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George’s crazy theory: what the Wings really need is a #3 defenseman

So I have a theory, and if it sounds too preposterous even for TMR, so be it.

Instead of pondering what would have happened had Tim Thomas not conveniently negated 2 Red Wings goals over the course of Saturday night's loss and Tuesday's disappointing 3-2 shootout loss to the Panthers (who will head to Tampa Bay to face the Lightning, who dropped a 6-5 shootout decision to Washington on Tuesday evening, when the teams tangle on Thursday) I'm going with this:

I believe that the Red Wings desperately miss having a veteran #3 defenseman who could be thrown over the boards to right a listing ship the way they could toss Kris Draper over the boards when the forwards were struggling, and even given that Danny DeKeyser's injured, I would suggest that the team needs to do what's necessary to find an established second-pair defenseman to both help the team's puck movement and especially to steady the Wings defensively.

I think the Wings would have to both take on and move considerable salary, a defenseman (Quincey? Kindl?) and a second-tier prospect or two to make the deal happen, but I think adding a veteran presence and real support for the Kronwall-Ericsson pairing may be more important than any other move the Wings could possibly make right now.

I know that the team tends to prefer to make such moves closer to the trade deadline, but as far as I'm concerned, a 15-9-and-8 record suggests that the team has to finally address the departures of Brian Rafalski, Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart as soon as it possibly can to ensure that the team isn't scrambling for a playoff spot again come February, March and April.

Update: Obvious question is obvious: what do you think that the Wings "need?"

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Comments

Chet's avatar

i like where your head’s at, but let’s aim a bit higher—ericsson really should be the team’s #3 but he’s playing on a top pairing. don’t we really need a #2?

if that happened, Q would have to be the guy moved out or the regular scratch. god, he’s just thrown awful on top of more awful so far.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/10/13 at 11:59 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

George ... its not a crazy theory ... you are absolutely right.

I think Holland was hoping Queasy would be that ‘veteran’ amongst the kids that he could depend on, but it ain’t happenin’.

Between that, DeKeyser out again, Helmer out again, and Weiss not providing any offence ... we’re in a hole that is about waist deep that’s awkward to climb out of.

It’s frustrating when your just that close to success but can’t quite get there.

Once Helm & DeKeyser come back and Weiss ‘figures it out’ and starts scoring, can they make up for the need of a veteran defenceman ??

Personally, I’m on your side.  I say make the trade.  Its always good to have an experienced veteran defenceman with a little snarl ... especially in the playoffs.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 12/11/13 at 12:30 AM ET

DocF's avatar

The only responsible defenceman I know of who may be affordable would be Tim Gleason with the Hurricanes.  How about Quincy, Weiss, and a third round draft choice for Gleason?  He would think he had died and gone to heaven to have a few responsible blue liners on his team.  Kronwall and Ericsson need someone else who can settle the troops.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 12/11/13 at 12:37 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

This is going to sound equally crazy, but I’d like to see the Wings go after Alex Edler, even though he’s struggling worse than Quincey in Vancouver and his $5 million cap hit belies absolutely ginormous real-world salary numbers.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/11/13 at 12:46 AM ET

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How about Quincy, Weiss, and a third round draft choice for Gleason?

Are you a Canes fan? Giving up on Weiss already? LOL.
For Gleason - a career minus player who wont get you 20 points in a season and is a horribly negative corsi player 5 on 5.

Posted by fromdowntown on 12/11/13 at 12:49 AM ET

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Ginormous real-world salary numbers?

Posted by Garth on 12/11/13 at 01:05 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Humongous big. Split evenly between salary and signing bonuses, here are his numbers:

2013-2014: $6 million in total compensation;
2014-2015: $8.5 million in total compensation;
2015-2016: $12 million in total compensation;
2016-2017: $12 million in total compensation;
2017-2018: $12 million in total compensation;
2018-2019: $8.5 million in total compensation.

And he’s played in 27 games, and has 9 points and is a -12 under John Tortorella.

He’s 27, 6’3” and 215 pounds, and the Wings wanted to draft him with the pick they used to draft Franzen back in 04.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/11/13 at 01:19 AM ET

perfection's avatar

I don’t think it’s worth it. We have too many kids on D about to come up over the next two or three seasons. The last thing we need is another longterm contract on the back end. The Ericsson signing was that contract. If we target a 2nd pair vet, I think it should be a rental at the deadline for a pick. Something with exactly the gain you’re looking for, but with little of the risk. We then have the space and flexibility this offseason to either resign the rental if they prove to be serviceable, sign another UFA, or bring up Almquist (or another kid) now that he’s out of waivers.

And while you briefly mention DeKeyser being out of the lineup, I think that’s having a huge effect on our team. When Ericsson was out, DeKeyser showed that he has the chops to play on the top line with little problem. I saw very few mistakes out of him and he was just about leading the team in min every night for a stretch there. The big question mark with him (and Helm) is can he stay healthy? If he can, he’s only going to keep getting better with experience and will easily be a high-end #3 dman come playoff time.

Short term, he just needs to stay healthy for a good long stretch, but long term I have really high hopes for the kid. It’s not so much that he’s exceeding everyone’s expectations it’s that he’s doing it with such ease.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 12/11/13 at 01:48 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

Edler ??  Feh !!  If we were going to steal a d-man from Vancouver I’d rather it be Bieksa ... but that ain’t gunna happen.

I think its time to go back to a UFA I was begging for a few years ago.  I think its time to lure Willie Mitchell over to the Red side.

He’s a 35+ veteran ... contract expiring ... still has some snarl left ... always plays big in the playoffs.  Not only that but, if LA insists on something substantial in the way of compensation ... Queasy would fit in kinda nice in the Kings style.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 12/11/13 at 03:23 AM ET

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Detroit doesn’t need a #3 as they have a surfeit of middle tier dmen already.  What they don’t have is a #1, whose presence would completely remake the roster and move the guys they already have into roles they would fit much better.

Right now Detroit doesn’t even really have pairings, given that Lashoff is a 4A player who shouldn’t have a regular shift and is a sub-optimal option on any specialty team.  They play 5 guys a lot and the #6 not much at all.

Adding a true, legit lead dman would give you the following pairings:

Lead D - Kronwall
Ericsson-Quincey
Kindl-Smith.

That would be fine. Once Dekeyser comes back, Kindl and Smith would rotate scratches to the hot player and Quincey would be on the third pairing.

On a more general note, the addition of a dman would provide a little more aid to Howard, who for 5.3 a year apparently can’t hold a third period lead to save his life, nor make a critical SO save to earn an extra point.  We are approaching the point where this will have to be deemed something of a lost season for him, and where Babcock will move away from a pure timeshare (which is appalling enough given the financial investment in Howard) to a 2 for 1 split in Gustavsson’s favor.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/11/13 at 03:59 AM ET

Chet's avatar

That’s all well and good, but you don’t just pick a Keith or a doughty or an Eckman Larsson off of trees…

those guys are drafted and developed, it is not a layup. simply not realistic, absent gutting the roster and some major prospects, and even then less than a guarantee… it’s not like the team that holds those players’ rights is going to just take four guys who suck for one guy who’s good… that only works with your idiot rotisserie buddies…

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/11/13 at 05:20 AM ET

Chet's avatar

All joking aside, the other problem is the cap. Teams are up against it, as well as roster spots, which means that you cannot just take three shitty guys from us for one of your good guys. why? Because the salary moving both ways will be the same, and roster spots will be eaten up. The simple fact is that at the NHL level, The Detroit redwings have at least three if not five terrible contracts, and no GM in the league is dumb enough to blindly help us out, at least for now. Holland is not a genius, Holland has made mistakes recently. Babcock is still a great coach, but the roster is not optimal. There is no longer a window, given the cap, for some blockbuster trade we automatically win because other GM’s are stupid. Those days are gone. Time to excepted, and except the drafting and developing is the way to go. That’s not saying that a few prospects could not be moved for something useful, but to suggest that all of the wings cap and terrible roster woes can be solved by one magical Ken Holland move is just unrealistic. Frankly, if they aren’t aware at this point of the glut of young players they have under contract who are not developing at the NHL level, they are doing an even bigger disservice to this team. The real problem starts in a couple years, once the current stars retire and the cupboard is less than what the fans are used to. This is no longer a matter of free agency, not even trades. To win a cup, you must develop from within and win on cap – friendly contracts wherein cheap or young players overachieve, and the idea of 3 in a row is pretty foreign. We are all spoiled, that’s that.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/11/13 at 05:29 AM ET

Chet's avatar

(typos due to dictating into a phone. if any GMs out there want to hire me part time, i’m a los angeles area lawyer who would love to help!)

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/11/13 at 05:42 AM ET

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Kindl has to step up or get shipped out. Give him the minutes.

Posted by leftwing on 12/11/13 at 06:32 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

The D man you want might not be immediately available, so what about this : Ship Howard plus (Q?) to Buffalo for Miller.

Posted by MoreShoot on 12/11/13 at 07:21 AM ET

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If Edler’s available, absolutely. Not sure if Trader Kenny knows how to swing a deal in salary cap age anymore—he used to always take on big salaries—but Wings problems are definitely on D.

Posted by manitobaredwingfan on 12/11/13 at 08:32 AM ET

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2013-2014: $6 million in total compensation;
2014-2015: $8.5 million in total compensation;
2015-2016: $12 million in total compensation;
2016-2017: $12 million in total compensation;
2017-2018: $12 million in total compensation;
2018-2019: $8.5 million in total compensation.

Not sure where those numbers are coming from.  Capgeek has them as:

2013-14 $3,250,000
2014-15 $4,250,000
2015-16 $6,000,000
2016-17 $6,000,000
2017-18 $6,000,000
2018-19 $4,500,000

According to them the signing bonus “is also included in the NHL Salary column” so the numbers I’ve listed are his real world numbers, meaning the most he’ll ever make above his cap hit is $1M a season.  With the numbers you provided his cap hit would be $8.83M.

Kindl has to step up or get shipped out.

Huh?  He’s far from the worst guy on our D.

Posted by Garth on 12/11/13 at 09:10 AM ET

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At this point I’d love to see a Howard and Quincey for Miller deal.  But it can’t happen!  Howard has a No Movement Clause until 2015 and a No Trade Clause until 2018.  Basically, the way we feel about Samuelson, Cleary, etc. now, is the way we’ll feel about Howard next year when he’s standing in the way of Mrazek. 

This should be one of the most exciting times as a Wings fan with all the great young talent coming up, and instead it’s turned into one of the worst times I can remember in nearly 30 years following this team.  Ugh.

Posted by Wise1 on 12/11/13 at 09:15 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

But it can’t happen! 

Because a NY boy would refuse to play in Buffalo?

Posted by MoreShoot on 12/11/13 at 09:18 AM ET

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one of the worst times I can remember in nearly 30 years following this team.

At least you’re not overreacting.

Posted by Garth on 12/11/13 at 09:31 AM ET

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Because a NY boy would refuse to play in Buffalo?

No, because a Red Wing wouldn’t want to play for the Sabres.  Can you blame him?

I love Jimmy, I just think I might love Mrazek even more once he gets his shot in the NHL.  I think it’s a similar situation to the one the Blackhawks found themselves in years ago when they had an established star in Belfour at the same time as a young Hasek.  Belfour and Hasek both had stellar careers, it’s just that I would have rather had Hasek.

Posted by Wise1 on 12/11/13 at 09:47 AM ET

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You’ve written lots of crazy, stupid, assinine, etc. things over the years.  This doesn’t make the top 500.

Posted by jkm2011 on 12/11/13 at 10:09 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

I’m in the “We’ve got a Top 3 D-man. His name is Danny and he’s injured right now” camp.  Plus, he’s just an NHL baby.  He’s going to get better.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure we can pull in a Top 3 D-man this season.  If Kenny can pull of such a trade, it probably won’t be what we want it to be (i.e. Cleary, Quincy, and Sammy for somebody useful) but it will have to be a Tatar, Mrazk, and/or an Almquist going the other way.  Other teams don’t want our dead weight, they want our future. 

Look, we’re still a play-off team right now.  Once we get to March & April, we’ll have the distraction of the Olympics behind us, hopefully we’ll be as close to full health as an NHL team can be, and I think we’ll have a pretty solid squad.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 12/11/13 at 10:25 AM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

Hate to say it but I agree, we need a number 1 defenseman.  Not knocking Ericsson at all.  I think he or Kronner could be the #2 man easily. DeKeyser has played great and I’m fine with him on the second pairing.  I agree with George that a veteran presence is needed just to calm the nerves and boost the confidence.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 12/11/13 at 10:27 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Posted by jkm2011 on 12/11/13 at 10:09 AM ET

Insightful post right here. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 12/11/13 at 10:38 AM ET

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Where you going to find that No. 1?!

Kronwall, Ericsson, Dekeyser and [Suter would have been perfect here, but I’d settle for Edler] would be a fine top 4.  Kindl and Smith could round out the top 6.  Lashoff shouldn’t be playing regulalry, he’s an okay No. 7 for spot duty.  Quincey is just awful… what a waste of a 1st rd. pick in that trade.  The question is, where is Det. going to get this No. 3/4?!  No one is taking Quincey, Sammy, Cleary back in a trade.  I’d be surprised if any team even wants Kindl… perhaps Smith has a bit of trade value, with his “upside.”

Posted by Uncle Rico on 12/11/13 at 10:47 AM ET

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I totally agree with George that we need a solid vet D.  But who?  I need specifics.  I’m constantly trying to work capgeek to figure out the move Kenny ‘should’ make, and nothing is workable given the cap restrictions.  Nobody wants our trash (Cleary, Samuelson, Quincey, Smith)!

To all those saying, “Don’t panic, we’ll still make the playoffs.”  Scrapping into the playoffs isn’t good enough for me.  We need to be better than damn Leaf fans.  Ask yourself how you felt a few years ago when contemplating life without Lidstrom.  Now ask yourself what you think life will be like without Datsyuk.  WE NEED TO WIN NOW!  There’s only a few elite years left for the Datsyuk Zetterberg combo, and this is shaping up to be a wasted year of them in their primes.

Posted by Wise1 on 12/11/13 at 10:50 AM ET

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Wise1, totally agree. In 6 years I see a Red wings Team that may look like the New York Islanders except with no “big” names. Please move Quincey, just get him off the team even for a draft pick. We are better playing AHL players like almquist etc… Lashoff is more defensive than Quincey and Lashoff is horrible! Quincey is someone you put on the ice when you’re beating a team 7-0 and you feel bad for the other team so you put Q on there to “even the score” a bit. And I still have faith in Wiess, we’ll have him for at least another year before we do anything. Howard is playing horribly, he’ll be better soon too though. Not worried, although I feel like if I strapped on skates I could probably get one past him on the shootout, he seriously looks *#$%@& confused during the shootout. But we need to just take this year and say, “Oh well”. Sammy, cleary, and Q should be gone next year if everything stays the way it’s been going.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 12/11/13 at 11:09 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Edited Edler numbers. Still high: $4.25 million, $6.25 million, $9 million, $9 million, $6 million and $4.25 million.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/11/13 at 12:45 PM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

I don’t believe there is one to be had by us.  However, I still think we need one.  My guess is we’ll stick with what we’ve got the whole season.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 12/11/13 at 01:03 PM ET

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That’s all well and good, but you don’t just pick a Keith or a doughty or an Eckman Larsson off of trees…

No, really?

it’s not like the team that holds those players’ rights is going to just take four guys who suck for one guy who’s good

No, really?

That’s not saying that a few prospects could not be moved for something useful, but to suggest that all of the wings cap and terrible roster woes can be solved by one magical Ken Holland move is just unrealistic.

Help me out here, has someone suggested that and I missed it?

I get that you got on a roll and started a lot of stream of consciousness type stuff there, but I don’t know exactly where your comments are directed.

In order for Detroit to get a lead dman they’d have to give up value for value, at least value as perceived by the team which they were trading with.

If, for instance, Detroit offered:

Franzen, Tatar or Nyquist, Kindl or Smith, and then 2 #1’s to Nashville for Weber… that’s a framework for getting that deal done.  Detroit might have to sub in a prospect for Kindl/Smith, but we’re pretty close to value equal there, especially for Nashville.

Nashville needs to start over, they can’t do that with Weber and Rinne both on the roster. and Weber’s got far more trade value than Rinne does.

If not Weber, you can make a similar package for a bunch of other guys who aren’t as good but who could still serve as a lead dman, just not a dominant #1.

Yes, it would be both difficult and risky… but at least there’s some kind of actual upside to a move like that.  Acquiring another #2-4 dman when the team already has 5 of them is pointless.  I’d rather see the team move for a forward before I’d want them to move for another middle third dman.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/11/13 at 01:08 PM ET

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George,
That’s still 6.5 cap hit. Signing bonus counts against cap hit. The bonuses must be included in his salary or the whole thing is wrong.

Posted by teldar on 12/11/13 at 01:51 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Capgeek states that the signing bonuses are averaged in the cap hit, and I’m going by their estimation there. The same thing works for Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/11/13 at 02:01 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Like Garth said, you don’t add the signing bonus on top of the NHL salary column.

In that year Edler makes $6M with a $3m signing bonus, his overall salary is $6M.

All a signing bonus does is earn him that amount on July 1st of the league year in which it’s earned, meaning that year Edler will get a $3M check during the summer and then will have the remaining $3M in salary spread out over the course of the season.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/11/13 at 02:10 PM ET

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Capgeek states that the signing bonuses are averaged in the cap hit

Actually it says that his bonus is part of his “NHL Salary” number.  You have to mouse over the “?” beside the Signing Bonus column.

Posted by Garth on 12/11/13 at 03:27 PM ET

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Nashville needs to start over…

Uhmm. No They don’t.

they can’t do that with Weber and Rinne both on the roster.

Uhmm. Yes, they should. It would be stupid to get rid of a teams best player when he’s only 28. Weber is what you might call a cornerstone upon which a building would be founded on. And, well, Rinne ain’t going anywhere due to a no movement clause and and a no trade clause. I guess that’s why you think Weber has more trade value because that guy can actually be traded.

Just quickly looking at Nashville’s players and their contracts it would seem if they could find a taker, like Detroit?, for Josi, that would be a dream for them. That guy is paid $4 million per season. That’s the guy I’d be trying to move if my team were Nashville and “starting over”.

you can make a similar package for a bunch of other guys who aren’t as good but who could still serve as a lead dman,

Do you mean guys with enough skill as, say, Jonathan Ericsson?

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 12/12/13 at 07:01 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.