The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/20/13 at 12:16 PM ET
Updated 6x with weird Cleary news at 2:18 PM: Amongst this afternoon's Red Wings-related news, first, hold your nose:
Meanwhile, in saner territory:
The Red Wings are all ready for training camp after agreeing to a two-year contract with forward Gustav Nyquist, who was a restricted free agent.
Nyquist was the last of the Red Wings’ free agents to re-sign with the club. Detroit now has 15 forwards signed to one-way contracts, and that doesn’t include Tomas Tatar. In all, Detroit has 23 players under one-way contracts. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser is also on a two-way deal.
According to a report on NHL Radio, the Nyquist contract is worth $950,000 per season.
The 23-year-old Nyquist produced three goals and three assists in 22 regular-season games with the Red Wings during the lockout-shortened season. He also registered 23 goals and 37 assists in 58 games with Detroit's AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. The former fourth-round pick also scored two goals and five points in 14 Stanley Cup playoff games.
A former two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist at the University of Maine, Nyquist produced seven points in 10 postseason games during the Griffins’ run to the Calder Cup championship.
Training camp begins Sept. 12 in Traverse City.
1. Capgeek estimates that the Wings are $637,879 over the cap after deferring Alfredsson's bonuses, and they're 2 men over the 23-man roster limit, with 16 forwards. The team can wait until 5 PM on September 29th to get cap and 23-man-roster compliant;
2. Tatar would have to clear waivers, which he wouldn't, to head to the AHL;
3. Stranger things have happened, but sending DeKeyser and his $1.35 million cap hit down to the AHL would damage the team's defense, just as sending Nyquist--who will make the same $950,000 he's slated to earn at the NHL level in the AHL--would hurt the team. Those moves HAVE to be last resorts.
4. As long as the team stays healthy up front, the Wings will likely move two of Cory Emmerton (who has 1 year remaining on a contract with a $533K cap hit), Patrick Eaves (who has 1 year remaining on a contract paying him $1.2 million this upcoming season) and/or Jordin Tootoo (who may be harder to move as he's got 2 years and $4 million remaining on a contract with a $1.9 million cap hit).
[Edit/update: Lest we forget, the Wings can eat salary in trades, and I could very easily see the Wings paying part of Tootoo's salary or even up to half of Mikael Samuelsson's $3 million if they could convince him to "go away" and accept a trade to a Western Conference team.]
The Free Press's Helene St. James...Well...SIGH...
The Wings now have 16 forwards under contract for 2013-14. Their overall payroll is at $68.2 million. Their cap payroll is at $67.95 million — about $600,000 above the cap. Teams don't have to be compliant until the season begins in October.
The Wings have two rather significant question marks in Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson, both of whom spent so much of 2013 injured that it remains unknown whether they will be able to be factors this fall. If a player can't play, a team can get cap relief by putting him on long-term injured reserve.
The Wings still plan to re-sign unrestricted free agent Daniel Cleary, one of their best forwards in the playoffs. They might opt to try to move someone like Jordin Tootoo, who makes $1.9 million per season but was a healthy scratch in the playoffs.
Put delicately, HOW THE *#$%@& WOULD THAT WORK? Cleary would HAVE to take BIG pay cut AND the Wings would have to move ALL of Tootoo, Emmerton and Eaves if everybody stays healthy--and regardless of whether the team stays healthy, the team WOULD have to move THREE bodies at some point.
Prior to the Nyquist news, MLive's Ansar Khan's "'scouting" of the New Jersey Devils was the most news-worthy story around...
Devils' strengths: Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider should form a strong net tandem. At age 41, Brodeur posted his best goals-against average (2.22) since 2007-08, but his save percentage slipped to a career low .901. The NHL's all-time wins leader figures to have a reduced workload with Schneider in the fold. Schneider, who has a career .927 save percentage, beat out Roberto Luongo for the starting job in Vancouver last season, only to be dealt in a surprise move. Trenton native Andy Greene is a solid, under-the-radar defenseman. Adam Larsson, the fourth overall pick in 2011, is only 20 but has 102 NHL games on defense under his belt. Center Adam Henrique took a step back after a strong rookie season.
Devils' weaknesses: A team that struggled to score goals lost superstar Ilya Kovalchuk and its leading goal-scorer, David Clarkson. Newcomers Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder and Ryane Clowe will have to pick up the slack. Age is concern. The Devils' leader in points in 2013, Patrik Elias, is 37, and their leading scorer on defense, Marek Zidlicky, is 36. A lot of other players they're counting on for offense are over 30.
Devils outlook: They've lost a lot of key parts (Zach Parise, Kovalchuk, Clarkson) from the team that lost to the Kings in the 2012 Stanley Cup final. They added some serviceable veteran forwards through free agency and have some promising young players. Peter DeBoer is a highly regarded coach – the Red Wings tried to hire him as an assistant after he was fired by Florida in 2011 – but he'll have his work cut out for him getting this team back into the postseason. It's a club that hasn't missed the playoffs in consecutive years since its first five seasons (1982-83 to 1986-87).
And in the Twitter department...
Ah, summertime predictions....
It's also getting close enough to the Wings' prospect tournament and main camp that I need to post this here: I'm still behind the curve in terms of trying to raise funds to head to Traverse City. If you can lend a hand, the size of the donation is far less important than mobilization.
I need to raise about another grand to just afford the hotel bill (gas up and down is another $220 and food costs, well, I'm cheap and don't eat out often, so I'd say I could live on a hundred and my own money after that), and I'm two-and-a-half weeks from leaving town on September 4th. If there is any way that you can lend a hand and/or spread the word, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.
I'm sticking with PayPal as folks are familiar with it, and the email address that you use as my "recipient" ID is my personal email address, email@example.com.
Update #0.5: Here's SI's Allan Muir's take on where Damien Brunner will end up:
Damien Brunner: Yes, there are questions about his defensive game, but no one doubts that Brunner can juice an offense, especially after a strong showing in the postseason that saw him score nine points in 14 games. The only thing stopping him from skating in the NHL next season is his price tag. Brunner is said to be looking for something in the neighborhood of $3.5 million over three-four years. That’s a hefty demand for a player who has just one NHL season under his belt and scored just twice over the final 25 games of the regular schedule while playing primarily with Henrik Zetterberg. Is it worth the risk for an offensively challenged team like Nashville, Dallas or Florida to commit to a deal like that? Probably not, which means Brunner either needs to realign his expectations . . . or brush up on his yodeling.
Update #1: Sovetsky Sport's Mikhail Petrov reports that Pavel Datsyuk will be awarded Sovetsky Sport's Kharlamov Trophy (as the best Russian player of the year) during a ceremony on Thursday, and Sovetsky Sport's seeking reader-submitted questions for Datsyuk, with the five best being asked to Datsyuk and the best as deemed by Datsyuk will receive an autograph.
Update #1.5: Oh, goody:
Update #2: WARM FUZZIES:
Nyquist, a restricted free agent, wasn’t going anywhere. The Wings have said all offseason that they would sign him, though, it took a little longer than many expected.
A college standout at the University of Maine, Detroit drafted Nyquist in the fourth round (121st overall) in 2008. He's smart, skilled and a terrific skater with an offensive upside, which has the Wings encouraged that he'll blossom into a top-six forward at the NHL level.
A natural center, Nyquist made a seamless transition to the wing in Detroit. In 22 games for the Red Wings last season, Nyquist had three goals, three assists and six penalty minutes. He added two goals, three assists and was a plus-3 in 14 playoff games
The only potential draw back to his game is his size. Standing at 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 185 pounds, the slight Swede will need to beef up to stay successful at the NHL level.
With Nyquist signed, the Wings have 25 players on their roster -- two above the 23-man limit -- and they're over the salary cap by roughly $600,000; however, they'll have the entire preseason to trim players and budget.
Update #3: HD.se posted a clip of Henrik Zetterberg skating with Rogle BK of the Swedish Allsvenskan. Zetterberg says that it was his first on-ice training session, and that he's going back to Detroit next week, that much I know, and he tends to practice with Rogle as they're located in Angelholm, near where Emma's family lives.
Zetterberg also talks about training with former teammate Andreas Lilja, who's Rogle's captain, and the Wings' addition of Daniel Alfredsson.
Update #4: Michigan Hockey's Nick Barnowski posited a conversation he had with one Justin Abdelakder yesterday afternoon:
“Everyone’s kind of working to get ready for training camp,” the Norton Shores native said. “It’s still early but after this week it’ll feel a lot better.”
Sharing the ice with teammates Drew Miller and Jakub Kindl this week has made Abdelkader all the more excited for this upcoming season to start. The additions of Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss add depth to a team that Abdelkader already felt was pretty deep.
“Our team on paper should be looking pretty good,” he said. “I think last year showed the depth of our organization with the young players coming up. Alfie [Alfredsson], he’s a goal scorer, a proven goal scorer, a guy who’s going to help the power play right away, a veteran coming into the locker room. I don’t know much about Weiss but I know he had a productive career in Florida, and he’s a natural center so I think he’ll slot in really nice with our team.”
The 26-year-old enjoyed a breakout 2013 season with the Red Wings, in which he scored 10 goals in 48 games while getting the chance to play alongside Pavel Datsyuk on the team’s first line. That, along with his physical play and size, made him an asset for coach Mike Babcock.
“I’m looking forward to going out there and playing my game, wherever they put me I’ll be trying to contribute,” the 2007 NCAA champion said. “I enjoy going to the front and I enjoy creating havoc, especially when you’re playing on a line with Pavel, you’ve got to get him the puck as much as possible.”
His success with the Red Wings this season wasn’t just noticed by Detroit management and fans. Abdelkader earned an invite to the U.S. Olympic team orientation camp, which takes place August 26-27 in Arlington, Virginia. Joining him will be Detroit teammates Jimmy Howard and Danny DeKeyser, and while Abdelkader may not be the high-end skill player the team is looking for, he could find a spot on the team’s energy line.
“I was pretty excited, it was an honor to get invited,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going down next week to get together with the guys and see how they want us to play if we get selected.”
Update #6: Um, uh...
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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.