The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/18/14 at 07:31 PM ET
Just after I headed out the door (quite literally), the Red Wings issued their press release regarding single-game regular season tix going on sale Friday, and while I was gone ferrying the mom to her doctor's appointment, Paul snagged the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's report from MSU's pro camp (the article now includes an embedded photo gallery illustrating Jakub Kindl's presence and Justin Abdelkader's attempts to ditch the Bauer gear for Warrior stuff) and Nick Lidstrom's plaque being unveiled outside the Wings' locker room.
So what's left on a "quiet" day? First, again via Paul, Grantland's Sean McIndoe wondered aloud whether the Red Wings might be better off joining the NHL's "race to the bottom" for one season...
Detroit Red Wings: After 23 straight seasons of making the playoffs, the aging Wings seem to be on the verge of finally fading. Even so, they’re 2014-15 lineup will feature too much talent to have a realistic chance at a total collapse. There’s no chance. They shouldn’t even be on this list.
Still … you have to admit, finally failing just long enough to grab a franchise player and then rebounding right back into contention a year later would be the most Red Wings thing ever.
Speaking of franchise players, ESPN's Corey Pronman issued a list of the top 10 prospects for each and every one of the Atlantic Division's teams, and here's his list...
Top 10 Prospects
Name Position Overall
1. Anthony Mantha LW 33
2. Xavier Ouellet D 59
3. Teemu Pulkkinen RW 81
4. Dylan Larkin C 99
5. Ryan Sproul D
6. Mattias Backman D
7. Petr Mrazek G 4G
8. Alexei Marchenko D
9. Mattias Janmark C
10. Martin Frk RW
As well as his rationale for said list-making:
Detroit Red Wings
Org rank: 16
Detroit has graduated a lot of players lately. While their system is no longer high end, there's still talent here, as evidenced by four skaters in my top 100, as well as the fourth-best goalie prospect.
Ryan Sproul had some ups and downs in his first pro season, but on his best shift, there's a lot to like about a 6-foot-3 defenseman with great skill and skating as well as a big shot. His defense continues to be a work in progress, which kept him from being deployed in tough minutes situations at times in the AHL. Mattias Backman isn't an overly flashy player, but he's continued to rise due to impressive play at the pro level in Sweden. He's an average or better skater and puck mover who has become a solid defender. He could be in the NHL as soon as this season. I feel like I'm giving Martin Frk his second second chance, but he's been too good a prospect for too long to give up on him, even with a mediocre start to his pro career. He has great skill and an elite slap shot if he can put the rest of his game together.
Detroit has a few other interesting forward prospects in Zach Nastasiuk (11th), Landon Ferraro (12th) and Andreas Athanasiou (13th). The first two are more of the hard-working and two-way play variety, while Athanasiou is an outstanding skater and skill guy who plays too much like an individualist at times. Marc McNulty (14th) had a very impressive season. He's not an all-world talent or anything, but a 6-foot-6 defenseman who puts up 40 points as an under-20 in the WHL gets your attention. Jake Paterson (15th) is a fine goalie prospect as well.
Anthony Mantha probably starts the season in Grand Rapids. If he hits the ground rolling, he might be a call-up option during the season, but it's unlikely he's in the NHL right away.
Backman and Xavier Ouellet will push for NHL time right out of camp. Mrazek and Teemu Pulkkinen could also make potential bids, depending on how the depth chart forms as training camp approaches, especially Mrazek, who has played at a high level in the AHL.
Alexei Marchenko has finally got a solid footing under him in terms of health and playing time, and he turned in an AHL All-Star season. He's an average or better player at most areas of the game and could be an NHLer in the near future. Mattias Janmark has continued to rise as a prospect following his big rookie debut in the SHL in 2013-14. He's a highly skilled puck handler and playmaker but could use an extra step in his skating. Axel Holmstrom is a big sleeper within this organization. He really impressed toward the end of the season, including a great IIHF under-18 tournament. He could rise fast with another strong showing in 2014-15.
Pronman continues, but his blog post is an Insider-only entry, which is why I'm sharing the entirety of his Wings-related comments with you.
[Edit/update: As I was writing this, Michigan Hockey's Alyssa Girardi's article from the first day of MSU's pro camp hit the wires, as did the Michael Caples-snapped photo gallery accompanying said article:
Monday kicked off the start of MSU hockey’s annual pro camp, a weeklong event that brings back former Spartans to prepare for their upcoming professional team camps. The camp, which is open to the public, showcases about 20 alums, including 11 who played in the NHL last season. The event is run by MSU assistant coach Tom Newton, who said the camp has taken place for almost 15 years.
“It’s twofold,” Newton said. “First part of it is for conditioning for the players. More than the conditioning, these guys are in great shape right now. It’s more about timing and just getting the feel for the game back into their way of doing things. The other part of it is a little bit of fun, alumni relations.”
He said the daily two-hour sessions are broken down into two segments. The players start the day with drills and then end with scrimmaging after the ice is cleaned.
“It’s definitely the first time that you’re going to have some real structure to a practice and it feels like a real practice,” said Edmonton Oiler defenseman Jeff Petry (Ann Arbor). “It’s nice to come back to.”
Players attending the camp return to East Lansing from multiple leagues including the NHL, AHL and ECHL, but each one came in with the intent to work out the kinks.
Among the skaters are Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wings/Muskegon), David Booth (Toronto Maple Leafs/Detroit) and Drew Miller (Detroit Red Wings/Lansing). Jim Slater (Winnipeg Jets/Lapeer) is skating privately before the main camp, while Torey Krug (Boston Bruins/Livonia) and others are expected to arrive later in the week.
Otherwise, on Twitter, Joe Kocur's reminding us about his Wings-alumni-and-star-studded set of softball games that are taking place this upcoming weekend in Highland, MI...
One of his celebrity guests officially announced that he's playing (via the Wings' Twitter account)...
In the "Discount Department," the Midland Daily News reports that Midland Parks and Recreation's snagged reduced-price tickets to several Wings games for Midland residents, and the Grand Rapids Griffins are offering a ticket-discount program as well:
In alumni news, you'll see David Legwand in this photo gallery...
And DRW Prospects on Twitter noted that former Wings prospect Phillipe Hudon's continuing his pro hockey dream:
Regarding a current prospect, DRW Prospects found that Alexander Kadeykin had an assist in Atlant Mytishchi's 4-3 preseason win over Salvat Yulaev Ufa:
In the land of ice buckets (turn the volume up for the first one)...
(Turn the volume down for this one)
And in miscellaneous prospect news:
Jared Coreau also Retweets some funny stuff...
And sometimes some stuff that makes you think...
(I would make a joke about being a blogger for the chicks, but it would be in poor taste and completely inaccurate)
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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.