The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/15/11 at 08:22 PM ET
updated 2x at 7:45 PM w/ Babcock audio via video: Via RedWingsFeed, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland and the Red Wings’ brass wrapped up their organizational meetings today, and Holland says that he expects Nicklas Lidstrom to inform the team of his future plans prior to next Wednesday’s NHL Awards:
“Nick said he’ll have a decision by then,” said Holland, who is also traveling to Las Vegas to attend the show.
Lidstrom, 41, is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship) and Mark Messier Leadership Award. Holland met briefly with Lidstrom earlier this week but Lidstrom offered no answer to a possible return.
The Wings concluded two days of organizational meetings Wednesday. Potential unrestricted free agents and trade targets were identified by Holland and his pro scouts. Holland said defense will be a primary need for the Wings on July 1 when unrestricted free agency begins, and the Wings also might target several backup goalies.
Holland said he’ll continue to talk to goalie Chris Osgood and center Kris Draper; both would like to continue playing. Holland also said he’d like to have both assistant coaching positions filled by next weekend’s draft. Coach Mike Babcock is sorting through potential candidates
Update: The Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that it’s highly unlikely that Osgood and Draper will be brought back, barring free agent losses:
The Wings also will need a backup goaltender. Osgood would like another season in the role, but the club is wary because he suffered repeated setbacks after undergoing groin surgery in January.
“The injury is a major concern,” Holland said. “He hasn’t played a lot the last two years.”
With Draper, it comes down to a numbers crunch. The Wings have 11 forwards signed to one-way contracts for 2011-12 and are trying to re-sign Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller. Holland does not want to risk losing prospect Cory Emmerton by exposing him on waivers, as would have to happen for him to be sent to the minors. Even with the likelihood of a trade — such as moving Jiri Hudler — management then would have to consider whether Draper brings more to the team than a newcomer.
“Right now, we owe it to ourselves to wait till July 1,” Holland said. “I’ll talk to both players, but so much is unknown right now. We don’t know who is going to be on the market July 1. Is there somebody out there we think brings something we’d like to our team? We owe it to ourselves to look at options. The torch has to be passed. If 40-year-olds aren’t passing the torch, we aren’t going anywhere.”
As for Lidstrom, St. James reports that Holland will speak to Nick early next week:
“Lidstrom has a big impact on what we’re trying to accomplish,” Holland said.
The Wings already are tasked with replacing Brian Rafalski, who unexpectedly retired last month. To that end, Holland and company went over the names of the defensemen eligible to become unrestricted free agents July 1 and evaluated trade possibilities.
Update #2: Okay, here’s Mike Babcock’s third interview of the past two days speaking about his usual topics on NHL Live:
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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.