The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/18/13 at 07:01 PM ET
Red Wings GM Ken Holland's still borderline giddy about the team's ability to retain Pavel Datsyuk's services for the next four seasons, and his praise for Datsyuk's skill, talent, leadership and longevity while speaking to MLive's Ansar Khan is must-read material in itself...
But Holland also gave Khan something of a blueprint as to what the Wings' next moves may involve, and it sounds like he's going to do much more than simply attempt to retain Daniel Cleary, Valtteri Filpula and the complicated situation that is Damien Brunner:
Holland said he is continuing talks impending unrestricted free-agent forwards Daniel Cleary, Damien Brunner and Valtteri Filppula, but roster space is scarce.
“We have big decisions to make,'' Holland said. “We got a push of kids. We got 14 forwards under contract now (including restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson). We'll only carry 14.
“We know we have compliance buyouts at our disposal. I'll explore trades.
“I'm talking to Cleary, Brunner, Filppula. If there's a term and number that works for us, we'll try to fit them in. If not, we'll go in a different direction. We like all these players, but sometimes if there's a better opportunity elsewhere a player's got to pursue it.''
Filppula's chances of returning appear slim. He was seeking more than $5 million per season but struggled during the regular season and the playoffs.
Holland said defenseman Ian White was told he won't be re-signed, which was apparent long ago.
Holland reiterated his points of emphasis to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...
The Wings have a lot more decisions to make this offseason, mainly regarding unrestricted free agents Daniel Cleary, Damien Brunner and Valtteri Filppula.
“We have big decisions to make,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We’ve got a push of kids. We’ve got 14 forwards under contract now. We’ll only carry 14. We know we have compliance buyouts at our disposal and I’ll explore trades.”
The 14 included restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson.
“If there’s a term and number that works for us, we’ll try to fit them in,” Holland said regarding the unrestricted free agent forwards. “If not, we’ll go in a different direction. We like all these players, but sometimes if there’s a better opportunity elsewhere a player’s got to pursue it.”
Holland did tell defenseman Ian White he won’t be re-signed.
The Detroit Red Wings are holding out hope that yet another stretch of slow rehabilitation will have left Helm in good enough condition that he can take to the ice in mid-July as part of the team’s annual development camp. It’s not usually for 26-year-olds who already are established in the NHL, but then, it hasn’t been a usual season for Helm.
Now, general manager Ken Holland said today, the next move on the wobbly chessboard that is Helm’s uncharted recovery is to see if he can skate and scrimmage with the team’s up-and-comers. If that goes well, great. That would go a long ways toward instilling belief in the Wings they can count on Helm for next season.
If not, who knows. Helm hasn’t lacked for seeing specialists, all of whom, Holland said, have said the same thing, that there never was anything that required surgical repair. Back injuries can be tough because unlike a broken bone, or a torn ligament, there is no linear recovery.
If Helm doesn’t improve, the best the Wings can do is put him on long-term injured reserve again, opening up a spot on the roster. Doing that this past season did lead to good news elsewhere, as Joakim Andersson showed he could fit well into the third-line center spot ideally occupied by Helm.
- That Datsyuk guy is up against Cody Hodgson in the second TSN Play of the Year semifinal, and this goal against the Nashville Predators (all of them) is definitely the play of the year:
- Also in the fan participation department, the Detroit Free Press's bracketed Detroit team championship showdown's voting is underway;
- If I could speak Swedish and/or access the video outside of Sweden, I could tell you about the extended interview Nicklas Lidstrom gave to Visat Hockey, but I can do neither;
- In the multimedia department, Michigan Hockey posted Jennifer Leigh's photos from Game 5 of the Griffins-Crunch series, and Sport-Express posted a superb Datsyuk gallery;
- The Hockey News's Lyle "Spector" Richardson believes that the Wings will have to "stand pat" on defense unless the cap compliance buy-out marketplace yields some better defensemen hitting the UFA market;
And Hockey's Future's staff mock draft proves that nobody really has a consensus as to who's going where after the first five to ten picks. Who will the Wings pick?
Who the hell knows?
Update: Here's what Holland had to say about Datsyuk, per the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
"You’re talking about one of the best two-way players in the world, if not the best,” Holland said. “It’s a good feeling knowing No. 13 will be on the ice for the next four years with the Red Wings. Pavel is a player who can win you games in a lot of different ways.”
“These are players with will, determination ... competitive guys who are big parts of our team,” Holland said. “Pavel and Z are two of the best two-way forwards in the world. Kronwall is a top NHL defenseman. Jimmy Howard has played his way into one of the elite goaltenders. They’re going to be here for a long time ... and we feel good about that.”
Johan Franzen (2020), and Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader (2017) also are under contract for the long term.
“He loves his teammates, loves Detroit, and he’s very appreciative of ownership and Mr. (Mike) Ilitch,” [Gary] Greenstin said. “This is a very fair deal for both sides. Both sides wanted to get this done.”
Greenstin believes Datsyuk could play into his 40s in the NHL, then think about playing in Russia.
“Pavel is a great athlete, like (Anaheim’s) Teemu Selanne (who is 42 and playing well), and I can see him playing to 38, 39, into his 40s,” Greenstin said. “We’ll see what happens with that. Right now, he’s very excited about playing in Detroit.”
Holland also believes Datsyuk can follow Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios and Dominik Hasek, and be front-line players into their 40s.
“He has a tremendous will to win,” Holland said. “Check, win faceoffs, steal pucks, score, pass. He can beat you in a lot of ways.”
And Datsyuk himself had this to say to DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
“I know where the rumors are coming from. Maybe he doesn’t like me coming here,” said Datsyuk, as he shopped in the Red Wings merchandise warehouse for gifts to take to family and friends in Russia. “I would be happy to play back home, but I know it’s better for me to stay here for my professional career. I am happy to be staying with a good family where I have had lots of fun and feel comfortable.”
Part of his decision to stay in Detroit – where he has played ever since he was selected in the sixth round of the 1998 NHL draft – was to return to the core group of players with Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Jimmy Howard.
“This is big part, and I’m happy to stay with a good group,” said Datsyuk, who later this week will return to Russia, where for the sixth straight summer he will help run a youth hockey camp. “I see lots of optimism. If you don’t see optimism, maybe you die.”
Plenty of forwards have had productive NHL years into their 40s, including such former Red Wings’ notables as Gordie Howe (51), Igor Larionov (43) and Alex Delvecchio (41). All three Hockey Hall of Famers produced more than 40 points in each of their final full seasons.
Datsyuk will be 38-years-old when his contract extension ends in 2017, but he said he’ll play as long as he remains healthy and can still contribute.
“If you recognize that those guys played a longtime ago and the game has changed,” he said. “Now you see (Teemu) Selanne, you see (Jaromir) Jagr. They all play and they play big roles on the team. This is the example. I don’t look at age. If you can keep up your level of play, why not play?”
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