The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/16/17 at 02:18 PM ET
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. MLive's Ansar Khan penned a column of "Ask Ansar" questions and answers, including something I've been saying for a while now:
Q: The Wings are doomed. Hopefully there'll be a new GM to make the expected resulting higher picks. Holland's made too many mistakes. Maybe with Mike (owner Ilitch) gone there'll be a change. Wonder if (senior vice president Jimmy) Devellano could step in temporarily. - Clyde.
A: Holland has one year remaining on his contract and I expect he'll fulfill it. Maybe he'll retire or take another position in the organization after next season.
(At this point, it appears that Kris Draper or Ryan Martin will replace Holland a summer from now)
You can criticize him for giving too much money and term in contracts to Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm and Danny DeKeyser, and for not starting the rebuild a couple years ago, but the playoff streak was important to the organization.
I don't blame them for trying to retool on the fly and doing what they could to keep the run going, including signing veteran free agents Mike Green, Brad Richards, Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek, and unloading Pavel Datsyuk's cap hit, in the process forgoing the opportunity to pick defenseman Jacob Chychrun 16th overall in 2016.
Now that the run has all but officially ended, it's time to rebuild in earnest.
Devellano is not stepping in.
Today was a scheduled day off (the collective bargaining agreement requires that NHL players get four days off per month, and even though the Wings have their World Cup of Hockey-required five-day bye at the end of this month, none of those days counts against the four). The Wings next play Saturday afternoon, when they host the NHL-leading Washington Capitals (2 p.m., FSD, NHL Network), followed by a Sunday matinee at Pittsburgh. It’d be almost a miracle if their losing streak isn’t at seven by Monday. Coming out of their bye week, the Wings go to western Canada, starting a March that features four back-to-backs and the tripleheader Minnesota-Carolina-Carolina adventure. Sixteen games are crammed into 28 days.
The Wings would be best served by shifting to seller mode already, in advance of the March 1 trade deadline. They play two contenders this weekend -- Stanley Cup hopefuls that could have interest in rental players such as pending unrestricted free agents Thomas Vanek and Brendan Smith. Other trade partners include Anaheim (which needs scoring help) and Chicago.
Vanek has been terrific, better than the Wings hoped for when they took a chance on him over the summer. He has raved about how much he and his family like it here. Ideally, general manager Ken Holland sits down with Vanek, talks to him about the benefit of flipping him for a draft pick (Vanek has acknowledged he understands why it could happen) and then reuniting this summer.
In Smith’s case, there is a good chance that he goes elsewhere this summer anyways, so it's better to try to get a draft pick or prospect for him, if possible. If there are good offers for other players -- Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Dylan Larkin are untouchable -- the Wings should stockpile as many draft picks or prospects as possible, with an eye partly on a future package deal for an upgrade on defense.
Update: NHL.com's Arpon Basu weighed in on the "Trade Buzz" surrounding the Red Wings as well:
Detroit's streak of 25 straight seasons reaching the playoffs is in trouble, especially after their loss at home against the Blues on Wednesday, and general manager Ken Holland has to seriously consider cashing in some of his assets at the deadline.
Holland never has been in this position before, so it will be interesting to see his approach.
The Red Wings enter play Thursday last in the Eastern Conference with 54 points, nine points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the playoffs. The Red Wings not only have to catch the Maple Leafs, but also leapfrog the seven teams that sit between them in the standings.
Not a likely scenario.
Forwards Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott and defenseman Brendan Smith can become unrestricted free agents July 1, and each of them has varying degrees of value as trade commodities ahead of the deadline.
Vanek, 33, probably is the most attractive of the three with 14 goals and 36 points in 44 games. He also leads the Red Wings with five power-play goals and 10 power-play points.There reportedly were 18 NHL pro scouts in attendance at the Blues-Red Wings game Wednesday, and although that is rarely a reliable indicator of anything, it is an unusually high number.
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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.