The Malik Report
Of course, after a pair of 12-hour days in the summer (with more to come), two foreign-language articles which require some translation popped up, and they're long ones.
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill about his immediate plans now that the draft has ended, and he's going to be quite busy for the balance of the summer:
Next up is a few days at home, then being a part of what, if anything, the Wings do when free agency opens Wednesday. Then it's off to development camp in Traverse City, where Blashill will observe prospects such as Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. Evgeny Svechnikov, a big Russian forward the Wings drafted 19th overall Friday, also will be there.
"That's a little semi-vacation because my family lives there," Blashill said of Traverse City.
Having rounded out his assistant coaching staff last week by bringing back Tony Granato and bringing Pat Ferschweiler along from Grand Rapids, Blashill said those, along with Jim Bedard and Chris Chelios, "will get together as a staff in Detroit in a couple of weeks. It'll be kind of an orientation period a little bit in terms of a lot of different things, but also different planning sessions, so then we can go and spend the rest of the summer relaxing, but also start to plan for August."
St. James continues, reporting that Pavel Datsyuk will take part in but not skate at his annual mid-July summer camp in Russia...
And this article from the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald's Jim Leitner tells you a little bit about what one experiences when one's unexpectedly drafted by an NHL team:
Updated 4x at 5:45 PM: The Red Wings' press corps is beginning to wrap up the Wings' draft haul, and we're going to focus on Detroit's take on its second-day prospects, starting with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness's report on the diminuitive Vili Saarijarvi...
The Wings found a right-handed shot defenseman, who was a forward until four years ago, with their first pick on Saturday. Vili Saarijarvi, who was taken 73rd overall, had six goals and 17 assists in 57 games last season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL.
“The complete package – size, strength, competiveness, hockey sense and skill,” [Red WIngs director of amateur scouting Tyler] Wright said. “There’s not really one thing that he doesn’t do very well. I think his skating’s got to maybe come a little bit. It’s not bad by any means but I think it’ll come with strength. He’s committed.
“This kid is a good character kid,” Wright continued. “Hockey means everything to him and his family. He was just too good for us to pass up.”
And we'll continue with Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave's report about the subsequent picks...
Updated 4x at 3:40 PM: With the 200th pick in the NHL draft, the Red Wings have selected...
Per Elite Prospects:
BIRTHYEAR 1997-08-22 BIRTHPLACE Chicago, IL, USA
AGE 17 NATION USA / Canada
POSITION LW SHOOTS L
HEIGHT 183 cm / 6'0" WEIGHT 73 kg / 161 lbs
NHL DRAFT Prospect eligible for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft
RANKINGS Ranked #123 by Hockeyprospect.com
Ranked #132 by ISS Hockey
Ranked #55 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Father: Peter Marsh
Updated 2x at 2:13 PM: With the 170th pick, the Red Wings have selected...
Stay tuned for updates.
Updated 3x at 12:58 PM: With the 140th overall pick, the Red Wings have selected...
Pearson on Elite Prospects:
BIRTHYEAR 1997-08-23 BIRTHPLACE Cornwall, ON, CAN
AGE 17 NATION Canada / USA
POSITION C SHOOTS L
HEIGHT 189 cm / 6'2" WEIGHT 86 kg / 190 lbs
NHL DRAFT 2015 round 5 #140 overall by Detroit Red Wings
RANKINGS Ranked #153 by Hockeyprospect.com
Ranked #193 by ISS Hockey
Ranked #123 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Father: Scott Pearson
This isn't going to go over well today, but it's news, so: the Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Ken Holland about the team's direction heading into free agency, and it sounds like the Wings might very well sit tight and go with the youngsters--which is an OK direction in my opinion:
"I think we're going with our young players," general manager Ken Holland said when asked about the team's plans to improve. "You look at what happened over the last two years, not only in Detroit but in Grand Rapids. We're going to give Larkin a real chance to make our team, based on the way he played at Michigan and the World Championships and in Grand Rapids. Teemu Pulkkinen has got to come up. One of the young defensemen is going to be on the team.
"That's the direction we're going. They're good young players. They need an opportunity. When you look at the unrestricted free agent market, I can't tell you that there's not some players there that won't be better for us in the short term, but eventually, how do we get these younger players to the point where they are legitimate NHL pros. They've got to play at the NHL level."
In looking at the free agent market, with so few quality players available, the higher-end ones will draw tremendous competition. Forward Matt Belesky is going to be pursued by at least a dozen teams, and that's without knowing if his career season reveals who he really is - or is he the next David Clarkson? Belesky turned down what is believed to be four years and $16 million from Anaheim. Washington's Joel Ward is a possible option.
Defenseman Mike Green interests the Wings because he's productive and shoots right, but since he's one of the few decent defensemen available, he'll probably get in the neighborhood of $5-6 million and five years. That much term will be a deterrent for the Wings.
It comes down to this: If a team is going to spend big, it should be on a player the team loves, not one that appeals chiefly because other options are so dismal.
As for going the trade route, the Wings have had numerous conversations, but "there's been nothing close to doing a deal," Holland said.
St. James continues, talking about Dylan Larkin's future and the Wings' salary-and-player situation going forward.
Update: The Wings posted videos of Evgeny Svechnikov and Vili Saarijarvi speaking with the media...
Updated 2x at 12:19 PM: With the 110th pick in the NHL draft, the Red Wings have selected...
Stay tuned for updates.
Updated 9x at 2:42 PM: With the 73rd overall pick in the 3rd round, the Red Wings have selected:
Prepare for updates shortly.
Saarijavi wasn't ranked by NHL.com, but DRW Prospects has seen him play...
I sort of scratched my head when the Free Press's Helene St. James posted these quotes in her first-draft article about the Wings' drafting of Evgeny Svechnikov...
Detroit's first-rounder from 2013, Anthony Mantha, had a more tepid pro debut. Jeff Blashill, promoted to the Wings head coaching job from Grand Rapids, knows Mantha better than anyone in the organization, and cautioned patience.
"I think Anthony first of all is a great young guy," Blashill said. "I think he had a high, high expectation level that to me was unfair from the beginning. That's what I thought from the very beginning. I think he got injured at a hard spot."
Mantha broke a leg at training camp, sidelining him for two months and essentially wiping out a summer's worth of conditioning.
"I thought he made progress through the year," Blashill said. "Like a lot of other prospects, he's going to have to continue to make progress. Him and I have talked about what that specific progress is. But I think he's got a high ceiling, and he's got a big body and high ability - now he needs to find a way to reach that ceiling. Hopefully he's doing that every day throughout the summer."
And now, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's article ties it together with comments from Ken Holland that let us know something very simple: there may not be any "untouchables" on the Red Wings or any other team, but Mantha's not fallen out of favor with the team or its management:
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.