The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/19/13 at 01:04 AM ET
We'd heard this from the CBC's Elliotte Friedman, but it's great to have a Wings beat writer confirm it: According to MLive's Ansar Khan, Red Wings GM Ken Holland has indeed "touched base" with Pavel Datsyuk's agent, Gary Greenstin, and while the Wings can't formally re-sign Datsyuk (whose situation is "complicated" given that, after the 1 year remaining on his $6.7 million contract, the Chief says he's not keen on playing in the East or playing with the personnel he's playing with, and the Chief's source is bedrock-solid; I'm going with the, "His daughter's enrolled in primary school in Yekaterinburg, which is usually a sign that a player's planning on 'going home' after his career is over, and family tends to win" angle)...
But given that the franchise's lack of meaningful off-season or in-season acquisitions has the fan base (myself included) frustrated as all *#$%@& get out, it's wonderful to hear that the one contract Ken Holland is willing to hammer out as long as the Wings are playing hockey involves fighting to keep Datsyuk in Detroit:
“I did meet with Gary Greenstin during our last homestand,'' Holland said. “We briefly talked about Pav and we both agreed that between now and the end of June, when he heads home, we'll sit down and have further discussion about Pav.''
The Red Wings would like to sign Datsyuk to an extension on July 5, the first day he is able to re-up. Datsyuk, however, hasn't committed to staying in the NHL beyond next season, having previously indicated a desire to finish his career in his native Russia, whether that's in 2014-15 or later.
Greenstin said no decision has been made on Datsyuk's future, but said he assured the Red Wings that if Datsyuk remains in the NHL beyond next season, it will be with Detroit.
Some in the organization don't believe it's a slam-dunk that Datsyuk will return to Russia after 2013-14. Greenstin's desire to talk with the Red Wings after this season indicates that Datsyuk at least is seriously considering remaining in the NHL.
Otherwise, Khan says that Holland doesn't plan on dealing with his unrestricted and restricted free agents-to-be until whenever the Wings are no longer playing hockey, and you know the story by now:
The Wings' unrestricted free agents-to-be (all figures from Capgeek.com) include Valtteri Filppula, Damien Brunner, Danny Cleary, Drew Miller and Ian White:
With Filppula reportedly asking for somewhere between $4-5 million and given his lack of production (15 points over the course of 36 games played), he's done little to justify earning much more than the 48 games' worth of $3.5 million in real-world dollars he's earning this season, but somebody will pay $4 million for a 40-point player (the Wings were hoping that Filppula's 66-point 2011-2012 season was a sign of things to come, but it looks like an aberration now), and even with Datsyuk's future uncertain, it's a toss-up at best as to whether the Wings make a push to re-sign Filppula or simply trade his rights at the draft;
Damien Brunner's agent, Neil Sheehy, is a tough cookie, but the 26-year-old Brunner's cooled off considerably after a scintillating start, and perhaps doubling his Capgeek.com-stated total of a pro-rated $1.325 million might get the job done for a year or two;
Cleary's been a good soldier over the years, but his production's dropping, and at 34, with repeated groin and degenerative knee injuries plaguing him over the past four seasons, Cleary's looking like Brian Rafalski did toward the end of his tenure in Detroit--worn down--and between Cleary's $2.8 million salary and the fact that Cleary's not done particularly well in terms of providing supplementary scoring (he's posted 14 points over the course of 43 games played) doesn't help his cause;
I think that Drew Miller's a lock to stay given that he's developed into an every-day player who can play on the second line in a pinch, the third or fourth lines while providing no-fuss-no-muss solid hockey and grit, and he's a good penalty-killer as well, and his $837,500 salary is a bargain, but Miller, Cleary, and to some extent, Patrick Eaves and Cory Emmerton face uncertain futures given that the Wings a) need to sign a goal-scoring forward, b) need to clear a line-and-a-half's worth of roster space to accommodate Darren Helm's return and the full-time promotions of Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar and c) theoretically have a third line's worth of Justin Abdelkader, Helm and Jordin Tootoo if everybody's healthy and Todd Bertuzzi's got more hockey in him;
White's gone. Period. He struggled without Nicklas Lidstrom last year and he's struggled to stay in the lineup this season. Someone will pay him around the $2.875 million the Wings would've owed him over the course of an 82-game season, but it won't be the Wings.
In terms of the team's restricted free agents, it appears that the Wings will retain Jakub Kindl, Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith's services, but the team may part ways with Tom McCollum (see: Petr Mrazek starring in Grand Rapids and the Wings signing Jared Coreau) and checking center Brent Raedeke (who may find a better opportunity to play in the NHL elsewhere)...
And the Wings probably won't bring back a trio of players who qualify for Group 6 unrestricted free agency in prospects Francis Pare, Jordan Pearce (Pearce is 26 and has standing offers to head to medical school) and Jan Mursak.
As you might imagine, it is entirely possible that the Wings may use their two cap compliance buy-outs on Carlo Colaiacovo (1 year remaining at $2.5 million), Mikael Samuelsson (1 year remaining at $3 million) and/or Jonas Gustavsson (1 year remaining at $1.5 million), but while there's no way that the Wings will buy out Johan Franzen (sorry, folks, the team believes in him more than fans do, and his $3.945 million cap hit belies $22.5 million in owed salary)...
I'm starting to wonder whether the emergence of Kindl, the addition of Danny DeKeyser, Brendan Smith playing solidly (mostly) and the Wings signing Brian Lashoff to a 1-way contract for the next three years, never mind the team's desperate need for another top-pair defenseman to spell Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, the team may very well buy out Kyle Quincey and his $3.775 million owed to clear salary.
To say that Quincey's gone from the team's planned Brad Stuart replacement to someone who's worked out in his second stint with the Wings about as well as Samuelsson has, or, in the past, Jason Williams and Ty Conklin did, his future with the team may be in peril.
But it is also worth noting that the Red Wings could very well find trade partners to move Colaiacovo, Gustavsson and Quincey. In the interim, you and I will have to hope that the player the Tampa Bay Lightning picked with the 1st-rounder Detroit sent their way, Salavat Yulaev goalie Andrei Vasilevski (or Andrey Vasilevski or Andrei Vasilevsky or Andrey Vasilevskiy, depending on who's doing the transliterating) doesn't develop into an elite goaltender.
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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.