The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/03/13 at 10:23 AM ET
The Red Wings will take to the ice for a quick practice before boarding an afternoon flight to Phoenix for the team's two-game trip out West to play the Coyotes on Thursday and Colorado on Friday, but before they do so, here's a smattering of Wings-related news.
On the Red Wings trade front
And this is a "captain obvious" statement from the Sporting News's Jesse Spector:
“Is Gustav Nyquist a legit top-six NHL forward or would the Red Wings be better served shopping him as a piece in a bigger trade?” — Nathan Mallett
It’s hard to say for sure, because Nyquist has only played 28 games in the NHL so far, but over the past two seasons in the AHL, he has 118 points in 114 games and was an elite offensive talent at the University of Maine. The fact that he has thus far been unable to find real success in the NHL, even with a heavy dosage of offensive zone starts, mostly against middling opposing lines, is troubling, but again: 28 games.
In his games this season, Nyquist has not played even 30 minutes at 5-on-5 with a single linemate. That’s not enough time to develop any kind of chemistry. The only way it would make sense for the Red Wings to trade Nyquist would be as part of a package for a true star — preferably on defense — but that player probably will not become available before 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Otherwise, Detroit’s best option is to keep bringing Nyquist along at his own pace, with the hope that he will produce as he has at every other level. As a restricted free agent this summer, it is hard to imagine he will get much of a raise over the $875,000 cap hit he currently carries.
If the Red Wings give him a decent shot and find that he still is not growing into the player they expected, there will still be trade value for a young forward with a reasonable contract. But patience is the best course of action.
Patience is most certainly the best course of action for soeone who is in fact a savvy playmaker and quite possibly a 50-to-60-point player three or four years from now. He is what Valtteri Filppula was supposed to be, except with more grit, stick-to-it-ive-ness and heart.
Also of Red Wings-related note: Via Fox Sports Detroit, how did my Twitter feed miss this?
In case you missed it, Verlander became the highest-paid pitcher in Major League Baseball history last week, when the Tigers signed him to a contract extension that will pay him $180 million over the next seven seasons.
Mike Ilitch owns both the Tigers and Red Wings and it won't be long until signing Datsyuk becomes one of the Red Wings' top priorities.
Datsyuk, 34, spent the lockout playing in his native Russia.
During training camp, Datsyuk told MLive.com that it was his dream to eventually return to Russia and play fulltime in his country.
"It's my kind of dream to come back and enjoy it with Russian fans because they pull for me in the beginning,'' he said. "You never know how career go.
"Home (Russia) always good. It's long time don't play in Russia (since 2004-05). Lots of Russian friends. Always welcome home; it's nice, positive. You never know next time to play in front of Russian fans.''
Give me a f***ing break, frankly.
And RedWingsCentral's Matthew Wuest profiled the very nice young man and superb-skating defenseman named Nick Jensen, whose Saint Cloud State University Huskies will take part in the NCAA's Frozen Four on April 11th, when SCSU will tangle with Quinnipiac in Pittsburgh at 8 PM EDT on ESPN2:
His continued strong play, especially late in the year, is cause for optimism, especially when you factor in that the organization has several other outstanding defensive prospects: Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Mattias Backman and Alexei Marchenko.
“Every game I’ve seen him, he was the hardest competitive guy (on the ice) and he’s got the heart of a lion,” said Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer. “He’s in people’s faces, he’s taking people’s space away thanks to his skating, and he makes great outlet passes. He’s had a great year and we’re really happy with his development.”
Jensen, a 6-foot-1, 193-pound junior, has four goals and 27 assists for 31 points in 41 games, tops among St. Cloud State’s blueliners, while recording a plus-22 rating and 73 shots. He’s come a long way since being drafted in the fifth round (150th overall) in 2009 from the United States Hockey League’s Green Bay Gamblers. At the time, the Red Wings considered him a brilliant skater with raw offensive potential and weren’t sure how his all-around game would develop.
Fischer wouldn’t comment on whether Jensen would be signed to forego his senior season at St. Cloud State, but he’s turning 23 in September and has matured physically to the point where he could likely step into an American Hockey League lineup.
Another Red Wings defense prospect, Ben Marshall of the heavily favoured Minnesota Golden Gophers, saw his season come to an end last week short of the Frozen Four with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Yale Bulldogs. Fischer said Marshall had a great second half after starting the year bouncing between defense and forward due to the Gophers’ incredible depth. The 5-foot-9, 183-pound sophomore has received significant power-play time since then and had eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points in 40 games along with a plus-eight rating and 73 shots.
“Ben really found a way to establish himself — he runs the power play, he’s making great plays, he’s a top-four defenseman every night,” Fischer said prior to the loss to Yale. “He’s finding ways to get acclimated to the college level and how to produce.”
Marshall will return to Minnesota for his junior season and the Red Wings will be looking for him to increase his production even more.
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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.