The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/15/11 at 01:09 AM ET
Not exactly stunning news from MLive’s Ansar Khan: Red Wings GM Ken Holland hasn’t yet met with Chris Osgood in the pair’s off-season haunt, Vernon, British Columbia, and he’s going to take the weekend to listen to Osgood and then decide what the team does in terms of both its back-up goaltender’s situation—and Kris Draper’s future might take even longer to be determined:
“I anticipate early next week I’ll know what I’m going to do in goal,’’ Holland said.
The Red Wings pursued several goalies through free agency, including Tomas Vokoun, who signed with Washington, Jose Theodore (Florida) and Mike Smith (Phoenix). But all wanted starting roles and weren’t interested in backing up Jimmy Howard and playing only 20-25 games. Holland has talked with the agent for former Red Wing Ty Conklin, who remains an option. Marty Turco and Ray Emery are among the few other free-agent goalies still unsigned. Holland said he also was offered a goalie through a trade.
“I have been in contact with agents of other goalies,’’ Holland said. “They know where I’m at, but right now the goalie market is pretty settled. We have time on our hands. If some team decides to get in the mix with one of those goalies then that could accelerate the process.’‘
The Red Wings are in no rush because it doesn’t appear that any other team is in the market for a goalie.
“We have a backup plan,’’ Holland said. “Part of that plan was to sign Joey MacDonald (who they inked on Monday to a two-year deal). He’s a bit of an insurance policy.’‘
Holland also remains in contact with forward Kris Draper, another long-time Red Wing who would like to return for his 18th season in Detroit.
“I have been in communication with Kris Draper,’’ Holland said. “We’ll talk again early next week.’‘
The Free Press’s Helene St. James focused on Draper’s fate:
“No doubt he wants to play . . . and play in Detroit,” Holland said. “We don’t have any cap issues, but we have to sort out what we’re doing with our 14 forwards.”
Draper, 40, showed last season that he still has something left in the tank. His primary role was as a defensive role player, but he also contributed six goals and 11 points in 47 games, and didn’t complain when made a healthy scratch. He has tremendous value in the locker room, where he sets a great example for younger guys with a relentless training program.
The Wings certainly can fit Draper in financially; they have about $6.5 million in salary-cap space. Roster-wise, however, it’s a hard fit. Thirteen forwards already are under one-way contracts for 2011-12. Cory Emmerton, a second-round pick from ‘06, is on a two-day deal, but he’d have to be exposed on waivers to be sent to the minors, and the Wings won’t risk that.
It’s possible the Wings make a trade - they have forwards and defensemen to spare - but even so, there will be very tough competition right down to the fourth line.
It’s doubtful Draper would go the route that Kirk Maltby tried last season, when he signed a two-way deal and tried to make the team during camp. When he wasn’t able to do so, Maltby retired and took a job in the organization as a scout.
Draper has been with Detroit since 1993, helped win four Stanley Cups, topped 1,000 games as a Wing and served as an alternate captain since ‘06-07. Should he, as expected, not be offered another contract as a player, Holland will discuss finding a different job for Draper within the organization, following a path also taken by Steve Yzerman and Chris Chelios.
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