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Jimmy D discusses the Red Wings-Hawks series and ‘rebuilding on the fly’

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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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.”

Troll!

Posted by HockeyinHD on 05/17/13 at 12:02 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

For once I completely agree with you smile wink

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/17/13 at 12:09 PM ET

BC's avatar

We kind have spoiled people rotten here

So does that mean Wings’ fans pay significantly less for tickets, merchandise, etc than other franchises?

Is this guy banking on his ability to play the “senile fool” card?

Posted by BC on 05/17/13 at 12:23 PM ET

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I really don’t believe there will be that much talent available as a result of cap compliance buy outs. I think what will be bought out are over paid under producers.

Posted by teldar on 05/17/13 at 12:29 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I really don’t believe there will be that much talent available as a result of cap compliance buy outs. I think what will be bought out are over paid under producers.

Posted by teldar on 05/17/13 at 01:29 PM ET

Exactly.  And we have some of those already we want bought out.

Posted by Primis on 05/17/13 at 12:34 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

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.”

A benchmark day in recent Red Wings history, and not a positive one

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 05/17/13 at 12:36 PM ET

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For once I completely agree with you

Hey-o!

So does that mean Wings’ fans pay significantly less for tickets, merchandise, etc than other franchises?

Actually, yes.  In 2011-12 the Detroit Red Wings had the 16th highest average ticket price in the NHL at $53.28, and the Wings have routinely had below league average ticket prices since… well, forever.  Granted, Toronto charging a bajillion dollars for their tickets makes ‘league average’ a bit misleading (since only 12 teams of 30 were above league average in that year), but still.  16th out of 30 for a team that’s routinely been within the top 10 performance wise isn’t bad in terms of the general landscape.

I, personally, still think buying face value tickets for pro sporting events is a sucker bet, but that’s a different topic.

All of that aside, I still think letting Hossa go and keeping Franzen (among others) was the better move.  Getting Hossa (obviously) worked out for Chicago, but they had a bunch of young players playing on rookie deals so they could afford a market-price contract at forward.

And they got to hide Huet’s spectacularly awful deal overseas, which was a huge, huge help.

Even still, having Hossa’s deal was one of the big reasons why the Hawks had to dump so many players like Ladd and Versteeg and Byfuglien, etc… so while adding Hossa was great for them in year 1, they were gone in the first round in years 2 and 3.

And Chicago’s sitting in a moderately precarious cap position for next year, to boot.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 05/17/13 at 12:54 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Again, agree completely. The issue with re-signing Hossa is that the Wings were very afraid that they’d end up having to lose Helm, Abdelkader, at the time, a rising Valtteri Filppula and even a Kronwall or Ericsson at the expense of having five or six players taking up half of the team’s cap space, and it’s entirely possible, if not probable, that the Wings would have had to engage in a more significant “rebuild” as opposed to the current “retooling” if they’d inked Hossa and then had to fill in the rest with bargain-basement talent.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/17/13 at 01:03 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

blah blah not resigning Hossa blah

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/17/13 at 01:24 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

BC, what does ticket and merchandise pricing have to do with what he’s talking about?  he’s talking about what THEY used to spend to give us a winning team year after year, winning 4 Stanley Cups since 1997 and multiple trips to the Conf and Cup finals.

seemed to me this was obvious, but I guess not.

the irony is that you’re so spoiled (assuming you’re a Wings fan) for so long, that you don’t even REALIZE you’ve been spoiled by Ilitch and company.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/17/13 at 01:25 PM ET

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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)

I’ll believe it when I see it.

I can’t bloody wait to see DeKeyser full time, though.

 

Posted by godblender on 05/17/13 at 01:31 PM ET

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Again, agree completely. The issue with re-signing Hossa is that the Wings were very afraid that they’d end up having to lose Helm, Abdelkader, at the time, a rising Valtteri Filppula and even a Kronwall or Ericsson at the expense of having five or six players taking up half of the team’s cap space, and it’s entirely possible, if not probable, that the Wings would have had to engage in a more significant “rebuild” as opposed to the current “retooling” if they’d inked Hossa and then had to fill in the rest with bargain-basement talent.[/quote]

You mean like Samuelsson?  Bertuzzi?  You’re right I’m glad we no longer have to troll through the Red Wing retirement home to find players.  God forbid Holland gets creative and moves some bodies or stockpiles draft picks for useless players <cough Ian White cough> .  Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of time to re-visit this argument in the summer time when Holland does nothing because of the salary cap,  because we’re the only team in the NHL that has to deal with the cap.

Posted by bababooey on 05/17/13 at 02:50 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

I personally DO NOT like Jimmy D!  An old fart with a big mouth that does not connect to the little brain he has! He should not be talking about the Wings unless someone writes it for him!

Better yet please leave for another NHL Team “Ranch” and talk about a different teams “Cattle”.

End Rant! LGRW

Posted by OnlyWings on 05/17/13 at 03:26 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Not even the summer yet and he’s already making excuses for next year.  Very encouraging.

Posted by Hootinani on 05/17/13 at 09:15 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/17/13 at 02:03 PM ET

Then how they get to keep him with a budding Toews, Kane, Sharpe, Bolland, Hjarlmasson (after the price was driven up by the Sharks) Kieth, Seabrook???


There’s still a cap.  I think KH has a thing about not losing ANYBODY until he has to waive them (Quincey).  He’s affraid to trade someone and then have them turn into a stud.  I think his close call of trading Datsyuk for Gomez has froze him up with relocating assets.  He’s affraid if he keeps a proven 40 goal scorer when he’s admitted they are hard to come by, for 5.whatever mil (which is GREAT even with the cap going down) he may have to get a new third or fourth line centers or lose his 40 pnt player.  It was ballsy and you can say hindsight is 20/20 but there’s PLENTY of people who wanted Hossa and recognized his star power.  Why wouldn’t you keep him as well as he played?  But KH runs the team and he liked Franzen long-term better.  We’ve been eating cap space about every year since 09 so I think we could’ve spared the extra 1.5m to have signed him, I don’t think money or cap was the issue or they’d have got it done.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 05/17/13 at 09:39 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

From what I understood, the issue was money. Rich Winter has always been a tough negotiator with Holland—recall the, “We’re going to re-sign Hasek in a day or two” spiel in 2007 turning into a two-and-a-half month odyssey—so my indications were that it was indeed money…That and Hossa seeing that the Hawks were on an upward course.

The part people don’t say is that the Hossa brothers, like their dad, have a bit of a reputation as mercenaries. Marian and Marcel have bounced around quite a bit, and the, “I hope to be with this team for a long time” turned, “Well, I really wanted to go to a winning team, and Team X is somewhere I can win” statements are pretty familiar.

We tend to ignore the concept that the decision was ultimately the player’s, and the player chose to go to Chicago.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/17/13 at 09:51 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.