The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/17/14 at 02:24 PM ET
On a quieter day, I would've posted the triple interviews that Mike Babcock, Ted Lindsay and Tony Granato conducted today in a single "afternoon" post, but you've got to get that stuff out as soon as you find it, so:
The first "story" of note comes via Twitter, while I was writing this, and I'll put it simply: Herm to Hockeytown is now an every-other-year-event, but its guru of organization, Jennifer MacRostie, is asking Wings fans to step up and help Children's Hospital sans event:
Second: I'm glad to have read that the Wings re-signed Mitch Callahan and Andrej Nestrasil to 1-year contracts. Callahan's worked his tail off and has already stated that he'll be more than happy to play in Grand Rapids for another year if that will allow him to remain part of the organization, and Nestrasil salvaged his pro hockey career via a superb 2013-2014 season performance with the Griffins.
The Griffins' press release regarding the contracts made Callahan and Nestrasil's respective statistical cases...
CALLAHAN AND NESTRASIL SIGNED BY WINGS
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Thursday signed forwards Mitch Callahan and Andrej Nestrasil to one-year contracts.
Callahan, 22, ranked fourth on the Griffins in scoring with 44 points (26-18—44) in 70 games during the 2013-14 campaign, shattering his combined point total from the previous two seasons (17-12—29). The Whittier, Calif., native ranked among team leaders with 26 goals (2nd), 18 assists (9th), a plus-23 rating (1st), 51 penalty minutes (6th) and 194 shots (3rd). In three seasons with Grand Rapids, the 6-foot, 195-pound Callahan has accumulated 73 points (43-30—73) in 189 career AHL games.
Detroit’s sixth choice (180th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Callahan made his NHL debut with the Wings on March 25 in a 4-2 road loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, becoming the 144th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL.
Nestrasil, 23, tied for fifth in scoring with 36 points (16-20—36) in 70 regular season games with Grand Rapids last season. In his two previous seasons with Grand Rapids (2011-13), Nestrasil produced 10 points (6-4—10) in 50 games. Entering his fourth year as a pro, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Nestrasil split his first two professional seasons between the Griffins and the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, where he picked up 70 points (18-52—70) in 91 games.
Prior to turning pro, Nestrasil accumulated 178 points (57-121—178) in three QMJHL seasons between the Victoriaville Tigres (2008-10) and the Prince Edward Island Rockets (2010-11). A native of Prague, Czech Republic, Nestrasil was Detroit’s third choice (75th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
And WDIV's David Bartkowiak Jr. praised Callahan while summarizing the reality of both players' situations:
What to expect in Detroit
Expect to see both of these wingers in the preseason, but anything more is unclear. The Red Wings appear to have their forward lineups locked up, especially on the wing (I.e.: Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Johan Franzen, Tomas Jurco, Drew Miller, Dan Cleary).
However, both Callahan and Nestrasil could fight their way into this lineup, although they will be competing with talent such as Anthony Mantha.
And Landon Ferraro, too...
Barring any injuries in Detroit, these two will be playing in Grand Rapids for another season, which is great news for coach Jeff Blashill. They are top prospects who are trending in the right direction.
MLive's Brendan Savage penned a Callahan-and-Nestrasil story which happens to contain a very important post-script:
This leaves the Red Wings with three unsigned restricted free agents. They remain far apart in talks with defenseman Danny DeKeyser and forward Tomas Tatar, but both are certain to be signed before training camp on Sept. 18.
The club also will re-sign forward Landon Ferraro.
In fan-participatory news, ESPN wants Wings fans to make their case for the franchise's best player...
Red Wings fans, you've made your voices heard when asked who was Detroit's franchise player. But there seems to be an era argument.
The long list of talented players that have passed through Hockeytown was narrowed down to Gordie Howe vs. Steve Yzerman.
So who is king of Hockeytown: Howe or Yzerman?
Detroit Red Wings
Their offseason so far: Not much. They re-signed Kyle Quincey to an oddly expensive deal and brought on Tony Granato as an assistant coach (and potential replacement for Mike Babcock, who has only one year left on his deal and says he won’t negotiate once the season starts). But as far as the big roster moves we’re used to seeing in Detroit this time of year, they whiffed on everything.
But their strangest move was: The Red Wings know they don’t have to keep signing Daniel Cleary, right? Like, they’re aware there’s no rule about that in the CBA?
Bizarro-meter reading: 5.2/10. Chin up, Red Wings fans. Think about how much fun it will be to watch Maple Leafs fans get increasingly more excited all season long about stealing Babcock, only to have him sign an extension in Detroit at the last possible moment.
That much, I believe to be true. Babcock repeated his "the grass isn't greener" theory on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM this morning, and he certainly seems to be enjoying making the media and fans twist in the wind a bit as he leverages uncertainty into more bucks, but he also certainly doesn't appear to truly want to leave the Wings.
Regarding a pair of young players whose stock could not be more disparately-ranked, Octopus Thrower's Peter Fish posited an interview with Anthony Mantha, conducted during the Wings' summer development camp...
While Development Camp is not the main focus for Anthony Mantha, he knows that is the first step towards his goal of making the NHL and he can take a lot from it.
Mantha said, “Getting more experience, playing with the new guys, competing hard for sure. I mean, it is the rookie camp, but you want to show the organization what you can do out there and that is what I am going to do.”There are still concerns with Anthony Mantha and his Franzen-ish gliding, but most of the time he is gliding or seems to be moving slowly because he is in the right position and if he vacates an area, then his man will be open. The other times are bad habits from his time Val-d’Or and the system they ran there.
While Winging It in Motown's Winged Octopus "evaluated" Brian Lashoff, and while Lashoff's one of my favorite human beings, his statistical output is...bad. How bad? Winged Octopus argues that Lashoff should be playing in Grand Rapids this year:
For better or for worse, it does appear that Detroit will enter the season with the exact same guys on D as last season. I would suggest learning from last year's mistakes and adjusting how Lashoff is used. Lashoff's $725K cap hit is able to be entirely buried in Grand Rapids. Detroit has plenty of cap wiggle room anyway, so with the kids being a year older, I don't see any more reason for Lashoff to be in Detroit. Kronwall, Ericsson, DeKeyser, Quincey, and Smith are all capable of filling the first 5 everyday spots in one way or another. I would give the 6th spot to whichever kid does the best job in camp, keep Kindl as the 7th (given his superior performance over Lashoff this past season), and send Lashoff back down. Shelter the kid in the same way Lashoff was sheltered, and see if the performance improves. If it doesn't, slide Kindl back in or give a different kid a shot. Detroit badly needs to figure out if their defensive prospects are as good as advertised, and Brian Lashoff turned in an entirely replaceable 2013-2014 performance. To me, that's a clear problem with a clear solution, I just hope the Red Wings see it the same way.
And finally, I'd like to thank SI's Allan Muir for mentioning my assessment of the whole Nyquist-for-Green theory posited by CSN Washington's Chuck Gormley in Muir's "Top Line" for today. I hurleth the Crescent Fresh karma boomerang in your direction, Allan:
Update: Andrej Nestrasil's re-signing yielded these quotes from the CTK News Agency (and what follows is roughly translated):
"Although the chances that I would play in the Calder up Final were very small, I have to be ready in case someone gets hurt. So I trainedwith the team and then I trained with the guys who didn't make the team. It was pretty rough, but no one's hapy when they have to sit in the stands," he recalled of his experiences half a year ago. "Then came one day when Jan Mursak had a stomach illness. My name was inscribed on the Calder Cup because one day a guy had to use the restroom. It's a little funny, but that's the way life goes."
Being able to fully participate in the Grand Rapids Griffins' games last season obviously had an impact on the Slavia Prague pupil's statistics. He played in 70 games and set new personal highs with 16 goals, 20 assists and 35 total points, making him the club's sixth-place scorer. He registered another 4 goals and 2 assists in the playoffs, but the defending champion lost in teh second round to the future champions, the Texas Stars.
"I'm grateful for every opportunity I've gotten. Over the past two years I've learned that it's not to be treated lightly. You have to believe that you're a good player, no matter where you end up in the lineup. You can't believe that everything is easy" he said at the end of January, "I've accepted the fact that I play on the fourth line, and I try to take every chance. I didn't get any opportunities on the power play, but I'm still grateful. This is hockey, you're up and down."
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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.