The Malik Report
Update: According to Christopher Botta, James Wisniewski is all but guaranteed to sign with Columbus: Just as NHL on XM Radio producer Josh Rimer suggests that Patrick Eaves will test the free agent waters on July 1st (per RedWingsFeed), I was looking for Swedish news to compliment Ken Holland’s interview with Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom about Dick Axelsson, and Norrkoping’s Tidingar’s Ulf Strahle and Christer Andersson provide Red Wings-related news in a big way, all but confirming that Jonathan Ericsson will remain with the Wings. Here’s a rough translation of their article:
Updated 2x: with Holland speaking to Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom about Dick Axelsson and free agency at 10:56 AM: On the jitteriest day of the year for Red Wings fans, Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to MLive’s Ansar Khan regarding the team’s free agency plans, and it sounds like the Wings are, like the rest of us, waiting to find out who actually reaches the marketplace on Friday before making their decision as to whether they’ll spend money or make a trade to replace Brian Rafalski:
“We got money, but we got a lot of our pieces in place,” said general manager Ken Holland. “We don’t want to spend for the sake of spending. We will explore the market. A lot of (would-be) free agents have signed, and I anticipate more will (prior to Friday). We’ll work the phones, see what happens.”
The Red Wings will spend up to the cap if necessary, but they won’t overpay. They would like to have some money at their disposable at the trade deadline.
“Part of it is we want to be the best team we can be right now, but we also want to be flexible for the trade deadline,” Holland said.
If Christian Ehrhoff and/or James Wisniewski either don’t reach the marketplace or ask for gigantic salaries, Khan suggests that the Wings have several options, including a trade but excluding an offer sheet (Holland doesn’t believe in employing that tactic)...
Updated 3x at 11:05 AM: Per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi, the Red Wings and Penguins will finally find out Jaromir Jagr’s decision as to which team he’d prefer to play for sometime today, and all indications point toward Jagr ending his NHL career in the city where it began:
The agent for Jaromir Jagr said his client is in New York and said today he expects a decision about Jagr’s NHL future by the end of today.
Petr Svoboda said he was scheduled to speak with Penguins general manager Ray Shero shortly. This was around 9:20 a.m.
“We are going to exchange some things,” Svoboda said, adding that he would also speak with Detroit and Montreal about Jagr. This is obviously a tough decision for Jaromir. His heart is in Pittsburgh.”
Long before the, “Where’s Jaromir Jagr, and which team does he want to play for?” mess began (and let’s be honest, we’re kind of assuming that he’s going to sign with Pittsburgh), two Wings targets in Christian Ehrhoff (twice) and James Wisniewski (once) had their rights traded to teams eager to get a head start on negotiating terms with said players and Jonathan Ericsson began to pop up as a realistic player that other teams might target…
Red Wings fans knew that, as Ken Holland and Jim Nill told the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell, that the team would attempt to re-sign its own unrestricted free agents before July 1st and then survey the marketplace, determining which players they’ll sign to replace Brian Rafalski and reinforce the roster based upon who is actually available at 12 PM EDT on Friday, and not before. We knew we’d have to wait—and that it’d be an uncomfortable wait—for the Wings to get to work.
Updated with comments from Ray Shero and Ken Holland at 1:46 AM: Well, the Jagr watch has turned into, “Where the hell is he?” Unless we believe the Czech reports that Jagr’s either turned down the Penguins and/or is attempting to renegotiate a deal, we’re left in scratching-our-heads territory, as noted by MLive’s Ansar Khan:
His agent, Petr Svoboda, said shortly after 10 p.m. that no decision would be made tonight. Svoboda, who is based in Montreal, said he hasn’t even spoken today to Jagr, who was scheduled to arrive in New York this afternoon.
“Nothing new to report,’’ Svoboda said. “I don’t know where he is.’‘
Jagr, 39, is contemplating one-year contract offers from the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. All kinds of reports and rumors have been swirling all day long. A Russian media outlet had Jagr signing for $1.4 million with the Penguins, which the club has denied. A Czech media outlet claimed he has rejected Pittsburgh’s offer, which Svoboda indicated is not accurate.
From the Penguins’ press, we get speculation that a deal remains in place, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-review’s Rob Rossi and Dejean Kovacevic (that, and we’ve learned that bloggers in Pittsburgh commit a big no-no in calling a player’s agent to ask where his client is):
No decision coming from Jagr tonight
Svoboda expects to talk to Jagr within the next hour and decision likely tomorrow.
Reason the delay according to Svoboda: “Travel difficulties overseas”
If we are to believe Blesk’s Miroslav Horak and Pavel Barta, or, via Paul, Lidovky.cz’s Antonin Vavrda, Jaromir Jagr has supposedly turned down the Pittsburgh Penguins’ offer of about $2 million per season and is either negotiating with the Red Wings and/or the Montreal Canadiens through his agent, Petr Svoboda…
Or Svoboda has at least told the Penguins that their offer to Jagr is unacceptable as he believes Detroit can double it (which is ridiculously in “hard to believe” territory), so he’s continuing to negotiate with Ray Shero to garner more favorable terms.
Depending on how you interpret quotation marks and who’s saying what to whom. Methinks the Czech press is jumping the gun, and I’d prefer to wait to hear what the North American press has to say in a language I can understand without having to rely on online translators.
Update: Do we consider these comments made by Svoboda to the Free Press’s George Sipple stalling?
Jagr was flying to the U.S. today, but his agent, Petr Svoboda, was still waiting to hear from him long after he was scheduled to land in New York.
“I don’t know if he missed a connection,” Svoboda told the Free Press after 8 p.m. “I have no clue.”
Just after 5:30 p.m., Svoboda told the Free Press: “No word. He has not arrived yet. It’s probably going to be another hour or so. They’ve had some delays in New York. As soon as he lands, he’ll be calling me.”
Updated with evening tidbits at 6:30 PM: As we all wait for the Jaromir Jagr saga to end, the Red Wings are well aware of the fact that free agents James Wisniewski, whose rights were traded to a Columbus Blue Jackets team that sounds all too happy to toss money at him, are disappearing fast, and that pre-UFA-day signings like Tomas Kopecky’s $3 million-per-season payday from the Florida Panthers are already throwing the marketplace out of whack.
That being said, Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill tells the Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell that the Wings won’t keep pace with their compatriots’ insanity for the sake of spending money, though they’re admittedly stunned to see Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Brian Campbell’s gigantic contracts tossed from team to team:
“I don’t think anyone saw that coming,” Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “Teams have to spend more, while that can be good and bad, they have more money and space under the cap. With more teams able to afford it, there are places to go.”
“They (no-trades) don’t mean much now,” Nill said.“Why stay? You can at least control where you’re traded. How can you come back into a dressing room when you know they don’t want you to be part of the landscape. It would be a very difficult place.”
The Wings simply don’t plan on doing anything of the sort…
Well I don’t know what the hell to think about this: the Dallas News’s Mike Heika believes that the Stars might target Red Wings free-agent-to-be Jonathan Ericsson if he hits the open market, suggesting it’s an “educated guess” that Joe Nieuwendyk would toss money at Ericsson if/when things go south in his negotiations with the Wings, who remain the front-runner for his services:
If you want him to leave a successful place like Detroit, where he seems a perfect fit, you will have to overpay him. He made $1.25 million last season, and the guess is Detroit has him targeted at about $2 million. They are looking for a high-level defenseman in free agency to replace the retired Brian Rafalski, and they also have a couple of good young defensemen pushing up in Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith.
And that may be why Ericsson hasn’t already re-signed with the Red Wings. If he is intent on going to free agency, he is likely intent on going to a new team. Could the Stars be that team?
It depends on the price. The Blackhawks matched an offer sheet for Niklas Hjalmarsson that pays him $3.5 million for four years. Is that what it would take to get Ericsson? The Stars are paying Trevor Daley an average of $3.3 million for six years, could Ericsson have more upside? It’s an interesting discussion.
Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon: Do the Chad LaRose and Tomas Kopecky deals make it infinitely harder for Ken Holland to keep Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller? You bet. Is today likely decision day, via RedWingsFeed, for Christian Ehrhoff? You bet. Are the Wings in the market for Brad Richards’ services, as his agent, Pat Morris, suggested to Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski? I have no frickin’ clue;
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi reports that it’s entirely probable that “Jagr Watch” will end today, much to the delight of Penguins fans and relief of Red Wings fans who want this to just get over and done with:
The agent for Jaromir Jagr said today that Jagr is en route to the United States and will inform of a decision on his NHL future late this afternoon.
“He is flying to New York (from the Czech Republic) right now,” agent Petr Svoboda said. “He is coming this afternoon and will tell us his answer then.”
Svoboda said he talked to Jagr last night about the Pens’ offer, and that Detroit and Montreal are also known to have made offers. Jagr is not expected to arrive in the U.S. until at least 3:30 p.m. Svoboda said he expects to know Jagr’s decision within an hour of his arrival.
The Penguins have set today as a deadline to hear if Jagr will accept their one-year offer that is around $2 million to play for them next season. Jagr, 39, spent the first 11 seasons of his NHL career with the Penguins, but has spent the past three years playing in Russia.
That’s about what the Wings have offered him, and, via RedWingsFeed, Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov reports that Avangard Omsk still has an offer on the table for Jagr, but flying to the U.S. means he’s likely to play in the NHL.
Update: According to Dennik Sport, Jagr’s not totally excluded signing with the Red Wings.
Update #2 at 2:21 PM: Per Rossi and Josh Yohe:
Red Wings fans don’t do uncertainty well. Between the thinning free agent market, Jaromir Jagr’s increasingly likely status as a marquee player who’s saying, “No, thanks” to an offer from Detroit (which almost never happens), the uncertainty as to whether Jonathan Ericsson, Patrick Eaves or Drew Miller will return and the fact that, put bluntly, there are two days until free agency and we’re all antsier than kids on the last day of school, the Malik Report’s comment section has turned into something of a war zone.
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