The Malik Report
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff asked Red Wings GM Ken Holland whether the team might make a trade at the draft, and he got a yes-and-no answer--as in yes, the Wings have more assets than they have in many years, but no, the Wings' philosophy of drafting and developing home-grown players hasn't changed:
“I’d love that somebody would drop us a superstar,” Holland said. “It’s not going to happen. You need superstars, you need difference makers. We’ve got some superstars, some difference makers but Father Time’s pecking away.”
Holland is referring to captain Henrik Zetterberg (34) and fellow veterans Pavel Datsyuk (36) and Niklas Kronwall (34), Detroit’s core leaders.
“Those players can last longer,” Holland said. “Even as their skills diminish, they may not be superstars but they’re still good players. That’s what happened with (Steve) Yzerman, (Nicklas) Lidstrom. They could play until they’re 40. So we’ve got a core that’s older but if we can support them with youth, enthusiasm, speed, energy, it allows those players to kind of hold and maintain their status.”
As such, the Wings' "next generation's" development holds the key for Detroit going forward...
The Red Wings' first-round pick will become the "flavor of the month," but the guts of the Wings' drafting and developing tends to take place in rounds 2 through 7, and the Free Press's Helene St. James offers up the example of one Alexey Marchenko as a good example of the efficiency of the Wings' draft-mining operations:
Players taken past round four often don't pan out, but the Wings have a great example from 2011 of why it pays to have good scouts across the world. In the seventh round of that year, the Wings had the seventh-to-last pick. A throw-away? Hardly. On the urging of Russia-based scout Nikolai Vakourov, the Wings went with Alexey Marchenko.
Marchenko, 23, is pencilled in to be a part of Detroit's lineup next season.
"Marchenko was a pick that Nikolai really liked," assistant general manager Ryan Martin told the Free Press. "That's a great example of an area guy that really liked a particular player and didn't stop lobbying for him as the draft got into later rounds. That's really what you want your area scouts to do so you might find those steals."
Jeff Finley, the chief amateur scout based in North America, and Hakan Andersson, the Sweden-based director of European scouting, don't have time to go out and see as much, if any, of the later-round options. Those two, and director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright, are the top three men in charge of what the Wings do at the entry draft. But as Saturday drags past noon, the Wings' four European scouts, which also includes Finland-based Ari Vouri, as well as three part-time amateur scouts, start to be more involved.
This morning, MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright about the team's draft strategies, and this evening, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness continues that conversation:
"Last year we didn’t really target centers,” Wright said. “At that point the depth of defense went away. We’re excited about the bigger centers. Just because they’re centers doesn’t mean they’ll be a center at the next level. I don’t think we’re really going to target specific needs,” Wright continued. “But if you never draft right-handed defensemen you’re not going to have right-handed defensemen. If there’s one area we’re looking at, that’s it. But we want good players regardless.”
The depth on the blue line in the organization is lacking with their top four prospects – Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul – will no longer be waiver-exempt after this season.
“I really like our depth,” Wright said. “You get all excited about prospects, but at the same time they haven’t played a game in the league. Young kids need to develop and get better. I think we’ve got a cluster of really good prospects. We have to continue to develop them. Until they’ve been regular NHL players they have to prove it every day.”
The final six rounds of the draft will take place Saturday.
“You look at all three positions,” Wright said. “It’s a fairly deep goalie draft. You try to add a goalie if it’s the right pick at the right time. I think goalies are a little harder to judge as far as development. If you have too many goalies that are good, that’s a good position to have.”
Wright and Pleiness continue...
Of brief Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. The Grand Rapids Griffins posited their latest episode of "Between the Benches"...
2. And WDIV's David Bartkowiak Jr. penned a fine draft preview that also checks in with the Wings' 2014 draft picks:
Updated 7x at 10:51 AM: Here's the Detroit Red Wings' 2015-16 regular season schedule, from NHL.com:
In what is a very rare instance, WDFN's Matt Sheppard spoke with Red Wings assistant coach Tony Granato for 14 minutes this morning, discussing Granato's decision to remain with the team, the Wings' transition away from the Mike Babcock era, his role under Jeff Blashill and the almost-all-American coaching staff. This is very, very good stuff:
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright about the Wings' plans for tomorrow and Saturday's draft, and Wright isn't ruling out anything come tomorrow:
"Everyone says it's a deeper draft," Tyler Wright, Red Wings director of amateur scouting, said. "I think every draft is a deep draft. You have to dig and find players. Once you get out of the top 10-12 players there's a group of players that could go into the second round and be successful players – at all three positions."
The first round is Friday and the final six rounds on Saturday at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
The Red Wings have six selections. They traded their second-round pick to Dallas for forward Erik Cole but received the Stars' third-round pick in return (No. 73). They dealt their own third-rounder to New Jersey for defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
"We're confident we're going to get two pretty good players at 19 and 73," Wright said. "We have options, too."
That includes trading down in the first round. In 2013, they moved down two spots, from 18 to 20, in a deal with San Jose and still landed Anthony Mantha. They used the additional pick to select Tyler Bertuzzi at No. 58.
"We're going through every scenario as far as moving back and picking up extra picks," Wright said. "I'm not opposed to moving up either. Not going to leave any option closed."
Khan continues, and let's just say that in keeping his "options open," Wright also works very hard to not show his cards.
I'm not the person to talk to if you want to feel better about missing the Red Wings' summer development camp, which will be taking place from July 3-7 in Traverse City, MI.
The Wings' newest draft picks and top prospects take part in six days' worth of learning the Red Wings' on-ice systems of play and their off-ice training regimens, and while the camp's status as a mostly-in-the-morning event allows the players to enjoy their afternoons around the July 4th weekend in Traverse City, there's a lot of exhaustion showing through as the Wings jam-pack the schedule with information about nutrition, mental preparation, dealing with the media, etc. etc.
In any case, the Free Press's Helene St. James duly notes that the Wings' top prospects will be taking part in said camp, and that it's quite the bargain if you are able to make the trip up (or are going up to Traverse City for the in-person training camp ticket sale):
Pretty damn cool:
Red Wings’ Zetterberg Awarded King Clancy Trophy
Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg is this year’s recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice and who has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community.”
The Red Wings captain rebounded from an injury-shortened 2013-14 campaign to lead his club in assists (49) and points (66). Zetterberg capped a productive campaign with four points in the final two games of the regular season with a postseason bid on the line, rallying the Red Wings to a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a franchise-record 24th consecutive season -- the longest active such streak in North American professional sports.
Honored in 2013 with the NHL Foundation Player Award for outstanding charitable and community work, Zetterberg and his wife, Emma, give back to the Metro Detroit community through numerous initiatives as well as international causes in Ethiopia, Guatemala and Nepal. Zetterberg hosts children’s charities, including Metro Detroit area children’s hospitals and mentoring nonprofits, at each Red Wings home game during the regular season in the Zetterberg Foundation Suite. Zetterberg also funds a high school hockey scholarship each year and underwrites the Hockey Weekly High School All-Star Banquet.
The Red Wings have historically tended to "trade down" in the draft when they're either short on picks or feel that their targets have been snagged by other teams, and the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings, who traded their 2nd-round pick to Dallas in the Erik Cole trade, are considering that option again:
It's possible the Wings may trade down a few picks as they did two years ago, when they moved from 18th to 20th in the first round because the Wings were certain Mantha would still be available. As a result, the Wings gained a second second-round pick, at 58th overall, and turned that into Tyler Bertuzzi.
Asked about the possibility of something similar happening this year, Martin didn't rule it out. "Especially since we don't have a second-round pick, the possibility of trading back to acquire an extra pick is always there," he said. "We wait until the closest we can to our pick and then we assess the names on our list and if there is somebody that we really want that we don't want to chance that they're gone, then we wouldn't do it. But if there are several players that are all within the same range, and we are happy with any of them, then we might do it to get another pick."
Martin was lukewarm on the idea of the Wings trading up. The Arizona Coyotes are rumored to be willing to trade their first-round pick, at third overall, which would put the Wings within reach of defenseman Noah Hanifin, widely considered to be NHL ready. But making a move up would be costly, and therefore "I don't think we'll do it, but you never known," Martin said. "July 1 is as bleak as it's ever been, so the only way to change the makeup of your team other than July 1 is via trade, and therefore, I think there is a lot of chatter, names being thrown around. There are some pretty high-end names being thrown out. If we were to engage in a scenario like that and picks were changing hands as an option to move up, I don't really see that happening."
St. James continues at considerable length, discussing the difficulty of forecasting teenagers' maturing into pro players, and she suggests that the Wings will pick Joel Eriksson Ek if they hang on to the 19th overall pick.
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.