The Malik Report
Big Update at 1:45 PM: Here’s Ken Holland speaking to RedWingsTV about the Wings’ additions (via RedWingsFeed on Twitter):
Before I head out the door: Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on WDFN on Tuesday to discuss the team’s re-signing of Jonathan Ericsson, goaltending situation and Mike Commodore’s addition to the team, and MLive’s Phil Zaroo posted some of the highlights thereof...
As free agency slows down and the players remaining on the market begin to scramble to find a home, Twitter-based rumors and speculation have begun to take over because both we and the free agents are left guessing where their hockey futures will take them.
The rumor-mongers got one right and one sort-of-wrong on Tuesday, accurately predicting that the Wings would sign Garnet Exelby and Logan Pyett to strengthen the Grand Rapids Griffins’ roster (the Griffins also lost captain Jamie Tardif to the Boston Bruins) but not accurately assessing the state of the Wings’ search for a back-up goaltender…
This issue’s started to become a mobius strip’s worth of confusing in terms of trying to sort it out: on Tuesday afternoon, MLive’s Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness reported that Red Wings GM Ken Holland had essentially called off his search for a back-up goaltender until Chris Osgood returns from a golfing trip with several Red Wings teammates in Scotland, with Holland wishing to speak with Osgood in person before deciding whether the team would either retain Osgood, who struggled to recover from sports hernia and reconstructive surgery on his groin during the second half of the 2010-2011 season, or whether the team might choose to pursue a back-up goaltender with a lesser resume.
All things being equal, Holland sounded genuinely torn as to whether the Wings would part ways with a 400-game-winning goaltender who was also a fantastic mentor for Jimmy Howard, but this morning, Khan’s reporting that the team is already talking to Ty Conklin’s agent and may bring him back to Detroit instead of hoping that Osgood’s groin holds up during training camp:
The club is negotiating with Conklin’s agent, hoping to sign the 35-year-old as its backup goaltender. A source said Tuesday that Detroit has “a pretty good chance” to sign Conklin.
Updated w/ news of Jamie Tardif heading to Boston at 6:22 PM: According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Detroit Red Wings have yet to decide whether the team wishes to bring back Chris Osgood or sign another back-up, presumably Ty Conklin, and that GM Ken Holland won’t make his decision until he speaks to Osgood after he returns from an overseas golfing trip on Saturday:
“Nothing’s happened. I want to wait,’’ Holland said. “There’s not a lot of options, but there are some options. I’m hoping to talk to Osgood in the next few days and then we’ll make our decision.’‘
[Ty] Conklin, 35, spent the past two seasons with St. Louis, which has opted not to re-sign him. Other backup goalies looking for work include Marty Turco (Chicago) and Ray Emery (Anaheim). Buffalo and Columbus might be the only other teams in the market for a backup goalie.
Updated 5x with Gregg Krupa speaking to WBBL and Conklin rumors at 3:42 PM: The Red Wings have officially gotten to work building the Grand Rapids Griffins’ lineup. As Alanah already noted, the Wings have signed stay-at-home defenseman Garnet Exelby and prospect Logan Pyett, who is no longer waiver exempt, to one-year deals. The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness confirms…
The Wings have signed defensemen Logan Pyett and Garnet Exelby each to one-year contracts. Pyett has played the last three seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He was selected in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Wings in the seventh round, 212th overall.
Exelby has played 408 games in the NHL. Last season he played in the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceDogs.
As does MLive’s Ansar Khan...
Updated with a Ken Holland interview from WDFN at 12:59 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
According to Sport-Express’s Slava Malamud and Yahoo Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov, as well as Sovetsky Sport and Sport-Express, Ruslan Salei’s chosen to follow Brad McCrimmon to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL;
Updated with an odd rumor at 8:20 AM: The Detroit Red Wings’ biggest concern at present involves determining the fate of Chris Osgood as the team’s back-up goaltender. The Wings are scouring a picked-over market for another goaltender to spell Jimmy Howard as they remain quite concerned about Osgood’s ability to recover from what turned out to be major surgery to repair and reattach groin muscles as well as repair a sports hernia, as GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...
“The question with Chris Osgood is, can he be healthy?” general manager Ken Holland said.
Osgood maintained in the playoffs he was ready to play if needed. He wasn’t; Howard played every game. Late in the regular season, Osgood practiced but was unable to get into the lineup because of lingering discomfort in the groin. It’s Osgood’s lack of action the last two years — Howard won the starting job in 2009-10 after Osgood struggled early in the season — that has the Wings examining the goaltending market this summer.
Updated big time at 9:21 PM: It appears that the Red Wings may in fact bring back Chris Osgood as Wings GM Ken Holland tells the Associated Press’s Larry Lage that the team’s top priority this week involves either signing or trading for a back-up to Jimmy Howard—or standing pat:
“The market for goalies is pretty picked over,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We’re comfortable with Chris Osgood if we have to do it.”
Osgood has won three Stanley Cups, two as a No. 1 goalie, and 401 games, mostly with Detroit. But he played in only 11 games last season, recovering from sports hernia surgery in January. Holland might re-sign Osgood, bring back Ty Conklin, who won a career-high 25 games for the Red Wings during the 2008-09 season, or trade for someone to spell Jimmy Howard.
“I have gotten calls from teams, looking to trade a goaltender,” Holland said. “I need to do something and I probably will this week.”
The Wings definitely have limited options on the free agent market in terms of finding a back-up—Conklin, Marty Turco, Ray Emery
and Curtis McElhinney
(whoops, McElhinney signed with Phoenix today) are the best available options out there—so a trade might make sense (and if the Wings choose to move Jiri Hudler, that opens up a spot on the roster for the team to get a little bigger and/or faster)...
The Red Wings’ moves both immediately prior to and shortly after the start of free agency this past weekend have, at least in theory, stabilized the team’s blueline and afforded the team the ability to rebound from the loss of Brian Rafalski via committee, with cap space at the trade deadline to spare (just in case), and while Ken Holland went back into stealth mode on Sunday, the Wings’ press corps reviewed Holland’s brief body of work in detail, starting with a somewhat bold assessment by the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
Suddenly, there are nine NHL-worthy defensemen on the Wings’ roster. There’s certainly not much concern anymore. [Ian] White and [Mike] Commodore join Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith and Doug Janik on the blue line.
“We feel good with the people we have,” Holland said.
Smith is the Wings’ top prospect but he, now, likely won’t be on the Wings’ roster when the season begins. That’s ideal. The Wings like their defensive prospects to be “over-ready,” and Smith, who starred in Grand Rapids last season, will get one more season to refine his skills. Janik is a veteran depth defenseman who can be shuttled between the Wings and Griffins.
There was no way that the Red Wings would or could have been able to replace Brian Rafalski via the unrestricted free agent market, not in one of the available players, anyway, but Ken Holland managed to both plug the gaping hole on the Wings’ blueline and save a significant amount of cap space for the Wings’ future endeavors over the course of the past three days, first re-signing Jonathan Ericsson to an inflated contract to stave off another subtraction and then making amends for it by retaining Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller and adding bite to the Wings’ defense via depth defenseman Mike Commodore and would-be journeyman Ian White.
For a grant total of $1.25 million more than Rafalski earned last season, Holland’s investments signal a bit of a shift in terms of philosophy in the best sense of the term, and to put the theory bluntly: when you’re missing an element from your team, it is best to pursue the players that annoy you the most.
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.