tomorrow at 12 PM and lasts until Friday, and while nobody's sure how it will play out, Wings GM Ken Holland told MLive's Ansar Khan that he will take part in the process:
Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he plans to reach out to about a half-dozen forwards.
“I'll express interest, see what they're thinking,'' Holland said.
Khan lists a slate of forwards who the Wings might target but he's reporting that today's scuttlebutt suggests that David Clarkson's somehow going to get more than $5 million per season on the open market, and nathan Horton wants $6 million, which takes any sane team out of the running for either. The news isn't good regarding Lecavalier, either:
Updated 3x with development camp news at 1:43 PM: As the Red Wings prepare to make their "final pitches," as the Free Press's Helene St. James put it, to the team's unrestricted free agents-to-be in Damien Brunner, Daniel Cleary and Valtteri Filppula, a strange window's opening up in the new CBA which allows UFA's-to-be to be wined and dined in both literal and figurative senses by possible suitors, with no player being allowed to sign deals with either the teams that hold their rights or any potential suitors until noon on July 1st (at least officially).
According to NHL.com and CBS Sports' Brian Stubits, on Wednesday and Thursday, players may negotiate contracts with UFA's-to-be, and even visit possible destinations, and, according to the Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti, that period begins on Wednesday at 12 PM EDT and ends on Friday at noon, when unrestricted free agency begins. In terms of the player Gulitti's talking about in one bound-for-the-market David Clarkson, Clarkson's agent doesn't plan on "circling back around" to the Devils, but it's pretty easy to assume that most agents will engage in that courtesy behavior:
Upated 2x at 1:40 PM: This was coming, but it's still something of a shock given that the Red Wings both drafted and signed Tom McCollum believing that he'd be backing up Jimmy Howard by now. MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the Wings will not tender a qualifying offer to the former first-round draft pick (the same is probably true for Jordan Pearce and Brent Raedeke) as McCollum's been crowded out of the Grand Rapids Griffins' crease by Petr Mrazek and college free agent signing Jared Coreau:
The Detroit Red Wings had high hopes for big goaltender Tom McCollum when they drafted him in the first round, with the 30th overall pick, in 2008.
McCollum didn't pan out, however, and now he will be moving on. The Red Wings will not tender the restricted free agent a qualifying offer, relinquishing his rights.
The Hockey Hall of Fame will announce its 2013 inductees on Tuesday, July 9th, and Red Wings player mentor Chris Chelios and former Devil and Duck Scott Niedermayer are likely to take up 2 of the 4 possible spots on the "roster" (Markus Naslund, Keith Tkachuk, Paul Kariya, Rob Blake and Mathieu Schneider are also up for induction for the first time this year).
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's been advocating the induction of former University of Alberta coach Clare Drake for as long as I can remember, and while he probably won't be inducted this year, the Edmonton Journal's John MacKinnon reports that Drake was awarded the Order of Canada this past weekend, and his name should matter to you because Drake influenced a generation of coaches, including Wings coach Mike Babcock:
“His fingerprints are all over us,” St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock once told the Journal’s Jim Matheson, listing the likes of Dave Tippett, Marc Crawford, Barry Trotz and Mike Babcock as disciples of Drake. “He was the John Wooden of college hockey. His record speaks for itself. It’s not the NHL Hall of Fame, it’s about a person’s impact on the game, and Clare has had a major impact.”
I don't need to do anything more than check my email to know that Red Wings fans are a frustrated bunch right now. The last two entries alone have produced almost a hundred comments, and most of them have little to do with the Red Wings' eight draft picks on Sunday.
Instead, Wings fans are voicing their displeasure with the team's inability to pawn Valtteri Filppula's rights at the draft (hint: there was a reason that so few teams flipped signing rights--because they had six days to wait until they could sign players for only the price of their contracts), the team not alleviating its roster crunches up front or on defense, and because Vincent Lecavalier hasn't already made his post-cap compliance buy-out decision (and yes, given that the entire management team and coach Babcock were at the draft, you can be assured that Babcock and Ryan Martin were in the room when Lecavalier headed to the Marriott Millennium to kibits with the Wings on Sunday morning) , I keep on reading that this is somehow the management's fault as opposed to Lecavalier taking his time and apparently continuing to meet with and/or be entertained by the 15 teams he's being courted by.
Updated 4x with more Lecavalier talk at 3:14 PM: We can't have one without the other, as noted in the overnight report, so, while Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that he was going to do what most GM's are doing this Canada day--going home and catching up on some sleep after four marathon days (starting with Thursday's Board of Governors meetings; KH and crew can place any of their cap compliance buy-out candidates on waivers as late as 5 PM on Thursday)--he has a to-do list, as the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan notes:
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland met with the agents for potential unrestricted free-agent forwards Damien Brunner, Valtteri Filppula and Daniel Cleary over the weekend, but progress on new deals was slow.
All three can become unrestricted free agents on July 5.
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