The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/17/13 at 11:56 AM ET
Via RedWingsFeed, Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner spoke to Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano, and Detroit's representative on the NHL's Board of Governors doesn't mince words in suggesting that the Wings are the underdog team in terms of attempting to battle the Blackhawks...
“It would be the upset of upsets,” he said. “Chicago is really very, very talented. Our team is in the middle of the pack now. We don’t have the depth of star players anymore. We can match up with Kane and Toews with (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Pavel) Datsyuk, but we don’t have a Patrick Sharpe or Marian Hossa. Their depth of star players exceeds our.”
He tells Regner that the Wings were unable to keep the aforementioned Hossa for a simple reason...
“We loved Marian Hossa," Devellano said. "We loved him as a player and we loved him as a person. We would have loved to have kept him. He is a star, but we couldn’t (keep him) because of the salary cap. You have to remember, at that time, we had (Nick) Lidstrom, we had Datsyuk, we had Zetterberg. Well, were we willing to lose one of them? The answer was no, so we had to let Marian Hossa walk.”
(That and Hossa turned down a Wings offer that was somewhere between $8 and $12 million of "back end money" less than the Hawks' offer, which of course included the sweetener that was signing Tomas Kopecky as well)
As for how the Wings will attempt to "rebuild on the fly" and, to some extent, emulate the Blackhawks without absolutely tanking for four or five seasons?
Always a realist, Devellano views Detroit’s current situation as being extremely similar to what he inherited 31 years ago. The Wings will stockpile their draft picks and be very reluctant to trade a first-round pick in the near future.
The Wings also will continue to explore the ever-shrinking unrestricted free-agent market, seeking a top-four defenseman and a top-six forward who can score. But Devellano feels there are so many teams in the market for the same players, landing a top-shelf free agent isn't a sure thing.
The Red Wings' current roster and farm system, according to Devellano, feature several NHL-caliber prospects and rookies, but very few, if any, stars.
“Ken Holland is working like a son-of-a-gun along with Mike Babcock to keep us competitive and entertaining,” Devellano said. “We kind have spoiled people rotten here. We really have. But if you (fans) really follow the league, really know what’s going on and know the rules, then you’ll understand what the Red Wings are doing. You will not have unrealistic expectations.”
The top-four defenseman and top-six goal-scorer have been the free agent plan since the Wings struck out on Ryan Suter last summer, and the cap compliance buy-out market will help the Wings' efforts significantly...
And it's good to hear that Devellano doesn't believe that "spoiled rotten" equals "don't deserve a top-notch product." i hate to sound campy, but the NHL really is a league where adding a couple of free agents and receiving some much-needed contributions from younger players can turn a team around in a hurry, and the Wings will be trying very hard to follow that recipe (see: having added Danny DeKeyser to the mix, giving Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Damien Brunner full-time roles, parting ways with some of the team's UFA's-to-be and using cap-compliance buy-outs of their own to accommodate the youngsters and finding both a scorer, someone to take pressure off of the Kronwall-Ericsson pairing, and perhaps finding a more reliable back-up for Jimmy Howard) as it attempts to move from the playoff bubble to the middle of the pack, at least, over the course of the summer and the 2013-2014 season.
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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.