The Malik Report
Via RedWingsFeed, Hockey's Future's Ryan Womeldorf reviewed the Red Wings' 2015 draft haul, and while Evgeny Svechnikov is doubtlessly the star of the show, it's the Wings' second pick who intrigues me the most:
Vili Saarijarvi, D, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
3rd round, 79th overall
Height: 5-9 Weight: 161
The diminutive Saarijarvi is an interesting case. He’s a converted forward with a distinct lack of size, yet a ton of ability. Having played in the USHL in 2014-15, he is a relative unknown and definitely a bit of a risky pick who could end up rewarding the team.
The young man himself describes his game: “(I’m an) offensive defenseman. I like to skate the puck, I like to play the power play. Those are my strengths. Yeah, an offensive game. … I was a forward a couple of years ago, so there’s probably a reason I’m so offensive.”
Saarijarvi has already been signed to a three-year, entry-level deal and though he had already signed to play for Karpat of the Finnish league, he and the Red Wings are eyeing the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League as his next home. It would not only give the young Finn a chance to develop, but to do so right in the Red Wings’ back yard.
When asked about what he knew of Detroit, Saarijarvi replied: “I don’t really know that much about Detroit, but I’m really excited to learn.”
Given his relative inexperience on the blue line coupled with his size issues, it will be more than a few seasons before Saarijarvi is ready to sniff the main roster. He’s got to work on tightening up his game in his own zone to compensate for his lack of size. He’ll likely explore the finer points of his offensive game too, which could be the strength that gets him to the NHL.
Womeldorf continues at considerable length, and Saarijarvi's a right-shooting, undersized (probably more like 5'10" and 170) defenseman who's going to play in the Wings' backyard with the Flint Firebirds, and his anticipation is what's so fascinating about the Wings' third-round pick.
Who do you think has the most promise of the Wings' six 2015 picks--Svechnikov, Saarijarvi, Joren Van Pottelberghe, Chase Pearson, Adam Holway or Patrick Marsh?
Tomas Jurco spoke with Sport.sk regarding his contract negotiations with Detroit, and what follows is very, very roughly translated, but it sounds like Jurco's going to sign a one-year or short-term contract with the Red Wings sooner than later:
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Wings' odds of making NHL.com's Dan Rosen's list of the 10 most improved teams in the NHL were 1 in 3, but at least this summer, they're on the "improved" list instead of the "Cleary and Quincey'd" list (thus far, anyway):
DETROIT RED WINGS
Key additions: Jeff Blashill (coach), Brad Richards, Mike Green
Blashill comes from Mike Babcock's school of coaching, so don't expect too much to change in Detroit. Blashill has been in the organization since Babcock hired him as an assistant coach in 2011. He was the coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's AHL affiliate, for the past three seasons.
Richards is coming off a successful rebound season with the Blackhawks in which he helped them win the Stanley Cup. He will be comfortable as Detroit's second or third center, and will contribute on the power play. Green is the right-handed shooting defenseman in the prime of his career that the Red Wings have been searching for since Brian Rafalski retired four years ago. He also should provide a threat on the power play from the point.
2. In the prospect department, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned a "Wings of Tomorrow" article about Andreas Athanasiou...
This was going to happen. Via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Ian Thibodeau reports that Olympia Development of Michigan issued a statement regarding Last Week Tonight's John Oliver's slamming of the public funding for private entities' sports stadiums, the Red Wings' follow-on rink included:
Olympia's statement is as follows:
"This project is about so much more than a world-class sports and entertainment arena; it's about transforming a core part of our city for the benefit of the entire community. The new Detroit arena and The District Detroit will create 8,300 construction and construction-related jobs, as well as at least 1,100 permanent jobs. To date, the Detroit Downtown Development Authority has approved nine contracts worth $121 million, of which Detroit-based and -headquartered businesses have won more than 88 percent - or $106 million. Initiatives of this size, scope and impact -- $1.8 billion dollars for our city, region and state -- are almost universally public-private partnerships. The majority of this development is being privately financed, and no city of Detroit general funds are involved whatsoever."
The last sentence is the most important one: while you or I may not think that spending $283 million in bonds to fund a stadium, the diverted tax revenues from downtown businesses are legally required to be spent on downtown development.
Update: For what it's worth, Iltahleti is reporting that Pavel Datsyuk is selling "his house" in West Bloomfield for $5.8 million, which is accurate, but Datsyuk owns 2 houses in Metro Detroit. He's not pulling up stakes.
Pavel Datsyuk is holding his annual hockey school for kids in Kazan, Russia this week...
And he spoke with R-Sport regarding several topics. What follows are roughly-translated interview snippets from a conversation with Vadim Kuznetsov:
If you're interested...
USA HOCKEY ARENA HOSTS POWERHOCKEY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP JULY 16-18
PLYMOUTH, Mich. - USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, MI is hosting a unique national hockey tournament featuring athletes who are living and thriving in spite of disabilities.
The Wheelchair Hockey League (WCHL) and their local travel team, the Michigan Mustangs, are proud to host the 2015 U.S. PowerHockey Championship running July 16-18, 2015 at USA Hockey Arena, located at 14900 N. Beck Road in Plymouth Township.
The event is open to the public.
This elite PowerHockey tournament features wheelchair hockey teams including the current defending champions Philadelphia PowerPlay, along with the Minnesota Selects, Texas MotorMavs and host Michigan Mustangs.
Players – men and women - range in age from 10 to 60+ and have a variety of disabilities that include Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Arthrogryposis & Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bones).This tournament will determine the 2015 United States PowerHockey Champions.
Here's the Wings' press release:
Via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press's George Sipple penned an article discussing the fact that Tom McCollum and Jared Coreau's re-signings mean that Jake Paterson's likely to begin his pro career (for the second time) playing for the Toledo Walleye:
[Paterson] went 12-11-1 for the Spirit last season, with a 3.48 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. He was 14-10-2 with a 2.37 GAA and .929 save percentage in 26 games for Kitchener.
He also appeared in two games for the Walleye, going 1-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and a .951 save percentage.
"I thought he did a pretty good job at camp, looking like somebody who is confident," said Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill.
"I would say as of today, Tom McCollum and Jared Coreau have earned the right to say that they're the odds on favorites to be in Grand Rapids. That would probably push (Paterson) down to Toledo. I think Paterson understands that, knows he has to go down there and play really well and try to make his way up the way Petr Mrazek did."
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon, and boy, is this a "misfit" entry:
First, at the Cherry Festival in Traverse City...
MLive's Brendan Savage wondered aloud which one of the Red Wings' top prospects will reach the NHL first...
The Red Wings have posted all 5 parts of their series of videos chronicling the summer development camp, and here they are, shootout "bonus footage" included:
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.