Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Impressions from the second day of the Red Wings’ summer development camp ‘16

The second day of the Red Wings' summer development camp involved a significant amount of layering complexity into drills and ensuring that what players learned during Wednesday's skill development sessions were incoroporated into Thursday's activities.

The Wings' roster got a bit of a boost in that Joe Hicketts and Alfons Malmstrom joined the defense, and Dominic Turgeon got a good skate in for the first time after having shoulder surgery in early June. As noted in today's interviews, Turgeon says that his shoulder is doing quite well and he expects to be at 100% this fall.

Once again, the schedule involved players taking part in drills on both rinks at the same time, and this time I stuck with the West Rink's drills because the players who were involved in Jiri Fischer's skill drills on Wednesday were on "my rink" today. You only get so much "eyeball time" with this format, and I'm doing my damnedest to maximize that time by watching the most players possible take part in the most drills possible.

On Thursday morning, the goaltenders preceded the players onto the ice by a couple of minutes, and they barely got any warm-ups in before the forwards (again, more players = more eyeball time to ensure I give you bang for your buck) took to the ice at 9:30 under the tutelage of Toledo Walleye coach Dan Watson and Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coaches Ben Simon and Mike Knuble.

For the record, 1. Mike McKee is practicing with the forwards and 2. as per custom, the Wings' players are wearing straight-script letters on the backs of their jerseys. The arched font nameplate remains the privilege of a regular-season Red Wing.

With Matej Machovsky, Stephen Dhillon and Connor Hicks as the forwards' goaltenders of note, Wilson and Simon got to work diagramming a drill that was particularly complicated:

3 skaters started at the northeast and southeast corners of the rink, the skaters would skate through center ice, through a set of three coaches providing soft back pressure, against and through a set of 3 skaters coming from the other end of the rink, and then the three skaters would skate in on the opposite-end-of-the-rink's goaltender and send three shots that goaltender's way.

The level of traffic and congestion through center ice threw some players off, but watching the players protect the puck certainly separated the turning-pro and pro players like Svechnikov (who stuck his arm out to protect the puck) and Bertuzzi (who just out-waited and out-turned an opponent) from the younger ones, who struggled with the drill.

Things were no less complicated in terms of the second drill's set-up, but its execution was a little simpler: players lined up in two lines parallel to the faceoff dots at the goal line, and a player standing between a set of gloves at the hash marks would take a pass from the left side, and then the right side, and shoot on the "outside" of the gloves, warming up the goalies in earnest while working on both the skater and goaltender's ability to move laterally and adjust to shots taken from a slightly different angle.

The third drill split the forwards into four groups: the first and second groups continued the "glove drill" while skating in on the goalie from the blueline--with pucks already on their stick blades--and the third and fourth groups lined up opposite nets placed inside the bluelines "horizontally," at which the players worked on one-timers.

The players cycled through the "stations" so that one group worked on one-timers and the other on the lateral-movement shots, and that lasted for about 10 minutes.

The fourth drill was finally a little simpler: players lined up at the bluelines' faceoff dots, and they skated in on either the blocker or glove hand side of the goaltender opposing them, skating on the outside route as two coaches lined up in the faceoff circles would provide defensive pressure. Eventually the coaches became the players who would pass pucks to the skaters as they skated in, and the skaters alternated lines so that they would go on the forehand toward the net and then the backhand toward the net.

Then a total of 3 goal nets were set up through the faceoff dots from blueline to faceoff circles, with their openings pointing sideways, and the players had to skate around the nets and then cut back toward their goaltenders and shoot. This yielded a surprisingly steep skating angle for the players who were cutting toward the net on either their forehand or backhand, and as they cut back against the grain and pulled the puck with them, there were some tumbles to the ice.

The sixth drill involved the nets placed back in a "horizontal" configuration, and as coach Simon explained the situation, players would have to skate around the first net with the toes of their skates pointing outward, "Like a pretzel," and they'd skate through the around the second and third nets lined up about 15 feet apart and fire pucks on the net from the forehand or backhand side.

This drill yielded an iteration where the "pretzel" maneuver was set up before players had to skate on one side of a set of two goal nets lined up through the slot, shooting on one faceoff circle or another, and a few crafty players like Bertuzzi decided that they would thread the needle between the two parallel nets and catch goalies off-guard.

The seventh drill involved a set of 4 skaters working in a box formation as they followed pucks passed side to side by "defensemen" coaches below the goal line, with the 4 skaters taking passes from these "defensemen" and relaying it back to the other side of the ice's "defenseman" as one skater held the puck and the other 3 followed in the box formation...

And the eighth and final drill involved the nets being pushed to the top and bottom of the center-ice faceoff circle, with one red and one white player opposing each other inside the faceoff circle, and two more red or white players standing on the lips of the faceoff circle, unable to enter the circle but allowed to pass and shoot as necessary.

The drill looked like this, with R = red, W = white, and G = goalie.

         R       W
G         W R        G
          R     W

This "street hockey" drill comprised the remainder of the skill-development practice, and it was a raucous affair, with Tyler Bertuzzi winning the game for the red team.

At 10:20, the players took a 15-minute break as both rinks were resurfaced by the Zambonis.

At 10:35, the "teams" hit the West Rink and David's Rink, and I stayed at the West Rink because the players and goalies were ones I hadn't seen yesterday.

My team included Dan Renouf, Dennis Cholowski, Alfons Malmstrom, Joe Hicketts, Vili Saarijarvi, Pat Holway, Jordan Sambrook, Tyler Bertuzzi, Justin Brazeau, David Pope, Julius Vahatalo, Dylan Coghlan, Alex Globke, Jeff de Wit, Luke Kirwan, Patrick McCarron, Griffen Molino, Mike McKee, Chase Perry, Filip Larsson and Joren van Pottelberghe.

The first few drills were simple--2-on-0's and 3-on-0's with passes between players, a 3-on-0, first with a clean 3-on-0 look and then a 3-on-0 vs. two coaches providing soft defensive pressure at the blueline.

Again, things got complicated very quickly: the players executed a dump-in, chase and retrieval in 2-on-2 format, with a reverse play at center ice to skate back in and shoot on the net from whence the dump-in came;

Then the defensemen set up a d-to-d pass behind the goal line that would yield an outlet pass up the wall, to 1 of 2 forwards, a drop pass to a "pinching" defenseman, and ultimately a 4-on-0 situation where one of the forwards would shoot the puck as the defensemen gapped up behind them;

By the time the fourth drill came around, we were back to a "whirlpool" drill in which a player from the southwest corner of the ice would wheel through center and come in on a defenseman from the southeast corner of the ice, who  would try to cut the forward off; this was reversed so that both defenseman and forward had to deal with players skating either on their forehand or their backhand sides;

My fifth drill is described as follows:

Simon will diagram Drill 5: Repositories at 4 corners of bluelines, “You guys are working together,” D at center in referees' crease, F D F, reverse, skate in 2 on 1, or, in English, skaters from the "four corners" of the ice would skate up to the blueline, pass to a defenseman at center ice, that defenseman would return the puck to the forward, and both players would skate in on a 2-on-1;

And the sixth drill was even more complicated:

Four corners repositories, 2 D set up at bluelines, 2 on 2 down low with 2 D working to battle for position as 2 F try to screen goalie, point shot, THEN forwards break out against blueline defenders, play repeats at other end with new forwards, new D fold in at bluelines, or, um...this was a layered version of the "four men slide across laterally" drill from the skill development portion of the day, with actual defensemen playing the defensemen's role and trying to get a shot on the net before defending against the forwards who were initially their allies in attacking.

It's a complicated version of a 2-on-2 becomes a 4-on-0 becomes a 2-on-2 again, with breakouts. If that makes any sense.

Before I get into my player evaluations, I would like to state that this is question time. If you have a question about a prospect or prospects, the camp itself (today's off-ice event is the great cooking class and cooking competition; tomorrow there's a scrimmage at 6 PM) or anything else I'm covering up here, please ask me a question in the comments section, via Twitter or Facebook or email. I'll try to answer as many questions as I can via my remaining 3 reports, and I may do a prospect Q and A after the camp is over if that's something you feel might spice up mid-July.

And again, I must remind you that these observations are one man's viewing of over 40 players based upon about an hour-and-a-half's worth of eyeball time, taken during a summer development camp in which the checks are few and far between and the players are very specifically told that they're not being evaluated by the management. I am doing my absolute best to give you my take on every player, but it's just my take.


51 Chase Berger* C: Berger is, again, a 5'11," 188-pound Penn State University junior, and my observation of the speedy forward remains unchanged from day one: he's a free agent try-out who didn't distinguish himself by doing anything poorly but didn't stand out for doing anything well. The fact that he was in the "other" practice group didn't help, but I just didn't see much of him.

59  Tyler Bertuzzi  LW: Among the prospects, Bertuzzi may be the best player out there, or at least the best player not named Svechnikov. Thrust into a leadership role for the first time, the 6'1," 190-pound forward is blazing through drills he's familiar with, he's executing all the passes, shots (my goodness, his off-the-toe shot is superb) and checks that he's supposed to, he's in the right position all the time, and his enthusiasm and easygoing nature are matched with his hard work and determination.

But he's somebody coming off a very mediocre regular season performance, he's still got some strength to fill in this summer, and he still projects--to me--to be someone of a Dallas Drake-like ability to get in on the forecheck and crash and bang bodies with his speed, and to make deceptively smart plays with his upright skating stride and vision. He hasn't had the opportunity to go to the front of the net and stay there, so it will be interesting to see how he does in the scrimmages.

He needs to play with this kind of confidence in the prospect tournament this fall, and during the AHL season, to really establish himself as one of the team's brightest prospects.

86  Mike Borkowski +  C: Borkowski's a 6,' 183-pound graduate of Colgate University, and his shooting technique and shot have caught my eye. He's still "not very tall and not very big," but he's got a wicked wrister, and my notes repeatedly mention his shot as an asset.

89  Justin Brazeau *  RW: I am trying really hard to figure Justin Brazeau out. At 6'4" and 192 pounds, with a long stick and a good stride, I'm seeing tools and decent skating speed, but I'm also seeing somebody who can get tripped or tumbled very easily. Is he a power forward in the making? Is he someone who was passed over in the draft because of a bad draft year season in North Bay? I don't know yet.

74  Kyle Criscuolo + C: The 5'8," 165-pound Griffins-contracted forward was better today. He's one of the smallest players at the camp, but I noted that he was able to use his lack of size and strength as an advantage in getting around players, and his shot impressed me. 

85  Jeff de Wit *  C: Also hard to figure out. At 6'3" and 189 pounds, this Red Deer Rebels product should offer more than he does. He's still earning "OK" grades and bobbing and floating among the free agent signees who swim along but don't stand out.

54  Christopher Ehn  C: Boy, Ehn can be a puzzle. There are times that the 6'2," 180-pound left-shooting center out of Frolunda looks like he's got oodles of promise as a two-way forward who can skate with great maneuverability and sneak little passes and shots off that surprise goalies, but at other times, he looks painfully thin and painfully easy to knock off the puck. He's still got work to do despite having made the SHL while playing against bigger and stronger men.

82  Mattias Elfstrom  LW:  Big and raw at 6'3" and 194 pounds, he put away some very pretty goals and looked solid out there as an overall rating, but he reminds me of Julius Vahatalo at 18, all arms, legs and lots of potential tucked away in a project player. He's going to play for Malmo's J20 team and find his way against his peers before he graduates to the men's team.

70  Alex Globke +  C: At 6'3" and 206 pounds, the Lake Superior State graduate and Griffins contract needs to have a stand-out scrimmage and hopefully can come to the fall prospect tournament to display some of the promise he has in past development camps. He was sharper today and made my notes as someone involved in the drills, but he hasn't wowed me with that understated skill that he displayed last year at this time.

96  Axel Holmstrom C: Axel isn't skating today. He's taking care of a knee that needed to be rehabbed minus surgery, and he told me that the Red Wings' trainers and strength coaches are giving him slightly different ways of rehabbing it that he didn't learn in Sweden. It sucks that the stocky, center-driving forward isn't able to take part in the camp, because if Axel gains a step or a little glide in his skating stride, he's got real potential to be a "power center," and he's going to have to take his last year in Sweden and use it as a springboard to better things on this side of the Atlantic...

But his leadership and poise are evident, and he said that for the Swedish guys he's trying to be there as a role model as well as a translator.

84  Luke Kirwan *  LW: Really, really impressive, still. Big and heavy at 6'1" but 230 pounds, the Flint Firebirds forward looks exactly like the kind of prospect that slipped through the draft due to a crappy statistical performance in his draft year, but might earn an NHL contract sooner than later. He's a slick skater, he's got good passing and shooting skills, and he just looks professional and comfortable out there among the try-outs and graduated Griffins as well. He's really stood out.

63  Adam Marsh  LW: Marsh remains an amazing shot attached to a body that's growing and a game that must grow. Whether he was ripping home one-timers or clanging pucks off posts and in, Marsh is undoubtedly an incredibly gifted shooter, but the still-slight 6,' 175-to-180-pound forward has to develop a better all-round game. His shot is tremendous.

73  Griffen Molino * RW: He's a typical invitee, a 5'11," 171-pound Trenton, MI native who earned a "hard to figure out" from me. His shot was strong on a day that involved a whole bunch of shooting drills, but I didn't see that much else from him as he got into the flow.

62  Zach Nastasiuk  RW: Griffins coach Todd Nelson said that he felt Nastasiuk still needs to gain a step, and that was a relief to hear. I believe that Zach has all the tools necessary to become a strong checking forward, including an untapped potential as someone with an edge, but this well-rounded defensive winger is still having a little trouble getting around the ice in terms of his speed and mobility, and that's a real problem for someone who's already been told to work on his skating--and has done so, to the point that he's moving along at quite the clip compared to a plodding draft year. As they say, he "oozes character," but he needs to keep working on that skating stride.

92  Chase Pearson  C: Pearson is big, big and also big. 6'2" and well over 189 pounds, the near-point-per-game player in the USHL is headed to Maine with a lot of the same skills I witnessed in Globke, a stoutness to him and a strong checking ability to go along with some understated offensive chops in terms of his shooting, passing and playmaking.

90  David Pope  LW: David is listed at 6'3" and 200 pounds and is still growing into a big, lanky body, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha junior has a wicked wrister that finds top shelf on a regular basis. He, like Adam Marsh, has to find more to his game to develop into a next-level player, but he's gone from a skinny kid with no shot to a big man with a big boomer.

29  Dylan Sadowy  LW: Good skating stride, good speed, good strength, legitimately 6'1" and 195 pounds, enthusiastic, energetic, smiles a lot and has very good passing and shooting skills, but needs more oomph behind the puck. He was signed as a prospect with lots of pro potential and he does possess a strong all-round game with flashes and flourishes of offensive skill, but he's at the start of his pro journey.

60  Mathew Santos * RW: I've got Santos listed as playing well in tight and finishing well, this after a day in which his defensive play impressed me. There are flashes of potential in the 6,' 209-pound North Bay Battalion forward, but they're just flashes for now. At 21 and in need of a pro contract, I don't know if flashes are enough.

81  Givani Smith  RW: Today the 6'2," 204-pound Guelph Storm forward was on the "other team," but Givani is really a known quantity--he's got energy and enthusiasm to spare for three or four players, he's got a strong shot, he skates well, has a good shot and loves to go to the net and stay there. I have yet to see him grind upon his foes and teammates alike with his supposedly nasty edge, but his enthusiasm and work ethic are very evident. He's a really bright prospect at all of 18.

37  Evgeny Svechnikov  LW: Svechnikov got to play today, as in play. The 6'2," 200-pound forward excelled in each and every shooting drill he participated in, scoring goals left, right and center, and he looked strong on his skates as he plowed his way up and around those nets and up and around opposing players. Svechnikov has the most offensive potential out of any Red Wings prospect not named Anthony Mantha, and even as someone who's only got a few pro games under his belt, he's something special.

78  Dominic Turgeon  C: The 6'2," 200-pound forward skated for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in June and proclaimed himself relatively fit, and mostly he sounded like a 25-year-old in a 20-year-old's body as he discussed his desire to turn pro this season and his status as a leader in the room. Turgeon is incredibly mentally mature, and it's exciting to know that there's a natural leader in the building, frankly. He's going to be wearing a letter wherever he goes.

58  Julius Vahatalo LW: Julius has been my sleeper pick as the most improved prospect this year. At 6'5" and slowly filling into his 200-pound frame, the lanky TPS Turku winger has more to give than simply a checker's game's worth of skill. Vahatalo has been a maneuverable skater, a smart shooter, a deft passer and a heads-up player as he surveys the game in front of him, and he's really, really impressed on "small ice." He looks like someone who's taken all the lessons taught to him over the past three summers and really developed both physically and mentally into a strong pro prospect. What his ceiling is, I don't know, and it's not Svechnikov's, for example, but he looks like a very useful player.


75  Dylan Coghlan *  D: Simple and steady, with good speed, the 6'2," 190-pound Tri-City Americans defenseman rebounded from a so-so first day and earned the same, "He's a simple, steady guy" observation that he did on Wednesday.

That's not a bad thing.

95  Dennis Cholowski  D: Yes, Dennis Cholowski is only 18, and yes, he's all of 6' and 170 pounds soaking wet, so he's a little under-powered skating-wise, and yes, he's just coming out of the BCHL, the Canadian equivalent of the USHL, headed to Saint Cloud State. There are all sorts of qualifiers that you can put on Cholowski to remind you that his potential is qualified upon a lot of physical growth and a lot more experience playing games at a higher level than he has played them as of yet, but the cerebral left-shooting defenseman has me nodding my head at the more advanced scouting reports describing his vision, his ability to close on players, his great gap control and having an incredibly strong stick as being a fantastic asset. Cholowski is all sorts of strong, technical defenseman potential wrapped up in a body that's still growing and a brain that's very big.

64  James De Haas  D: The 6'3," 212-pound defenseman wasn't in "my team" today, but I still firmly believe that his first day's impression will be a lasting one--as a strong, steady and offensively adept defenseman who skates with remarkable mobility for someone of his size and plain old heft. He's not physical per se, but de Haas grew into a massively-sized body and looks ready to have a fantastic senior year at Clarkson.

23  Joe Hicketts  D: Hicketts was just getting his feet under him today, so the 5'8," 177-pound Victoria Royals graduate didn't have his entire game together, but he still looked sharp, poised and "closed well" upon his opponents, showing flashes of Brian Rafalski-like ability to basically allow players to skate into him and separate the puck from them in tight. He's still got a skating stride to gain and he's still got some strength to squeeze out of his body, but his enthusiasm and work ethic and plain old enjoyment of the game are on Givani Smith levels. He's someone that teammates admire and enjoy being around and someone who opponents respect because he loves the game and he's going to work his hardest to fulfill his potential, whether that means he's a #4 defenseman or a #5/6 guy.

04  Pat Holway  D: He's listed at 6'4" and 184 pounds, but Holway stated that he's 209 now, and what amazes me is that he's still all arms and legs. Holway remains somewhat raw and remains very much so a project heading into his freshman year at Maine, but his anticipation and passing abilities are exciting and his skating and mobility are very good for such a big man with arms and legs going left and right. He's an intriguing prospect.

87  Filip Hronek  D: Hronek is still all of 6' and 163 pounds, and there isn't much to him after that in terms of his ability to get bigger, but it's his vision and stick that separate him from a flyer of a seventh round pick and instead earn him "bonus third round pick" status because the Wings see a level of skill and potential in the skinny Czech kid that has Jiri Fischer's attention.

88  Alfons Malmstrom  D: It was the first day of camp for the 6'2," 190-pound Orebro defenseman, but he displayed simple, steady and sturdy hockey while looking all of two Filip Hroneks large, and at one point he stopped at center ice to help the coaches explain a drill. That was pretty impressive.

53  Patrick McCarron *  D: The 6'3," 188-pound Cornell senior lived up to his advertisement as a strong, solid defenseman while knocking away pucks and blocking players' paths to the net. At 22, I was expecting a little more mature play, but I need to ask him whether this is his first pro camp.

79  Mike McKee  F/D  The big behemoth is playing as a forward with the Wings and he's playing as a 6'5," 255-pound puzzle going into his senior year at Western Michigan. McKee is not overly maneuverable but he is mobile, he's not fast but he's well-positioned, and he seems to have none of the physical edge that he possessed in so many spades that he was knocking people over without trying during his first development camp with the Wings. I don't know if there's a behemoth all bottled up by the, "Don't hurt your teammate" vibe or whether he's simply regressed a bit.

77  Daniel Renouf +  D: Again, what I see, I like, and what I see explains why the Griffins signed him. Strong skating all "four ways," forward, backward, laterally and in transition, and steady. At 6'2" and 205 pounds and just beginning his pro career, the Griffins or Walleye will be his next destination.

28  Vili Saarijarvi  D: What a difference a day makes! Saarijarvi had an OK first day, but he dazzled during the second one, displaying his elegant puck-moving abilities, his hard shot, his superb skating skills and his ability to use a short stick the way Cholowski uses his, to bat pucks away from opponents before they can get past him. He's still definitely got to fill out at 5'10" and about 165-170 pounds, but he's on the right track heading into one more Major Junior season with Mississauga.

94  Jordan Sambrook  D: I finally got to see the 6'1," 187-pound Erie Otters defenseman, and he's still all arms, legs and a big torso that he could put another 2 inches of height and 20 pounds of width upon, and I saw good speed, I saw that booming shot, I saw simple, safe and steady play and all of that indicates that the Wings' middle-of-the-draft pick on Sambrook was a wise investment. He looks like someone with potential to fulfill as he continues to grow.


38  Stephen Dhillon *  G: I'm still not sure if the 6'4," 182-pound Niagara IceDogs goalie has a technique. He's just a gigantic man with big pads, a big chest protector, big pants and very few holes. His wingspan and positioning allow him to simply fill the net as pucks come toward him, and whether he's standing up, is down in the butterfly or is somewhere in between, he gobbles up pucks.

80  Connor Hicks *  G: The 6'4," 199-pound Hicks looked a lot better today. The Hamilton Bulldogs netminder was still getting beaten cleanly, especially laterally, but he was stopping far more pucks in a playing style that is almost opposite Dhillon's, all movement and getting one piece of equipment on the puck. He skates well and moves around his crease superbly.

31  Filip Larsson  G: The Red Wings see something in Larsson that I still don't. The 6'2," 180-pound Larsson reminds me of Jake Paterson when he's good and of someone who's still wearing an under-18-year-old's double cage when he's not, and Larsson really looks like he is what he has been--a goalie who's been so banged-up that he barely played this past season. He gets beaten pretty regularly in the four corners and when he's moving laterally, and at other times he's at least tolerably good...But he's having a rough time with the North American angles and he's too deep in his crease. For now.

68  Chase Perry  G: Still the Octopus Goalie, the Spider Man, the 6'3," 195-pound goalie that has a lot of filling out to do makes some amazingly beautiful, simple saves at some times, and lets through devastatingly soft goals at others. Perry is trying to do what Hicks does--get that last bit of pad or glove or blocker on a shot instead of putting his entire body in front of the puck like Dhillon does--and he does so with mixed results. There is a ton of filling in for Perry, who looks more like he's 6'5" or 6'6" in terms of the length of his arms and legs, but he needs to get to RPI and he needs to get into some games to work things out. He's got a great stick, too.

50  Joren Van Pottelberghe  G: Equally inconsistent, the 6'2," 187-pound incoming Davos HC goaltender looks like he played in a solid number of Linkopings HC's junior team games, but needs a lot more playing time to figure everything out. JVP has some superb fundamentals and at times a nothing less than elegant style, but whether it's the 85-foot-wide rink or just inconsistency, he can really get lit up laterally and in the four corners as well. Sometimes he's rock-solid and sometimes he's like a fishing net. I hope that getting out of the J20 league and into some pro games yields a professional response.

30 Matej Machovsky* G: Again, I think the Wings called in a ringer. The 6'2," 187-pound Plzen goaltender is 23 and has played pro hockey for over a full season, and he looks exactly like you would expect a European professional to look, from the slick "Reverse VH" hugging the post to the deft, nimble and simple ways that he blocks pucks and clears them out of trouble. Great glove, great blocker, smart toes, good angles, minimizes thigh saves, has good vision and is in the right spot in his net. He's been damn good.

* denotes free agent tryout

+ denotes AHL contract

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Temo's avatar

Hey George,

You mentioned Kirwan might get a contract offer, will Detroit be the team to give it to him?  Any other undrafted players at the camp you forsee receiving a contract?

Posted by Temo from La Capital, Míchígán on 07/07/16 at 03:57 PM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

George: What ever happened to Hampus Melen?  Has he ever come over for any activity?

Posted by duhduhduh on 07/07/16 at 04:00 PM ET

Redwingster's avatar

Luke Kirwan now on my radar.  Along with Mike McKee.  I’d love to see some large, aggressive players make their way to the big club.

Posted by Redwingster on 07/07/16 at 04:11 PM ET

KelseyAnn's avatar

TEMO beat me to one of my questions, but my other question is a somewhat hypothetical one…do you see anyone that might have the potential to make the jump quicker than usual? Assuming there’s a 3-5 year development curve, do you see any of the newer prospects and/or tryouts pulling a Dylan Larkin and making the big club within the next year or two?

I ask because of the high praise that Givani Smith has received thus far from you and others.

Posted by KelseyAnn from Ahwatukee, Arizona on 07/07/16 at 05:01 PM ET


Are there any prospects that look like they will drop out of the system due to aging out/contract limit/etc.?

If someone wasn’t drafted, they can be just signed as a free agent aka the way Hicketts was right?

Posted by neffernin on 07/07/16 at 05:05 PM ET


Could you ask one of the management guys about Kadeikin? Have they talked to him and what they think of him? Thanks!

Posted by TommyD on 07/07/16 at 05:13 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Luke Kirwan now on my radar.  Along with Mike McKee.  I’d love to see some large, aggressive players make their way to the big club.

Posted by Redwingster on 07/07/16 at 05:11 PM ET

McKee, for me, is a long shot prospect because his numbers in the USHL were dominated by his PIMs.  But his size and more importantly his attitude made me a fan.  When he was drafted (now remember this is a guy who is a pugilist for a defenseman), he stood up and hugged his mom for a long time and he cried.  He is the FIRST person in his family to go to college.  When he was drafted, he said he will do whatever it takes to make the club.  He was really proud to be drafted by the Wings. 

Now, my biggest fear for him is that the Wings are still drafting for skilled defensemen.  What value is he now if he has been shuffled up and down from forward to defenseman?  What do we believe as fans should he be?

Posted by SYF from fishing with Vicky Stark on 07/07/16 at 05:53 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...today’s off-ice event is the great cooking class and cooking competition…

Okay, George, here’s my question for you. Were you able to sneak in and grab some free grub after the class? Seems like they owe you at least that much. grin

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/07/16 at 06:32 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I think that Kirwan’s status will be determined during the prospect tournament. If he gets an invite back to the fall tourney, he’ll have a big opportunity to earn a contract at that time. Right now, the Wings keep insisting that they’re not evaluating, and that the tournament is when jobs are on the line, so I’m guessing that the players who are invited back will have the best opportunities to earn contracts.

Melen hasn’t come over. I will have to ask PR what happened to him as I don’t believe he’s a prospect any more. He never came over for summer camps due to injuries and he’s just sort of faded away.

Aside from Bertuzzi and Svechnikov, there really isn’t anybody who looks like they’re going to make the jump to the NHL in short order. There are people with immense potential at this camp, but they’re more projects than finished players at this time. Thus far, it’s been Bertuzzi, Svechnikov and everybody else.

Players who weren’t drafted the first time around are only free agents until the start of the NHL’s regular season, so someone like Kirwan would have to be signed before October, or he’d go back into the draft; players who’ve been passed over in the draft twice, like Santos, can be signed at any time.

McKee looks like he’s going to make or break it as a forward now. The Wings have him playing with the forwards and he plays with the forwards at Western Michigan. I do agree that the transition from forward to defense and back has stunted his development a bit, but his future is hopefully as a big, heavy fourth-line guy…

And I didn’t get to stick around for the food. I had a ham sandwich and some baked chips in the hotel room. I’m not fibbing about essentially camping out and eating like a college student, I really do my best to keep things simple.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/07/16 at 07:11 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Thanks, G.  If McKee’s a forward now and the Wings are projecting him to be a fourth-line checking forward possibly with G.Smith???

[mind explodes]

Posted by SYF from fishing with Vicky Stark on 07/07/16 at 07:26 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Givani Smith doesn’t look like a fourth-line forward to me. He’s got better goal-scoring abilities and if he’s as good around the net as he supposedly is—which we will find out in the fall—he’s got higher-line potential.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/07/16 at 07:28 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I just got giddy for a little bit, G.  Agree that G.Smith has a higher ceiling than McKee, but I remain hopeful for McKee.  Just would like to see a giant of a kid with a good head on his shoulders make it to the bigs.

Posted by SYF from fishing with Vicky Stark on 07/07/16 at 07:34 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

George: What ever happened to Hampus Melen?  Has he ever come over for any activity?

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/07/16 at 05:00 PM ET

Damn it! You stole my question!  Also, the first thing I think of is his parent’s quote of “Something has happened to Hampus!”.  Makes me smile everytime.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/07/16 at 07:41 PM ET

lakeside mall's avatar

george could you compare svetch to some nhlers , past or present ?

tuzzi was second to aa for griffs last year , not counting non prospect the awesome meile whom im super bummed left , with his heads up play around the opponant net with finish while having the ruggedness
to deal with heavy traffic . not surprised to hear you liking his play so much , hes got middle 6 written all over him . 2 line if centered by a talent guy like larkin

also wondering are torch , houda , lindy (sara4those that dont know) there ?

Posted by lakeside mall on 07/07/16 at 11:46 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.