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About Givani Smith

From the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, via RedWingsFeed:

It was a late-season game in Flint, between two bad teams, but Kris Draper decided to make the drive. Draper, who does a lot of amateur scouting these days for the Red Wings, drove to take one last look at Givani Smith, a prospect playing for Guelph.

What Draper saw that night convinced him Smith was the type of player the Red Wings needed to draft.

“Somebody was taking liberties with his teammate, and this was a 20-year-old (on Flint), which considering Givani was two- or three-years younger, that’s a major difference,” Draper said. “But Givani went in there and defended his teammate. He stood up for him. Late in the season like that, Givani could have just skated away. What he did, I liked seeing that.”

It’s a long way off, and there’s no guarantee. But Red Wings fans might have a future fan favorite, a cult hero they’ll love — and opponents’ fans can’t stand.

Continued, and while Dennis Cholowski was the Wings' first-round pick, I'd argue that fans are probably most excited about Givani Smith's snarl and bite.

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St. James on Dennis Cholowski and the high price of a top-four defenseman

The Free Press's Helene St. James penned an article duly noting that the Red Wings have high expectations for first-round pick Dennis Cholowski, who the team belives could become a top-four defenseman at the NHL level--eventually:

It will take years to know whether Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek, Alfons Malmstrom or Jordan Sambrook will pan out at the NHL level, but hopes are high especially that Cholowski can be a future top-pairing guy.

As Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright pointed out, getting one any other way is painful.

“Look at the price to get a top-four defenseman in the NHL these days, whether it’s a trade or free agent, you pretty much have to remove a kidney,” Wright said over the weekend during the draft in Buffalo, N.Y. “We have to draft them first and then develop them, and once you get them, you keep them for a long period of time.”

Hakan Andersson, the team’s director of European scouting, brought up an interview he’d read with Edmonton general manager Peter Charelli where he’d said there are “only 10-15 elite defensemen in the league, and there are 30 teams, so they are hard to come by,” Andersson said. “That was our objective, trying to draft a guy that we hope can be one of those guys.”

St. James continues...

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Your Sunday afternoon Stamkos update: ‘$11-12 million to spend’

From the Associated Press, here's an update on the Steven Stamkos sweepstakes:

The Red Wings became the latest team to jump into the Stamkos sweepstakes after GM Ken Holland made the deft move of trading the rights to star forward Pavel Datsyuk to Arizona on Friday.

Though Datsyuk will play in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League this season, the final year of his $7.5 million contract with Detroit still counted against the Red Wings' salary cap.

The trade left Detroit with an estimated $12 million to spend in free agency, and drew praise from Ducks GM Bob Murray, who said: "Kenny Holland, I think he was the winner today. He dumped a whole bunch of money."

Holland won't specifically say whether he's interested in Stamkos, but made clear he's prepared to use nearly every penny under the $73 million cap to add talent.

"We're prepared to go to the cap if the players are available," Holland told The Associated Press. "I'm not going to talk specific players, but it was no doubt to free up money. We've probably got $11- to $12 million to spend of cap space, depending on how somebody wants to look at it. So we've certainly got lots of space, and we can certainly explore the market."

Continued, including some sign-and-trade talk from Steve Yzerman...And it's very encouraging to hear Holland suggest that the Wings will both use Datsyuk's $7.5 milion in cap space and the $5.1 million in cap space that Johan Franzen and Joe Vitale will create on the LTIR to improve the team.

USA Today's Kevin Allen broke down the bidding for the top 20 free agents available, too.

Update: CBS Sports' Chris Peters posted a list of "pros and cons" for each and every one of the Stamkos suitors, including the Wings:

Continue Reading »

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‘Three Things’: On Osgood, possible HOF’er, draft grades and pics

Of brief Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. The Hockey Hall of Fame's Induction announcement is scheduled for tomorrow at 3:30 PM EDT, and as this is a "catch-up" class, it's entirely possible that Chris Osgood could get the call:

2. At the other end of the developmental spectrum, MLive's Brendan Savage assembled a set of Wings draft grades;

Continue Reading »

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‘Roughly Translated’: Mrazek expecting to sign a 2 or 4-year contract

Petr Mrazek was in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic last night to watch Jaromir Jagr win the Czech "Golden Stick" (Zlata hokej) award--Mrazek finished 3rd in voting for the trophy--and Mrazek spoke with the Czech press, speaking with the Hokej.cz's Vaclav Jachim...

Mrazek had a superb year and now looks forward. The World Cup, for which he was nominated, isn't yet in his head. "It's still far away. Anyway, it will be a special event that we'll all look forward to," he says. The Czech National Team also has Ondrej Pavelec and Michal Neuvirth on the team, and Mrazek doesn't know which one of them will be the starting goalie. "No, not at all. I haven't spoken with the World Cup coaches. I think this will be decided on the ice--depending on how one does. But it's not just great that I'm in the tournament. It will bring together the best players in the world, first with games against Canada and then with America...For each of us it's a great experience and great honor."

Continue Reading »

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‘Roughly Translated’: Mattias Elfstrom discusses his status as drafted by the Red Wings

24Malmo.se's Magnus Anderberg spoke with Malmo Redhawks forward Mattias Elfstrom about his status as being drafted by the Red Wings in the seventh round:

"It's really cool. It came as a bit of a shock. I talked a little bit with them before, but I didn't think anything would happen," says Mattias. "They phoned from Detroit right after. Their European scout called and told me that they chose me. I knew there was a chance, but i didn't think it would be for real."

What have you thought since you received the news yesterday?

"I've been dreaming about this since I started playing hockey. It's proof that you've done something good."

Continue Reading »

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Savage discusses Dennis Cholowski with Tyler Wright

MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright to discuss the reasons why the Wings picked Dennis Cholowski with the 20th overall pick at the NHL Draft:

"He was the next guy on our board," Wright said. "He's just a heckuva hockey player. He's got great mobility, he's a very good skater, he's got good puck skills, he can move pucks very well. He can jump into the rush, he can defend plays in all situations. I think all that stuff he could get better at but he's got a good package and a good starting point as far as development. We believe he's got top-four potential and that's why we took him."

Wright said the Red Wings viewed Cholowski as one of the best-skating defensemen in the draft.

The independent scouting service Red Line Report projects Cholowski to be a steady, mobile, mistake-free fourth defenseman. RLR says Cholowski is patient with the puck, sees the entire ice while trying to make plays and can play in all situations – something the Red Wings plan on doing with the 18-year-old native of Langley, British Columbia.

"He's an elite thinker," Wright said. "We think his hockey sense is very good. He's just a guy that can play in any position, late in a game, early in a game, never have to hide him because of size and skating ability.

"He's one of the best-skating defensemen in this draft. Kind of been a little bit of a late bloomer, has done a lot of growing in the last couple years. We still believe he could still be growing for that matter, which would be a plus. And it was an area of need for us for defense. We think we've got a good group of kids coming along. We thought he'd fit in that defense mold for us."

Savage and Wright continue...

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Initial takes on the Red Wings’ 2016 draft haul

The Red Wings' 2016 draft picks earned a B- grade from ESPN's Corey Pronman, and as for myself...

It's hard for me to make significant assessments of prospects I've known for about 24 hours, especially before I've seen them live at the Wings' summer development camp or fall prospect tournament, but here are my initial takes on the Wings' 7 picks:

Continue Reading »

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Walleye players want assistant Dan Watson to become their head coach

From the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe:

A group of current and former Toledo Walleye players took to social media to express their support for assistant Dan Watson to take over as the organization’s next coach.

Watson was an assistant the past two seasons under Derek Lalonde, who accepted the coaching job last weekend with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.

Watson, who has been an assistant for all of the team’s seven seasons in the ECHL, got endorsements from several players.

Former Walleye defenseman Cody Lampl sent a tweet out on Monday strongly recommending his former boss: “Watty For Head Coach!”

“He is ready,” Lampl later told The Blade. “Watty’s attention to the details, for the little things, is impeccable. With how much video he studies, he’s always learning. But the biggest thing with Watty is that he knows how to connect and to motivate. The thing that separates the good coaches is the ability to connect with the players. He knows when to get after it and when to pull back.”


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‘Two things,’ draft version

Of prospect-related note this morning:

1. Via RedWingsFeed, MLive posted a photo gallery of the Wings' draft pick haul;

2. And Dennis Cholowski spoke with the Langley Advance's Troy Landreville regarding being drafted by the Red Wings:

On Saturday, Cholowski shared with the Langley Advance that being drafted by the Red Wings is a “tremendous honour.”

“Detroit is one of the best organizations in the league, and have produced some of the greatest player of all time,” Cholowski said. “Also the fact that they are an Original Six team is extremely cool.”

In his final year with the [BCHL's Chilliwack] Chiefs, Cholowski put together a brilliant draft year. The 6’1” 176-pound Cholowski was named as a BCHL second team all-star while leading all Chiefs rearguards in scoring with 40 points (12g-28a).

His point totals were fifth among all BCHL defencemen.

Landreville continues...

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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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