Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings evening ramble: the ‘organic option,’ centers and prospects shopping around

Updated 3x at 9:52 AM: Because I'd rather post a set of articles instead of sitting on them, you'll have to pardon my burnt-out-bluntness. However:

Aside from the whole concept that the Washington Capitals might not want to trade Mike Green to begin with--and it doesn't sound like Capitals coach Barry Trotz is packing Green's bags--never mind the Wings' historical tendendies to not make deals in the summer, the complications that Green's addition would present the Wings cap-wise (if Washington doesn't want a defenseman in return, what do you do with Jakub Kindl and his $2.4 million cap hit when there are Del Zottos available for free?), the possible return (Anthony Mantha or Gustav Nyquist are certainly what a Buffalo would demand for Tyler Myers and a Washington would ask for to be convinced to move a player they don't need to trade--and there is no way in hell that the Wings should trade the most talented prospect I've seen since Brendan Smith and the future captain, respectively)...

Well, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness has waded into the Green situation this evening, and my biggest gripe with the hundreds of comments I've read over the past few days involves the fact that the Wings have an "organic" option in their attempts to find a top-four offensive defenseman, and the Wings don't need to move a Mantha, Nyquist, Jurco, Tatar or anyone else to simply figure out whether their close-to-graduating quartet of Griffins defensemen can at least partially address the situation (until closer to the trade deadline?) for free:

The other solution for the Wings could simply be within the organization with Ryan Sproul and Alexey Marchenko, who are both right-handed shots and could push for a job in training camp.

Both finished their first season with the Griffins and both got to play one game with the Wings.

Sproul had 11 goals and 21 assists in 72 games with the Griffins last season, while Marchenko had three goals and 15 assists in 49 games.

Marchenko, who general manager Ken Holland likened to Brad Stuart, was higher than Sproul in the pecking order last season before season-ending ankle surgery.

Mattias Backman and Xavier Ouellet might be left-shooters, but they're no slouches.

That's what I don't get about all of this talk the Wings somehow desperately need to make a trade for a right-handed defenseman RIGHT NOW or the team's going to skate into a sinkhole or something. It's July, when few trades of any real substance are made, there are a crapton of free agents on defense available (though they're the leftovers), the Capitals don't need to move Mike Green and they don't have to worry about the salary cap until October...

And why the *#$%@& would you not want to go to training camp and see what "the kids" can do, like every other dang team in the league plans on doing, before you decide to divest yourself of assets to force a move that isn't yet in your potential trade partners' plans?

That's why all of this, "Which player is more easily livable withoutable" or, "Damn, I wish we had Calle Jarnkrok" or, "Well, clearly, the Capitals don't need Green now that they have Niskanen, so why wouldn't they trade someone who posted 38 points in 70 games? I mean, they don't need that production any more, do they? Why stack the deck on the blueline when you can have Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco and a 1st-round pick in July?" comments.

The Wings have four young defensemen who are ready to "steal jobs" during training camp and the exhibition season (that's the time that other teams might suffer injuries and need a Kindl or a Lashoff to fill a hole);

We may hate the Kyle Quincey re-signing, but at the present moment, he's back;

(The Detroit News's David Gurlanick provided us with the best hockey picture ever)

Between the Ice Cream Truck Driver returning and Jonathan Ericsson returning to health, as well as the fact that Brendan Smith played quite well alongside Niklas Kronwall until he the Bruins targeted Smith and got him off his game, the Wings have some options in terms of their top-four--they can go with Kronwall-Ericsson and Smith-Quincey, Kronwall-Smith and Quincey-Ericsson, and Danny DeKeyser could fit int here, too;

As the Wings are presently built, and assuming that they catch a break in the injury voodoo department, the Wings need to find a serviceable third pair instead of the Disaster Zun Rhine that was Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff.

Whether the Wings use Quincey on the third pair, DeKeyser on the third pair or Smith on the third pair, at this point, the within-the-roster question is whether one or more of Marchenko, Sproul, Backman or Ouellet might join them (or steal somebody's job, oooooo, Quincey and Smith aren't untouchable, oooooo).

If none of the Wings' prospects can at least step up and replace Kindl and/or Lashoff, if the Wings can't generate offense from a blueliner not named Kronwall as the season progresses, and if nothing changes between training camp and November or December, I can completely understand the concept of making a trade based upon needs that weren't adequately addressed "from within." I just don't see any point in somehow forcing the Capitals to move Green or the Sabres to move Myers (read: forcing = massively overpaying) when prices are at their absolute highest just to make a trade.

The Wings ended up with Kyle Quincey as their free agent signing. It kind of sucks. But the Ice Cream Truck Driver had a good second half, Jonathan Ericsson will hopefully be healthy this fall, the Wings have four players who are theoretically "knocking on the door," and the Wings have no real need to do anything less than allow said players to attempt to steal jobs before surrendering assets on Jluly 9th or 10th to smooth over the crappy PR that is swinging and missing on July 1st.

[edit/update: And I haven't even scratched the surface regarding Green's concussions and other injury issues /end edit]

Pleiness frames the possible array of trade-route options available to the Wings, of course...

Green, who’ll turn 29 in October, has just one year left on a deal at just over $6 million and trading him would give the Capitals the flexibility to sign a 13th forward.

The asking price for a right-handed defenseman – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers, Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, or Toronto’s Cody Franson – through trade is quite steep. It would most likely include Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco or even highly-touted prospect Anthony Mantha.

As well as the players the team needs to re-sign...

Fitting Green under the cap won’t be an issue since the Wings are $9.5 million under the $69 million salary cap for the upcoming season, some of which will need to go to restricted free agents Tomas Tatar and Danny DeKeyser.

And this cringe-worthy issue:

Detroit may also need room to fit Daniel Alfredsson and Daniel Cleary, who was promised a possible extension after signing a one-year deal on the first day of training camp last season.

Pleiness continues and talks about the Wings' attempts to land Dan Boyle (who'd apparently wanted to join the Rangers and play with his buddy Martin St. Louis before free agency began), Anton Stralman (who'd been partially recruited to join Tampa Bay, which gave him the longest-term deal, by Ryan Callahan) or Matt Niskanen (the Capitals paid him the most money and I'm convinced that his agent, Neil Sheehy, may in fact be evil given that he was Ryan Suter's agent; we won't talk about the whole, "Tom Gilbert wanted a counter-offer but the Wings told him to move on and make his decision, maaaaaannnnn..." scenario).

 

 

Otherwise...Via Paul, SI's Allan Muir "ranked" NHL teams by the depth of their center position, and he views the Wings as having a bit of an x-factor in the player the team couldn't get rid of even if it tried to, as well as the player that Mike Babcock was right in saying required a "big summer" to restore his conditioning:

14. Detroit Red Wings
    
Pavel Datsyuk-Stephen Weiss-Riley Sheahan-Darren Helm

When healthy, Datsyuk is as sublime as ever, a game-changing talent unlike any other in the league. Helm's had health problems, and he skated in just 42 games last season. He can impact a game with his speed but, like Datsyuk, he has to stay in the lineup to make the magic happen. Sheahan was a revelation, bringing offense and solid possession numbers (56.4% Corsi) when everyone expected him to be a defensive-minded banger. Can he match or top that? And can Weiss bring anything … anything at all? There are too many questions to rate them higher, but no group has more upside if everything comes together.

 

 

 

If you weren't aware of the situation, the Boston Bruins kicked off their summer development camp today, and three players who took part in the Wings' camp are attending Boston's camp--Cole Bardreau, Kyle Baun and Alex Globke, who are all NCAA-playing forwards. They can't take part in any fall tournaments, so this is the time for them to shop themselves around.

Of all three--Bardreau is a 5'10," 184-pound winger who's going into his senior year at Cornell, Baun's a 6'2," 204-pound winger who's going into his junior year at Colgate, and Globke's a 6'2," 194-pound center (and Waterford, MI native) who's going into his sophomore season at Lake Superior State University--Globke was the most intriguing player in terms of his goal-scoring ability and raw potential, while Baun was an intriguing space-maker for more talented players. Bardreau was solid enough, but he was more or less "present."

 

 

On Twitter...

 

 

And finally, I will be heading home on Thursday, and Paul will be manning the blog at that time. I'm pretty exhausted so I'm not sure if I'll posit an overnight report.

 

 

 

Update: The 9&10 News's Jeff Johnson penned an article about Globke:

Lake Superior State hockey has a tradition of turning out pros and Forward Alex Globke hopes to someday be a part of that lineage.

The soon to be sophomore took a big step forward this past weekend when he spent five days at the Red Wings Development Camp at Centre Ice in Traverse City.

The Red Wings are almost overstocked at the forward position and then drafted six more last month.  So Globke competed with some of the best Red Wings prospects last weekend.

"It's definitely a battle," Globke said.  "You know guys like Mantha, and Larkin. You've got first-rounders, you've got a lot of free-agents. You've got guys that have played college and done really well in college so the competition is all there, a lot of great players. Everybody here is a first or second line guy so every time you're out there you're playing against great players so I'm happy with what I did and I'm thankful for the opportunity."

 

 

Update #2: The Free Press's Helene St. James looks at the Boston Bruins' free agent performance today (?????):

They signed no unrestricted free agents, including their own. Most notably, they weren’t able to retain star scorer Jarome Iginla, the big winger who contributed 30 goals and 61 points in 2013-14, plus another five goals in the playoffs. Other departures were role player Shawn Thornton, defenseman Andrej Meszaros and goaltender Chad Johnson.

It was bad news for the Bruins when the 2014-15 salary cap rose to only $69 million (many expected it to be $70 million or maybe a touch higher), because that further hampered GM Peter Chiarelli from extending Iginla. As it stands, the Bruins need the cap room they do have to re-sign their restricted free agents, including Reilly Smith (brother of Detroit’s Brendan Smith) and former Spartan and Livonia native Torey Krug, who had a stellar rookie season right through the playoffs.

Losing Iginla does dent the Bruins — he was tied for the lead in goals during the regular season, and led Boston in the playoffs. He also provided leadership, brought over from his years captaining the Calgary Flames.

That said, the Bruins are still formidable. There’s still David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron (winner of two of the past three Selke trophies) and Milan Lucic to contend with up front, along with Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson. Former Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara still towers over an excellent defense, and Tuukka Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL.

 

 

Update #3: As MLive's Brendan Savage notes, the Wings' Cup-winning odds remain unchanged (according to Las Vegas) despite their free agency strike-out.

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Comments

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Primis's avatar

And why the *#$%@& would you not want to go to training camp and see what “the kids” can do,

I dunno’.  Ken Holland is the man to ask that of, because… he seems to be the only one resistant to the kids anymore.

Posted by Primis on 07/09/14 at 09:32 PM ET

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I still want to know if there’s just ONE other Wings fan out there who doesn’t think Kindl is worse than Quincey. I seriously didn’t see anything from him that was worse than any of our other D in the playoffs, and I don’t know why he was the one scratched in the last game. He wasn’t on the PK, which gave up like, half of the goals in that series.

And he was good in the shortened season. That’s why he got the contract. Last season was rough for him, but it was for lots of players.

I get impatient with the guy too, don’t get me wrong, I just really feel like people are blowing out of proportion how bad he is.

Another thing I don’t get is why, after Nyquist, Tatar, Sheahan, Glendening, DeKeyser, etc. have come in and performed, Holland is so scared of throwing one of Sproul/Marchenko/Ouellet in the lineup instead of trading for a guy who may not be the answer.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 07/09/14 at 09:42 PM ET

Jaromir Blogger's avatar

I agree wholeheartedly that the Wings should wait and see what “the kids” can do. I think it would be foolhardy to shell out a bunch of assets for Myers or Green at this time.

Posted by Jaromir Blogger on 07/09/14 at 09:42 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

I seriously didn’t see anything from him that was worse than any of our other D in the playoffs, and I don’t know why he was the one scratched in the last game.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 07/09/14 at 09:42 PM ET

Some things that stick out to me are that Kindl doesn’t get the puck back in the defensive zone, he plays the easiest minutes with more offensive zone starts and weak competition, he’s not especially good at moving the puck even though he’s playing weak competition, and he doesn’t shoot the puck or his shot doesn’t make it through. I agree that people are blowing it up a little, and his Corsi numbers are positive, but with the opportunity he’s getting I’d hope for more than what he’s giving. You can tell that Babcock doesn’t trust him with harder minutes and there isn’t any good reason that I can see to do so. If you compare his play to the term on his contract, it doesn’t really measure up.

Posted by EDJ on 07/09/14 at 10:10 PM ET

damndog's avatar

“That’s what I don’t get about all of this talk the Wings somehow desperately need to make a trade for a right-handed defenseman RIGHT NOW or the team’s going to skate into a sinkhole or something. It’s July, when few trades of any real substance are made, there are a crapton of free agents on defense available (though they’re the leftovers), the Capitals don’t need to move Mike Green and they don’t have to worry about the salary cap until October…”

Exactly. That’s what I been saying. The Wings May already have what they need in house and Green or even Myers may not be going anywhere. Start the season, go from there.

Summer time feeding frenzy of empty calories with this trade talk.

Posted by damndog on 07/09/14 at 10:12 PM ET

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The question I have for all the knowledgeable fans on this site is why Mantha, who seems like a can’t miss project before he even played 1 game of professional hockey, why was he available at #18? We even traded down last year and still got him. With all the talk about him, he should have gone in the top 5, no? Are we that much better in scouting? Was it pure luck? Were the reports of questionable effort enough for 17 teams to stay away from a talent like that? I mean he was the best scorer in the draft and had size to add to that, so I am kind of puzzled by this.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/09/14 at 10:13 PM ET

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Some things that stick out to me are that Kindl doesn’t get the puck back in the defensive zone, he plays the easiest minutes with more offensive zone starts and weak competition, he’s not especially good at moving the puck even though he’s playing weak competition

On the other hand, playing on a 3rd pair, Kindl has to pass the puck to the likes of Miller and Glendening, not really ideal for the offensive minded dman.
And Babcock imo killed any ounce of confidence Kindl ever had benching him for every little mistake. I would never forget in one of the games last season Kronwall made a terrible turnover and Babcock faulted Kindl for being in the wrong spot. It is partially Kindl’s fault, but I think if used properly, he might still be a very solid offensive dman.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/09/14 at 10:19 PM ET

damndog's avatar

@VPalmer:


http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/anthony-mantha/

http://www.redwingscentral.com/prospects/anthony-mantha/

Some chat prior to him being drafted. Kind of floated, one dimensional player…..typical young player stuff.

Posted by damndog on 07/09/14 at 10:36 PM ET

d ca's avatar

I still want to know if there’s just ONE other Wings fan out there who doesn’t think Kindl is worse than Quincey.

I don’t think Kindl is as bad as everyone here is making him out to be just like I didn’t think Ericsson was that bad when he was everyone else’s whipping boy. For that matter I don’t think Quincey is that bad either. I put both of them ahead of Smith and Lashoff, and on pretty even footing with DeKeyser.

Kindl didn’t build off his previous year. But I like his ability to skate out of the defensive zone with the puck. He’s still young and needs to make the simple play instead of trying to take the rush on himself. His real problem is that for whatever reason he’s in Babcock’s doghouse (like Aaron Ward was in Scotty’s).

I, unlike others, think Smith’s play is a huge issue. And from the comments I am able to pick up I totally agree with Babcock that the guy gambles on offense way too much particularly when the Wings are up in the game (as opposed to pressing to tie it up in the 3rd when they are encouraged to gamble). All too often Smith’s defensive partner gets burned and has to stop a 2 on 1 rush.

Posted by d ca on 07/09/14 at 10:39 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

On the other hand, playing on a 3rd pair, Kindl has to pass the puck to the likes of Miller and Glendening, not really ideal for the offensive minded dman.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/09/14 at 10:19 PM ET

Miller and Glendening are decently smart players and they both skate hard, so getting the puck to them shouldn’t be that difficult when they’re not playing second lines like they were this past season because of all the injuries. They probably won’t score but they’ll grind and forecheck and get the puck through the neutral zone.

http://www.hockeyabstract.com/playerusagecharts

Posted by EDJ on 07/09/14 at 10:41 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Don’t know if wings are/aren’t interested in Green.
Also, don’t know if the capitals want to keep or trade him.

However, did you really expect Totz would say anything other than…” We see him in a leadership position…” ???


Seriously, if they wanted to trade him, do you think they would say ...” Oh yea, Green doesn’t fit into our plans..” .?????

Trotz’s statement is akin to a team giving a coach a vote of confidence, and then letting him go a week later.

Posted by Down River Dan on 07/09/14 at 10:43 PM ET

Primis's avatar

The question I have for all the knowledgeable fans on this site is why Mantha, who seems like a can’t miss project before he even played 1 game of professional hockey, why was he available at #18? We even traded down last year and still got him. With all the talk about him, he should have gone in the top 5, no? Are we that much better in scouting? Was it pure luck? Were the reports of questionable effort enough for 17 teams to stay away from a talent like that? I mean he was the best scorer in the draft and had size to add to that, so I am kind of puzzled by this.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/09/14 at 10:13 PM ET

#1, he’s a pure scorer.  He’s not exactly a complete player.  Just a really good sorer.

#2, I believe there was some real doubt he could repeat that season with this season.

#3, there was quite the run on d-men that year.  Seth Jones at #4, Nurse #7, Ristolainen #8, Morin #11, Morrisey #13, Pulock #15, Zadarov #16.  SJ then traded up to take Mirco Muller at #18.  Because Mantha went at #20 when DET traded down with SJ.

Posted by Primis on 07/09/14 at 10:44 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Regarding Kindl, he’s a frickin’ enigma to me, an absolute enigma. There are times when Kindl can play on the power play and get four damn shots in a game, times when he skates the puck up ice like you’d expect the 19th overall draft pick in 2005 to do, and there are times when you start thinking, “Well, he never did replicate the success he had in the OHL, but maybe he can put up some decent numbers like he did in Kitchener”...

Hell, there are times that Kindl’s poke-checking, butt-checking and occasionally roughing up his opponents, separating them from the puck and doing a superb job of either bailing out his defensive partner or chipping the puck out of trouble…

An then there’s the series against Boston, where Kindl’s a skating giveaway machine whose 6’3” frame (and 215-pound) belies a fragile, easily-overpowered player who can’t make a decent outlet pass and makes Jonathan Ericsson’s pinches look sound.

He’s a bowl full of who the *#$%@& knows on a shift-to-shift basis, and I don’t know how much more the Wings can wait for him to arrive.

The Sports Forecaster describes Kindl like this:

Assets:  Has two-way capability and plays with a physical edge. Is capable of logging important minutes and can shut down offensive forwards at lower levels.

Flaws:  Has yet to find the level of consistency that he needs in order to make an impact at the National Hockey League level. Is a tad limited on offense.

Career Potential:  Big, mobile defenseman with a little upside.

He’s 27, he had 19 points (2 goals and 17 assists) in 16 games and he was -4—with the 19 points representing his career high, given that he’s played two half-seasons and two full seasons with the Wings.

I don’t know what the hell he is and I hope that he comes to training camp understanding that there are four players who want his job. I just don’t hold out a lot of hope for him because he’s so maddeningly inconsistent. When he is at his absolute best, he is a top-four defenseman. When he’s at his absolute worst, he’s dangerous to his own team any time he hops over the boards. He’s somewhere in between most of the time.

As for Trotz’s comments, he has insisted since the very first day that he was introduced as the Caps’ coach that he wants to bring a spring back into Ovechkin’s step and that he wants to bring out the best in Mike Green. Trotz is one thing—consistent—and I actually believe him here.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/09/14 at 10:49 PM ET

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Simple solution.  Del Zotto.  Free, and low risk…If KH can pay all that money for Quincey, surely there’s a couple bucks to spend on him as well

Posted by redwings1919 on 07/09/14 at 10:56 PM ET

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Del Zotto is interesting as he is only 2 years removed from 41 points in 77 games for the Rangers and he is only 24. Something went completely wrong this season, but the potential is there and he is not going to cost any assets, just cap space and not much. Yes, he is not good defensively, but as we are desperate for an offensive defenseman, he might be worth a shot on a 1 year deal.
Again Quincey panic signing complicates matters as we could have gotten Volchenkov or 3-5 more free agent defensive defensmen who are not that much worse than Q, but could be had on 1 year deals for $2-3 mil less than Q.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/09/14 at 11:26 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Maybe this is just me, but I think that Volchenkov’s aging like Daniel Cleary. Hard hard miles.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/09/14 at 11:46 PM ET

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Maybe this is just me, but I think that Volchenkov’s aging like Daniel Cleary. Hard hard miles.

It’s certainly possible and I have nothing against Quincey, but he brings zero offense, which means to justify his $4.25 price tag, he has to be a superb defensive dman, but in reality he is just average. Top 4 of Kron/E/Smith/DeKeyser does not need Q. Maybe Volchenkov is not a good example, but somebody like Morris could probably be had for 1 year at less than $2 mil. I am sure there are/will be other options. There was absolutely no rush and no need to sign an average left handed defenseman for 2 years at $4.25 per.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/10/14 at 12:06 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Having a chat on Twitter right now and I my best guess about Quincey is that the Wings thought he was going to get $4.5 million somewhere, and they probably feel that they “compromised.”

I really despise this whole, “We’re going to stick with they guy we know because he’s a known quantity and an alum” thing, but it’s a running theme, and I get the feeling that it’s not just Ken Holland who’s making that estimation. We tend to forget that the KH, Ryan Martin, Kris Draper, the pro scouts, Babcock, Jimmy Devellano, they’re all involved in the decision-making process, and it’s pretty clear that this team is a little too loyal.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/10/14 at 12:12 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

Maybe we all should look at this a bit differently. List your players that YOU PERSONALLY think can be moved.

In no order of course:
Abdelkader
Andersson
Ferraro
Glendening
Kindl
Lashoff

this alone equates to $6,285,833(Ferraro money not added as I didnt see it on Capgeek) just for next year salary alone. This will free up roster spots to put the right people in the lineup, reduce the glut and cash for that player(s) we have yet to acquire.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 07/10/14 at 12:12 AM ET

perfection's avatar

Having a chat on Twitter right now and I my best guess about Quincey is that the Wings thought he was going to get $4.5 million somewhere, and they probably feel that they “compromised.”

My theory is that Quincey had more term offered elsewhere and the wings upped the salary as a way of keeping it to 2 years and keeping their options opened when they believe they will count most. I think term really seemed to be a huge priority for Holland and it makes me think they really are slowly (re)building towards a defined cup contending window. We have a ton of guys with a ton of upside and just don’t know what kind of talent we will have on our hands in 2-3 seasons. Here’s hoping it’s a ton grin

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/10/14 at 12:36 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Simple solution.  Del Zotto.  Free, and low risk…If KH can pay all that money for Quincey, surely there’s a couple bucks to spend on him as well

Posted by redwings1919 on 07/09/14 at 10:56 PM ET

I don’t know… if Del Zotto is better than all of the afore mentioned prospects of the Wings then they can’t be all that much to begin with, can they?

Posted by calquake on 07/10/14 at 12:40 AM ET

perfection's avatar

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 07/10/14 at 12:12 AM ET

seems like Glenny is essentially untouchable as long as Babs is coach. I think he brings some intangibles that fans just don’t get to see. I think he sets an example, is a born leader, and even as a rookie made the team around him better. When you look at how incredible his rise has been from a walk-on in college to captain of Michigan to a walk-on in the ECHL to a mainstay on the Wings in basically one year. It’s really incredible. It’s like an after school special it’s so heartwarming. But there’s also something genuinely special there. Babs may give roster spots for occasionally controversial reasons, but because it makes a good story isn’t one of them. I think the kid is a winner and It’s why coaches just can’t get enough of him at every level. And he could have a sneaky upside. I could see him growing into one of the more dependable fourth line centers in the league and basically become our next Draper. Could even imagine him with an A on his sweater one day.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/10/14 at 12:46 AM ET

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I don’t know if the fans feel there’s a real *rush* to get That Defenseman We Need. I think it’s more pessimism informed by history. Kindl will get a spot over a kid, and even if he doesn’t, a kid is probably looking at sheltered third-pairing minutes alongside Smith or Quincey. And even if a kid gets top-four minutes, he’s probably not going to be That Defenseman We Need (at least not this season). With only three years of Datsyuk left, the doomsday clock is ticking. We’ll be very fortunate indeed if any one of Marchenko, Ouellet, Sproul, Backman, Jensen ever becomes as good as Mike Green is now.

Posted by Dont Toews Me Bro on 07/10/14 at 02:04 AM ET

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I don’t think it matters whether Trotz is sincere or not.  What matters is Green.  Spezza and Kesler have proven that the players have a ton of leverage to force a move even when they’re not about to become free agents.  Green is a UFA at the end of the season and if he’s unhappy the Caps will trade him rather than let him walk for nothing.  Maybe not until the deadline, but I don’t see the downside in Detroit making it known he’d be welcome here—maybe we tempt him into requesting a trade.

I’m also skeptical about the “organic” solution given that Khan and others have written that Quincey was re-signed precisely because the team wants to keep the young defensemen in the AHL for another season.  I think that’s a big mistake and that at least one of them should be on the roster, but I’m willing to admit that if the Red Wings brass thinks these guys aren’t even NHL ready, then more likely than not that they aren’t top-4 material in October 2014.  Likewise I agree that if Del Zotto is a better top-four option than Ouellet or Marchenko then that pretty much admits that Ouellet and Marchenko aren’t ready for the top 4. 

As for which players can be moved, it’s the middle tier—guys who are neither “untouchable” because they’re so good nor “untradeable” because they’re not (or because their contracts are unattractive, a like player could be had without a trade, etc.)  So, in no particular order, Tatar, Jurco, Helm, Abdelkader, Sheahan, Ericsson, Smith, most of the prospects other than Mantha, Mrazek, and probably Larkin.

I still think Tatar makes the most sense to move for a defenseman, whoever it winds up being.  The “organic” options for filling Tatar’s second/third line scoring winger/second power play unit role—Alfredsson, Mantha, Nosek, and Pulkkinen, to name only a few—are better than the “organic” options for a top-4 defenseman, and there’s even a handful of guys left on the market who’d be worth a look.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/10/14 at 06:37 AM ET

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What is the sudden love affair with Del Zotto? He is not that good. He would not be an upgrade over anyone we already have.
As far as Green goes, Caps don’t need to trade him. Believe what Trotz said or not, but Caps are a better team with Green in their line up than without him, so why would they trade him if they don’t have to? They need a real 2nd line center who can play in both zones. We don’t really have one to offer them, besides Sheahan possibly. But I don’t think Wings want to part with him, especially since Weiss and Helm seem to be made of glass.

Posted by George0211 on 07/10/14 at 08:23 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I don’t think Kindl is as bad as everyone here is making him out to be just like I didn’t think Ericsson was that bad when he was everyone else’s whipping boy. For that matter I don’t think Quincey is that bad either. I put both of them ahead of Smith and Lashoff, and on pretty even footing with DeKeyser.

I despise Smith, and there is still no way that I would put Kindl or Lashoff on his level.  And none of the above are as complete a player as DeKeyser. Once he finds a little more consistentcy, DK will probably turn out to be a #2 guy, especially if he can bulk up a little.

In Quincey’s defense, he doesn’t get used in situations that play to his strengths.  Even in COL, he was terrible in his own end, as was most of that team, but he excelled on their PP.  So if he could be a 3rd pairing/PP specialist, I think he would be less of a dog in Detroit.  Unfortunately, they aren’t paying him as a 3rd pairing guy.

Posted by Hootinani on 07/10/14 at 08:54 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I have no qualms with going with the kids on D. What bothers me is that there is no committal to a real plan from the front office. If you go with the kids on D, Franzen should’ve been a compliance buyout or trade bait for a bucket of pucks. Quincey should’ve been traded at last season’s deadline. Cleary should’ve been traded two seasons ago at the deadline for a late pick.

Holland is stuck in between. Not willing to go all-in on the kids, but not willing to abandon them to make the trades for the veterans that would be required to make this a Cup team one last time before Pav and Z call it quits.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/10/14 at 08:59 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 07/10/14 at 12:12 AM ET

I would second your list with the exception of Glendenning (for one more year).  Abby is ok for a 3rd or 4th liner, but we have talent waiting to come up, and he keeps making really bone head decisions in international play: it’s only a matter of time before that kind of crap kreeps into his NHL play.  Kindl and Lashoff are simply occupying spots we should give to Marchenko/Ouellet, with Sproul/Backman not far behind.  I’ve had a sneaky feeling that Backman might end up being the best one of the bunch.

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/10/14 at 09:01 AM ET

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I would second your list with the exception of Glendenning (for one more year).  Abby is ok for a 3rd or 4th liner, but we have talent waiting to come up, and he keeps making really bone head decisions in international play: it’s only a matter of time before that kind of crap kreeps into his NHL play.  Kindl and Lashoff are simply occupying spots we should give to Marchenko/Ouellet, with Sproul/Backman not far behind.  I’ve had a sneaky feeling that Backman might end up being the best one of the bunch.

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/10/14 at 09:01 AM ET

Abby was put into a leadership role at the WC and he doesn’t belong in that role or at least not ready for it.
Lashof IMO is not in anyone’s way. He is a depth D-man, so if they Wings bring up a Marchenko or Ouellet, Lashoff or Kindl will probably sit.
And as far as Kindl goes, I think the guy is the kind of person who always feels sorry for himself and his play suffers from that. I don’t think he can handle the criticism and every time Babcock scratches him, Kindl gets worse.

Posted by George0211 on 07/10/14 at 09:06 AM ET

Kwood1530's avatar

Vpalmer the reason why Mantha was available at #20 where we got him is because scouts had a HUGE knock on his work ethic. They called him lazy and one dimensional. No one doubted his extreme offensive talent. So we got EXTREMELY lucky because all Mantha did was shove all that criticism back in peoples faces. If Mantha had been drafted this year instead of last year, he wouldnt have made it out of the top 2 picks. Again we got lucky

As for our D situation, Mike Green is not an answer that is better than seeing what we have in our system. Ryan Sproul is essentially Mike Green when Mike Green first came into the league. So why not see what he can do? Ouellette is ready and he will become a huge impact player on the D, silly smooth with no flash but just does the right things every shift (Remind you of someone?)

Id rather go with Ouellette and Sproul for awhile, give DeKeyser a little more time and he is going to be up there with Kronwall. Smith had a good second half and if he can keep his head out of his own you know what, he might live up to that most talented prospect label George gives him

Posted by Kwood1530 on 07/10/14 at 09:35 AM ET

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Ryan Sproul is essentially Mike Green when Mike Green first came into the league.

This is a closer comparison than I thought it would be.

Sproul in his draft year in the OHL had 14 goals and 19 assists in 61 games, with a minus 15.

Green in his draft year in the OHL had 14 goals and 25 assists in 59 games, with a minus 29.

They both improved considerably in their first overage year, too—arguably Green a bit more, but both took an impressive step:

Sproul:  23 goals, 31 assists with a PLUS 16 in 61 games
Green:  14 goals, 53 assists, with a PLUS 35 in 67 games

Green then went to the AHL, while Sproul had a second overage year.  Green’s lone AHL season, at an earlier stage of development, was more impressive than Sproul’s one year in Grand Rapids, but it isn’t like it’s apples and oranges:

Sproul:  11 goals, 21 assists, even, in 72 games
Green:  9 goals, 34 assists, plus 1, in 59 games

The thing is, though, that in his first NHL season Green played 70 games and scored two goals with 10 assists for 12 total points, while posting a minus 10.

So even if Sproul is “as good” as Green was in his first NHL season, and in fact the AHL results suggest he’s a bit behind that curve, he won’t give us 40 points and dominant puck possession numbers in 2014-2015.  Green will.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/10/14 at 09:47 AM ET

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and it’s pretty clear that this team is a little too loyal.

Yes, it’s becoming pretty obvious. And I am all in for loyalty, but this summer showed very clearly that our loyalty to the players we have is not a selling point to attract good players here.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/10/14 at 12:24 PM ET

awould's avatar

Franzen should’ve been a compliance buyout or trade bait for a bucket of pucks.

This makes no sense. I’m no fan of Franzen, but his production for his cap hit is favorable. If he was a compliance buyout, there would’ve been a line of teams to ready to sign him for probably just a slightly lower cap hit. And it would’ve been lower only because of his injury issues, not his raw production.

My big problem with Franzen is he floats around and barely tries half the time. I’d trade a little less production for more effort because I think it would make his linemates better. There’s something to be said for reliability and consistency. His injury problems are tough to ignore too, which sucks and isn’t his fault, other than the extent to which he lets it affect his performance.

Posted by awould on 07/10/14 at 12:25 PM ET

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the reason why Mantha was available at #20 where we got him is because scouts had a HUGE knock on his work ethic

Yes, I read about it too, but I am thinking you can teach work ethic, but you cannot “teach” this type of size and talent.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/10/14 at 12:26 PM ET

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the team wants to keep the young defensemen in the AHL for another season

I do not think there is any doubt anymore that KH wants to keep young players in AHL until they are out of options. I mean, if he is willing to keep Nyquist there (for Cleary!) after Nyquist showed all we needed to see in the playoffs, it’s pretty clear that if we drafted Crosby, he would have been in GR for 3-5 years as well. And he will send Jurco to GR at the start of the season just because he can. This is the way KH operates and nothing is going change it. That’s why we end up with mediocre players on our roster as long as they are veterans. I understand there is a risk to promote Sproul, Ouelette, Pulkinen, Marchenko, etc. They might not be good enough right this minute and can lose confidence. But isn’t there a better time to promote them while we have the leadership of Z, Dats and Kronwall to learn from?

Posted by VPalmer on 07/10/14 at 12:34 PM ET

awould's avatar

I do not think there is any doubt anymore that KH wants to keep young players in AHL until they are out of options.

Mantha will be a good test case for this. I don’t disagree because, well, history. But I do think Mantha will break into the NHL much faster than any other Red Wing prospect.

Posted by awould on 07/10/14 at 12:36 PM ET

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What is the sudden love affair with Del Zotto?

I do not think there is a love affair, but based on the fact that KH is not going to promote any of our young guys in the lineup (imo), we do need an offensive dman who can play on a PP. Green will be good, but I hope KH will not get desperate again and surrender Nyquist or even Tatar for him (considering rumors he was offering both of them plus a first to Calgary for Iginla, I have zero confidence in KH ability to work out a good trade for this team). Del Zotto is 2 years away from getting 41 points in 77 games and he is only 24.  There is a chance he can go back to being very good again and can probably be “tried” on a 1 year “show me what you got” contract without giving up any assets.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/10/14 at 12:40 PM ET

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Mantha will be a good test case for this

Yes, it will be. As of now I think our opening roster will have Cleary with Mantha and Jurco in GR, but there is always hope to be wrong.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/10/14 at 12:43 PM ET

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it’s pretty clear that if we drafted Crosby, he would have been in GR for 3-5 years as well.

I don’t think that’s “pretty clear.”  It seems like a massive stretch to me.

And he will send Jurco to GR at the start of the season just because he can

Conjecture.  Holland has already said Jurco will start the season in Detroit.

I agree, however, that Mantha will start the season in GR.  Holland has said he has to “steal” a “top six” job.  By this Holland means that the Detroit brass has decided that Mantha playing on the third line in Detroit is somehow worse for him than playing on the top line in Grand Rapids.  Don’t ask me why, I’m just taking the man at his word.

There are only six of those.  Let’s assume we start the season healthy, including Weiss.  That means “stealing” a job from

Datsyuk—no
Zetterberg—impossible
Weiss—won’t happen because Mantha’s not a center
Franzen—we might want this to happen, but it will not
Nyquist—highly unlikely given the way last season ended
Abdelkader—can Mantha pull a piano?  No—he’s a skill player, not a board-battler and forechecker.  Jurco and Sheahan might take this job from Abdelkader, but Mantha won’t.

Mantha’s best shot is that one of our “top six” is hurt at the beginning of the season.  Even then he will likely have to “skip” both Tatar and, in all probability, Alfie for a “skill” top six role.

We might see him for a game or two, but I think Mantha’s going to be an April special, like Helm, Abdelkader, and Nyquist before him.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/10/14 at 01:40 PM ET

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Posted by captaineclectic on 07/10/14 at 01:40 PM ET

Where did you see Holland’s comments that Jurco will start in Detroit. Not saying he didn’t say it, I just never saw it. Assumptions was that if Wings do re-sign Cleary (yuck) and/or Alfy, Jurco will have no choice but to go to GR, since he is the only one who can.
As for Mantha, what do you expect Holland to say? No, absolutely not, this kid will not play for the big club this season? He can’t say that, even though everyone knows chances are Mantha will go to GR.

Posted by George0211 on 07/10/14 at 01:45 PM 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.