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Khan: Red Wings plan on making big changes, will map out plan during organizational meetings

We’ve been talking about the Red Wings’ signing prospects, gauging the team’s prospect pool and assessing potential draft picks over the past few days, but MLive’‘s Ansar Khan (via RedWingsFeed) brings our focus back to the most important dates on the Wings’ calendar for a long time in the team’s organizational powwow on June 2nd-5th.

Red Wings GM Ken Holland made sure to tell Khan that the team won’t be making any “lateral” moves this summer:

“Nobody is feeling good about our five-game playoff run,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “We got to figure out ways to change our team.’‘

Many ideas will be discussed this weekend, when the Red Wings brass gathers in Detroit for the organization’s annual pro scouting meetings.

“We’ll evaluate our own players, what we think we need to do to get better,’’ Holland said. “We’ll go through the list of potential free agents on July 1. We’ll compare our team to the other 14 teams in the Western Conference. We’ll start to come up with a game plan, so I can get knowledge from the group on what everybody is thinking.’‘

Holland will be joined by assistant GMs Jim Nill and Ryan Martin, senior vice president Jimmy Devellano, coach Mike Babcock, advisors Chris Chelios and Kris Draper and the pro scouts. They will attend the Tigers game on Saturday before holding three days of meetings from Sunday to Tuesday.

“I believe in stability; you bring in people, you keep them,’’ Holland said. “(But) we were eliminated in the first round (by Nashville), had our shortest run since 2006.’‘

That necessitates change.

“The opportunity to change your team is from the middle of June to the middle of July and the three weeks leading up to the trade deadline,’’ Holland said. “It’s hard to do anything the other (10½) months.’‘

Khan goes on to suggest that yes, the Wings are indeed going to sign a top-pair defenseman, no matter what Nicklas Lidstrom decides to do, and that the team will target a top-six, goal-scoring forward, someone with size and grit for the fourth line, and a back-up goaltender to assist Jimmy Howard given Joey MacDonald’s back issues…

And, regarding the team’s unrestricted free agents-to-be, Khan states the obvious regarding Nicklas Lidstrom (no decision until mid-June), Tomas Holmstrom (no decision until after the Wings decide whether they want him back) and Jiri Hudler (probably going to test the market), but he offers an intriguing update on Brad Stuart’s status:

Brad Stuart: The defenseman is hoping to sign with the San Jose Sharks to be close to his family, which is unable to relocate from northern California. But if the Sharks aren’t interested or the sides can’t reach a deal, Stuart hasn’t ruled out a return to the Red Wings, who might be his second choice. Detroit, however, might not have the roster spot or the salary-cap space for Stuart if it’s able to sign Suter or another defenseman.

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awould's avatar

Stuart’s in a tough spot. Hard to blame the guy for wanting to move near his family. But he’s set himself up to take a bad contract since he’s not exactly in the strongest bargaining position.

Posted by awould on 05/30/12 at 01:03 PM ET


Don’t mind Stuart leaving. The team needs a massive overhaul and plenty of new faces. His playoff was brutal and looked like he checked out after the All-Star Break. He’ll be missed but I think if he returned to Detroit, I’d still wonder if his head and heart would be 100% into it.

I’d love to see the Wings go after Dan Ellis as a backup. Solid kid who has playoff experience, just in case the worst happens to Jimmy. The Joey Mac experiment needs to die.

Posted by Jeremy from Toledo, OH on 05/30/12 at 01:27 PM ET

awould's avatar

I don’t disagree. I do think Stuart may be done in Detroit mentally. I believe if he stays in Detroit, it will be a last resort and sort of against his will. I hope it works out for him but I wish he’d land somewhere other than SJ as I think he’ll improve their team and Detroit will get nothing for him.

Posted by awould on 05/30/12 at 01:31 PM ET

ChowYunCat's avatar

I wish he’d land somewhere other than SJ as I think he’ll improve their team and Detroit will get nothing for him.

That sums up how I feel, too.  Does LA need a defenseman?

Posted by ChowYunCat on 05/30/12 at 02:55 PM ET

awould's avatar

That sums up how I feel, too.  Does LA need a defenseman?

There isn’t a team in LA that I’d be ok w/ Stuart playing for. LA probably doesn’t need a defenseman but since they’re the odds-on favorites to win a Cup in a couple of weeks, I’d rather not see their team improve either!

Posted by awould on 05/30/12 at 03:02 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

It would make me very unhappy seeing Stuie in a Sharks jersey (I cringe just thinking about it), but the family issues have - rightly - taken priority in his thinking.  I think the Sharks will make room for him if he’s interested.  And if they can’t come to terms, well, there are other teams out west.  I would hate to see him return to Detroit if his heart wouldn’t be in it, but would love to see him back if he can fully reconcile everything and really wants to be on our team.

So… maybe Babcock will actually get the top 6 forward he’s been asking for since the 2010-11 season ended, eh?

I am reluctant to have the Wings rely on JoeyMac for backup goalie in light of his back issues.  Ellis might be a good guy to get.  Don’t know his status…

I just hope everyone doesn’t start hating on Holland if he can’t win the bidding wars for the top UFAs.  I honestly expect Nashville and New Jersey to move heaven and earth to keep Suter and Parise.  Whether they can pull it off, we’ll just have to wait and see.

The next month-and-a-half will certainly be interesting…  (Still expect Nick and Homer to retire.)

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 05/30/12 at 03:43 PM ET


Stuart Needs to go-NO he will not help The Sharks-I wouldn’t worry about that. A filnm could be made of his own zone give-aways that would last an hour!. Homer will be missed, but his time has come.  He has been beat up enough in front of the net-a physical forward would be nice-sine Bertuzzi no longer takes that role.

Posted by gspartan from Louisville. Ky on 05/30/12 at 06:06 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

It may be hard for the Sharks to sign players after what they did to Setoguchi last year. Signed him to a contract and then traded him to Minny. Not a very smart move to make if you are recruiting free agents. Yeah I know the no trade clauses stop that , but those have a habit of biting you in the balls if the player does not work out.

Posted by cigar_nurse from On The mend for next season Greenville Pylons on 05/30/12 at 07:17 PM ET

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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.


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