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Afternoon diversion: on the draft, a previous Red Wings draft and Ken Holland’s trade trigger point

Because weather issues forced the Dallas Stars to fly into Detroit today, they didn't hold a morning skate. As such, the Dallas News's Mike Heika and DallasStars.com's Mark Stepneski offered their game-day updates within the last hour, and the Wings' website has just wrapped up their game-day coverage. Those stories and videos are located in the post dedicated to the news stories originating from the Red Wings' morning skate ahead of tonight's rematch between a team that wrecked the Wings' home opener and a Wings team absent first-period goals and boasting an underperforming 2-for-26 power play (the game starts tonight at 7:30 PM, and will air on FSD Plus, FS SW Plus and WXYT AM).

This afternoon, we're going to talk about two pertient issues involving the Red Wings' personnel in the present and future tenses (mostly future) for a little bit. According to ESPN's Craig Custance (in his Insider-only blog), the NHL and NHLPA have decided that every team will now have some chance of winning a draft lottery now involving 30 teams instead of 5 [edit: make that 14 teams instead of 5, with every team that doesn't make the playoff cut earning a spot in the draft lottery], and landing the #1 overall pick over the course of the new CBA...

This year's draft in New Jersey will be the first under the new CBA. In the previous system, only the five worst teams had a chance at the No. 1 overall pick, with the remaining teams moving up a maximum of four spots if they won the lottery. That limitation is gone now.

According to an NHL source, the league and the NHLPA still haven't finalized exactly how the weighted lottery will look. According to the source, if the two sides don't agree to a change, the percentages will be the same as under the previous CBA with the difference being that any team can earn the No. 1 pick. Using those percentages, the team that finishes with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of picking first. The No. 14 team is 0.5 percent. If the season ended Tuesday morning the Capitals would have an 18.8 percent chance of picking first and the Flyers a 10.7 percent chance. Putting Seth Jones on the Flyers and MacKinnon on the Capitals could significantly shift the balance of power in the Eastern Conference.

That's particularly important given that this year's crop of prospects is supposed to be deep and possesses two franchise players in the making in Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon, and a draft lottery involving all 30 teams potentially moving up a couple of spots based upon something other than their finishing spot in the regular season or playoffs might yield more traded picks.

As far as the draft involves the Red Wings, Ken Holland, Jim Nill and the Wings' front office like to suggest that it will take anywhere from 5 to 7 years before the players they pick will be anywhere near NHL ready, and that time frame's particularly convenient for today as Hockey's Future's Adam Schnepp has penned a review of the Red Wings' 2008 draft class.

The Wings picked six players in 2008; we can suggest that Julien Cayer, Stephen Johnston and Jesper Samuelsson will probably never play for the Wings, but Max Nicastro is something of a reclamation project in progress, reinventing himself as a steady, physical defenseman after being drafted as a 6'2," 170-pound puck-mover--who wound up growing into a 6'3," 225-pound behemoth--and one of the other Wings prospect drafted in 2008 is definitely reaching Jakub Kindl-style "fish or cut bait" status...

Thomas McCollum, G, Guelph Storm (OHL) – 1st round, 30th overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 1

Few prospects have been as enigmatic as McCollum. Once considered the future between the pipes for the Red Wings, McCollum found himself in the ECHL at the start of the 2011-12 season. Coming into the 2012-13 season it appeared that his career was at a crossroads; either he taps into the talent that got him drafted or he would find himself out of the Red Wings' long term plans.

McCollum has answered the bell. His current goals allowed average of 2.69 is the lowest of his AHL career, and the first time he has been able to break the goals allowed average threshold of three. Similarly, his current save percentage of .899 is the closest he has been in his four year AHL career to a save percentage over .900. While McCollum still is not the starter in Grand Rapids (that distinction goes to rising star Petr Mrazek), he has undoubtedly improved his game. Whether he has improved enough remains to be seen; his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season.

One thing that bodes well for McCollum from, at the very least, an experience standpoint is that he has been recalled by the Red Wings to serve as the back-up for Jimmy Howard while Jonas Gustavsson is out with a groin injury.

But the player the Wings drafted in the fourth round in 2008 is, without a doubt, a star in the making:

Gustav Nyquist, LW, Malmo Jr. (Sweden Jr.) – 4th round, 121st overall
Status: Prospect
NHL Games Played: 19

While Nyquist still qualifies as a prospect, he possesses the skill of an NHL player. The Red Wings brass have not been bashful in their declaration of Nyquist as a future top-six forward, but the log jam up front in Detroit has kept Nyquist temporarily in the AHL.

A spectacular three year career at the University of Maine was simply foreshadowing for what was to come for Nyquist, who finished as a top ten finalist for the Hobey Baker Award during his sophomore and junior seasons. Nyquist left Maine after his junior season to begin his professional career with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.

Nyquist has made his mark on the AHL, posting 102 points in 106 career AHL games over three seasons. At the NHL level Nyquist's point production has been less prolific, but his skill is still visible. He now has one goal and six assists in 19 career NHL contests, but his combination of above-average defensive play, smooth skating, and great vision should make him a staple of the Red Wings in the very near future.

The Red Wings' front office wants to "see what it's got" up front for at least another month, so the team's chosen to allow Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and defensive stalwart-to-be Joakim Andersson continue to pile up experience, ice time and points in Grand Rapids, but we're heading back to Custance's article (again, ESPN Insider-only, sorry) for the final chapter of this little afternoon diversion for a reason:

I've been suggesting that the Wings have until February 5th or February 7th to prove that they can get through 9 or 10 games with at least a halfway decent record before the front office chooses to make some moves to accentuate their personnel.

It turns out that Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to Custance about both the draft to come and his attempts to "draft" the best tam possible.

Because the Wings are so banged-up (see: Darren Helm, back, out for at least another week; Mikael Samuelsson, groin, status unknown; Jonas Gustavsson, groin, likely back this weekend; Jan Mursak, shoulder, status unknown; Ian White, quadriceps issue, out for at least another week; and Carlo Colaiacovo, shoulder, out for at least two more weeks), Holland believes that attempting to make moves 10 games into a 48-game season isn't a good idea. Once the Wings are healthier, however, and once the team's gotten through the month of February, which includes 15 games played over the course of 28 nights, Holland believes that he'll know what his current personnel can accomplish, and what he needs to add to his team's roster:

"Twenty games," he said during a pregame chat Friday. "Once you get to 20 games, you'll have a read of what you've got, where we fit."

That gives Holland until the end of February to wait out injuries and slow starts to see where things stand. It's also 42 percent into this season compared with 30 percent during a regular season. For the Red Wings, and every other team fighting for playoff position this year, waiting until the end of February to address needs may be too late.

"Even if it is, if you're looking to do something, you can only do something if you have a partner," Holland said. "At the end of the day, it takes 20 games to figure out who you are and what you've got … you've got to set expectations realistically. In the meantime, we have to find ways to win games."

Ain't that the truth...and now we know. The Wings will start doing things like bringing Nyquist up and/or making moves around March 1st (if necessary).

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Comments

Avatar

“Even if it is, if you’re looking to do something, you can only do something if you have a partner,” Holland said.

Fifteen games away from his “trade trigger” and he’s already got an excuse at the ready.

Posted by Garth on 01/29/13 at 04:01 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Fifteen games away from his “trade trigger” and he’s already got an excuse at the ready.

Posted by Garth on 01/29/13 at 04:01 PM ET

Gotta admit, it is a valid one.

You can’t trade with yourself.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 01/29/13 at 05:00 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Looking back…even the Wings had to…overpay…for talent. Think Primeau and Coffey for Shanahan wasn’t an overpayment given what they did in 1996?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 01/29/13 at 05:18 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Fifteen games away from his “trade trigger” and he’s already got an excuse at the ready.

Posted by Garth on 01/29/13 at 04:01 PM ET

you (and many others) continue to seemingly think that being an NHL GM is the same in real life as a video game. Meaning if the trade is “fair” then you can just do it and if it’s not done, it’s due to negligence of some sort. such an absurd viewpoint. you think there’s a lot of teams out there seriously interested in HELPING the Wings? Maybe Yzerman and a few other Eastern conference teams, but that’s about it. For the Red Wings to pry away Yandle, for example, would probably be at an utterly absurd cost. Even if they are a willing “partner”, if their asking price is Datsyuk and Smith for Yandle the only negligent thing Ken Holland could do is not tell them to fuch off and slam down the phone. But we aren’t privy to those details (ie. rejected deals, etc) so it’s really impossible to know what Holland is and isn’t attempting to do behind the scenes.

Was Holland negligent in not being able to sign Suter? IMO, the true negligence and poor managing would have been if Holland wasted the cap space needed to sign Suter the previous season overpaying for one of the average and extremely overpriced UFA’s so many here were roasting him for not signing. Not even being able to go after Suter because you’re paying James Wisniewski $7mil a year would have been TRUE horrible management. After that, it was on Suter. There was nothing more Holland could do beyond putting the team in the financial position to be able to sign Suter and then making a competitive bid. Even Illitch flew out which is the ace in the hole. It didn’t work, but it’s definitely not the result of poor managing. 

Sometimes being a stellar GM is what you don’t do. It’s also about the overall health of the club into the future and not JUST about winning the cup this year. People seem to often ham-fistedly overlook this as well. I’m all for armchair GM’ing as it’s all in good fun, but grasping the realities of the job should be a prerequisite, especially when you consistently sling petty insults at someone who has proven to be one of the best at what he does. Obviously he doesn’t get a free pass for eternity, but at the same time, the calls for his head every time a quiet trade deadline passes is just getting tiresome. Especially when those being critical just have NO idea of what teams are offering, what their asking for or if they’d even trade with the Wings in the first place (hello those of you who blamed Ken Holland for not trading for Rick Nash) 

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 01/29/13 at 06:13 PM ET

Avatar

1) Holland doesn’t make trade: He sucks because he isn’t trying.

2) Holland makes trade, loses on trade: He sucks because he tried and failed.

The only outcome that doesn’t result in ‘the fans’ whining is 3) Holland makes trade, team is immediately better.  This feeling goes away in exactly one year at most.  Then see 1 and 2.

A few points. 

-It would be stupid to make a trade now when the team isn’t remotely healthy.  What are the real holes, what are the holes that exist because of a patched together blue-line, and what are the holes that result from a bunch of guys in different roles?

-It would be stupid to try and make a trade before anyone else is ready to make a trade.  We’re barely five bleeping games into the season.  Even the stupidest GMs in the NHL aren’t getting jumpy yet.

-It would be stupid to make a trade for a short term fix now because the Wings aren’t a short term fix away from being a big enough favorite to pay the price of a short term fix.

-It would be stupid to make a trade for almost any long-term player because any long term deal will immediately eat away at the teams ability to retain pretty much any of their approaching UFAs.

The only real exception to that last point is if the Wings move back those impending UFAs in the trade for the long term guy, making the roster trade off explicit and close that cost loop rather than by trading off-roster assets for the long-term addition, which would then not only cost them those off-roster assets but THEN the on-roster assets they’d have to let walk due to lack of cap space.

In short, sorry fans.  It’s stupid to make too much or too many moves either right now or in the near future.  This year isn’t worth it.  They grabbed Huskins.  Kindl’s likely out the door.  That’s about it until much nearer the deadline when (hopefully, for good or ill) the Wings will be in full sell mode.

Then they can get rid of the Cleary’s, Miller’s, White’s et al they either can’t or won’t re-sign, as well as mayyyyybe the Quincey’s, Tootoo’s and Abdelkaders they shouldn’t have signed or perhaps the Filppula’s, Helm’s or Franzen’s they want to keep but would have to move to get a legit elite talent back.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/29/13 at 06:19 PM ET

Avatar

Sometimes being a stellar GM is what you don’t do.

That’s 100% correct.

grasping the realities of the job should be a prerequisite, especially when you consistently sling petty insults at someone who has proven to be one of the best at what he does.

That’s 1000% correct.

Especially when those being critical just have NO idea of what teams are offering, what their asking for or if they’d even trade with the Wings in the first place (hello those of you who blamed Ken Holland for not trading for Rick Nash)

That’s 10000% correct.

You’ve nailed it with that post, perfection.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/29/13 at 06:21 PM ET

henrymalredo's avatar

Looking back…even the Wings had to…overpay…for talent. Think Primeau and Coffey for Shanahan wasn’t an overpayment given what they did in 1996?

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 01/29/13 at 05:18 PM ET

The Wings don’t exactly have a spare HHOF defenseman and a big young center lying around.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 01/29/13 at 06:33 PM ET

Colquhoun's avatar

If we are to be fair:  if we are intent on judging today Ken Holland’s success in 2012-2013 in UFA signings, trades, etc then his failure at signing Ryan Suter ($96 million, minus 5) should be deemed a success. 

Come on.  We’re five games in and banged up as hell.

Posted by Colquhoun on 01/29/13 at 06:43 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

Perfection, your dissertation on Garth’s post was nonsensical and unnecessary.  You point out that Garth is “playing armchair GM” based upon a friggen sentence and state that’s all good fun.  Then you proceed rant why this the quote was misplaced and criticize with a “real-world outlook” of seriousness.

First, you admit that there is no way of knowing what is going on in the Wing’s front office then roll off a half dozen fact scenarios based on presumptions.  The argument that a GM should be judged significantly by what he does not do is flawed.  How would anybody know if Jim Bob GM is every worth a damn then?  Sure passing on certain deals may be a good move but this leaves too much to be desired (i.e. when is the line drawn? 5 years? 10 years?.  Perfection, how do you know Wisniewski was even on the Wings radar other than reading the rumor mill, let alone interested in paying 7M for him?

Second, I think Holland is a great GM but…he has been sitting on his hands in some respect and making pointless acquisitions as well.  Holland knew Lidstrom and Stuart were going to leave for some time.  More than enough time to arrange for some sort of contingency.  Contingency, not replacement.  If the current situation is the enactment of his contingency plan, it is not working well.  Defense by committee makes sense but the level of personnel (i.e. talent) is not there.  Expecting E and Q to take up the time and round out the top four is a joke.  E has improved defensively but is not a top four defenseman on most teams.  Getting Q back has shown to be a decent mistake at this point.  As I’ve said before, the Wings may have only given up a late 1st rounder to Tampa to draft a player who likely would not play for a few years but when you’re building for the strength of the team present or future (as you mentioned) the fails to hold water.  The value for the pick is not there.  If I recall correctly, the Wings gave up a 1st for Stuart and he was a solid fixture in the top four for his tenure (which was quite long).  Q on the other hand appears to be a 5th/6th dman and does not provide any boost to the penalty kill or power play.  A GM should get more value for a 1st.  Moreover, now that pick which could have secured a player with reasonable talent (especially considering the Wings draft record) to fill a spot in the future.  Relying on E to take up top four minutes was also a mistake in judgment on his part.  He is getting bottom 4 money yet is better suited to the bottom pairing.  Holland is not getting the value out of E needed in the cap world.  This goes double for Q.

Maybe the right deal is not out there to fill out the defense (without getting swindled) but that does not explain Holland’s choices the past couple years.  He did not have a viable plan B if the Suter/Weber fishing trip didn’t work out.  Holland is out in no-man’s-land on this issue.  He couldn’t get them, didn’t have enough defense prospects ready in the system to call up but then tries a patch in the meantime.  He should have gone one of two ways; overpay or put the D in rebuild mode (w/ the exception of Kronwall and White who continue be keepers).  He decided on the middle road.  Holland has said that he HAD to sign E.  Why?  He overpaid for a guy that barely makes it into the top 4.  In addition, why sign Coaliaccovo.  I understand it’s only a year deal but you know his injury history and what is he going to bring that could not be band-aided?  Why did he try retooling the D on the fly through the Q trade?  If Holland just the bullet this year he likely would have made the Wings better off in the long run-With cap space and another draft pick.  Moreover, there is always the possibility that Kindl, Smith and Lashoff might have blossomed with the opportunity this year (and at a very reasonable price).  IMO that would have been the best course.  Holland ended up overpaying for marginal talent anyway.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 01/29/13 at 07:02 PM ET

Avatar

Sometimes being a stellar GM is what you don’t do.

So he’s amazing because the team has been on a decline for several years and he’s done nothing to improve them.

How, exactly, is this somehow acceptable, but complaining that he hasn’t improved the team isn’t acceptable?

you (and many others) continue to seemingly think that being an NHL GM is the same in real life as a video game.

Not at all, don’t be ridiculous.  Every GM in the league is working under the same constraints as -and in many cases more than- Detroit.  Yet somehow, miraculously other teams are able to make trades and sign players to make their teams better.  And we all know that Ken Holland is the best GM in the league, right?  So shouldn’t he also be able to make trades and sign free agents in order to make his team better?

Was Holland negligent in not being able to sign Suter? IMO, the true negligence and poor managing would have been if Holland wasted the cap space needed to sign Suter the previous season overpaying for one of the average and extremely overpriced UFA’s so many here were roasting him for not signing.

OK, so enlighten me.  Was he or was he not negligent?  In your words he would be a negligent, poor manager if he signed Suter, right? 

Well, news flash: He was 100% willing to do that.  He hung on for four days waiting for Suter’s decision and if he had had his way, he absolutely would have “wasted” the space it would’ve taken to sign at least Suter, and Parise.

He did everything he could to be a negligent, poor manager, including flying to Wisconsin to meet with Suter in person.

So you yourself have just called him negligent and a poor manager.  On top of that, it was not his decision not to sign Suter and Parise.  The reason they’re not in Detroit is that he failed to sign either of them.  So that makes him an unsuccessful, negligent, poor manager.

And that paragraph I quoted is, paradoxically, you trying to defend him!

Thank you for supporting my argument while thinking that somehow you’re defending him.

The funny thing in all of this?  I would’ve liked to have Suter, but my main problem with the situation is that he ignored all other potential signings while waiting for Suter to decide.  But still, I appreciate that you actually made Holland out to be a terrible GM when I was really just disappointed in some of the signings.

-It would be stupid to make a trade now when the team isn’t remotely healthy.  What are the real holes, what are the holes that exist because of a patched together blue-line, and what are the holes that result from a bunch of guys in different roles?

Well then praise God that I never suggested he make a trade right now.

-It would be stupid to try and make a trade before anyone else is ready to make a trade.  We’re barely five bleeping games into the season.  Even the stupidest GMs in the NHL aren’t getting jumpy yet.

Good thing I never suggested he should try to make a trade before anyone else is ready to make a trade.

-It would be stupid to make a trade for a short term fix now because the Wings aren’t a short term fix away from being a big enough favorite to pay the price of a short term fix.

Luckily, I never suggested that they should make a trade for a short term fix now.

-It would be stupid to make a trade for almost any long-term player because any long term deal will immediately eat away at the teams ability to retain pretty much any of their approaching UFAs.

So glad I never suggested that he trade for anyone on a long-term deal.

Then they can get rid of the Cleary’s, Miller’s, White’s et al they either can’t or won’t re-sign, as well as mayyyyybe the Quincey’s, Tootoo’s and Abdelkaders they shouldn’t have signed or perhaps the Filppula’s, Helm’s or Franzen’s they want to keep but would have to move to get a legit elite talent back.

Good one(s).

you think there’s a lot of teams out there seriously interested in HELPING the Wings?

Don’t be so ridiculous and condescending.  Have you been taking lessons from HockeyinHD? 

You act as if Ken Holland is the only guy in the league that nobody wants to help.  Another news flash: no GM in the league sets out to make any other team better.  They are all trying to make their own team better.  Yet somehow, trades happen.  Two teams get together and try to help themselves.  Some teams win, some lose.  Some win in the short term but lose in the long term and vice versa.

Posted by Garth on 01/29/13 at 10:32 PM ET

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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.