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Ken Holland On The Search For A Defenseman

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

The Red Wings exited the annual free-agent derby last week with a raft of forwards filling the roster, and general manager Ken Holland agreed Wednesday the circumstances might help the hunt for one of the big needs — a top defenseman.

But as he watched the first day of development camp with all seven of the 2016 draft picks participating, along with 16 from 2013-15 as well as several other prospects at Centre Ice Arena, Holland also said acquiring a No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman is a high priority for many NHL teams. And, while there is not an ample supply, such a trade — if it is made — likely would come closer to the end of the summer.

“Let’s see,” Holland said, of his plans.

“You know, hopefully we’ve got an excess of forwards. You’d love to get a top three defenseman. I don’t know if one is ever going to be available via trade.”...

Holland said he hopes players like re-signed eight-year-veteran Darren Helm and 2013 first-round pick Anthony Mantha have better seasons.

“Part of this might be let’s get to September and see,” Holland said. “I’m hoping we’ve got 15, 16 NHL forwards and we’re positioned to do a deal.

“If some of the kids come to camp and they haven’t taken a step forward and they can go back to the American league, then they’ll go back to the American league.

“We’ll make a decision in September.”

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Will's avatar

The illusive defenseman. I sure hope they can sign somebody and he wont be cheap. But, they must in my opinion. The Wings need somebody who can add leadership and set an example on how to play that position on the ice.

Im excited… hope something good happens this Summer.

Posted by Will from Toledo on 07/07/16 at 07:06 AM ET

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Might as well take the rest of the summer off, eh, Ken?

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/07/16 at 07:21 AM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

Trades are hard (especially when the fairway beckons)

Posted by duhduhduh on 07/07/16 at 07:24 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Every team in the league is looking for a dman.

The Wings are going nowhere. We’re signing players simply to tread water and to keep the playoff streak alive.
To win the Cup, heck.. to be a serious competitor for the Cup you need to have a #1C, #1D and #1G.
Some outside of Detroit may argue that we don’t even have one of those three.
So why are we wasting money, ice-time and term on a 2nd line centre, a bottom-6 forward and Steve Effing Ott when none of them won’t turn this team into a contender?

Kenny needs to identify the core of players that can help the team compete 4 or 5 seaosns from now.
That could include Larkin, Mrazak and possibly (hopefully!) Mantha, Tatar and Doulbe-A. That at least gives the Wings the future #1C and #1G.
As of right now, heavy odds indicate it might only be Larkin and Mrazek.
If you’re not ready to call Tatar and Nyquist core-guys, then ship them out for guys who can be. And hopefully one that can translate into a future #1D.

I understand Holland’s plight – he has to do something to help sell tickets for the new building. Maybe that comes next offseason when they try to go for John Tavares (would be nice to have Helm’s and Nielsen’s money back for that, eh?) – but I’m 99.9% sure the Islanders will extend him this coming season.
But the fact is, there are almost no sexy signings out there that will elicite excitement in Hockeytown to help sell tickets.
So why not build from the ground up, promote Larkin as you’re new star and tell fans that with the new Joe comes a new hope to building a future winner.

Posted by Hank1974 on 07/07/16 at 07:29 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Agreed damndog.
While he’s not going to help us win many more games, at least he’ll be decent defensively - moreso than most dmen this team has.

The Ericsson and Green contracts are a couple of anchors that would be nice to get rid of.

I’m also of the opinion that both Neilsen and Helm will be bought out before their contracts expire. Especially Helm’s.

Posted by Hank1974 on 07/07/16 at 08:10 AM ET

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Go after Wisnewski, might as well nothing to lose.

Posted by bababooey on 07/07/16 at 08:36 AM ET

All American in MN's avatar

Hank,

Speaking of bad contracts, and I definitely agree with all of your points in your posts. Think about the DAl Chi trade that involved Sharp a couple yrs ago. That trade was able to happen bc Dal had the cap space. So, I kinda wish we didn’t sign the future healthy scratch Vanek. I definitely am not sold on the Helm resigning either. Plus, we are stuck with more long term contracts like Howard, E52, Kronwall, and soon, Zetterberg. How many self inflicted bad cap decisions can we make?

Honestly, unless holland addresses the back end, our team isn’t going to be anything more than average. Based on the below quote, that’s averageness is what we are in for:

“Part of this might be let’s get to September and see,” Holland said. “I’m hoping we’ve got 15, 16 NHL forwards and we’re positioned to do a deal.

.  I may just be a fan, but it seems to me, Ken has been using the wait and see approach for a few yrs.

Posted by All American in MN on 07/07/16 at 08:37 AM ET

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The Ericsson and Green contracts are a couple of anchors that would be nice to get rid of.

You mean Mike Green who led all our D in points and was 7th on the entire team in points, the team that can’t score and has only 2 years left on his contract? That Green is an anchor?

OK then

Posted by George0211 on 07/07/16 at 08:48 AM ET

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I’m also of the opinion that both Neilsen and Helm will be bought out before their contracts expire. Especially Helm’s.

You seem to have no familiarity with Detroit’s GM if that’s your opinion,

That Green is an anchor?

Of course he is.  He was only the most consistent defensemen the Wings had in the second half of the season.

But of course, the Wings need to get better on D, so they should dump his contract because, you know, he’s easily replaceable from within.  I hear Eric Tangradi is basically a #1 D-man, maybe he’s the answer.

Posted by Garth on 07/07/16 at 08:55 AM ET

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Posted by Hank1974 on 07/07/16 at 07:29 AM ET

Well said.

I completely agree. I don’t want it to be 15 years from now before we see another cup. I really think the management on this team needs to re evaluate their life choices. If *just* keeping your job and selling tickets means more $ and vacation time for the brass, then go and do that somewhere else.. I realize that more $ translates into better family life for Ken but the truth is, is that there is a Detroit Red Wings team, built on pride and great programs that has a LOT of kids coming through that want to win. They want to play for the ultimate prize in their careers, their hockey careers. The Stanley cup is everything to them and they want to win it. Why can’t our GM(s) and brass aspire to be something great? Why can’t they see through the clouds they are living on and realize that to WIN, we must somehow rebuild, (not on the fly - it isn’t working if you’ve noticed) bottom out, get some high draft picks and let these kids develop. We’ll have some great new talent on the ice in a few years. If you told Larkin, “Hey kid, you have 2 choices. You can either A) play on a mediocre team for 15 years and never have a chance at a cup, but you’ll make the playoffs every year, or B) you can play on a team that is horrible for 5 years, you will get shit on, but the next 10 years after that, you’ll lead this team to be contenders for the ultimate prize in hockey.”  Who would pick A?

Bottom line, we need a top D and if Holland is too afraid to trade any of our prospects or roster players, he is a fool and needs to go.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 07/07/16 at 09:01 AM ET

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Justin.  Schultz.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 09:05 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Justin.  Schultz.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 09:05 AM ET

Train. Wreck.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 07/07/16 at 09:23 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

You mean Mike Green who led all our D in points and was 7th on the entire team in points, the team that can’t score and has only 2 years left on his contract? That Green is an anchor?

OK the]

The same Green that led the D with 35 points?
That’s like saying I’m the best hockey player in Africa so why not sign me?

Nobody outside or Kronwall and maybe Dekeyser helps our team win games from the backend.
Everyone else is a floating apparatus designed to squeak into the postseason where we’ll get bounced in the first round.

Might as well lose a lot and start drafting higher in hopes we get some help for 5 to 6 years down the road.

bababooey, I’ve always been a fan of Wisnewski. Tough, right-handed shot and has some offensive capabilities.
Adding him and Russell to short term deals (1 or 2 years) would at least make this team’s backend more entertaining.

If Kenny is adamant on whistling dixie so we finish 7th or 8th in the conference, might as well add a couple of guys that play with some grit. Lord knows our defense corp needs some.

 

 

Posted by Hank1974 on 07/07/16 at 09:23 AM ET

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Justin.  Schultz.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 09:05 AM ET

Train. Wreck.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 07/07/16 at 09:23 AM ET


Looked just fine lifting the cup.  Might be able to tell Mike Green what that’s like.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 09:24 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I love how people keep. on. bitching. about. Zetterberg’s contract.

If that’s one of the problems with this team, you’re delusional.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 07/07/16 at 09:36 AM ET

WolfeOnIce's avatar

Why is this so hard?

There are several trade partners, IMO.

Send Howard & Ericsson to Buffalo for Bogosian and Gionta.

Gionta’s contract expires after this season and Bogosian is signed through 2020.

Get’s Ericsson and Howard’s contracts off our books, we take back about the same in salary from Buffalo, eat Gionta’s contract and have Bogosian for the considerable future.

Posted by WolfeOnIce on 07/07/16 at 09:39 AM ET

Avatar

The same Green that led the D with 35 points?
That’s like saying I’m the best hockey player in Africa so why not sign me?


Oh, I don’t know. Maybe they should sign you if you racked up almost 400 points in 10 years.

And a 3 year contract is hardly an anchor.

And while I agree that Red Wings at this point should sell and do a full re-build, we know it won’t happen, so what’s the point of bitching about it.

Posted by George0211 on 07/07/16 at 09:48 AM ET

WolfeOnIce's avatar

Or send Howard and Ericsson to the Isles for Hamonic and Clutterbuck.

Posted by WolfeOnIce on 07/07/16 at 09:49 AM ET

Colin's avatar

This is a list of the Wings’ current problem contracts in order of probleminess (as in they are bad now or will be within 2-3 seasons):

Ericsson
Howard
Kronwall
Helm

I’d put Zetterberg here, but it’s just not fair… yet

Current “problem contract” value: $18.2M

Green DOES NOT have a bad contract and won’t
Nyquist is on the fence after this season
Abdelkader is on the fence as well and likely will be for the duration of his contract

This is a list of the Wing’s future problem contracts in order of probleminess (which become bad in 3+ years)

Zetterberg
Ericsson
Helm
Nielsen

I still see Abdelkader as “on the fence” at this time.

Future “problem contract” value: $19.5M

That’s a lot of albatross flying around…

Justin.  Schultz.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 09:05 AM ET

Absolutely. Not.

Have you looked at the guy’s stats? He’ll be easy to obtain but won’t be an improvement AT ALL. I’d rather give that spot to one of our rookie DMen.

He scored 18 points, averaged less than 20 minutes of ice time between the Edmonton Dumpster Fire and the Stanley Cup Champs (for which he only averaged 14 minutes). He also had negative Corsi and Fenwick relatives, which both PLUMMETED when he went to the Penguins. He also got less ice time in the playoffs (only 13 minutes per game).

Nothing about Schultz says we should touch him with a 10-foot pole.

 

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 07/07/16 at 09:52 AM ET

WolfeOnIce's avatar

Or Howie and Ericsson to the Jets for Enstrom or Myers and Stafford.

Or Howie and Ericsson to the Flames for Brodie and Bollig.

And the Canucks may be a fit with this being Miller’s final year of the contract.

You get the idea, there are trades to be had but Holland can’t or won’t do his f’n job.

Posted by WolfeOnIce on 07/07/16 at 09:53 AM ET

Colin's avatar

Looked just fine lifting the cup.  Might be able to tell Mike Green what that’s like.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 09:24 AM ET

...and that’s why you’re not an NHL GM.

Schultz averaged only 13 minutes per game in the playoffs. He was basically just there.

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 07/07/16 at 09:56 AM ET

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There are SO many trades DET could do. Holland just doesn’t want this team to change. Status Quo means more golf, more $ for him and his family.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 07/07/16 at 09:56 AM ET

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Looked just fine lifting the cup.  Might be able to tell Mike Green what that’s like.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 09:24 AM ET

...and that’s why you’re not an NHL GM.

Schultz averaged only 13 minutes per game in the playoffs. He was basically just there.

Posted by Colin on 07/07/16 at 09:56 AM ET

And a completely serviceable puck mover and you can get him super cheap.  It would be far from the worst signing the Wings have made this offseason.  This a team that signed a bottom six jobber to a mega deal he’ll never live up to.  Having a low risk/no risk guy on the back end that can move the puck wouldn’t be the worst thing.  But then again, I guess Mike Green is on this team.  So that would give you two guys that don’t know what their own end looks like.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 10:01 AM ET

bigdee89's avatar

Or Howie and Ericsson to the Jets for Enstrom or Myers and Stafford.

Lmao that’s funny how people assume other teams desperately want our garbage so they can give us decent players.

Yup I don’t understand why these trades haven’t happened yet?!?

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 07/07/16 at 10:09 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

“If some of the kids come to camp and they haven’t taken a step forward and they can go back to the American league, then they’ll go back to the American league.”

Gee, let’s see how this plays out. Holland can’t make a deal to move out some of the 16 forwards who are NHL-ready (not counting Pulky who’ll be on LTIR). So training camp gets here and no matter how many “steps forward” AA and Mantha take, they’re heading back to GR.

That means at least one forward will get waived (and picked up by someone for free) or they’ll go with six defensemen and two of their eight D will get waived (and picked up by someone for free) or some of those guys will magically end up on LTIR with Pulky.

Holland’s “back-up” plans always seem to revolve around someone getting hurt. They never seem to revolve around making bold moves and taking some chances in order to actually improve the team. It’s incredibly frustrating to watch this play out year after year after year after year…

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/07/16 at 10:15 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by WolfeOnIce on 07/07/16 at 09:53 AM ET

Why in the hell-o would other teams make any of the trades your suggesting for our let over baggage?

While Holland is at it, let’s trade Hank and AA for Crosby, and then Sproul and Kronwall for Doughty.

Problem solved, do your job Kenny, Hey Hey Hockeytown…

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 07/07/16 at 10:17 AM ET

Avatar
Holland’s “back-up” plans always seem to revolve around someone getting hurtThey never seem to revolve around making bold moves and taking some chances in order to actually improve the teamIt’s incredibly frustrating to watch this play out year after year after year after year… 

Seems like a good plan.  Half the team is over 30 or close to it.  Chances someone gets hurt are pretty good!

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 10:19 AM ET

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Russell would be the worst defenseman on our team.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/07/16 at 10:23 AM ET

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Why would we consider signing Justin Schultz when we don’t give regular minutes to Brendan Smith, the same guy but better?

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/07/16 at 10:30 AM ET

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Theres a slew of D man available.. you actually have to work and negotiate to trade.

Because negotiations ALWAYS result in a deal, and you know for a fact that KH is sitting with a thumb up his ass not negotiating with any teams.

Posted by George0211 on 07/07/16 at 10:40 AM ET

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Why would we consider signing Justin Schultz when we don’t give regular minutes to Brendan Smith, the same guy but better?

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/07/16 at 10:30 AM ET

Yeah,  that D is just pretty much screwed. 

Although it is laughable knowing that Florida picked up Yandle AND Demers.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 10:40 AM ET

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Because negotiations ALWAYS result in a deal, and you know for a fact that KH is sitting with a thumb up his ass not negotiating with any teams.

Posted by George0211 on 07/07/16 at 10:40 AM ET

Just taking Ken “we’ll see in September” at his word that nothing’s going to be done the next 8 weeks.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/07/16 at 10:41 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

We need a #1 dman.  Problem is, the only way you get a #1 dman is by drafting them, or by trading away your #1 dman (see: Weber for Subban).

The Wings went into this years draft hoping if they throw enough darts at the board, one will stick and they’ll get a top pair dman.  Problem is, we won’t know until 2020 or 2022.  Heck, maybe even 2025. 

How do we obtain a #1 dman?  Trade Larkin or possibly Mantha + another good prospect.

Posted by TreKronor on 07/07/16 at 10:42 AM ET

Colin's avatar

Russell would be the worst defenseman on our team.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/07/16 at 10:23 AM ET

You’re forgetting Ericsson smile

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 07/07/16 at 10:44 AM ET

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Just taking Ken “we’ll see in September” at his word that nothing’s going to be done the next 8 weeks.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/07/16 at 10:41 AM ET

Maybe because NHL GM’s are human and have families and only have a very narrow window of time to go on vacation and spend time with their families. And NHL business will pretty much shut down very soon and won’t come back up until the camp starts and teams know who and what they have and what needs they have.

 

Posted by George0211 on 07/07/16 at 10:47 AM ET

Colin's avatar

And a completely serviceable puck mover and you can get him super cheap.  It would be far from the worst signing the Wings have made this offseason.  This a team that signed a bottom six jobber to a mega deal he’ll never live up to.  Having a low risk/no risk guy on the back end that can move the puck wouldn’t be the worst thing.  But then again, I guess Mike Green is on this team.  So that would give you two guys that don’t know what their own end looks like.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 10:01 AM ET

The thing is, this team doesn’t need a “completely serviceable puck mover” it DESPERATELY needs a #1 defenseman. The only way that we acquire a player like that is through trade. Signing Schultz means giving up more cap space we don’t have to a marginal player the OILERS didn’t want on their team anymore. It would barely be an upgrade at all, and we would just be treading water again this season.

Besides, just because it wouldn’t be the worst doesn’t mean s**t when your benchmark is the Helm deal.

Although it is laughable knowing that Florida picked up Yandle AND Demers.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 10:40 AM ET

And I’m glad we didn’t. The goal is a #1 DMan. Yandle is terrible in his own end, and Demers is meh. Neither are what this team needs. Now, if we could shoot Ericsson and his contract into the sun as I’ve proposed previously, I would totally get behind signing a Yandle or Demers. Unfortunately that won’t ever happen, so we would just be giving up more cap space we don’t have for players we don’t need.

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 07/07/16 at 10:53 AM ET

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I still, very much believe, that Shattenkirk/Trouba can be acquired without decimating the team. Something like Nyquist, Mantha and a 1st round pick (I don’t care if it is a lottery pick) should be enough. Toss in a D prospect or a couple other draft choices if necessary. It’s paying a lot but it is what is necessary. This team cannot continue to wait on improving the top of their defense. Yes, let the youth continue to develop on D but the team goes nowhere without improvement at the top. You have to be willing to move good assets to really improve a team.

Posted by evileye on 07/07/16 at 11:00 AM ET

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I don’t know what to tell you.  The wings have 16mil wrapped up in 3 C-grade defensemen all over the age of 30.  Maybe instead of worrying about moving one year of cap space in order to overpay a bunch of beige players, KH should have looked to move one of his d-men.  Fact of the matter is, even if you think there’s a better “#1” d-man than Yandle that was available, it doesn’t change the fact that the overall defensive core of this team is old, slow, and overpaid.  Mike Green has been one of the most overrated players in the NHL for almost all of his career.  I’d start there.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 11:15 AM ET

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Posted without comment

NHL teams ranked by total trades completed since introduction of the salary cap (July 22, 2005):

Anaheim: 145
Toronto: 117
Arizona/Phoenix: 114
Chicago: 107
Florida: 104
NY Rangers: 91
Tampa Bay: 90
Columbus: 88
Philadelphia: 87
Calgary: 85
San Jose: 85
Edmonton: 82
Boston: 81
Nashville: 81
Montreal: 79
Los Angeles: 78
Pittsburgh: 77
Carolina: 76
NY Islanders: 74
Vancouver: 73
Washington: 72
St. Louis: 67
Winnipeg/Atlanta: 67
Dallas: 63
Colorado: 62
Minnesota: 59
Buffalo: 59
Ottawa: 58
New Jersey: 50
Detroit: 23

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 07/07/16 at 11:40 AM ET

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That is insane.

Posted by PMP5030 on 07/07/16 at 11:44 AM 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.