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Red Wings evening news: Late to the Edler party and Holland on Blashill ‘sticking around’

During what I was probably vainly hoping to be a quiet evening:

1. I don't know where The Score or Expressen were nearly 48 hours ago, but the Free Press's Helene St. James dropped the line that the Wings would have "considerable interest" in Alex Edler (should he be available on the trade market) late on Saturday night, as previously noted. No new news here

[edit: Okay, Edler. Cagpgeek $$ page here, $5 mil hit for the next 5 years for the 28-year-old, NHL.com's stats noting that he had 22 points in 63 games and a gaudy -39 this past season here, and The Sports Forecaster profile reading as follows:

Assets:  An excellent physical package, he owns an imposing frame, smooth fundamentals and all-round acumen. Can play on the power play, where he displays poise, composure and a heavy point shot. Excels in one-on-one situations.
Flaws:  Is still a little inconsistent in his own zone, and prone to gaffes every now and then. His physical game has improved greatly, but it isn't consistent. Offensively, he's not as silky-smooth as a natural power-play quarterback.
Career Potential:  All-round big-minute defenseman.

/end edit]

2. And while Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner and now the Windsor Star's Bob Duff are focusing their efforts on Mike Babcock's status, between Ken Holland's chat with the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson, MLive's Ansar Khan, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery, never mind Babcock's comments to everybody who's asked him about his status...

That song-and-dance number's getting a little old, innit?

I am intrigued, however, by what Holland told the Windsor Star's Duff about Jeff Blashill's intentions, as they more or less mirror what Blashill told WOOD TV8's Larry Figurski last week--that Babcock's Mini Me is in fact quite happy in his present situation:

“Blash and I talked, we’re in the process of negotiating a contract extension for him,” Holland said. “We’re talking about a significant salary increase in return for him being patient for another year or two. He’s very happy where he’s at. I think he’d like to spend another year or two in the AHL getting more experience coaching pros. He wants to be in the NHL, but he’s got family in Michigan and enjoys where he’s at in Grand Rapids. I told him some teams have called, but he’s happy where he’s at. He’s got another year to go on his contract. He’s happy to be in Grand Rapids for at least another year, maybe two.”

With the emphasis on maybe, perhaps?

The Wings like Blashill a lot. They are impressed with the job he did developing young players such as Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Brendan Smith  and Gustav Nyquist, all of whom have become key Red Wings.

“It’s an important time in Detroit,” Holland said. “We’re trying to develop another group of players who’ll be key contributors to us having playoff success. It’s important that they learn to win at the American Hockey League level.

“This season and next summer is a critical time in Detroit as we transition young players into being Red Wings. Jeff Blashill is an important guy as we go through that transition. He’s excited to continue to have an impact on the Red Wings.”

Duff continues with the usual Babcockian speculation...But I'm just not worried about Babcock, and I'm a professional worry-wart thanks to both the parameters of my job and my anxiety disorder. He's going to stick around for a few more years. I'm pretty damn sure of it. The end.

Update: Late-night napkin notes:

1. Pro Hockey Talk's Jason Brough profiled UFA-to-be Tom Gilbert;

2. Red Line Report's Kyle Woodlief says that this year's draft class is forward-heavy, which is good;

3. SI's Brian Cazenueve discussed the "definition" of "dynasty" in "today's NHL."

4. Pavel Datsyuk apparently gave another interview to Sportbox.ru. Allhockey.ru says that Datsyuk praised the Russians' World Championship-winning team. Woot.

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Comments

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Another left handed D man?

Posted by squints on 06/02/14 at 07:34 PM ET

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I have wondered the last 1-2 seasons if Edler has been unhappy with circumstances in Vancouver because he was looking much better two seasons ago and still has great potential.  I think its clear he could flourish in Detroit, but so could Anton Stralman .
Now its hard to imagine how a Dman like Edler , making 5 million per season,  wouldn’t be motivated but he really didn’t look like the same player last year. 

Now the Wings actually have the finances and assets that they could make a play for both Edler and Stralman.  That would be too good to be true so its not likely to happen.  And speaking of $$$,  I don’t think we should waste money on the likes of a Vanek or Gaborik either.  Too much cash.  Its like the Niskanen situation;  let someone else grossly overpay for a player.  We already did that with Weiss and Franzen IMO.   

Wings’ forward ranks would be improved by giving more ice time to youth and thinking about guys like Mason Raymond,  Dustin Penner who would be inexpensive.    Would love to see Callahan on the roster and Jurco given more ice time next season.  As for Andersson, Glendening, and Miller,  you cant get back to the Cup with too many uni-dimensional players.

Regardless, changes are needed. Hopefully through more youth,  and some UFAs and even a trade.  Wings are going backwards in this transitional period because too many guys ( even Z and Pav) are less likely to stay healthy.

Posted by karlander on 06/02/14 at 08:24 PM ET

RW19's avatar

The Vancouver Province Newspaper has an off season section called “Canucks under the Microscope” ... on May 21, they covered Edler ...

http://blogs.theprovince.com/2014/05/21/canucks-under-the-microscope-alex-edler/

Here is what they have under Greatest Weakness:

Greatest weakness: Hockey sense. Earlier in his career, Edler was drawing comparison to Nick Lidstrom, which tells you something about the importance of hockey sense because Lidstrom had it in spades. Edler, not so much. Edler goes through stretches where he’s fundamentally sound. Then he goes through stretches where he’s a turnover machine who handles the puck like it’s radioactive. It’s troubling at the best of times. When it comes from such a talented player, it’s unsettling to the entire team.

Bottom line for this Red wings fan who has watch plenty of Canuck games: please pass. He stunk his last year under Coach Vigneault. He was a disaster trying to play ‘better’ defense with Coach Tortorella this year. He is just an older Jakub Kindl.

Posted by RW19 on 06/02/14 at 08:45 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

I agree RW19 ... Edler is mot the Dman to pry away from Vancouver ... Kevin Bieksa is. He’d have a field-day playing in Boston but he’s not .. he’s stuck in Vancouver.  Lets rescue the guy and let him run amuck in Hockeytown

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 06/02/14 at 09:12 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Some notes on Edler to add to this:

VAN fans I’ve spoken with have noted Edler’s biggest weakness is not his sense, but his skating.  He’s very vulnerable if you make him turn to his one side, as he does not turn well at all that way, and the scouting report on that seems to be out there with opponents.  And he’s just not a great skater in general, which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem except VAN’s d-men are a very weak skating group.  Paired with someone else who can actually skate, he might be fine.

Also, part of the problem with Edler in VAN is that he has had no chemistry whatsoever with his defensive partners.  And that’s not entirely his fault either.  Part of his problem this season was coaches insisting on putting a triangular Edler into a round hole.

Again this is not my own analysis:  this is what I’ve been told by VAN fans after I asked because I have no idea what Edler’s deal was this season or if he was damaged goods.

The skating thing scares me to be honest, particularly the “very vulnerable to one side” thing.

Posted by Primis on 06/02/14 at 11:24 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I think our biggest weakness in the playoffs was mental toughness.  Our guys were so scared to piss off Boston that we handed them the series by handing them time and space on the ice.  Callahan I think brings most of what the wings need.  McCarty lite.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/03/14 at 01:55 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

real quick: George, maybe you posted this and I haven’t found this, but from Custance about the Wings talking with Brendan Lemieux, who considers Colorado his home team, but….

“• Brendan Lemieux, Claude Lemieux’s son, was one of the prospects brought in by the Red Wings for interviews, which would make for an interesting destination for a fan base that still hasn’t forgiven his father for the hit on Kris Draper. Brendan said he tried to make a joke about it to lighten the mood during the interview process.

“I don’t think they were interested in making jokes. They seem pretty serious,” Lemieux said. “One thing they said is that it’s a business and [the hit] was ancient history.”

http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/craig-custance/post?id=3019

Posted by Bugsy on 06/03/14 at 05:09 AM ET

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Edler wouldn’t solve our problems but he’d improve the average talent mix on defense and could be part of a solution.  The problem is price.

Detroit needs three things on the blueline—basically a guy who can drive possession five-on-five with outlet passes and control of the offensive blueline, a guy with a right hand shot for the power play, and a defensive anchor to allow Kronwall, Smith, and, if they’re around, Kindl and Ouellet/Sproul to play a little more freely. 

Edler would partially address the first of those needs and be an upgrade on Quincey in that regard.  But is it enough of an upgrade to give up serious assets for him?  I have to say no.  That said, Vancouver is under new management, in a rebuild, and Edler is coming off a brutal season.  If he’s available at a fire-sale price, it could be worthwhile.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/03/14 at 06:05 AM ET

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Given how weak the free agent class is he will be highly coveted and expensive.  Just not worth it, I agree with Bieksa though if he becomes available he should be the focus.  A number one pairing dman who is right handed and plays with and edge.  We could use that all day.

Posted by bababooey on 06/03/14 at 09:49 AM ET

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Given how weak the free agent class is he will be highly coveted and expensive.

Yeah, and there’s a reason for that.

They’ve got a shit ton of cap space and there’s no price for not spending it, why would you not spend it on the best player available?

This type of thinking absolutely boggles my mind.

Posted by Garth on 06/03/14 at 10:05 AM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

The skating thing scares me to be honest, particularly the “very vulnerable to one side” thing.

That is a horrific weakness for a big minute NHL Dman to have. It’s a little troubling that Edler is this far into his career and hasn’t taken steps to fix such a fundamental hole in his game.

On the other hand, maybe this is a good angle the Wings can approach from. “Hey Alex, the scouting report is out on you. We want you to come and win with us, but we also want to make you a better hockey player. What do you think?”

As for Brendan Lemieux, he may be a terrific young man, but I don’t think bringing him to Detroit is a wise move. I consider the unfortunate incident involving his father and Drapes as past history that doesn’t need to be dug up and examined. Unless he combines the physical gifts of Fedorov, the heart of Yzerman, and the grit of Draper I think it’s best everyone moves on.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Algiers, DZ on 06/03/14 at 11:15 AM ET

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I would try to get Matte Greene (will improve our PK, shot blocking, physicality) and Boyle (2 year deal, will improve our puck movement and PP) and not waste our young players/prospects for guys like Erhoff and Edler as our farm system can hopefully develop these type of players in the next 2-3 years.
I would also stay away from Niskanen as I feel it is too risky to invest $7 mil to a player without a long track record of success and I do not see Niskanen getting less than $7 mil from somebody especially considering who his agent is.
I would also stay away from Vanek and Gaborik at the prices they will go for. Vanek is another soft guy who was passing up any shot opportunity he had in the series against the Rangers and Gaborik is a classic “contract year” trap. I expect him to miss half the season next year again.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/03/14 at 11:19 AM ET

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I would also stay away from Niskanen as I feel it is too risky to invest $7 mil to a player

How much money do you think Boyle is going to cost?  He made nearly $7M last season.  It would take nearly that much to get him, and it would have to be a multiple year deal, all for a guy on the decline who will be 38 by the time the season starts.  If they could sign him to a one-year deal, with a bunch of bonuses like Aldredsson had then it would make sense, but he’s past his prime and the choke artist team of all choke artist teams doesn’t want him back, yet for some reason Wings fans are hoping to sign him to a big 35+ multi-year contract that would f*ck them if he gets injured or retires.

But not Niskanen, because $7M is too much for a guy just entering his prime?

Crazy talk.  insanity.

Posted by Garth on 06/03/14 at 12:04 PM ET

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How much money do you think Boyle is going to cost?

I am thinking 2 years at $5 mil per year. The risk is limited to 2 years only. Even with his declining (as you said) skills, he will be head and shoulders above any option we have on the PP including Kronwall. Boyle has the cup and leadership skills to serve as a great bridge between now and 2 years from now when Sproul, Jansen, etc will be ready.
With Niskanen we are talking 7 year deal. The risk is he will go back to his “normal” 25 points per season (playing without Malkin and Crosby) and average defensive play. At that point his contract will be impossible to move. And next summer we will have to resign more RFAs including Nyquist who will not come cheap. So, this year we have tons of cap space, but we need to use it carefully not to get stuck with another immovable contract on a slightly above average player who will be paid like a superstar just because he is the best UFA dman available.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/03/14 at 12:23 PM ET

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I am thinking 2 years at $5 mil per year.

Based on what?  He made $6.67 on his last contract and I can’t see a season he would take nearly two million less.

but we need to use it carefully not to get stuck with another immovable contract on a slightly above average player who will be paid like a superstar just because he is the best UFA dman available.

But no need to be careful overpaying a past-his-prime defenseman on the decline who isn’t the best UFA dman available?

Why is Niskanen sure to be an immovable contract while your fantasy contract of $5M a year for Boyle is sure to be a steal?

It’s kind of amazing how quickly people forget that giving out bad contracts to over-the-hill players has been a problem for the last couple of years.

Posted by Garth on 06/03/14 at 12:31 PM ET

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while your fantasy contract of $5M a year for Boyle is sure to be a steal?

Where did I say it would be a steal? I said Boyle could be a nice bridge between now and 2 years from now when our prospects will be ready to take over. And I also said I would like Greene and Boyle, not Boyle by himself.
Whether Boyle can be had for $5 mil a year I do not know, but term (more than 1 year) is very important to him and I am not sure many teams will pay more. Maybe teams like Florida will, but he will not go there.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/03/14 at 12:45 PM ET

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Why is Niskanen sure to be an immovable contract

And where did I say this for sure? I said there is a risk in that. Whether to take this risk or not is for KH to decide.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/03/14 at 12:52 PM ET

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And I also said I would like Greene and Boyle, not Boyle by himself.

And you seem to be completely unaware that the Wings currently have five defensemen under contract, a need for a top-four defensemen and a handful of ripe (bordering on overripe) prospects knocking on NHL door.  There’s word that Marchenko and Ouellet are going to be competing for spots and Babcock has also mentioned the possibility of Backman taking a run at the Red Wings. 

How many UFAs do you think they’re going to sign?

And where did I say this for sure?

Right here:

“we need to use it carefully not to get stuck with another immovable contract on a slightly above average player who will be paid like a superstar just because he is the best UFA dman available.”

Maybe teams like Florida will, but he will not go there.

Why not?  How do you know he won’t go anywhere that gives him a two-year deal.  Most GMs are not going to want to give him two years (and all the smart GMs are going to know that they shouldn’t), so he’s likely to end up going either to any team that will give him two years or to one that will wildly overpay him on a one-year deal.  Either of which would be a dumb, dumb move.

And any GM who gave multiple years to the likes of Bertuzzi and Samuelsson should be adamant about not giving out multiple year deals to over-35s.

Posted by Garth on 06/04/14 at 10:22 AM ET

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And you seem to be completely unaware that the Wings currently have five defensemen under contract

Garth, you have an interesting style to your posts. You know it all and your opinion is the only one that is right. All other views are just wrong and we just have no idea what we are talking about. But it’s OK.
Yes, to your surprise I am aware we have 5 dmen under contract. I expect Kindl to be traded and I cannot imagine Backman to be in the top 6 straight from SHL.
So, my top 6 will be Kron/Eriksson, Dek/Boyle, Smith/Greene with Marchenko, Ouelette and Lashoff fighting for the 7th spot and we also know there will be injuries.
I am not saying this is definitely the right way to go. Maybe signing Niskanen for $7 per year for 7 years is better. Maybe going just with our young prospects is better. But to me getting Boyle and Greene provide immediate low risk help.

Posted by VPalmer on 06/04/14 at 11:10 AM 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.