The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/01/13 at 08:43 PM ET
Hey gang, sorry for the shitty timing booger-wise. Bacteria and viruses seem to love snuggling up with my nostrils during back-to-backs. I'm still battling a fever and chills but I will drag my ass to work tomorrow.
I've been out of the loop but feel that it's necessary to weigh in on a few topics:
1. First and foremost, here's hoping that Henrik Zetterberg does come back for Thursday's game, and that Quincey's ready to go, too. The Wings are embracing the grind against the Avs tonight--and I'm fine with Franzen wanting to be playmaker if he's going to rack up as many primary assists on goals as he has of late--but Brendan Smith rather desperately needs a game off to take a mental break, and given the giveaways committed by Jakub Kindl over the last couple of games, he could take a seat to rest and recharge on Thursday as well (Thursday would be an excellent time to give DeKeyser a game even if Quincey's out as Colaiacovo looks rock-solid tonight).
2. I know that tonight's game has all the aesthetic value of mud, but with the Blue Jackets of all teams hot on the Wings' tails, tonight, Thursday in Phoenix, Friday against the Avs again and Sunday's matinee against St. Louis, the Wings are going to have to embrace whatever style is necessary to win games. This team needs to pull away from the playoff pack again, and that means winning at all costs, even if it's playing as hideously as the Avs play on a nightly basis.
3. I'm sure that the knives are out and you've been readying to march on the Joe with pitchforks and torches, hoping to drive Ken Holland to the pillory regarding Jay Bouwmeester going to the Blues...
But given that it was an out-and-out salary dump, and given that the Wings need to re-sign Jimmy Howard and Damien Brunner, make their decisions on Valtteri Filppula, Danny Cleary, Drew Miller and Ian White, based upon the team's need to accommodate the eventual return of Darren Helm and the must-make full-time promotions of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson (cue Cory Emmerton and/or Patrick Eaves possibly losing their jobs to said players), given the team's need to keep the rest of its cap space open to re-sign restricted free agents Kindl, Smith, Nyquist and Andersson, and given that the team will likely watch the cap compliance buy-out market (and probably cut ties with Mikael Samuelsson and Colaiacovo) to see whether they can truly address their need for a top-pair defenseman and a top-six goal-scorer...
There is no way in *#$%@& hell that I would have ever taken on Bouwmeester's $6.68 million salary due in a cap-going-down season without sending salary Calgary's way, and it is incredibly apparent that the Flames simply "dumped" Bouwmeester's salary on the Blues. Ken Holland was SMART to avoid making that move.
4. I'm not happy about Robyn Regehr heading to LA for a pair of picks, but one never knows whether the Wings were consulted about that deal, and Regehr's glacial foot speed makes him a #3/4 defenseman, and the Wings have seven or eight of those players already.
5. I want the Red Wings' management (it was telling that Mark Howe, Ryan Martin, Jim Nill and Holland were all spotted watching the game in the press box--the Wings' management is going to bunker down over the next two seasons) to make good on Holland's promise to look for a non-rental top pair defenseman or goal-scorer as much as you do, but the Wings' management has to consider the team's salary cap situation and the maturation of its prospects going forward, and using that five-dimensional thinking, going after Bouwmeester would have absolutely *#$%@& the team over in all aspects going forward.
The Wings need to give Niklas Kronwall a partner and need to add some offense in case they decide to cut ties with Filppula and/or in case Pavel Datsyuk feels that the pull of being closer to his wife and daughter outweighs his desire to see his #13 raised to the rafters if he plays with the Wings into Igor Larionov 40-plus territory.
If the Wings can't find those players and can't add them in a means that doesn't strip them of top prospects and/or screw their cap situation with no lube going forward, they should stand pat and accept that this rebuilding/transitional year's personnel needs can't be addressed through trades, and will have to wait until the summer to be resolved in a more meaningful and long-term manner.
You can't *#$%@& your future over (pardon the language, but being a probation officer's son tends to bleed through when I'm dippy, dopey and feel miserable) to placate the fan base if you're an NHL team's management staff, and surrendering assets for bit pieces or grabbing and holding onto cap millstones like Bouwmeester are the kinds of trades that the Wings simply cannot afford to make.
6. I'm both sick and bad luck writing during a game--the Avs scored an absolute horseshit goal with Cody McLeod shoving Smith into the crease, and now it's 3-1, not 3-0--but I'll be back tomorrow regardless of how awful I feel because the trade deadline is clearly already here and missing more than 30 hours of news in this 99-day demolition derby of a season is too much to "catch up" with.
*#$%@& Cody McLeod, too (I've hated that prick forever. Chicken shit player). Nearly scoring a goal and dodging Tootoo.
Here's hoping that the Wings are in better shape Wednesday, even if that only means Todd Bertuzzi inching toward a return, Henrik Zeterberg returning on Thursday or Friday and Kyle Quincey continuing to improve.
Update: These words are wiser than we think, from MLive's Ansar Khan...
“I’ve had some conversations with some teams about the odd depth player, and I really don’t have an interest,'' Holland said. “I think we’re a deeper team today than we were six weeks ago and I’m hoping we can get lucky over the next (few) weeks with some of these injured people. I’m not going to spend any assets to acquire any depth players. We have lots of depth.''
The Red Wings have nine defensemen, including Kyle Quincey (who could return this week from a fractured cheek bone), Brian Lashoff (who'll be back from Grand Rapids as soon as the 23-man roster limit is lifted on Wednesday) and Danny DeKeyser, who has yet to make his NHL debut.
But, they still want to acquire a top-pair defenseman. They continue to show interest in Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester, who has another year left at $6.68 million. However, the Red Wings aren't going to peddle their first-round pick in a season when they're not certain to make the playoffs. Phoenix's Keith Yandle is another possibility, even though he has three more years left at $5.25 million per season and the Coyotes surely would want high draft picks and/or a good prospect for him.
The Red Wings also could use a goal-scoring winger. Buffalo reportedly is looking to unload Jason Pominville (one year remaining at $5.3 million) and Drew Stafford (two years left at $4 million per season).
“I don’t think we need any more depth up front,'' Holland said. “If we can do a legitimate trade to acquire a player that we think is a legitimate top-nine or top-six forward or a legitimate top-four defenseman, then we’re going to look. There’s no use for me trading a fourth-round pick to bring in someone to sit.''
With few teams out of the playoff picture, trade activity could be limited.
“Is there a player that someone wants to trade that wants to be a top-six or top-nine forward? Not really, when everyone is trying to win. Today, a couple of teams signed players that were going to be unrestricted free agents (including Edmonton's signing of defenseman Ladislav Smid, whom the Red Wings were interested in). I think between now and Wednesday lots of teams are going to sign some of their players.''
And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
“I don’t think we need any more depth up front,” Holland said. “We’d like to get healthy up front. If we can do a legitimate trade to acquire a player that we think is a legitimate top nine or top six forward or a legitimate top four defenseman then we’re going to look. I don’t need any depth. There’s no use for me trading a fourth-round pick to bring in here someone to sit. We have lots of depth up front and we have lots of depth on defense so we don’t need depth.
“Is there a player that someone wants to trade that wants to be a top six or top nine forward, not really when everyone is trying to win,” Holland continued. “Today a couple of teams signed players that were going to be unrestricted free agents. I think between now and Wednesday lots of teams are going to sign some of their players. I’m working the phones and if there’s a legitimate top six or top nine forward or a legitimate top four D, behind that I don’t think we have (much interest).”
The trade deadline is 3 p.m. Wednesday. Holland will miss the Wings’ charter flight to Phoenix just in case a deal for what he’s looking for happens.
“I think we wake up Wednesday and because of history we’ll have 20-30 trades, but lots of deals will be made for depth,” Holland said. “I’ve had some conversations with some teams about the odd depth player and I really don’t have an interest. Again, because of the development of (Jakub) Kindl, (Brian) Lashoff, Brendan Smith, because of the signing of Dan DeKeyser on defense, we’ve got nine guys here and had to trade away Kent Huskins to make room.
“Because of the development of Joakim Andersson, who we really like,” Holland continued. “(Tomas) Tatar and (Gustav) Nyquist have gotten an opportunity. Because Patrick Eaves is healthy. Because we signed Damien Brunner, who can play in the NHL. You look and we don’t need any depth.”
Update: The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek reports the following:
In Bouwmeester, the Blues pick up a minute-munching defenceman with great speed that should get along nicely with coach Ken Hitchcock, since both are Edmonton natives. St. Louis wanted a defenceman who could play the left side and along with Jordan Leopold, acquired last week from the Buffalo Sabres, now boast a formidable top-four that also includes Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk.
The complication in making the deal, for Flames general manager Jay Feaster, was the $6.68-million (all currency U.S.) owed Bouwmeester on next year’s contract, which disqualified many other possible suitors from bidding for his services. Sources indicated that only the Detroit Red Wings had the cap space and the interest to inquire after Bouwmeester.
So they did try.
Update #2: Here's why the Wings didn't bite, per ESPN's Scott Burnside:
A source told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun that the Blues had tried to get the Flames to eat part of Bouwmeester’s salary -- he has one season left on the books at $6.68 million against the salary cap, slightly less, $6.6 million, in real salary -- but the Flames refused.
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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.