The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/12/13 at 09:44 PM ET
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.
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