The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/17/14 at 12:04 AM ET
On Monday evening, the Free Press's Helene St. James revealed that the Red Wings have decided to retain Jonas Gustavsson as the team's back-up goaltender, and she Tweeted that the Wings will buy out Jordin Tootoo if the team can't trade him.
This morning, St. James lets us know what's going on in terms of Daniel Alfredsson and Daniel Cleary's respective statuses:
[T]he Wings are waiting to hear whether the 41-year-old right wing wants to play another season. If he does, the Wings are interested in working out another contract. Alfredsson, who joined Detroit last summer after 17 seasons with the Ottawa Senators, contributed 18 goals among 49 points over 68 games and provided leadership.
Alfredsson and backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson are among the few potential unrestricted free agents the Wings have interest in retaining. The team also has been in talks with forward Cleary; despite a subpar and injury-plagued season, the Wings will be good to the word they gave to Cleary last fall when he left behind money and terms with Philadelphia to sign for one year and $1.75 million with Detroit. At the time, there was a verbal agreement the Wings would take care of Cleary past 2013-14. The most likely scenario has Cleary agreeing to a two-way contract that would enable the Wings to put him in the minors if he does not succeed in challenging for a job at training camp.
*cringes* Go find another Philadelphia, Daniel Cleary. You don't want to be riding the buses after Mitch Callahan or Landon Ferraro steal your job.
Regarding Tom Renney and Bill Peters' futures, I'd thought that the Miami Herald's George Richards' blog entry tied up the loose ends regarding their candidacy for the Panthers' coaching job, but Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski found that Richards revealed Renney and Peters are no longer in the mix via Twitter:
Richards' Monday night-posted article still lists Renney and Peters as candidates, but TSN's Bob McKenzie had reported that Panthers GM Dale Tallon had whittled the field down to 3 candidates, and it appears that Renney and Peters will remain with Detroit.
The "word on the street" suggests that the Canucks are leaning toward Los Angeles Kings assistant coach John Stevens, Texas Stars coach Willie Desjardins or Portland Winterhawks coach Mike Johnston to replace John Tortorella; everyone and their monkey's uncle's brother believes that Ulf Samuelsson will be named the Carolina Hurricanes' next head coach...
So I'd imagine that the Tom Renney Powerplay will have to fix itself over time...
The Hockey News's Rory Boylen did a superb job of summarizing how the cap-compliance buy-out process works:
How is a compliance buyout different from a regular buyout?
The buyout period comes at this time every year, but this will be the last opportunity for teams to use their compliance buyout option.
If a team wishes to buy out a player, they must first place the player on unconditional waivers and make him available to any other team in the league. If the player passes through waivers unclaimed, the buyout process may continue.
In a regular buyout, a team can terminate the contract of a player, but it doesn’t escape salary cap charges. If the player is younger than 26 years old at the time of the buyout, they will receive one-third of the remaining value of the contract. If the player is 26 or older at the time of they buyout, they will receive two-thirds the original value of the deal. The cap hit charged to the team after the buyout will be spread out over a period of twice the remaining the length of the contract.
Get that? You can figure out what the cap charge would be for any player yourself by using CapGeek’s buyout calculator.
In a compliance buyout, the team still has to pay the player the same amount he’d be owed under a regular buyout, but the team will never receive any charge against the salary cap for it. Compliance buyouts were written into the CBA after last year’s lockout. Each team has two to use, but there is a time limit to use them by. Compliance buyouts will no longer be available after this season.
Please remember that Stephen Weiss was signed after the last lockout, so, as the Production Line reported, Weiss is not eligible for a cap-compliance buy-out. He'd have to be bought out for 2/3rds of his $4.9 million salary for the next 4 years, and he'd have to be bought out with 1/3rd of his cap hit (on average) sitting on the Wings' cap figure for the next 8 years.
Using Capgeek's buyout calculator, you'll find that Weiss's "Go Away" cap hit would be $2.48 million for this upcoming season (it vacillates between $2.483 million and $983,000), so the team is probably better off finding out what Weiss can do before deciding whether to part ways with him.
Me? Not so much. The Red Wings currently would head to training camp with 15 forwards, and only Tomas Jurco is waiver-exempt.
With Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen (Holland and Babcock explicitly stated that Franzen will NOT be bought out), the aforementioned Weiss, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Darren Helm, Luke Glendening and the non-waiver-exempt Mitchell Callahan and Landon Ferraro vying for jobs, that's 15 players battling for 13 or 14 spots; if Daniel Alfredsson comes back, that's 16.
Thornton turns 37 in July, he hasn't played a full season in two years, and he was paid $1.1 million this past season. Given the hard miles on his body and the fact that he'd essentially reprise Jordin Tootoo's role, possibly at the expense of Jurco playing, that's not an enticing option to me.
Again, I believe that Alfredsson's combination of point production (18 goals, 31 assists and 49 points in 68 games) and the leadership and coaching staff's suggestions that Alfredsson was a rock-solid leader in the locker room, on the bench and on the ice are worth bringing him back at 41, but that's my opinion.
Regarding the team's defense, even if the Wings add an offensive defenseman (Dan Boyle, Matt Niskanen, Tom Gilbert), a gritty defenseman (insert your favorite potential free agent's name here) or a mix of the two (see: the oft-injured Stephane Robidas), I do not believe that the Wings are going to trade Jakub Kindl and/or Brian Lashoff away to simply make room for the quintet of Mattias Backman, Nick Jensen, Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet or Ryan Sproul (it looks like Adam Almquist really is going to play for Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL, and that's not a bad thing).
The Wings remain a team that believes its prospects need to "steal the jobs" of veterans, and it's going to go into training camp anticipating that players will get injured over the course of camp and the exhibition season, so Kindl and Lashoff may not be my or your favorite players...
But the probable re-signing of Jonas Gustavsson indicates that the team might believe in "the kids," but it's also not going to sacrifice its existing NHL depth for the sake of the youth movement.
My feeling about this are thoroughly mixed--especially regarding the awful job Kindl and Lashoff (who is one of my favorite human beings but not one of my favorite players) did in the playoffs, but the blueline as it stands consists of Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser, Brendan Smith, Kindl and Lashoff.
The team kind of has to go into the unrestricted free agent period understanding that the odds of landing a marquee name (or even a back-up plan) aren't high, and if the team strikes out (and/or isn't able to complete a trade this summer), I can't really say that I'd feel better about the team heading to training camp with Kronwall, Ericsson, DeKeyser, Smith and [insert player's name here] as their only established NHL defensemen.
I should also note that yes, it is still possible that the Wings could go after a Christian Ehrhoff, but it bears repeating that the Wings and Sabres are in the same division now, and having to face the player you've traded six times a year and possibly in divisionally-based playoff series isn't attractive.
There's a reason that, as Murray Pam pointed out on Twitter today, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray has been very, very specific in stating that he wants to trade Jason Spezza to a place where he "doesn't have to see him play" regularly, referencing the fact that Alfredsson playing within-division aggravates him to no end.
The within-division dynamics make an Ehrhoff trade unlikely.
I would like to note the following regarding a TMR comments section favorite target, however, per NHL.com's Tal Pinchevsky:
2. Can New York re-sign Anton Stralman? A number of players flourished under Vigneault after he was named New York's coach last summer. Few benefitted quite like Stralman, who cemented his place among the Rangers' top-four defensemen and emerged as a reliable stay-at-home force in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Stralman, 27, has seven goals in three seasons with the Rangers, but has made a number of big defensive plays since arriving in New York, none bigger than a game-saving play in Game 4 of the Cup Final in which he swiped a loose puck out of the crease after a shot squeaked past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, Stralman could be an important piece moving forward for the Rangers, who don't have a wealth of young defensive prospects waiting in the wings. The combination of Stralman and Marc Staal was a consistent, smart pairing the Rangers would hate to see broken up.
"The only thing in my mind really is security for me and my family. We've been moving a lot. We've been with four teams in seven years now," Stralman said. "All we're really looking for is stability; we want to stay in one place. This is obviously where we'd like to stay. I hope it's going to happen. We'll see."
I'm a little iffy on his offensive upside, and paying someone who posted 13 points this past season two or three times his $1.8 million 2013-2014 season salary to be a #4/5 guy (I think that's what Danny DeKeyser's supposed to do), but many of you did point out that Stralman's "fancystats" numbers were utterly silly good, especially in the playoffs.
And regarding one Dan Boyle, Newsday's Arthur Staple reported this about the 37-year-old who's currently property of the New York Islanders:
Regarding the artist formerly known as the Entry Draft, the NHL posted its "Order of Selection" for the draft in Philadelphia on the 27th and 28th of this month, and the Wings' picks remain as listed in yesterday's overnight report:
Per TSN's "DraftCentre," the Wings will have the 15th overall pick in the 1st round, the 76th pick in the 3rd round, the 106th pick in the 4th round, the 136th pick in the 5th round, the 166th pick in the 6th round, and the 196th (and, via a trade) 201st overall picks in the 7th round.
Regarding important dates to come, Sportsnet's John Shannon Tweeted this on Saturday...
And while the Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger got the details wrong--the Wings' prospect tournament involves 8 teams, not 4--it appears that we're going to find out the details thereof sooner than later:
The rookie tournament schedule around the NHL is already set in some places. Toronto, Ottawa, Chicago and Pittsburgh will meet in London, Ont., Sept. 13-16 and a four-team event in Traverse City, Mich., involving Detroit will be announced shortly.
Regarding one of the prospects who will hopefully be taking part in the Wings' summer development camp, RedWingsCentral tossed off a few more tidbits regarding Tomas Nosek:
Nosek's 6'2" and listed at anywhere from 200 to 210 pounds, and, as RedWingsCentral noted on Saturday, Nosek did pretty dang well in the Extraliga this past season:
The Red Wings inked the 21-year-old center/winger out of Pardubice of the Czech ExtraLiga, where he recently completed a breakthrough campaign with 19 goals and 25 assists for 44 points in 52 games.
Nosek, who was an unrestricted free agent after being passed over four straight times in the NHL draft, ranked ninth in ExtraLiga scoring and was courted a half-dozen other NHL teams. The Red Wings project him as a solid two-way NHL forward.
“He’s versatile, he can play center, wing, top six, bottom six, whatever the need is,” said Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer. “He kills penalties, takes faceoffs, plays on the power play. He’s a guy who fits in with teammates on all lines and that’s exciting.”
Over the three years that the Wings have held development camps in Traverse City, I've asked for your help in raising the finances to cover my hotel and gas bills, and you've been amazingly and remarkably kind in affording me the opportunity to "work for you"; due to my present financial circumstances, I'm afraid that I have to ask for your assistance again.
If there's any way that you can lend a financial hand in my attempts to get up to Traverse City for the summer development camp and/or eventually to attend the prospect tournament and main camp in the fall, I would be incredibly grateful for any help.
I'm sticking with Paypal as it's the most direct route (though I will also do the whole, "Give me your address and I'll send you a check or a few bucks in the mail" thing, too), and you have to use my email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, as the recipient.
Here's the button:
If you can aid the cause, I'd be incredibly grateful; if you can't, I understand, and as usual, literally any amount helps. You'd be surprised how many $5, $10 and $20 donations end up paying my way. Thanks.
Quick update: From Twitter:
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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.