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Red Wings mid-day news: on a ‘budget’ free agent target and more draft stuff

Updated 3x with forward talk, Brunner gabba and another mock draft at 2:38 PM: This afternoon's Red Wings-related stories basically keep the conversation started during the overnight report going. After profiling David Clarkson, Bryan Bickell and Nathan Horton (who will need shoulder surgery), MLive's Ansar Khan looks at the "bargain" goal-scoring forward that the Wings may be interested in pursuing as an unrestricted free agent in one Michael Ryder.

Ryder's 6 feet tall, 198 pounds and 33 years old, and he's averaged about 25 goals per season since the last lockout, really, but he's a one-dimensional player...Who earned $3.5 million this past season, and could probably be had for somewhere between $3.5-4 million.

Here's Khan's take on Ryder:

Strengths: He has good goal-scoring ability, due to terrific hands, a tremendous shot, particularly from the slot, and the ability to find open space. He has scored 30 or more goals three times since 2005-06, including a career-high 35 with Dallas in 2010-11.

Weaknesses: He doesn't provide much beyond goal-scoring. He's not good defensively, not a particularly good skater and isn't physical.

He either scores or he's invisible. That's just the truth.

Why he would interest the Red Wings: They could use a sniper and help on the power play. His right-handed shot would benefit a team dominated by lefties.

How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He would play on a top-two line and on the power play.

What it might take to get him: Maybe a short-term deal (two years) at about the same salary ($3.5 million per season). The Canadiens have said they are not interested in re-signing him.

As the CBC's Elliotte Friedman noted today, the Boston Bruins have announced that they won't retain Jaromir Jagr's services, and I do think that, as crazy as this sounds, the Wings did both kick the tires significantly when he ended up with Philadelphia and had some interest in Jagr when he signed with Dallas. He's 41-and-a-half, his offense was very limited in the playoffs, and he deals with chronic groin and hip problems, but he is an intriguing character...

Though his agent, Petr Svoboda, will probably ask for somewhere around the $4.5 million Jagr earned this past season, and I'm not sure he's worth that much. Just throwing that name out there as we are all quite familiar with the Wings' belief that older players can still contribute.

Speaking of throwing stuff out there, Friedman did offer one Red Wings-related rumor...Sort of...In his "30 Thoughts" column:

20. Will every Finnish player be linked to Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen? The latest has unrestricted free agent-to-be Valtteri Filppula as a strong candidate for Columbus.

Folks insist that Filppula will follow Jim Nill to Dallas, or that the Leafs will sign him, too.



In the draft department, as noted last night, nobody seems to know where the hell the prospects picked after spots 1-10--if not 1-5--will end up, so prepare to meet ANOTHER player via Sportsnet's Patrick King's mock draft...

18. Detroit Red Wings

Samuel Morin, D (Rimouski, QMJHL)

The Red Wings have done a good job re-stocking their defensive prospects in recent years although they may not be done yet considering there’s still a slight disconnect between their current defence and the arrival of their prospects. Morin is among the quickest risers in the draft after his strong performance at the under-18 world championship in April. He skates well for his mammoth six-foot-six, 200 pound frame and shows a lot of promise with his puck skills and defensive game. His potential is appealing, and the Red Wings tend to get the draft right.

At least the Sports Forecaster's mock draft seconds that emotion...


Primary need: size
Options: [Nikita] Zadorov; Samuel Morin, Rimouski (QMJHL); [Kerby] Rychel

Few teams (if any) ignore team needs on draft day more than Detroit, who almost always take the most skilled player available (every pick, every round). That may change here, as they do need to get bigger and stronger.

Pick: Samuel Morin

And, perhaps as proof of the, "WTF where is everybody going?" theme, TSN's Craig Button has the Wings taking London Knights center Bo Horvat, but Yahoo Sports' Kelly Friesen has Horvat going no lower than 10th overall, not 18th:

10. Bo Horvat, centre, London Knights (OHL) — Horvat doesn’t possess as much raw skill as the other forwards ranked in BTN’s top 10; he earned his keep by being a dominant force at both ends of the ice. The 6-foot, 204-pounder not only scored 33 goals and 61 points in 67 games, but he was also voted the second best faceoff man and top shot blocker in the OHL’s Western Conference poll.

Scout’s take: “Horvat is a coach’s dream,” says McCagg. “He brings high intensity and an intelligent two-way game to every game. He’s a proven winner that scores big goals, is relentless, has a strong work ethic and anticipatory skills makes up for a lack of foot speed. He is one of the grittier first-round talents that has character, leadership and a competitiveness that makes him one of the most desired prospects of the draft. He also has high-end vision and playmaking skills which makes him a complete player.”

As if we need to be reminded, NHL.com's Adam Kimelman has stated that the Red Wings' 1989 draft crop was perhaps the NHL's best ever:

1. Detroit Red Wings, 1989

The gold standard of drafts. Of the Wings' 14 picks, eight played in the NHL, and four played at least 1,000 games. They found a pair of future Hall of Famers with back-to-back picks in the middle rounds -- Nicklas Lidstrom in the third (No. 53) and Sergei Fedorov in the fourth (No. 74). Three players picked in the 1989 draft played major roles in helping the Wings win the 1997 Stanley Cup, the franchise's first since 1955.

Highlights: Mike Sillinger, 1st round (No. 11); Bob Boughner, 2nd round (No. 32); Nicklas Lidstrom, 3rd round (No. 53); Sergei Fedorov, 4th round (No. 74); Dallas Drake, 6th round (No. 116); Vladimir Konstantinov, 11th round (No. 221).



And finally, via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press continues to bracket its way through summer, and "The Captain" and "Mr. Hockey" have made their "Elite Eight" in terms of best sports nicknames.



Update: The Free Press's Helene St. James JUST posted an article discussing the Wings' roster plans. After stating that Carlo Colaiacovo's going to be traded or bought out, she assesses the situation up front as follows:

Up front, there are so many pieces in play, it's a lot murkier. The Wings plan on carrying 14 forwards. Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader make four. Newly signed Drew Miller makes five. Add in the RFAs — Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson — and that's seven. Darren Helm, though battling a sore back, makes it eight, because he's neither going to be traded nor bought out. If he can't play, he'll go on long-term injured reserve. Patrick Eaves brings speed, penalty killing and a right-handed shot to the mix, so count him as the ninth.

That leaves five spots. Let's examine who's left:

■Jordin Tootoo: It was a curious season for a guy much heralded last summer when he was signed for three years and $5.7 million. He became a healthy scratch late in the season and in the playoffs. He did what he was asked, though, and likely will be in the lineup next year.

■Cory Emmerton: The Wings are not that high on this guy. He played regularly last season because of all the injuries. He'll likely be packaged in a trade or waived.

■Tomas Tatar: He seemed to have a good stretch when he was up with the Wings, but there's concern in the front office about Tatar's toughness. He might get a shot at finding a spot on the fourth line.

■Mikael Samuelsson: Was injured nonstop. Subject to a buyout, though he may be able to fight it if he can prove he's not healthy. He has been told by doctors he doesn't need surgery, though.

■Todd Bertuzzi: Pinched nerves kept him out of the lineup after early February. He's big and strong and good in front of the net, but the question is how he will hold up over an 82-game season? He could be considered a buyout option.

This list doesn't include the team's own unrestricted free agent forwards. Negotiations are under way with Damien Brunner and Daniel Cleary but faltering with Valtteri Filppula. Filppula has played mostly wing the past two seasons, which is part of the reason the Wings would just as soon replace him with a second-line center so that Datsyuk and Zetterberg can play on the same line.


Update #2: The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo weighed in on the Brunner situation:

Hockey is a multi-dimensional game. It's not a one-way street. Yet, as defensive systems have become an applied science and goaltending improved to the point astounding skill, goal scorers have become a premium.

Damien Brunner reminded nobody of Brett Hull in his prime as a 27-year-old rookie for the Red Wings last season, but he has the knack for scoring goals. He can, in hockey terms, snipe.

12 goals in 44 games, even if they were front-loaded to the start of the season, can't be dismissed. Neither can five goals during an intense playoff run vs. top-of-the-line competition.

The Red Wings need him more than their other unrestricted free agents, Danny Cleary (who played surprising well in the playoffs) and Valterri Filppula, an excellent two-way player who had a surprisingly subpar season.

Why? Because Brunner can score goals. But is he worth $4 million or $5 million? I know that sounds ridiculous, but look at the contract Calgary bit on for Jiri Hudler last summer (four years at $4 million per season).

The Red Wings must prioritize their signings. They are in a transition phase and can't afford to have roster spots taken up for younger players who might otherwise be exposed to waivers at some point.

Brunner is the priority - as long as the cost doesn't get out of hand.


Update #3: Sportsline's Chris Peters' mock draft has the Wings taking the player I hope they target:

18. Detroit Red Wings – Mirco Mueller (WHL) - D

Detroit has some solid, older forward prospects in the system that have been developing well. Bringing the focus back to defense makes sense here since Mueller is still on the board. He has terrific size and a very high ceiling. Mueller moves the puck well enough, but he's best in his own end and has a good hockey IQ. He'd be an easy call here.

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DocF's avatar

Hey George,  I love how Paypal refers to you as “the merchant”.  It makes me think of Dustin Hoffman in “Midnight Cowboy”.

God, I hope the Wings are not considering Ryder.  He scores, he gives up twice as many goals account total lack of defense. 

Brunner, on the other hand, is learning to play two way hockey.  Putting him on the line with Andersson and Nyquist taught him a lot about doing just that.  Considering what is out there in free agency land, he looks better and better wearing the Winged Wheel.


Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 06/26/13 at 02:05 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Brunner, on the other hand, is learning to play two way hockey.  Putting him on the line with Andersson and Nyquist taught him a lot about doing just that.  Considering what is out there in free agency land, he looks better and better wearing the Winged Wheel.

trouble is, is he a top-6 forward?  He might market himself as one, but the Wings may not be sold that he is.

Posted by MoreShoot on 06/26/13 at 02:16 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Brunner is way NOT worth 4-5 mil. I’d rather have Filps at that point who at least plays a complete game. Brunner’s playoff success seemed to me to have a lot to do with the fact that they got him AWAY from top lines of the other team. He thrived on the third line after totally disappearing on the second line. I don’t know. I like him a lot and definitely hope we resign him for a reasonable amount (and trade Filps rights if he wants $5mil+), but I’m just not totally sold on him as it was a somewhat up and down year.

How on earth does Helene lump Tatar, one of our top prospects and the MVP of the AHL playoffs in with these other “bubble” forwards? I don’t think there’s a question that Tatar will get a roster spot. He may be weak, and the fact that he looked way out of his league when paired with Datsyuk on a top line seemed to indicate this, but his potential is huge and he will get a shot for sure. Tatar is actually the reason I wouldn’t be crushed to see Brunner walk. I think Tatar can slide right into his spot and brings a similar knack for finding the net. I also think he’s brimming with confidence right now.

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. As long as we buyout Sammy, I will consider this offseason a relative success.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 06/26/13 at 02:23 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

My wish is to buy out Pectoral Samuelsson as soon as the 48 hours is up tonite, sign Brunner, trade Fil for a low draft choice (Most of the best Wings have been low picks anyway), use the 2nd buyout on Carlo or Tootoo, or (??)  BEFORE The Draft would be nice??

There seems to be too many young RFAs who will be on one way contracts soon (a good thing) , some Vets or maybe a young RFA ?? will have to packaged in a trade to make room for the kids.  Some of this might not happen until training camp to let players earn their spot.

The next 10 days will be interesting for sure

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 06/26/13 at 02:28 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Thinking Ryder’s going to take $3-4m on the open market is underestimating.  $4-5m is much more likely.

Scoring is so thin with this UFA crop that guys are going to get overpaid easily.

Posted by Primis on 06/26/13 at 02:32 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

trouble is, is he a top-6 forward?  He might market himself as one, but the Wings may not be sold that he is.

I see Brunner, Nyquist and Andersson as a very good 3rd line.  Z, Pav, Mule, Aby, Tatar?, and an outside acquisition might be the top 6?? Jarnrok, Sheahan, etc may change the mix.  Sadly I don’t see Bert coming back (no room for a Shootout Guy and with the Spin o rama in jeopardy).

Glad KH has this good problem!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 06/26/13 at 02:35 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Tomas Tatar: He seemed to have a good stretch when he was up with the Wings, but there’s concern in the front office about Tatar’s toughness. He might get a shot at finding a spot on the fourth line.

^^^^ More red flags. St. James desperately needs an intevention.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/26/13 at 02:36 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

  Tomas Tatar: He seemed to have a good stretch when he was up with the Wings, but there’s concern in the front office about Tatar’s toughness. He might get a shot at finding a spot on the fourth line.

^^^^ More red flags. St. James desperately needs an intevention.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/26/13 at 03:36 PM ET

If Brunner (a ‘soft euro’) was going to the net his first season, then what Tartar has been doing, especially against the Crunch…is Holmstrom-like.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 06/26/13 at 02:38 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar


I agree with all of that.  Putting Tatar on the 4th line would be stupid.  I watched the AHL Calder Cup albeit on my Laptop.  I saw a hard nosed, very skilled, player who took all the big hits and responded by being the MVP.

St James tends to lean to be politically correct , IMO

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 06/26/13 at 02:44 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I would be shocked if Horvat is available at 18, but if he is, the Wings should jump all over him.  Knowing Kenny, he’ll trade off the 18 for a couple of high 2nds and itll be a moot point anyway.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 06/26/13 at 03:14 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Tatar goes into Nyquist’s spot who goes into Filppula’s spot who has a beach party with uncle Teemu in Anaheim.  Brunner is, thus, saved from top six duties until he’s ready and kept on the third line with Andersson.  If no free agents can be lured, the Cleary spot goes to Samuelsson, Bertuzzi, Lindsay or Howe, whoever is feeling the most spry at the time. 

Miller, Andersson, Tatar, Brunner remain pretty capable of jumping from bottom six to top six for limited time as demanded by injuries.  If Helm is back that seems pretty solid.  If not you gotta leave Andersson in the bottom six mix and the ol’ roster gets a bit thinner in flexibility.  As much as it would appall 2012 Shane to think 2013 Shane would say so; Emmerton can’t be let go for a bit longer.  Maybe next year Sheahan / Ferraro can take they spot.

More and more I feel like its either a pie in the sky top six free agent or another year of Sammy/Bert/Cleary cobbling together brief bouts of healthiness, which sucks for young guys and Eaves since one or two of those beloved clunkers will have to go in they bottom six somewhere.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/26/13 at 03:25 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Knowing Kenny, he’ll trade off the 18 for a couple of high 2nds and itll be a moot point anyway.

Posted by Hootinani on 06/26/13 at 04:14 PM ET

Montreal has TWO of the first six picks (34th and 36th) of the second round.  DET picks at 48th.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 06/26/13 at 03:39 PM ET


St. James offers absolutely no depth to any conversation, article, scoop or story. She is worthless and makes a living stating clearly everything a wings fan already knows. Stop posting her articles, no loads in the comment section with an Internet connection and a quarter brain know more about hockey and guessing about what the wings will do. No insight, nothing. Just words That fill a page. Her and her editor should be fired.

Scoop matters. Insight matters. Hypothesizing matters.

Toronto said they might deal Phaneauf. See if they will take Flip’s rights, colo, Sheehan and a 3rd. If not. Try Quincey. Both need to come off books soon anyway.

She talked about Tatar like he won’t be on the team in 13-14. She is a moron. Plain and simple.
And Emmerton will probably be around cause he is significantly cheap.
Eaves should be the one to go.

Pavs - Abe’s - Mule
Hank - Helm - Tatar
Andy - Nyq - Brun
Emmerton - Miller - Tootoo.

Though I feel Tootoo might be moved. Too expensive to sit on bench.

Posted by Munnster9 on 06/26/13 at 04:38 PM ET

SnarkinLarkin's avatar

Interesting, @SYF - trade the #18 for two top 6 2nd round picks? Tough to pass that up unless there is an absolute stud left at #18.

Posted by SnarkinLarkin on 06/26/13 at 05:02 PM ET


I agree that being skeptical of Helm is the right thing, but, projecting yes, 2nd line. We pay him as a 2nd line player and he has the talent. His speed and grit would work wonderfully with peeps like Tats and Hank. and he would be another face-off guy as Babs likes two on each line. So yes, 2nd line. If he is hurt then obviously adjust. I am in favor of Bickell or Stalberg and possibly Clarkson though I feel he is a bit over-rated. But we can ponder lines all we want, none of it matters if the wings don’t sign someone, trade for someone or if Helm isn’t healthy.

Posted by Munnster9 on 06/26/13 at 05:24 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Helm is not paid like a second line player.  He’s paid like a dynamic third line player.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/26/13 at 05:43 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I’m with those who think Helene is either on crack or just plain stupid if she thinks Tatar isn’t tough enough. Maybe she didn’t watch any of the Calder Cup Finals. He did everything Babcock asks a forward to do – and more.

At the very least he belongs on the third line. And the second line isn’t at all out of the question.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/26/13 at 06:41 PM ET


Filppula has played mostly wing the past two seasons, which is part of the reason the Wings would just as soon replace him with a second-line center so that Datsyuk and Zetterberg can play on the same line.

Um. Helene.  The Wings are so over built at center its sort of hilarious.  And I love it.

Dats, Z, Abs, Franzen.  Thats 4 of the top 6.  Even if 3 are on the top line someone is left for second line duty depending on Uncle Mike’s mood and the matchup

Andersson.  Third line is his. 

Helm, Emmerton.  Pretty clear we all want Helm healthy. 

That’s 7 centers.  Sure Holland might bring in a vet that gets a buyout on a 1 year deal.  If its cheap.  After that we have Jarnkrok and Ferraro at center that will be pushing up, or out.

Posted by maltby18 on 06/26/13 at 07:07 PM ET


Why would management say he’s not tough enough? This isn’t Calgary, Holland isn’t that stupid to keep him in the minors. I’m not saying St James is an idiot or anything but that statement is not correct. Also, I hope the Wings don’t pursue Ryder. Do they really need another aging, hit-or-miss season winger. It’s also a little suspicious why a guy who is capable of putting up decent numbers has bounced from so many teams. It could just have been out of his hands but maybe there’s an attitude problem there. I’m not claiming to be a hockey guru or anything, but the Wings shouldn’t give big money to a Bickell/ Clarkson type. I don’t know why everyone is so infatuated with them but in different circumstances they aren’t worth the money people are suggesting. I like the idea of Lecavilier, Briere or Richards as our 2nd line center. Those 3 should are cheaper, proven and probably not looking for long term.

Posted by RicoSauve on 06/26/13 at 07:15 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

Seriously?  Guy went to all the hard areas during his call-up.  Extremely tenacious player.  Just won a championship as an MVP playing a league of grown men.  Had like 7 points in 13 games with Detroit, 4 of them goals.  Greasy goals.

I think she really may just be a mouthpiece for Ken Holland.  It does seem that Detroit wants to knock Tatar down a peg or two and putting him in a column of maybe’s, talking about reservations on a player who’s more than proved himself.  Come on, that shit doesn’t make sense.  Unless KH wants Tatar to know his spot’s not a lock.

To say Brunner is good to go and question Tatar.  Please.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/26/13 at 03:37 PM ET

  kinda what I was thinking ... headgames wink  ...  I have heard he needs a comeuppance to get him inline, so maybe that is why too.

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michgian on 06/26/13 at 08:48 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.


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