Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Mike Babcock reflects upon the Red Wings’ season on WBBL: Wings need top-6 forward, d-man to succeed

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock spoke to WBBL’s “Huge Show’s” Bill Simonson on Friday evening, discussing the Wings’ playoff run, Brian Rafalski’s retirement and the roster tweaks to come.

Babcock believes that injuries caught up to the Wings in their series against the Sharks, and while he suggests that the Wings’ core remains strong and that the team’s still a Cup contender, he believes that the team needs to both replace Brian Rafalski with a top-pair defenseman, and, unlike Ken Holland, Babcock believes that the Wings must bring in another top-six forward to get over the playoff hump.

Here’s a transcript of the interview:

Bill Simonson: We did want to check in with the Wings’ head coach, Mike Babcock, one of the great guys, he’s like the bench king, he knows hockey, he’s also on the Huge Show, how are you doing Michael?

Mike Babcock: I’m doing great, how are you doing, man?

Simonson: Good. Off-season a little bit early, looking back on the season now, Mike, catching your breath, your thoughts on what the Wings did?

Babcock: Well, I thought we, you know, we had another 100-plus points, I thought, third in the West, I thought we played hard in the playoffs, and played well, it was the best segment of our year for sure. You know, obviously, just like everybody else, I was disappointed to lose Game 7, but I was very impressed with how hard our team played, how competitive we were. I thought we really missed the Mule in the playoffs; we really only had him for a couple of games, and then he never ever could skate; even in the end, in Game 7, I thought the losses of Cleary and Bert hurt us. And yet, in saying that, our team played hard, and I thought we really pushed San Jose. I was disappointed to watch hockey after that, obviously, we feel we’re a good enough team that had a chance to win the Cup. In the end, you’ve got to get it to line up for you, and I always believe that, at playoff time, injuries are key.

Simonson: I think the one positive, the most important thing, Mike, that I take from what the Wings did: a), I agree with you, the comeback from being down 3-0, and how I love that they never quit, and you’re partially responsible for that, and also the intestinal fortitude of the players…but the maturation of Jimmy Howard, from a year ago to this year, that has to make you feel pretty comfortable moving forward with the Wings.

Babcock: There’s no question you need a goalie, and Howie looks like he’s a goalie, not just for a year, but for a long time, and you know, it’s a commitment to getting better, and the mental toughness to keep doing it year after year. I expect he has that, and I like the way he approaches things. the other thing that I liked is that, I think the core of our team is still young. I like the growth of Helm and Abdelkader, I thought they were real factors for us at playoff time, and just overall, I like our group moving ahead. Obviously, Rafalski retired, so there’s gonna be changes there, there will be changes on our club; Kenny Holland and I will spend, and Jimmy Nill will spend a ton of time on that and try to make the best decisions moving forward so that we’re a deeper, better team.

Simonson: Rafalski’s retirement announcement, when eh called and told you, or he called and told Kenny Holland, did that surprise you, Mike?

Babcock: Ah, maybe momentarily, but this happened two-and-a-half months ago, or something like that, now…We knew he was going to retire. We’d actually, as a coaching staff, talked about the fact that he’d, he couldn’t be healthier, he wasn’t having much fun playing hurt, like…Raffi’s a guy who relied on his legs. He’s a great player, very intelligent, but relied on his skating, and he moves the puck so well, he got hit more in the last two years than he’s ever been hit just because of his back and of his knee. It’s not much fun laying on the injury table every year, just so you can get out and go to practice. You don’t want to practice, but you feel like you have to because you want to play better, and yet, every time you go on the ice you’re hurting yourself more. That’s a tough way to make a living.

Simonson: Looking at your roster, who are guys, Mike, that you want to see more out of?

Babcock: Well, that’s a really good question, you know…I think we got a lot out of our people at playoff time, I think, maximized things. We’ll see what happens over the next while. I think that, with the situation we’re in, with the cap, with the situation we are with the age of players, I think there’ll be changes on our team.

Simonson: Jim Nill, Kenny Holland, yourself; when you sit down and you talk about changes, because those can be tough, it can be financial, with the NHL’s salary cap, it can be age, it can be where you’re at in terms of depth on your bench…When you sit in that room and you have to make these tough decisions, how hard is that?

Babcock: It’s very hard, but it’s about trying to make the right decision to help the Red Wings win, and as much as that’s personal on an individual level, because it affects people’s lives, it has to do with a much greater cause, and that’s the Red Wings, and that’s how we go about our business, that’s what they pay us to do, make tough decisions.

Simonson: Mike, what do the Wings need, the most important thing that you think’s missing from making this team a Stanley Cup champion again?

Babcock: We need, uh…Uh, a top-six D, or a top-two D, to replace Rafalski; we need a top-six forward to give our guys opportunity, and that’s all we need. The rest, the rest we can work out through, with what we have, but we could use a top-six forward and we could use a top, a high-end D.

Simonson: Nick Lidstrom, your gut on Nick coming back for one final year?

Babcock: He’ll be back.

Simonson: He told you he’s coming back?

Babcock: No.

Simonson: Well you just, you feel it, right?

Babcock: Well, you just asked me what my gut said, I just told ya. The bottom line is he’s too good to quit and our team’s too good to quit.

Simonson: Well I love what you guys did, Mike, you know, that comeback, and before I let you go, when you guys were down 3-0, and how you came back, and the energy and atmosphere from Game 6 into the anticipation of Game 7, on the road, and then how they scrapped after a tough first period, and now how Howard would keep them in the game, and they had a shot to score four goals in the second, and it’s just a bounce of the puck, and being in the right place at the right time…It felt like that was the Stanley Cup finals, it really did, and it was a Game 7, and there was something on the line that night.

Babcock: Well, I would just say to you, it was a heck of a series. We were down 3-0 but we felt that we’d played way better than that. I don’t think we come back unless we feel we’re better than that. Our guys were committed to just finding a way to win. I thought we did that real well. You know, the bottom line for me is, is, what I ask our guys to do is lay it out there, and I thought they did that, and so, to me as a coach, that’s what you ask for. I think it’s important that, as a management team this summer, we do everything we can to help the group. We want to win the Cup; we think we’re of the age and the skill set and the drive to do that, you know, it’s…It’s tough watching this hockey right now, because you think you were good enough, that’s the toughest to watch, I, it was easier for me to watch last year than it was this year. Sometimes that opportunity that got away on you, is a driving force for you the following year. The league’s very very tight, our focus will be, like always, we’ve got to make the playoffs and see what happens.

Simonson: I agree with you on Franzen, what you said at the start of this conversation, that if he’s healthy, you guys are still playing, that’s my take.

Babcock: That’s my take, too, but he wasn’t, and that’s the playoffs. If you go through it, in 07, we lost Schneider and Kronwall; in 09 we lost Datsyuk; when you go through it, any way you look at it ,when you’re not healthy, when you don’t get fortunate with the injuries, you’re not as good. Now Vancouver’s done an unbelievable job—they’ve lost Ehrhoff and Rome, they lost Samuelsson, they’ve lost Malhotra—now they didn’t lose them for all the time, but their acquisitions at the deadline, managing their cap, where they picked up Higgins and Laperriere, has really given them an opportunity to win The cap’s got to be right so you can do that, and it doesn’t happen every year, but they look like they’re the team to beat at this point.

Simonson: Mike, the last gathering of the Wings, whether it was in that locker room after Game 7, on the plane, whether it was when you guys got back to Detroit, what did you say to the Wings?

Babcock: Thank you. That’s all, basically, thank you. Now Ken Holland basically runs the last meeting of the year, and it’s on picture day, and some of those meetings are very, very happy, and some of them are disappointing. This year we were very very pleased with our group. We were disappointed in the result. We talked about our opportunity next year, and getting off to a good start, but basically, we thanked our players and their contributions to our organization, how hard they played, and we were proud of them.


Download file

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

we could use a top-six forward and we could use a top, a high-end D.

Nice. Get it done, Kenny. See ya, Happy!

Posted by godblender on 05/28/11 at 03:02 AM ET

Avatar

Wings have 18.6 mil in space. Caps going up too keep in mind. Hudler and filpulla have become expendable.  Either way hudler is gone, I’m hoping. So there’s another 2.9 mil.

Look for wings to try and trade for bogosian (because they seriously want him) or a Guy like parise or anyone who will be tough for a team hard pressed on the cap. I know probably Not parise because Lou is a smart GM. If that doesn’t happen and no one wants a trade for hudler and/or filpula/drafts expect the wings to go after (in order of who they will go after first)

Erhoff/bieksa (not likely - Vancouver will keep)
Weisnewski
Pitkanen
Kaberle
Mccab

With pitkanen & wisneiwski being prime pair to bring in. Or one of the two if they get a trade.

Even if wings get a d man in a trade expect another pickup if erricson wants more than 2.5 mil. And if they don’t get a trade and ericcson goes to the market. Expect two on that list to be picked up. salei is gone and Smith/kindle will battle for final spots.

Also expect the wings to try and pick up Nabokov in the draft.

Lastly they want another forward. (In order of want) and again depending on defense situation and trade situation
Richards (yes I said it Richards)
Laich
Connolly
Callahan
Upshall
Glencross

I believe with the cap going up. Have 18 mil in space as it is. Bye bye hudler and maaaaybe filpula. Osgood at 1.5 or lower returning if he doesn’t retire,lidstrom back at 6 mil, ericcson possibly gone or back below 2.5 mil, miller/eaves coming back for around 1 mil each And pretty much ever player in the league taking serious thought of a pay cut to play in the wings organization…. they can get any of those players… fill in the other spots w emmerton/mursak/tatar, Smith/kindle.

Posted by diesel44 from sterling heights on 05/28/11 at 04:53 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

I’ve always liked Kaberle, thought he got a bad rap in Toronto.  The question with him is stamina and health.

LOVE the talk about another top 6 forward.  If I had my druthers I’d ditch Fil (good guy, not right for our team) and get a monster scoring forward to fill his shoes.  Richards is an attractive option but too spendy and the last thing we need is another center.  Let’s trade for a hard-shooting winger.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a guy who can put the puck through a goalie.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 05/28/11 at 05:39 AM ET

Avatar

kaberle is washed up
osgood is done time to move on

with all these teams supposedly losing millions a year we might see a trade for a player….but than its the NHL…..where accounting is 2+2= -25 million

Posted by cberth on 05/28/11 at 06:08 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

There’s no way that Richards is going to come to Detroit, nor do the Wings want to spend $6-8 million on another “top six” forward, and Glencross re-signed with Calgary.

At this point, it appears that Hudler remains on the trade block and, given his status as the Wings’ only scoring center not named Datsyuk or Zetterberg, Filppula will probably remain with the team due to both his playoff performance and the fact that he makes $3.5 million in real-world dollars. If the Wings move someone, Hudler’s $2.78 million makes him more palatable at this point.

Kaberle’s an option because of his passing and because, put simply, he’s got to come cheaply thanks to his playoff performance—or the lack thereof—and from what I’m hearing, if Andrei Markov wants to make a payday, the KHL and SKA St. Petersburg may accommodate him.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/28/11 at 06:49 AM ET

Avatar

Thomas Fleischman- he’s making Hudler like money right now, health may scare some teams off, but he’s 6-1 190 and had 21 points in 22 games for the Aves before his mishap and was an original wings pick.  He was excellent against the wings.

Posted by reddwings13 from mi on 05/28/11 at 10:10 AM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

I too would love Fleischman, but he loves it in Colorado with Duchene, and they love having him; plus, money won’t be an issue, since Colorado still needs to spend another 15 million or so just to get to the cap FLOOR.

The only top six forward I’ve seen on the free agency list that seems reasonably possible is Alex Tanguay. I can’t imagine any of the other forwards with 50 or so points leaving their teams, and Brad Richards is too expensive. The next tier of guys around 45 points or so really aren’t second line guys, and we already have loads of borderliner 2nd/3rd liners. (Cleary, Bertuzzi, Filppula, Holmstrom, etc.) so it’s not really an upgrade.

IF we are to acquire a top six forward, I’d look for that guy to come via a trade, and for the defenseman to come off the free agent list, where there’s a few more options and a bit more depth to look at.

We might also hope that Fil, now 27, the age where players typically start figuring it all out, come into their prime and have breakout seasons, can step it up and become a worthy top six forward. I loved the way he played this postseason, and I think he’s better served playing the wing with Pav as his centerman…they were great together, and we have enough depth down the middle that he doesn’t have to center a line.

Also, while I’m in rant mode, why is it somehow acceptable for Franzen to essentially admit that he doesn’t care about the regular season and only starts to apply himself when the playoffs come around? It’s become more clear than ever, with Vancouver coming out of the west, that the top seed is actually very important. They won the conference because they didn’t have to face the Wings or Sharks until the final round after they exhausted themselves against one another. Johan has the talent to be a 40-50 goal kind of scorer, and he needs to step up and play like it next year…ALL year. Maybe he then becomes that top six forward we lacked.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 05/28/11 at 10:28 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Filppula had a very good playoff run. 

You may talk of “Hudler being gone.”  How?  He has a salary of $2.875 Million, which, astonishingly, is 875,000 more than Dan Cleary.  Seriously.

So Hudler can only be gone with a trade, who besides Toronto would jump at the chance to pay the midget pimp $2.8?  Detroit is not going to just give him away.

I think they’re stuck with him, but clearly Babcock wants another top 6 forward.  I agree, but in the salary cap world it’s not that easy.

Forget about any of the RFA Defensemen, and probably any of those on the wishlist who are on the VAN or SJ or Boston rosters or any team with a legitimate shot at winning the Cup, why would they jump to another team?

The Caps are frustrated and talk of restructuring their team, maybe there is someone there to pull off.  Their D was a whole lot better this year but somehow they choked worse than SJ again.

I trust The Franchise.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/28/11 at 10:44 AM ET

monkey's avatar

There’s no way that Richards is going to come to Detroit, nor do the Wings want to spend $6-8 million on another “top six” forward

Oh, ye of little faith.  Believe in Kenny: “There is more than one way to build a team”.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 05/28/11 at 11:24 AM ET

monkey's avatar

Also, while I’m in rant mode, why is it somehow acceptable for Franzen to essentially admit that he doesn’t care about the regular season and only starts to apply himself when the playoffs come around? It’s become more clear than ever, with Vancouver coming out of the west, that the top seed is actually very important. They won the conference because they didn’t have to face the Wings or Sharks until the final round after they exhausted themselves against one another. Johan has the talent to be a 40-50 goal kind of scorer, and he needs to step up and play like it next year…ALL year. Maybe he then becomes that top six forward we lacked.

I agree.  Regular season performance is vastly underrated- it is, in fact, the single best metric available to use in determining who will win the Cup.  It is not a coincidence that the Bruins and Canucks had a combined regular season goal differential of +128 (both teams tops in their conference in that department), with Canucks a top seed and Bruins a three seed . People always say “the regular season doesn’t matter”.  Bull.  It matters.  Teams that loaf and/or under perform in the regular season do not win the Stanley Cup (the closest thing you will ever see to something like that is the 2009 Penguins).  The last five Western Conference champs (including Vancouver) all finished no lower than a two seed with no lower than a +50 goal differential, with three of the four prior to this year winning the Cup.

There is no switch.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 05/28/11 at 11:47 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I found it interesting that Babcock didn’t mention goaltending.  I too believe that Osgood is finished, and recent comments by Holland indicate to me that he believes it too.  Remember at the beginning of the playoffs - Ozzie said he was 100% healthy and ready to play.  Holland said something like - he hasn’t played since January.  He’s not going to just jump into a playoff game.  Ozzie was saying at the time that he wanted to come back next season.  Suddenly after the season ended and he had his little meeting with Holland, he’s thinking it over.

Then Holland said in an interview that George posted yesterday that Ozzie has to do a lot of thinking about whether he has the desire and determination to continue playing hockey.  And Holland also said that he’s going to be looking at available goaltenders in June. 

I hope Ozzie is reading the tea leaves and realizes it’s over so the team can move on.  I know he had injuries and all, but he’s basically been useless to the team for the past two years.  The Wings need a quality, experienced, reliable back up to help out during the regular season.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/28/11 at 11:54 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Posted by monkey from bat country on 05/28/11 at 09:47 AM ET

I absolutely agree that the regular season matters - see my comments above about Ozzie.

Also the ‘09 Pengoons were helped out considerably by the hiring of their new coach.  No way they would have recovered the way they did otherwise.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/28/11 at 11:57 AM ET

monkey's avatar

Dating back to 1994 when the current playoff format was instituted, the Western Conference has won the Cup nine out of 16 times. 

Of those nine WC teams eight finished in the top two, with only the 1997 Red Wings bucking the trend having finished the regular season at #3 (the only #3 seed to win the Cup in that entire period), and all of them had a regular season goal differential of at least +50.

There is no switch.  Someone who expresses an attitude like Franzen’s should be benched.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 05/28/11 at 12:14 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Also the ‘09 Pengoons were helped out considerably by the hiring of their new coach.  No way they would have recovered the way they did otherwise.

Absolute mutant victory.  Their winning the Cup that year is an outlier on par with the 2000 Devils (interestingly both teams are from the East and won by beating the defending champs).

Posted by monkey from Finland on 05/28/11 at 12:18 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Simonson: Nick Lidstrom, your gut on Nick coming back for one final year?

Babcock: He’ll be back.

Simonson: He told you he’s coming back?

Babcock: No.

Simonson: Well you just, you feel it, right?

Babcock: Well, you just asked me what my gut said, I just told ya.

That’s pure Babcockian brilliance right there.

You may talk of “Hudler being gone.”  How?  He has a salary of $2.875 Million, which, astonishingly, is 875,000 more than Dan Cleary. Seriously.

Actually, Bill, Buckets makes $3.0M per year right now, with a cap hit of $2.8M. But I get the point you’re trying to make. Happy’s salary/performance comparison will make him hard to move in a trade.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/28/11 at 02:06 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Actually, Bill, Buckets makes $3.0M per year right now, with a cap hit of $2.8M. But I get the point you’re trying to make. Happy’s salary/performance comparison will make him hard to move in a trade.

Avs will take him; they’ll give up a first rounder for him guaranteed.  They rise towards the floor with little chance of real success in both the short and long term.  Pure Colorado gold right there.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 05/28/11 at 02:16 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Given the fact that Hudler underperformed to the extent that he did, I believe that he’s not really worth more than a mid-round pick if the Wings truly want to unload his salary and take none in return.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/28/11 at 02:45 PM ET

Lucce's avatar

Well….

Jovocop if he playes for nickles?

Posted by Lucce from Kingdom of Zweden on 05/28/11 at 03:50 PM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

Jovanovski is a guy who made more than Lidstrom last year. At age 34, he’s not going to take a pay cut significant enough to make him worth the dollars…anything over 2 million would be overpaying. He looks old and slow and beat up…he’s not half the player he used to be, and he’s on the decline. A one year deal for 1.5-2 mil, sure, but anything longer, or more pricey than that….there are much better options, even in that pay range.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 05/28/11 at 04:03 PM ET

Avatar

With

1) Rafalski and Modano ($7.25 million) for sure coming off the cap,
2) Draper and Osgood resigning at lesser cap hits (or being replaced by guys who will in all likelihood cost less than they did),
3) not too many players due big raises (Howard’s new deal kicks in this year; Eaves, Miller and Ericsson are the only potential returnees who could see small raises), AND
4) the cap going up,

Is trading Hudler even really the right move? With his stock as low as it is, we can’t trade him unless we practically give him away or take on someone else’s problem in return. And unless Holland throws insane money at a big-budget UFA or RFA defender or forward (not going to happen), we should have plenty of money to resign Lidstrom, Eaves and Miller, spend about $5-$7 million fixing up the defense and another $3-$5 million or so on another forward and a backup goalie.

Tossing Hudler buys you an extra $3 million. But considering how terrible the UFA market is this year, what would you even spend it on? And if he blossoms elsewhere a la Ville Leino?

Don’t get me wrong, Leino was an ingrate and I have no regrets about sending him packing ... but Hudler HAS been successful in Detroit before and seems to have a good attitude. I don’t love the idea of giving him another shot, but I don’t love the idea of giving him away for peanuts either.

Plus, if Hudler sucks again, he’s gone at the end of next year anyway, when we have to potentially factor in raises for Stuart, Kronwall, Helm and Abdelkader, as well as presumably finding another defender to ease (not replace) the loss of Lidstrom.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/28/11 at 04:06 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

In Kenny We Trust.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 05/28/11 at 04:33 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Think Conk will sign for less than Ozzie made?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/28/11 at 06:16 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Plus, if Hudler sucks again, he’s gone at the end of next year anyway, when we have to potentially factor in raises for Stuart, Kronwall, Helm and Abdelkader, as well as presumably finding another defender to ease (not replace) the loss of Lidstrom.

In all seriousness, this is a contract year for Hudler.  We should be expecting big things from him.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 05/28/11 at 07:12 PM ET

SYF's avatar

What Babcock says out in public (”...top 6 forward, top 6 d-man…”) is pretty much what every other team wants so I (probably only me) think he’s just filling space in the question asked.  Rafi retiring makes it an obvious point and a healthy Franzen is a top six forward.

I’m not even going to try to speculate on what the Wings will do that huge cap space now currently available to them (more if Lidas decides to hang ‘em up, which I hope doesn’t happen this soon).  Lidas will stay if the Holland can tell him that the Wings will be a Cup-contender with the acquisitions and signings he has in mind.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 05/28/11 at 08:10 PM ET

Avatar

he’s just filling space in the question asked.  Rafi retiring makes it an obvious point and a healthy Franzen is a top six forward.

Well, it’s true though.  And yes, a healthy Franzen is a top six forward but
a) there’s never a guarantee that we’re going to get a healthy Franzen, so if he misses a chunk of a season then what do we do?
b) other than Franzen, Z and Datsyuk, who are our top six forwards?  Bert, Cleary and Flip can be top 6 forwards but I’m not sure any of them are consistent enough to be genuine top six forwards.

I think realistically what Detroit needs is a middle-six forward.

With his stock as low as it is, we can’t trade him unless we practically give him away or take on someone else’s problem in return.

I, for one, wouldn’t be against a Leino-esque trade, because the extra cap space would be as good a return for him, to me, as a player.

And I also think that if there is a trade market for the likes of Scott Gomez, then there’s a trade market for Jiri Hudler, and while some times you pick up a castoff and he’s Brett Lebda but sometimes you pick up a castoff and he’s Ville Leino.  I guarantee that while there are a lot of people down on Hudler, there’s at least a couple GMs who are hearing that he’s on the trade block and just chomping at the bit to get an offer in on him.  Not saying that Holland is neccearily going to steal someone away from another team in exchange for Jiri Hudler, but I also think there’s definitely a market for him.

Posted by Garth on 05/28/11 at 11:03 PM ET

CC Moor's avatar

Sven 22, I think you nailed in on Hudler!  Fans in Detroit have all seemed to gang up on him and want him gone.  What if they knew in advance he was going to come in at 22G, 36A = 58 pts., and +12 next year playing mostly on the 3rd line but some PP and some to spell a declining Holmstrom on the Datsyuk line?

Would people still want to send him packing?  Because his numbers cannot help but go up a fair amount….. he DOES have way too much pride.  And he is a good kid at heart who wants to play here.

Letting him go is a big mistake in my view. If he underperformed at $2.75 million, Filppula definitely underperformed at $3.5, and Franzen did at $5mm.

I am really hoping Huds stays and sees more time with Datsyuk….. those two have a real chemistry.

Posted by CC Moor from Washington DC on 05/29/11 at 04:32 AM ET

Avatar

I like the idea of trading the rights to Filppula and Hudler. The trade that always seems to pop up is that of getting Bogosian. What about getting Bieska the guy is a beast, is clutch and does good at the corners and stepping up into the offensive attack. He is proving it now in the conference finals. Lidstrom will play another 1-2 years, but not only do we need someone to groom for his spot. We also need to think about Rafalski’s replacement. We have a stellar prospect in Brendan Smith, but we need to give him some time to understand the Red Wing Way and give him some tutelage, but Babcock said at the start of the year, that he could play in the NHL right now. So, I strongly believe he will enter the NHL this year. The Wings will need to bring in a vet #2 goal- tenderer, I have heard Conklin, but I think Varlamov can be a good fit. I like him better on the Wings as we would play better defense around him and he has skills we could use and be more than competent if Howard was to go down.

So, here’s my shot. We sign Bieska to a 4 year deal at around 4 million per. The Canucks will have to sign Ernhoff and will unlikely be able to keep both. Then we trade Filppula, #1 pick, and Hudler for Bogosian. We sign Brooks Laich to play with Dats and Z and give them a nice winger who is also good on face-offs and can skate. Mursak will be called up as our rights to him run out and Babcock knows he will not clear waivers. What we are going to do about Emmerton is anyone’s guess? We could use him as trade bait as well.  We have good wingers in the minors waiting in the Wings so to speak, but need some more seasoning.

A couple of things that are pretty much consensus now. Gone: Osgood, Draper, Modano and Salei. Second, we need a backup goaltender, probably a veteran until Joey MacDonald or Larsson are ready to step up and ready. Third, Mursak will replace Modano and Brendan Smith/Kindl replaces Salei. The other forward spot will likely go to Tomas Tatar as he showed a lot of speed, energy and grit when he came up for 9 games this year. He would replace Draper. With Mursak and Tatar along with Brendan Smith or Kindl, Bieska, Bogosian, the Wings will be grittier, faster and a lot younger at these key positions. Compared to the contribution or lack thereof made by Salei, Modano and Draper, while we give something in experience for sure, I think we pick up a lot of youth to go up against these up tempo younger teams.

The development of Abdelkader and Helm will continue and I am excited about the new season. Finally, I have read many articles from Holland and I think he is well aware the Wings are real close to another cup and the window is there for 2-3 years, perhaps longer if these young guns really develop: i.e. Brendan Smith, Tatar, Mursak, Pulkinnen, Larsson, Jarnkrok, Nyquist, Kolosov, etc.

CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

FORWARDS (14)
Brooks Laich ($2.800m) / Pavel Datsyuk ($6.700m) / Tomas Holmstrom ($1.875m)
Johan Franzen ($3.954m) / Henrik Zetterberg ($6.083m) / Todd Bertuzzi ($1.937m)
Daniel Cleary ($2.800m) / Darren Helm ($0.912m) / Patrick Eaves ($1.100m)
Justin Abdelkader ($0.787m) / Tomas Tatar ($0.550m) / Drew Miller ($0.900m)
Jan Mursak ($0.550m) / Cory Emmerton ($.550)
Other possibilities, tell me whom you like: Jussi Jokinen, LW, (*1.9m), ex Wings Ville Leino, would want 2.5m or so or Tomas Kopecky, LW, 1.4m. Another possibility is Zherdev as I think he just is not a fit in Philly a strong right-handed shot, which we need and he would play well with Datsyuk and/or Z.
DEFENSEMEN (7)
Nicklas Lidstrom ($6.200m) / Kevin Bieska ($4.00m)
Niklas Kronwall ($3.000m) / Zach Bogosian ($3.500m)
Brad Stuart ($3.750m) Jakub Kindl ($0.883m) and perhaps Brendan Smith ($.750m). If not we groom him and give him some spot duties in NHL so he can adjust to playing in this league. If we do not sign Bogosian and/or Bieska, he makes the squad this year for sure. The Wiz out of Montreal is another guy that won’t cost us as much and he’s young.

GOALTENDERS
Jimmy Howard ($2.250m) / Ty Conklin or Semyon Varlamov ($0.900m)

Note: Salary Cap is projected to be 62.2m
Salary: with Varlamov as backup 57.031 million, so we would have an additional $5 million + of cap space. Gives us some room to give some raises and bonuses.

In 2 years or so, we would most likely see the retirement and/or departure of the contracts of Lidstrom and Holmstrom. That gives us about $8m of cap space to beef up our wingers core and extend the contracts of our top players, Datsyuk for one and the young guys who prove themselves and we want to lock down. I think Brooks Laich could be a good fit here and Tatar and Mursak are going to bring speed and I can just imagine them at some point tearing down the ice with Dats or Z, scary. The penalty kill and defense is shored up big time with added scoring touch with the likes of Bieska and Bogosian will add toughness and is a promising young player as he was taken #3 overall in 2008 draft. If we can get a core like this and barring injuries, we would be drinking from the cup again very soon and cement the Detroit dynasty of the Lidstrom era

Summary of acquisitions and departures:

1.  Sign Varlamov or Ty Conklin as backup to replace Osgood who retires.
2.  Trade Filppula, #1 and Hudler and if needed rights to Emmerton for Bogosian.
3.  Besides Osgood, cut Salei, Draper and Modano.
4.  Bring up Tatar to replace Modano and Mursak to replace Draper.
5.  Sign FA Bieksa and Brooks Laich or Nikolay Zherdev.
6.  Resign Eaves and Drew Miller for 4th line and penalty kill.
7.  Bring up Kindl and Brendan Smith to replace Ruslan Salei. Note: could use Brendan Smith slotted for 3rd line defensemen or healthy scratch. Let him get his feet wet and adjust with veterans and learn from Lidstrom before he retires.
8.  Conclusion: Need to improve overall defensive coverage, speed, youth, backup goaltender and get a winger to work with Z and Dats and get some added firepower.
9.  Gone: Filppula, Hudler, Ericsson, Osgood, Draper, Salei, Modano and Rafalski
10.  Added: Bieska, Bogosian, Laich, B.Smith/Kindl, Tatar, Mursak and Varlamov/Conklin.

Posted by Quixzotek from Florida on 05/29/11 at 01:01 PM ET

11B4PF7 in MN's avatar

Garth,

I agree with a lot of what you have been posting.  In reference to Hudler, it only pays to get rid of him if we get something for him or if the Wings have a player in mind that they would like to use his cap space on, or if they want to get Tatar (comparable player) in the lineup.  This is coming from a Wings fan that would rather see Hudler go.

I definitely agree with your assessment that we need a middle six forward.  I would even go as far to say that we need a second line forward specifically.  Cleary, Fils, and Abby have all played different roles in that middle six catagory as well as first line duty. This assumes that Dats, Z, Franzen, and Bertuzzi are in the top six category exclusively. One of the elements of strong teams is a solid third line.  Getting a legit second line forward would ensure we would have the depth to accomplish this.  Two years ago it was supposed to be Williams and last year Madono for that third line depth.  For various reasons, both of those ‘tweaks’ failed.

Quixzotek,

Sorry, but Bieksa is in the 5-6 million range.  I would love to see him wearing red and white, but it will be for more coin than 4.

Posted by 11B4PF7 in MN on 05/29/11 at 05:20 PM ET

Avatar

Because his numbers cannot help but go up a fair amount

Based on what?

If he underperformed at $2.75 million, Filppula definitely underperformed at $3.5, and Franzen did at $5mm.

Ok, first, Filppula’s cap hit is $3M and Franzen’s is $4M and secondly, Filppula is a much, much MUCH better defensive forward than Hudler and Franzen led the team in goals.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Hudler went from a 57 point season to a 37 point season.  What was that about pride?  He sure showed his pride in dropping my 30%, didn’t he, and after getting a 150% raise.  Wonderful.

And yes, both Filppula and Franzen actually showed up for the playoffs too.

In reference to Hudler, it only pays to get rid of him if we get something for him

I disagree.  I honestly think that trading him for a draft pick would be addition by subtraction.  It shows what we expect from our forwards and that we won’t expect less.

I won’t be heartbroken if the Wings keep him around, but I’d love to replace him with someone a little more gritty, and I’d love to keep both Eaves and Miller while bringing in Mursak and Tatar, and I’m not sure there’d be room for all of those guys AND Hudler.

Posted by Garth on 05/29/11 at 07:37 PM 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.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

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.