Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Point-counterpoint regarding the Red Wings’ veteran and/or youth movement

Consider this to be the first entry of probably more than a couple in which I’ll incorporate reader commentary into the equation. The Detroit Free Press’s Jamie Samuelssen believes that the Red Wings might be best served by bringing Chris Osgood and Kris Draper back for one more season, possible ramifications in terms of losing Cory Emmerton to waivers included…

This will be an interesting summer for Osgood and Draper. Both have been supplanted in their traditional roles. Both still want to play. And both still want to play here. Draper pointed out after the season that the only downside to a long career in one city is that it makes moving on much more difficult. It’s one thing if you’re single and in your 20s. But when you have a family and you’re in your 40s, a one-year stint with the Phoenix Coyotes or Buffalo Sabres might not look as attractive. Translation: He’d stay in Detroit if the price was right. And the “right price” is anything the Wings are willing to give him.

Some fans think this is a negative. Some think the Wings have gotten too old and stale and hold on to their veterans too long. I disagree.

In the last few years, we’ve seen the Wings turn more and more to a younger group of players. Jimmy Howard took over in net. Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader have taken more important roles. Niklas Kronwall has become the defenseman we hoped he would and had a particularly strong playoff run this year. So the younger players have come along. It’s not as if Draper and Osgood are standing in anybody’s way. Draper was a healthy scratch on more than one occasion during the playoffs, and Osgood basically was out after Jan. 1. If Howard had faltered or gotten hurt, I much rather would have had Osgood waiting in the Wings than unproven Joey MacDonald.

But as the young players have emerged and some older players have stepped aside, we’ve discovered something alarming: The younger players haven’t exactly seized the spotlight. Sure, there have been moments. And sure, Howard has solidified the crease. But other than that, have there really been any stars? I still think the biggest reason the Wings have lost to the San Jose Sharks in two consecutive playoffs is because the Sharks have young stars. The Wings have young supporting players. Part of that is because the Wings have maxed out their salaries at the top of the roster, and part of it is because the Wings have been so good for so long that they haven’t had access to the top picks in the draft.

But it has nothing to do with the older players. If anything, those guys have only helped. They set an example of work ethic and putting the team over the individual. By all accounts, the older players take an active role in mentoring the youngsters. Osgood has treated Howard the same way he was treated by Mike Vernon way back when. The Wings have a culture of winning. Keeping players around who know how to win is a big reason for it.

Osgood and Draper shouldn’t stay around solely for a ceremonial position. They should stay only if the Red Wings can afford them and they are equal to or better than a younger alternative. But if it comes down to a decision between young versus old, I’d side with the old. It has worked for this franchise for nearly 20 years. Why change now?

KK and TMR reader Chet, however, disagrees with Samuelssen’s assessment, arguing that the Wings have lost too many Kyle Quinceys, Ville Leinos and Mattias Ritolas for the sake of being loyal to aging veterans:

Detroit’s management is known for being conservative with roster turnover, and likewise loyal to legacy players. This has been Detroit’s model for some time now, and it’s great for fans who like that the team has little turnover. Some argue it also attracts a higher level of free agents who expect they’ll be treated in a first class manner by a first class organization. However, in a capped league, the “loyalty” system employed by the Red Wings is going to hurt the team over the next few seasons and beyond if they don’t start to adjust.

It is well-known the Wings have at least a few quality young players in the pipeline. There is value to bringing them aboard the big club while guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are in their prime and Niklas Lidstrom is still with the team, so they can learn from the best. It’s just good business.

This next or the year after that are going to be the second or third year where the Wings take a step back if they don’t get their pipeline players into the NHL soon. They will not have 3-5 young star (nevermind superstar) players in the near future if those players don’t get started now. The NHL today is a young man’s league, where little is left to chance with player development and thus young players can learn and excel at their positions far more readily than in decades past. As fans, we like that Detroit’s roster has less turnover than other teams, and we know this may even attract free agents, but we also like winning, and that also attracts free agents.

Further, fans can talk about how the Wings were one of the top three teams in the West this year, but when the playoffs were settled, the Wings came in third at best, bowing out in the conference semifinal. Going from third to first in the West is tough, and winning the Cup is even tougher. Even if you agree with the concept of “reloading” a quality nucleus, our true nucleus is comparatively pretty old going forward.

My message: do not accept a substandard on-ice product going forward in the name of “Hockeytown tradition” or loyalty. I know how uncomfortable this sounds; I have watched and loved the Red Wings since the early 1990’s. Every trade, defection, or retirement (with the exceptions of Ville Leino and Uwe Krupp) has broken my heart to some extent, because it meant the player was in some way not right for my beloved team or was just too old to be productive.

So, as emotional as we may get about the idea of guys like Chris Osgood and Kris Draper being forced out, and as much as we dislike the messy business of unloading so-called fringe players like Jiri Hudler and Jonathan Ericsson to bring in youth, the fact remains over the next few years the team’s current nucleus will be gone or at least well out of its prime. If young players playing important minutes is how teams improve, comparable or worse veterans hanging on too long is how teams handicap themselves at those positions when they don’t have to.

In Detroit’s case, we know some veterans would sign a cap-friendly contract relatively comparable to an NHL rookie’s so they can keep playing. However, if they would perform at the same or only a slightly higher level as the young player that season, it’s still a waste because the young player stuck in the AHL or the Leino Lounge either won’t develop against NHL competition or the organization will not learn what they should about his potential NHL development. We know Detroit likes to bring its players along slowly; this is not completely faultworthy, but should be tweaked somewhat.

Every year, we know some roster players are over the hill; we also know some roster players really aren’t NHL—or at least affordable Red Wings—material.  The Wings aren’t going to have a top ten draft pick any time soon, but they also won’t really find out who their top future players are if this year and the next aren’t ones of turnover to a more significant degree than we’re used to seeing. Players like Brendan Smith, Tomas Tatar, and Jan Mursak (one could also make an argument for the organization’s young goaltenders, but less effectively) deserve a shot sooner than later regardless of their contract or waiver status.

This is hard to address for a business model, team, and fan base like the Wings have, but the truth remains: Detroit has a glut of veterans and unproductive players devouring ice time at the big club level, and it’s about to start mortgaging the future as the NHL continues onward in its undeniable youth movement.

Author’s note: this meme was penned prior to the news of Brian Rafalski’s retirement. He decided one or both of the following: “I’m not going to be worth $6M this coming season if I keep playing,” or “$6M isn’t worth it to me to keep playing this coming season.” Either way, he deserves all the accolades and respect Wings fans can shower upon him for his time in red and white. His retirement, however, opens up some massive cap space and will lead to even more turnover, but does not otherwise change my support of a moderate youth movement in Detroit. Happy trails and thanks to #28 as we hope and expect management is wise in free agency.

What do you think?

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Comments

awould's avatar

Losing Kyle Quincey still bothers me. If I recall, it was either him or Chelios. I’d take Quincey in the long run. Not sure how the salary cap issue comes into play as Quincey is making over $3MM a year now. Maybe we wouldn’t have Stuart around if Quincey were here. I’m sure that all factors into their decision. But they got nothing for Quincey.

Either way, I lean towards not losing solid prospects if the only gain is to give Draper one more year on the roster. It’s just not worth it. I hate thinking of Draper being forced to retire before he’s ready, because he’s Red Wings family, but it is a business and the business is winning. Sometimes things just don’t work out perfectly. A two-way contract for Draper is good for both, it will transition Draper to a new role in the organization and he will be a valuable mentor to the young guys in Grand Rapids.

Posted by awould on 06/01/11 at 05:28 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

If I recall, it was either him or Chelios.

It was between Quincy, Chelios and Meech. The Wings opted to keep Meech because of his versatility (could fill in at forward). The mistake was keeping Meech over Quincy. Even today Chelios could probably still play better than Meech.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/01/11 at 06:04 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

The decision to choose Meech over Quincey was a mistake.  It looked really bad for a year or two there, when Quincey had his break out season in LA.  Since then, he slowed down a bit.  Still, he’s been much better than Meech over that same time.

Other than Quincey, however, who else qualifies?  Mattias Ritola?  Really?  Ville Leino didn’t get traded because there were too many vets.  He was shipped out for other reasons.

I am all for letting young players play, so long as they are ready.  I trust Holland et. al to know when that is.

Posted by Ajax19 on 06/01/11 at 06:14 PM ET

Avatar

I endorse the youth movement.  The advantage to Draper and Osgood is that Draper is still fast and can win faceoffs, and Osgood has proven to be capable when he wants to be.

However, I want to see Tatar and Smith in Red Wings uniforms for the exact reasons described above.  Being a stud in the AHL only goes so far.  My biggest, if not only, criticism of Holland is that he develops a little too slow for my taste.  I know there are pluggers to be found in the mold of Cleary & Eaves, but both Tatar and Smith put up very good numbers considering the jumps they made, and I want to see them get a shot.

Do you think that with Draper and Osgood, Detroit will win a Cup next year?  Not unless someone else comes in on the blue line (with Lidstrom) and maybe a different flavor up front (possibly solved by a healthy and motivated Franzen).  Draper as a coach gives you just about what you’d see on the ice…same with Osgood.  Replacing them for replacement’s sake doesn’t do any good, but there are capable prospects that need to shine somewhere.  Better Detroit than Grand Rapids.

Posted by Tek Jansen from East Lansing, MI on 06/01/11 at 06:18 PM ET

awould's avatar

Quincey did well in Colorado too. He was injured most of this past season. Jury is still out on that guy. However, I think had he remained a Red Wing, he’d have developed better and we’d be talking about what a solid part of the team he’s become.

Leino can suck it. He had 50+ pts for Philly this year, not bad, but only 5 pts in the Playoffs when it mattered most. In my fantasy league, he was passed around like a joint. Having him on your fantasy team shows just how inconsistent he is. Which was the knock on him to begin with, that he wasn’t a hard worker.

Posted by awould on 06/01/11 at 06:32 PM ET

11B4PF7 in MN's avatar

I do not buy too much into the theory that a large roster turnover leads to mediocrity.  Look back at 2007 offseason.  Mathieu Shneider, Danny Markov, Robert Lang, Todd Bertuzzi all left that offseason.  I am pretty sure that we all know how the 2008 season ended.  Pittsburgh can suck it.

I think that giving your prospects an extra year to develop in the minors is a good idea in some cases.  It has been well documented that Smith could have played in the NHL last season.  He did very well in the AHL, and if the Wings want to nurture his development, great, he should be slotted as the seventh defenseman on the Wings this year.  Emmerton and Mursak need to be there too.  When injuries strike, bring up Tatar, Nyquist, Janik, or Lashoff (since cheli likes him so much).  The trade deadline is early enough for the Wings to pick up a veteran or two if need be and still allow them to learn the system before the playoffs.

I am for a youth movement with a supplemental veteran addition at the trade deadline.

Posted by 11B4PF7 in MN on 06/01/11 at 06:55 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

It’s not even like we’d really “lose” drapes.. he’d be back with the orginization and around them everyday.  Ozzy was on IR not playing but still mentoring Howard.

I have to agree with moving them along.  Pav is 32.. hank 30.. They also have more miles on them than any other set of stars in the league.  It’s not like Draper is Brett Hull teaching Helm how to shoot.. he just gives mental stability.  At this point, they should have the message and I think they do.  And like I said, he’d still be around the team.  But for a team who’s die-hard about not mortgaging away your future for short term gains.. giving a guy 10-15 years of stability in the league is fair enough, we don’t owe them another season and sacrifice our future.  Florida really wanted Emmerton when we traded for Bert back in 06.  He’s got skills.. he apparently still has conditioning issues and needs to work on his work ethic (think Wellwood).. I can’t help but think he’d be better served seeing and playing along with Red Wings GREATS in the Euro Twins than getting “quality” minutes in the AHL.  The Culture can’t be fully translated by Cheli and Jiri.. you have to be emersed in it in the locker room.

Quincey ended up being what Kindle looks like he could become.  Bigger puck moving defenseman who can QB a powerplay and a good shot from the point.  Lost him for no reason, AND we kept Meech.  I know the pundit say that Meech clearly outplayed Q in the preseason and that’s fairly accurate, however, why are still keeping Ericsson around then?  You can’t tell me Meech projected higher than Q.. the potential upside was obvious, yet we went with the other guy.  OK, I’m down with that, reward hard work, absolutely.  So after 4 years in the minors, 3 playoffs and 2 full season, we’re still waiting to see the upside of Ericsson and now considering giving him a RAISE.. doesn’t make sense to me and this is the point I think the “Youth Movement” propenant was making is that at a certain point, you don’t owe that loyalty to the player.. giving them an entire career on the team or bringing them and giving them a second chance to prove themselves are payment enough and if it becomes we can’t win or compete for the conference, it’s time to move on, just a sad fact but fact none the less.

I’d love to still have Ritola, I think he has more upside than Draper or Maltby, knowing they had a year or two on them respectively and Ritola had an entire career ahead of him.  So for a guy who doesn’t trade picks anymore because you don’t want to mortgage you future, it becomes hard to understand why a 40-50 pnt defenseman was lost, especially when we put such a premium on defense.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/01/11 at 07:01 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

it becomes hard to understand why a 40-50 pnt defenseman was lost, especially when we put such a premium on defense.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/01/11 at 05:01 PM ET

Because Kyle Quincey isn’t very good at playing defense.

I don’t want to try to project “what-if” career arcs too much, but Meech was baller in Grand Rapids this season and the only thing that kept him off an NHL roster was waiver rules (we couldn’t trade him because the other team would have to put him through to bring him up and would have lost him and we couldn’t waive him because why the f*ck would we?)

Based on what Quincey has said about the organization and how they “held him back” and how he’s whined, I’m glad he’s gone.  When I look that a guy who hasn’t cracked 40 points has a higher cap hit than Nik Kronwall, I’m absolutely ecstatic he’s not with Detroit.  I hope the 1 point he put up in 21 games last season keeps those mouth-breathing Avs fans warm at night when they consider how their team is going to get to the cap floor.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/01/11 at 07:12 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

And yes, Ritola really, there’s a reason stevie nabbed him when he left.  He’s a luxury 3rd liner.  He’s a hard worker, nose for the net, good hockey sense and great two way game.  Could slot a 2nd line wing in a pinch and is pretty skilled with the puck compared to the leagues other third liners.. his ear thing is what brought his stock down and how can you prepare for that?  If he didn’t have that, I think he’d have really started to shine in a grinder capacity with Guy.

Mursak is garaunteed, hard worker fast skater, similar puck skills to Ritola, not as big but has more speed.  Him and Helmers, the thought gives me goosebumps.

Tatar, could probably use 1 more year but is bulking up and breaking out.  He’s got GREAT energy though and I think will provide a pop that’s contagious to the team, we need that.

Emmerton, skill that knows it’s skilled.  If he worked hard he could be a 2nd liner.  I think the mentoring he needs is hands on by guys on the team, police it from the locker room, let him see what superstars do and how hard they work.  And he doesn’t have options but we definitely need to see what his chops are really made of.

Smith, we all know.  Jiri Fischer-light great offensive upside.  He’s ready.


I don’t want to have to lose any of these guys over the next couple of years just to accomodate 1 more year for someone who already had 10-15 with the orginization.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/01/11 at 07:18 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Looking up his season, there is one really great thing remaining to be said for Quincey.

He got into a fight with Daniel Winnik (his own teammate) during preseason last year.

Oh sure, it’s not such a great thing until you think about it… Kyle Quincey fights Avalanche players.  He can’t be all bad.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/01/11 at 07:25 PM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Rather not see both Draper and Osgood return. Roster spots are to valuable on players that only play half the season around 6 minutes and goalie that can’t stay healthy. They had great seasons here and have SC rings to show for it but this team needs those roster spots filled with big, faster and stronger and younger. players.
SC Final teams filled with tough grinders like Torres, LaPierre, Kelly, Marchand, etc.
At least one of two veteran Red Wings should go out gracefully this summer and retire, I hope. We need a backup goalie that ican be relied on to be healthy when needed and we need a energy line player or grind liner that has the energy and strength to skate and hit with todays NHLers, pest or fighting.
This team doesn’t need to go radically younger but they do need to go younger quite a bit.

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 06/01/11 at 07:26 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/01/11 at 05:12 PM ET


I admit I didn’t like his whining about not getting a ring from the SC win in ‘08, but I also can’t argue with the guy who thinks he’s ready to make the next step and he keeps getting shut down, goes to another team and explodes on the scene.  Defense?  My arguement would be Ericsson.  Neither are particularly good on defense.. but one puts up way more points than the other, one can QB a power-play too and it’s not Ericsson.  He was overpaid because the team was willing.. Lebda made what, 1.5m?  But you know he wouldn’t have made that here and he wouldn’t have cared, everyone wants to be a Wing wink

Meech is definitely a hard worker, but baller in the AHL doesn’t equal baller in the NHL either (Gilbert Brule, looking at you)

I get it about could-woulda-shoulda’s but the fact is, we sacficed a decent defenseman for an AHL player based on hard work.  Then we contemplate a raise based not on hard work, but potential upside.. which we didn’t care about in Q’s case.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/01/11 at 07:26 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Bottom line is it doesn’t matter anyways, just a case in point about Q but really, if Miller and Eaves stay, Kenny will make him a coach in some capacity but I think it’s out of Drapes hands at this point and Kenny is on the youth movement page, to a degree.  Very glad he wants to see Smith make the club next year vs. projecting him to stay and trying to fill the slot via free-agency but probably has more to do with Kronners stepping up.

Bert wont cause any problems like this on his way out, I doubt he’ll sign another contract, more likely opting for retirement and another slot is open.  Homer can only take abuse for so long but I think next year may be his last.  I thnk whoever said they thought Lidas and Homer were going to retire together being BFF’s, may be right. 

So realistically in the next couple years we’re going to have several spots to fill and I’m hoping we have enough int he cupboard to come in and compete.  Space wont be an issue before long, worrying for nothing. 

Besides, by that time, bout 3 years, Calle Jarnkrok and Teemu Pulkkinen will be ready to make the big club and we’ll have those star type players again.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/01/11 at 07:40 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

and in 2 years we’ll have Nyquist who’s going to be BOMB, another stellar swede.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/01/11 at 07:43 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’m confused though.  Is there an implication that Ericsson isn’t a hard worker though?  Because the upside key-word generator on Ericsson is spitting out all of the same syllables as it was with Quincey back when he was a Red Wing. 

Big guy
Good skater
Offensive instincts
Can eat up big minutes
Can play PK or PP with a good shot from the point

Hell, even the downside key-word generator seems to think they’re the same person.

Doesn’t use size to his advantage
caught out of position too often
inconsistent
sees the game better than he thinks it

I have no idea if Ericsson would have sank or swam if given the opportunity in LA that Quincey got.  Based on all of the small opportunities he’s gotten as a Wing during injury times (and what he got this season playing behind Datsyuk a lot), I’m pretty confident in saying that Quincey grabbed his chance much harder than Big Rig.  he then rode it to a payday and has sucked ever since. 

As far as Meech fits back into this, I honestly don’t think that either one is a regular on this Red Wings’ roster based on all that’s happened.  What I am thankful for is that Meech spent this entire season accepting his role and working to make sure that guys like Brendan Smith got good mentoring this last year.  I think that as far as value to an organization goes, Meech has brought more to Detroit lately than Quincey brought to Colorado. 

The scary thing is that Ericsson is set to start making only about $750k (give or take) less than Quincey in the upcoming year and, like you said, Quincey has at least proven that he can put up points while the both of them struggle to play defense consistently.  However, As far as just the two of them go, I’m going to put myself on a big ugly limb right here and say that Jonathan Ericsson will have a better season next year than Kyle Quincey.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/01/11 at 07:46 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/01/11 at 05:46 PM ET

I’ll climb out on that limb with you even if it is on blind faith, but I have to believe he’ll be good, the Wings need him to be good to compete if there going to continue to give him chance after chance.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/01/11 at 07:50 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I’m in the youth movement camp. Love Drapes and Ozzie, but it’s time to go. And I was the one who guessed that Homer and Nick will go together. I’m hoping that, since Homer has one year left on his contract, and Rafalski retired, Nick will give us one more year.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 06/01/11 at 08:21 PM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

And yes, Ritola really, there’s a reason stevie nabbed him when he left.  He’s a luxury 3rd liner.  He’s a hard worker, nose for the net, good hockey sense and great two way game.  Could slot a 2nd line wing in a pinch and is pretty skilled with the puck compared to the leagues other third liners.. his ear thing is what brought his stock down and how can you prepare for that?  If he didn’t have that, I think he’d have really started to shine in a grinder capacity with Guy.

This. A million times this.

I was really impressed with Ritola during the few playoff games he was called up for with the Wings. I thought he had pretty good hands and skating as well as a nice physical edge. I think he’s only making $500k in Tampa.

I also agree regarding Drapes and Ozzie. What more do they have to prove on the ice? I think that retaining them for an additional year and losing a couple more young guys is pretty counterproductive given the realities of the post-lockout NHL.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Algiers, DZ on 06/01/11 at 08:41 PM ET

babymachine's avatar

If Ozzie wants to play another year, I say give him one more shot. As far as I know, McCollum and Co. still need some time to develop, so why not keep Ozzie around on the cheap?

Drapes looked to me like he has at least one more year left in him. I’m all for giving the young guys a shot, but they have to earn it. Real question is, do we bring back Miller and/or Eaves? It’s a tough call, because both are very hard workers and responsible defensively.

As far as the Meech/Quincey talk, hindsight is 20/20.

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 06/01/11 at 08:41 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

As far as young vs. old, I lean young.  If the Wings want to bring back Draper and Ozzie, then they should, but it should be under the Maltby Rule: if you can’t win your spot, you’re not on the roster.

The youth movement idea for goaltending is a bit of a non-starter.  We don’t have a young gun in Grand Rapids who is ready to step up and take over the backup role.  We’re going to have to sign at least one guy to back up Howard with the big club and, if we don’t sign Ozzie, we’ll have to sign another veteran guy who doesn’t mind playing in the minors. 

For forwards, I think we’re going to end up losing Emmerton.  I don’t get to watch the Griffins play at all, but from what I saw in his time up with the Wings this year, I have him as #3 behind Mursak and Tatar as far as young callups fighting to earn spots.  Emmerton might surprise me in camp, but as of right now, I don’t expect him to be a Wing next season.  Eaves and Miller do what he does and I consider both of them above him on the depth/potential chart.

If I had to pick one of the kids to make it to the Wings and take over the #12-13 spot that we’re realistically talking about opening up without Draper sticking around, then I take Mursak.  I’m MUCH higher on Tatar as far as what I think they’ll be able to pull off overall, but Tatar needs a bit more seasoning.  He doesn’t quite look like young Datsyuk and Filppula when they came up (both had amazing puck skills, but got knocked off the puck too easily).  What I see from Tatar is that he also has amazing puck skills, but he has trouble keeping control of himself (much like George talked about during his Traverse City work last summer).  He has to be able to skate at full speed with the puck and I haven’t seen that from him.  Mursak can’t dangle like he does, but he’s probably more NHL-ready right now.

Ultimately, I want to see a skill guy playing on the fourth line next season.  I still want the Wings to use some cap space to get a dedicated top-six guy after filling out the D, but I think that having a future top-six potential guy on the lower half will help remind some of the middle-six guys right now that their jobs are at stake.  If we don’t trade Hudler, I want a guy that can realistically steal his spot pushing him from the lower lines.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/01/11 at 08:42 PM ET

babymachine's avatar

Tatar needs a bit more seasoning. LOL

I think the same thing will happen that happened to Maltby; if there isn’t a spot for Drapes to win, he’ll most likely retire. But like i said, these young guys need to push the older guys by earning a spot.

I don’t think Holland and company are blind to this notion; I just think they haven’t seen it happen all that often.

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 06/01/11 at 08:52 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Don’t forget that Quincey had a herniated disc in his back and eventually had to have surgery, so the Wings’ leverage was compromised in a big way. They tried to trade him to Dallas, but once the Stars saw the x-ray of Quincey’s back they said, “No way!” so the Wings had to waive him.

I don’t believe in player or roster turnover whenever possible—ideally, you hope to stick with six to nine forwards, four defensemen and a goaltender who fans can feel comfortable investing in both emotionally and in terms of buying jerseys and merchandise, because the Red Wings have always sold fans on the fact that their team will succeed based on the right mix…

But we’re getting to a point where, aside from goaltending (where McCollum and Pearce both need at least one more year in GR), the Wings have to make some hard decisions regarding veterans over the next couple of years or we’re talking about losing a significant number of prospects.

This upcoming season, Mursak’s on the team and Emmerton’s not waiver exempt (nor is Janik). In 2012-2013, Tatar’s going to make the team, Smith will play on a full-time basis, and I believe McCollum would have to clear waivers. In 12-13 of 13-14, we might begin to see the next generation of players who the Wings hope will pan out—Joakim Andersson, Hat Trick Dick, Landon Ferraro, Mitchell Callahan, Brian Lashoff, etc.—and while not all of those players will end up becoming NHL’ers, there is a sense that Draper, Osgood, Lidstrom’s roster spot and Bertuzzi at least have successors in waiting.

The fact that Holland’s waffling enough that he wants to hear from the rest of the organization—Babcock, Jim Nill, Ryan Martin, the pro and amateur scouts, Curt Fraser, Jim Paek, Chris Chelios, Jiri Fischer, etc.—tells us that he’s got a hard decision on his hands as to whether he’s willing to bring back Draper possibly at the expense of Emmerton and Osgood for what might be one more injury-marred campaign.

The Wings are at least thinking about adding more youth to the group and that’s a good sign.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/01/11 at 09:40 PM ET

Avatar

so why not keep Ozzie around on the cheap?

Because he hasn’t played NHL-level hockey in two seasons.  I’ve said it a few times before and here it is again: I would really love for the Wings to get a good, consistent backup (for example: Ty Conklin) to play behind Howard.  Howard’s had two great seasons with competent-to-bad backups behind him and I’d love to see what kind of year he has with a good backup, someone the team doesn’t have to worry about and change the way they play in front of.

I’m all for loyalty, but I’m against stupidity.  If a guy isn’t playing to the level he should be, why keep him around “just because”?

Th problem with the “history” of the Wings being old, the big difference now (“now” being the cap era) is that in the past when Detroit has been old, those old players were Dominik Hasek, Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull, Igor Larionov, Chris Chelios, Slava Fetisov, Steve Yzerman, etc.

This year it’s the likes of Draper and Osgood.  I won’t argue about how good a player Osgood was, but if you bring him back this year the ONLY reason is loyalty because he has.  Not.  Been.  Good.  For the last two years.

Anyone remember the beginning of the 09-10 season?  Remember how hardly anyone was giving Jimmy Howard a chance in hell?  How so many people wanted him traded to bring in a “real” backup?  He took the job away from the guy who might well have been the Conn Smythe winner if Detroit had been able to repeat.  Chris Osgood lost his job to someone that most people didn’t even think should have been in the NHL.  THAT is how good Osgood was last year.  For two years in a row his GAA has been above 3 and his Save % has been below .890.

I don’t even understand that there IS an argument for keeping Osgood around, much less what that argument is.

Give him a job as a goalie coach, either in Detroit or in Grand Rapids.  Clearly he’s a good teacher/mentor, but he’s not NHL-worthy in the way he plays anymore.  It’s as simple as that.

Draper is a more difficult decision though, because I think he still has the ability, unlike Maltby last year or Osgood this year.  The problem is that while Detroit has young support staff, they also have old support staff.  If there were room, I would love to keep Draper around, but is it worth keeping him around for one last year at the expense of losing possibly many, many years of future service from Eaves and/or Miller?  Or is it worth losing Mursak or Emmerton in order to keep around a 40-year old fourth liner?

Not to me.

But hell, what if you had Maltby and/or Draper coaching the PK?  Having their know-how being executed by younger, stronger players?  Hells yes, please!

Posted by Garth on 06/01/11 at 10:42 PM ET

babymachine's avatar

I disagree. I stopped short of bagging on him because he’s been battling injuries, plain and simple.

He says he’s close to 100%. The real question is whether he wants to play or not.

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 06/01/11 at 10:51 PM ET

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I disagree. I stopped short of bagging on him because he’s been battling injuries, plain and simple.

He has, but he was mediocre before he was battling injuries.  When he lost his spot to Howard last year it wasn’t because on injuries.  And when he got the start in the playoffs in 2009 over Conklin it wasn’t because he outplayed Conklin, it was because he had playoff experience.

He hasn’t been the clear starter in Detroit since….....  Well shit, he hasn’t been the clear starter in Detroit since 2001.

And he’s been mediocre…at best…for the past two years.  He’s three years removed from the Cup win and two years removed from the last time he played solid hockey.  That is, he’s two years older than he was the last time he was impressive.

If he was healthy and had played well, I might be open to it, but who knows if he’s healthy and he wasn’t playing well before that.

WHY would you want to bring him back instead of getting some stability in net?  I’m not saying to bring in a $5M a year goalie.  I understand Holland’s stance on paying for goaltending, but would it be awful to have a backup that the team would be confident playing in front of?

Posted by Garth on 06/01/11 at 11:03 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

To me this is all about ranking prospects. We currently have about 2/3 of our forwards as ‘vets’ versus the ‘young guys’ and that mix needs to be more like 50/50 at least. We need more young guys, but we’ve got Pav, Z and Mule locked into Top 6 spots for a long time, so that leaves only 3 of them up for grabs for some time. To me, our true keeper prospects (counting Mursak on the big club) are as follows:

Smith
Tatar
Nyquist
Pearce
Jarnkrok
Pulkkinen

And that’s really all we need; the rest are expendable, and the draft happens every year. I can see a future forward lineup shaping up like so:

Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Nyquist
Pulkkinen-Jarnkrok-Franzen
Tatar-Helm-Eaves
Mursak-Abdelkader-Emmerton

I threw Emmerton in there but slotting him on the fourth line is as good as trading him. Defense?

Kronwall-Smith
Stuart-*Mystery Raf replacement
Kindl-Ericsson

I don’t like seeing Big Rig still in there but we all know they’re probably gonna sign him. My vote for that mystery spot (assuming no Weber) is Wisniewski. Goal?

Howard
Pearce

In goal we only need one backup; the Griffs’ goalies will be refreshed through the draft (and yes I’m aware of how high and recently we drafted McCollum) but it looks like Pearce is our guy behind Jimmah.  So yeah, just ranking the prospects and slotting them in. Trade the rest for draft picks!  Seriously though, Kenny should shed some veteran fat and trade for a bottom-feeder teams’ first rounder.  It would be awesome to get a lottery pick that could play right away for a change.

Posted by BrendonR on 06/01/11 at 11:21 PM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

My vote for that mystery spot (assuming no Weber) is Wisniewski.

So does my vote.

I think Kronner + Wis or Stuart + Wis would be nasty, nasty pairings for our opponents to face.

Also, how cool would it be to scream, “NOBODY BEATS THE WIZ!!!” at the TV?

Posted by thethirdcoast from Algiers, DZ on 06/02/11 at 01:40 AM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

Also, how cool would it be to scream, “NOBODY BEATS THE WIZ!!!” at the TV?


Not nearly as cool as being able to scream “YEAHHHHHH, CLIT SOME!!!” if we signed Clitsome from Columbus. He’s a legitimate talent too, it’d be a very solid and underrated signing.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 06/02/11 at 05:19 AM ET

Chet's avatar

if for no other reason than to impact vancouver’s depth, it’d be nice to get a bieksa or ehrhoff over the summer.

if we’re only talking about replacing #28, ehrhoff sure looks like the guy to me.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 06/02/11 at 08:34 AM ET

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Wings lost Quincey to Chelios.  Holland promised the old man an extra year after the Wings won the cup automatically even though he didn’t touch the ice in the SCF.  Dumb move.  Q and Meech would have made the team, but the old man thought he had something left despite his obvious lackluster play.  Quincey was great in LA and Col before trying to play hurt last season.  Top pair guy alongside Drew Doughty, who hasn’t been as good since Q left, I’d argue.  Shutdown d-man, top penalty killer.  Wings don’t need that, though.

Leino was lost to Draper, Maltby or Jason Williams.  Remember him?  Didn’t think so.  Went with the old timers instead of a good, young, cheaper player.  Not sure why you’d bag on 800k cap hit when Wings got people making $3 million that didn’t put up 50 points.  Leino had 53 points in 81 games in the regular season, 5 points in 7 games in the playoffs (why you’d rip that I don’t know either), and set the rookie scoring record for playoff points in 2010.

Dumb Holland moves all around.

Posted by jkm2011 on 06/02/11 at 01:06 PM ET

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Dumb Holland moves all around.

Quincey was a crybaby with a shitty attitude who whined about not getting his name engraved on the Stanley Cup even though he didn’t even get a sniff of the ice during the playoffs.

What would’ve happened if Holland had kept Quincey around and he ended up being the 7th defenseman?  Would he have been a whiny bitch and disrupted the locker room?

I hadn’t heard anything about it but JJ said he got into a fight with a teammate, and do you want someone on the Wings who’s going to do that?  I sure as hell don’t.

Posted by Garth on 06/02/11 at 06:44 PM ET

Avatar

Leino had 53 points in 81 games in the regular season

And he had 7 points in 42 games when he was traded by Detroit.

Oh, and he was a regular healthy scratch by Philly before they were forced to use him when they were hit by injuries in the playoffs last year.

Isn’t it nice for you to not have to make decisions and be able to judge them from your perspective a year and a half after the fact?

Posted by Garth on 06/02/11 at 06:47 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The Quincey-fighting-Winnik thing came from Mile High Hockey’s postseason grade.

http://www.milehighhockey.com/2011/5/30/2184874/final-grade-kyle-quincey

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/02/11 at 06:51 PM ET

awould's avatar

Isn’t it nice for you to not have to make decisions and be able to judge them from your perspective a year and a half after the fact?

Anyone who criticizes Holland for dumping Leino either doesn’t have their facts right or is an idiot. Leino was a total bust in Detroit. He was a highly sought after free agent who was supposedly ready-made for the NHL. He proved otherwise. It wasn’t about lack of skill or talent, it was that he didn’t work hard enough on or off the ice, apparently. His attitude stunk. I think Detroit dishing him for almost nothing to Philly may have lit a fire under the guy because he’s been a better player there (obviously).

But still….

5 points in 7 games in the playoffs

Eleven games. The Flyers played 11 games. So 5 points in 11 games. There were 9 Red Wings with more points in the same amount or fewer games, and most are guys who don’t score 50 pts in a season. Leino was probably the biggest bust player for the Flyers this playoffs as far as failing to meet expectations.

Posted by awould on 06/02/11 at 07:29 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.