The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/29/13 at 11:51 AM ET
Updated w/ Datsyuk/Howard talk at 1:10 PM: NHL.com's Brian Hedger told the Twitter world that he engaged in an expansive interview with Red Wings GM Ken Holland last night, and it involves Holland's take on possibly making trades given that the team's enduring what truly is a "rebuilding year." Sometimes you have to start at the end, so here's the end, and I highly suggest that you go back and read the rest of Hedger's article:
"We've got a younger team and we're trying to rebuild it," Holland said. "We have to decide if now's the time … are we a playoff team, and not only that but is now the time to do something or should we continue letting the kids go? We've probably got better depth than we thought we did when the season started, and the [young players] are going to get better. So we're going to continue to evaluate."
If the right deal materializes, look for Holland to pull the trigger. If not, he can be content standing pat.
"Trades, to me, can't be forced," Holland said. "Trades happen because two sides each get something they want. Even if you think you have a need and want to do it, there has to be a fit. Somebody else has to have a need. It's a responsibility to work the phone and see what's available, but part of our deadline moves will be internal. We hope to get some of our injured people back."
Update: Make it a two-parter. Hedger also spoke to Holland about the futures of Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard:
Some believe the 34-year old Datsyuk might want to return to Russia and finish his career playing in the Kontinental Hockey League after his contract with the Red Wings runs out following the 2013-14 season. Datsyuk, who makes $6.7 million a year and will turn 35 on July 20, played in the KHL for CSKA Moscow during the lockout. He appeared to enjoy the experience greatly, which helped spark some of the speculation about where he'll play on his next contract. Holland, however, said he will likely wait until the end of this season to address the situation.
"Obviously, I've heard the rumors," Holland told NHL.com. "I have not had any real conversation with [Datsyuk] or his agent, Gary Greenstein. Gary lives in California and I just saw him the other day. Basically we're going to sit down at the conclusion of this season, before Pav goes home. I don't know what will come out of it."
Red Wings fans are hoping a new contract is generated, and Holland also hopes that's the case. He just doesn't know if it's likely to happen at the moment.
"We'll talk before he goes home sometime in June, but anything beyond that is speculation and rumors," Holland said. "Nobody's told me anything. They haven't told me they're staying or going. I haven't asked either. We hope he wants to stay, but I'm certainly aware there's a professional league in Russia and they pay their players well. Beyond that, I don't know."
"It's going to take a while until we know anything [about Datsyuk's future]," Holland said. "And with the new [Collective Bargaining Agreement], we can't sign an extension until after [July 5]. We can talk, but can't do anything anyway."
It's a different situation with Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 5 if he and Holland can't reach an agreement on a contract extension before June 25 -- the date that pending UFAs can begin meeting with potential new teams. Holland said he plans to reach a deal to keep the 29-year-old Howard in the Motor City.
"Hopefully between now and June 25 we'll get Jimmy Howard signed to a contract," Holland said. "Jimmy Howard is the No. 1 guy we want to build around and he now has three years of playoff experience."
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