The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/26/13 at 01:07 PM ET
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...
18. DETROIT RED WINGS
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).
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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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.