Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Khan: Mike Knuble’s been invited to the Red Wings’ abbreviated training camp

Updated 2x w/ lots of analysis at 9:55 PM: MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the Red Wings have decided to give 40-year-old Mike Knuble a thank-you for helping out the Grand Rapids Griffins...and they're giving him a chance to finish his career with the team he wanted to finish his career playing for:

Veteran forward Mike Knuble, 40, will be attending Detroit Red Wings training camp on a tryout.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound right wing had six goals and 12 assists in 72 games for the Washington Capitals last season.

He is longshot to earn a spot on a crowded roster that includes 14 healthy forwards, plus Patrick Eaves, who will start the season on injured reserve due to a concussion. The Red Wings also have a few apparently NHL-ready forwards with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

But Knuble believes he still has some hockey left in him.

Good for him, and I hope he makes the roster!

Update: Okey dokey, here are some thoughts about the invite:

1. Please remember that it is an invitation to a 40-year-old who wants to go down swinging, wants to say that he ended his career battling for a roster spot. This is no guarantee that, five days from now, he'll be on the roster. It's a chance;

2. There is something to be said for having as much depth as humanly possible in a 48-game season. Why not, even if he goes to Grand Rapids (where he's from) for a bit?

3. With Tomas Holmstrom, Brad Stuart and Nicklas Lidstrom gone, there's nothing wrong with adding some veteran leadership to the room, and Knuble may be a bit slower now, but he does bring grit, size, checking and a net-front presence to the equation. He's a very big body at 6'3" and 229 pounds, and the still-smallish Wings can use that kind of size and snarl.

4. But what about Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, you say?

Fear not! All the injuries that this shortened season that the Free Press's Helene St. James so accurately pointed out is a 48-games-in-99-nights mad dash will all but ensure that Nyquist and Tatar will be brought up to relieve some sore groins or sprained knees at some point...

And for the present moment, why not let them continue to lead the Griffins in scoring and continue to receive first-line ice time given that the Wings want to employ them as scorers, not checking forwards. Let them bank confidence, goals, assists and prime-time responsibility, and let 'em come up to Detroit brimming full of belief that they can score at the NHL level.

5. And what about all the God-damned forwards "we" already have, you say?

The Red Wings do indeed have a roster crunch up front, but they not have much defensive depth. We all know that. As the Wings signed people like Nathan Paetsch and Chad Billins to AHL-only deals, the first man in the call-up pecking order is in fact Brian Lashoff, and then Adam Almqvist...

So there's nothing wrong with having so many forwards that you're all but required to, oh, say pick up a depth defenseman or two by the end of the week, if not attempt to make a more substantial trade.

I don't believe that the Wings will really make a big defensive move until closer to the trade deadline on April 3rd, but I do believe that they ought to call the New York Islanders about one disgruntled Lubomir Visnovsky, and given that the Wings' cap situation is way better than that of almost a third of the league's teams, the Wings have the luxury of watching other teams teeter too close to the cap this year and worry about a lowered cap number next season. They don't have any Ray Whitneys or Derian Hatchers to buy out, while other teams might have to move valuable bodies...

And the list of still-unrestricted free agent defensemen isn't exactly overwhelming--Brett Clark, Colin White, Mark Eaton, Kurtis Foster, Chris Campoli, Sean O'Donnell, Jim Vandermeer and Kent Huskins aren't world-beaters--but they're solid depth defensemen, and there is something to be said for depth at this point, and then some.

6. Long story long, be patient, fellow Wings fans, and do not panic. This is a win-win situation. And hey, as so many have suggested on Twitter, Knuble could end up being the Wings' Dallas Drake, and that story of a "local" boy coming home didn't end too badly, now did it?

Update #2: Fox 17's Steve Amrose confirms...

Mike Knuble is just looking for one more chance and the Detroit Red Wings are willing to give him that chance.

The East Kentwood alum has accepted a professional tryout with the Detroit Red Wings and will open up camp with the club Sunday in at the Compuware Arena in Plymouth. It would be fitting for the 40-year old to perhaps end his career where it all began.

Knuble was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut with the Red Wings in the 1996-97 season.  Knuble spent played 53 games for the Red Wings in the 1997-98 season and then traded to the New York Rangers at the beginning of the 1998-99 season.

The 6-foot-3-inch power forward has spent the last three seasons with the Washington Capitals.  His last season with the Capitals was a tough one as he managed just six goals and 18 assists in 72 games.  It snapped a streak of eight straight NHL seasons for Knuble in which he scored at more than 20 goals.

Knuble has been spending the lockout working out with several West Michigan hockey programs including the Red Wings AHL-affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

As does the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

Mike Knuble will be in Red Wings training camp on a professional tryout.

Knuble, 40, who grew up in East Kentwood, will be a longshot to make a roster that already is deep at forward.

Knuble has been skating with the Grand Rapids Griffins and a 6-foot-3, 230-pounds, has size that could be intriguing.

In 72 games with Washington last season, Knuble had six goals and 12 assists.

The Red Wings originally drafted Knuble in 1991 in the fourth-round.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Soupsnake's avatar

George, Obviously the Wings have a glut of forwards right now, but do you think that they might be bringing in Knuble in case Kenny ships a couple forwards out in a trade in the next couple days? Or do you think this is pretty much just a formality/respect thing?

Posted by Soupsnake from Canton, Mi on 01/12/13 at 09:52 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I think it’s both. I have had the feeling that the Wings would go through camp with as many forwards as possible and then move one or two for a depth defenseman—emphasis on a #7/8 guy to play in Grand Rapids for now, with the #1/2 guy coming at the trade deadline—since, um, July.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/12/13 at 09:54 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Mule for Subban!!

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 01/12/13 at 09:58 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

Knuble’s come full circle.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 01/12/13 at 10:10 PM ET

henrymalredo's avatar

Knuble is going to have a heck of a time making the team with the number of forwards the team has.  I figure Kenny is giving him his one last hurrah and that we’ll be seeing him in a non-coaching capacity in GR after camp.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 01/12/13 at 10:19 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

See above for thoughts on the signing. Edited post considerably.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/12/13 at 10:39 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Mule for Subban!!
Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 01/12/13 at 08:58 PM ET

Hahahaha….that’s crazy. Crazy like a fox. I like it!

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 01/12/13 at 10:40 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

P.S. Nice work, George. It’s good to have you back.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 01/12/13 at 10:42 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Thanks. I’m working hard to make it good to come back. Thus far, bumpy, but glad to be here.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/12/13 at 10:47 PM ET

christpuncher's avatar

Wasn’t Knuble a captain elsewhere? This is a total Drake situation.. And a good one! I hope he makes the team, they could use the leadership big time!!

Posted by christpuncher from Detroit, MI on 01/12/13 at 11:03 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

I could see Knuble on the 3rd line with Helmer & Bert.  No harm in giving Cleary’s knee a rest every 3rd game or so.

Yeah I too hope they sign him and keep him around for his experience.  The question becomes, who do you get rid of to make room for him ?

Would I be sad if they put Emmerton on waivers to make room ??  Nehhhhhh ... thats fine by me.  Only problem is, you need youth as trade bait for the Dman so desperately needed.

I suppose they could sign him to a 2 way and keep him loose in GR until someone gets hurt.  Sounds like thats where he’ll be whether we sign him or not.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 01/12/13 at 11:31 PM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

And the list of still-unrestricted free agent defensemen isn’t exactly overwhelming—Brett Clark, Colin White, Mark Eaton, Kurtis Foster, Chris Campoli, Sean O’Donnell, Jim Vandermeer and Kent Huskins aren’t world-beaters—but they’re solid depth defensemen, and there is something to be said for depth at this point, and then some.

Let’s pick up Colin White and pair him with Ian… we can call the pairing “Great Whites in Wings clothing.”

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 01/13/13 at 12:26 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

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.