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Red Wings mid-day news: on Ferraro, Ilitch’s Holland endorsement and hockey blog chatter

Updated 2x at 4:40PM: Amongst today's Red Wings-related stories;

As Paul reported, the Wings signed Landon Ferraro to a 1-year contract extension, and despite "club policy" forbidding the disclosure of salary demands, the beat writers and at-large press announced that Ferraro's deal is a 2-way contract paying $550,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 at the AHL level.

Will Ferraro be plucked off waivers if he doesn't make the team? That's hard to say. His pro stats haven't been overwhelming and he's faithfully listed at 6' and 175 pounds. In the "old days," being a Red Wings prospect on waivers meant that you were going to be plucked off, but dozens of mid-range prospects clear waivers on a yearly basis these days.

The Free Press's George Sipple (via RedWingsFeed): spoke with Wings assistant GM and Grand Rapids Griffins GM Ryan Martin regarding Ferraro's status:

Ferraro led the Griffins with 24 goals two seasons ago. Last season, he had 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points in 70 games in Grand Rapids. He also made his NHL debut last season, appearing in four games for the Red Wings with no points.

“I would have marked Landon as one of our most improved from his first year in Grand Rapids to his second,” said assistant general manager Ryan Martin. “He had an excellant second year. He had 24 goals in 2012-13. Great playoff, 16 points, helping us win the Calder Cup. He was really versatile. He played on the second, third and fourth line in the playoffs, played wing and center.

“I think, by everybody’s account, Landon’s included, I think last year was a disappointing season for him. The positive was that he got a chance to come up to the NHL and play some games. But down in Grand Rapids, he was not happy with his year down there.”

Ferraro turns 23 on Aug. 8. He’s the son of former NHL player and current TSN analyst Ray Ferraro.

“We hope that we’re just beginning to scratch the surface with him and he can find what he did in 2012-13 again next year,” Martin said of Ferraro, who projects to be a bottom-six forward in the NHL.

“Certainly a penalty-kill player, that’s one of his specialties. His speed is an asset, and he’s more than capable with the puck and has good hockey sense. You don’t get 24 goals in your second year in the American League without knowing how to play offensively.”

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan states the obvious...

A 2009 second-round draft pick, Ferraro is out of minor-league options and will have to clear waivers before going back to Grand Rapids.

It's doubtful there will be room on the roster for Ferraro heading out of training camp -- what with 14 forwards already set -- and the team awaiting word on whether Daniel Alfredsson is returning or retiring.

With the two-way contract, Ferraro will earn $550,000 if he sticks with the Red Wings, and $85,000 if he's sent to Grand Rapids.

As does MLive's Brendan Savage:

Detroit already has 14 forwards signed -- and might add Daniel Alfredsson before training camp.

The club plans to carry 14 forwards. Ferraro's only realistic chance of making the roster is if there are multiple injuries. He could be used as trade bait.

This part of Savage's article doesn't mesh with what Tomas Tatar told Plus One Day's Martin Korbel:

The Red Wings still have to re-sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar. They are far apart in talks with both players, but both are certain to sign before training camp starts in September due to their limited options.

 

 

 

Regarding the managerial tinkering issue, MLive's Brendan Savage partially transcribed Chris Ilitch's interview with WDFN's Matt Sheppard, and he noted that "the management" endorses "the manager":

"Now, Ken Holland is rebuilding and he's doing it the exact same way that the original team was built," Ilitch told Shepard. "I look at our team as somewhat in transition and rebuild mode but, boy oh boy, what incredible progress our team has made in a short period of time. Incidentally, what the Red Wings have been able to accomplish is not normal.

"The way the league and the draft is set up, every team gets it chances at the top of the wheel and then they end up at the bottom of the wheel. If you lose your top personnel, then you have to draft again and restock. The Red Wings somehow, some way, have been able to stay in the playoffs and continue to be a pretty competitive team.

"Are we championship caliber? Are we the favorites? Perhaps not but that's to be expected because that's not the way the league is set up. It's highly competitive. There's 29 other teams equally outfitted to go out and win so I'm pretty impressed and I think as we continue to march on, if we do our job and continue to bring great personnel in through the draft and develop our young prospects, we shouldn't have a problem attracting free agents over the course of time."

Ilitch also said his father – pizza baron Mike Ilitch, whose other holdings include the Detroit Tigers and the Little Caesars empire – is still "highly involved" with his two big-league teams and that they're the two things he's most passionate about when it comes to business.

Savage continues, and you can listen to the interview here:

 

 

 

In rink-and-ancillary-development news:

 

 

 

 

 

In the new "blogigng about other bloggers" category, Winging it in Motown's Winged Octopus weighs "Loyalty to Team or Player" in terms of giving restricted free agents the salaries that they desire...

Why do we hold RFAs to a standard that we would never hold ourselves in our workplace? Let's say you were awesome at your job, but you've only been there for 2 years. There's another guy there with the same job - he's not very good at it, but he's been with the company for 10 years. He makes twice as much as you, but you are more productive than him. You go to your boss and give him extensive evidence that you're more productive than the guy who has been there longer and deserve to be paid as such. He offers you a 5% raise, take it or leave it. Now, most of us in a hypothetical situation where we can get notably more money elsewhere would probably start looking to leave immediately, but an RFA doesn't even have that option. He literally has no option other than hold out or try to negotiate via the media. It's a rigged system, but it's a system the NHLPA agreed to, so RFAs get burned a bit so that UFAs can get paid.

I say all this because Wings fans are getting antsy over the fact that Tomas Tatar and Danny DeKeyser aren't signed yet. Given the fact that neither are yet star players and neither filed for arbitration, there's really nothing to fear. However, let's say it gets rough. Let's say the Wings lowball Tatar (who was excellent this season) or DeKeyser (who played big minutes all season), and one of them responds by holding out or making comments through the media that imply they aren't being offered fair value. Before you're tempted to turn on those guys, think about the hypocrisy of blasting a young professional who is just trying to get paid something approximating fair market value from an organization that is so profitable that it's in the middle of building an obscenely expensive shiny new arena. You would and should do the same if you could, especially if the average career length in your physically dangerous occupation was 5.5 years.

Octopus Thrower's Peter Ward wonders whether defenseman Mattias Backman will surprise Wings fans this upcoming season...

Backman, now a lanky 6’2 and 176lbs, has played three seasons appearing 148 games for Linköping HC of the SHL since being drafted, amassing 9 goals and 55 assists for 64 points while playing top line minutes as a 19 to 21-year-old in a professional league.  Backman also appeared in 33 playoff games for the club gathering 19 points.  After his clubs season ended in 2014 Backman made the jump to play for the Grand Rapids and debuted in the two final games of Griffins the season, recording zero points and a -1 rating.  He put the final stamp on his 14′ season by playing 10 playoff games and filling the offensive void left by fellow countrymen and then injured Adam Almquist accounting for 1 goal 5 assists for 6 points playing top minutes against the best of  NHL affiliates of the AHL in playoff mode and earning high praise from Griffins coach Jeff Blashil.

With the Red Wings resigning Kyle Quincey and not trading any players from the blue line via trade Backman faces an up hill climb to make the roster full-time.  There is hope for him and those banging the war drums for a youth and change.  Ken Holland and Mike Babcock have, in lockstep, repeated throughout  the offseason that the best players are going to get to play with the big club next season.  With that the ball thoroughly in his court its going to be up to Backman to take the next step and battle hard in the camps and development sessions to force Ken Holland and Mike Babcock to make room for him at the start of the season.  If he doesn’t make the team out of camp he will not be to far away as he has stated he plans to spend next season in Grand Rapids, which should be good news for Jeff Blashil and great news for Mike Babcock if the injury bug strikes or if Kyle Quincey or Jakub Kindl continue to play like…well like Kyle Quincey and Jakub Kindl

And as I'm not a frequent user of the Red Wings' front page, Octopus Thrower's Peter Fish's roundup of this week's Wings links points us toward a Red Wings-website Q and A with Niklas Kronwall:

Q: If you weren’t playing hockey, what would you be doing?
A: Something to do with real estate I think. Whether that would be buying and selling, or renting out, a realtor, something within real estate.

Q: What’s is your favorite movie?
A: 'Braveheart'.

Q: What is your favorite potato chip flavor?
A: I really like the Ruffles cheddar.

Q: Do you have any game day rituals?
A: I don’t have any game day rituals.

Q: What is one thing you always wanted growing up but never received?
A: I don’t know if I ever had something that was on the list that I didn’t get. I think I was just happy with everything that I got and that I had.

 

 


On Twitter...

 

Update: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness has penned an article about Ferraro...

Ferraro, who was taken in the second round (32nd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, knows his only chance of making the team will how well he can kill penalties.

“(Penalty kill is) where I’m going to have to try and make this team,” Ferraro said after a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. “And be solid five-on-five and then being really good on the PK. That’s where I’m going to have to try and earn my ice time and earn a spot.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock liked what he saw in his brief audition.

“He did a real good job (on the penalty kill),” Babcock said. “I like his speed. He’s got to get stronger, but he’s quick.”

In three seasons with the Griffins, Ferraro, who’s the son of long-time NHLer Ray, has 38 goals and 60 assists.

He scored a career-high 24 goals two years ago.

In the alumni department, the Oklahoma City Barons signed Jason Williams to an AHL deal...

And yes, Puck Daddy "revealed" the NHL's Ugly Christmas Sweaters, which are going on sale at Shop.nhl.com for $64.99, but I spotted them on Clarktoys.com a couple of weeks ago, and they cost $5 fewer bucks there...

 

Update #2:

The Edmonton Journal's Bruce McCurdy penned an analysis of the Oilers' signing of Jason Williams to an AHL deal;

And JJ From Kansas and Kyle McIlmurray weighed in on Riley Sheahan's "use" on Winging It in Motown:

Kyle's Take

To be clear, I'm definitely not saying that the team should promote Riley Sheahan, kick him in the ass, and let him go out there like a bucking horse. This is nothing more than a test.. A tryout, if you will. I'm also extremely adamant that Riley and Tomas are kept together. They work extremely well with one another, and the product we saw this season was just the beginning of it all. However, I think Tomas Tatar is one of those players you can put anywhere, and he'll do a great job. I want to see if Riley is one of those players. Here is a little tasty stat tidbit:

Player  TOI/60  Corsi On/60  Corsi Rel  Points/60  Ozone Start%
Riley Sheahan  11.72  13.77  11.9  2.18  65.8
Tomas Tatar  11.67  12.88  12.9  2.19  60.6

Sheahan was the second most sheltered player on the team next to Tomas Jurco. To be clear, the term "sheltered" indicates that the player's deployment was controlled and restricted to starting his shifts in the offensive zone. He was OK in the dot, ending at 49%.. Better than fellow rookie centers Aleksander Barkov and Sean Monahan. Along with that, I thought he really started to find his niche with the power-play. He really has that "go to the net" style of play which I adore. I think if Jurco doesn't make the team out of the gate, Nyquist should be delegated to a line with Sheahan and Tatar.  Riley shows me at times that he has the ability to be one of those setup type of centers sorta like how Joe Thornton is.

I'll admit, I like the idea of keeping them sheltered against lesser competition so they can dominate and put up great numbers, which enables a player like Darren Helm to play maybe fourth line competition. I think it's just something to think about.. When Stephen Weiss is gone, is Sheahan going to be that 2nd line center that steps in and takes on the heavier minutes and tougher competition night-in and night-out? We'll never know until he gets the chance.. Which is why I think giving him just a little stint of it would be something beneficial to him, and the team going forward. Sooner or later, teams are going to catch on and start matching him with heavier competition, which will make him or break him as an NHL player.

One last note I think that needs to be brought up: I would really like to see Riley shoot the puck more. He ended the season with 59 shots. We saw it a few times, he has a pretty slick snapshot and wristshot. While I love his ability to creatively move the puck to his wingers, I really think he has the ability to put up 15-20 goals with ease over an entire season.

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Comments

RWBill's avatar

Go Blue.  Would be nice to keep some NHL talent around Yost for more than one or two years but that’s the nature of college sports nowadays.

Now, most of us in a hypothetical situation where we can get notably more money elsewhere would probably start looking to leave immediately, but an RFA doesn’t even have that option. He literally has no option other than hold out or try to negotiate via the media. It’s a rigged system, but it’s a system the NHLPA agreed to, so RFAs get burned a bit so that UFAs can get paid.

Did your company begin developing you while you were still in school, providing highly skilled professional training so you could become all that your talent was capable of?  Did your company invest 4 years of their assets in making you more qualified in your trade?

Probably not, but NHL franchises do.  Often the main reason a RFA would be worth a certain amount on the open market is due to the years of investment and resources the drafting club has risked developing the individual to become a better player.  They have the right to recoup something on their investment, and after a short time the player has the complete right and opportunity to go work for someone else for as much as he can get.

If the system were not set up, <rigged>, in this fashion the whole thing would eventually collapse on itself and degenerate into something we wouldn’t want to see.  Most professional sports recognize this necessity and are set up similarly.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 07/25/14 at 01:44 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Did your company begin developing you while you were still in school, providing highly skilled professional training so you could become all that your talent was capable of?  Did your company invest 4 years of their assets in making you more qualified in your trade?

Did your company choose you out of a pool of similarly qualified applicants and leave you with the option that you were going to do it exactly how they said or you were not going to be working in a professional capacity that suits your ability on this continent?

If it’s a concept where younger players have to essentially pay for their own training, then it’s not a consideration of restricted free agency; you’re looking at the entry-level system, which specifically caps players’ pay amounts and sets much stricter guidelines on who gets to decide where you play (since a non ELC-player can’t be sent to the ECHL without his permission).

Since the entry-level system is in place to give teams that time to develop you at the cost of those resources (they would otherwise be doing what with, exactly?), then the RFA system is simply a case of limiting players’ earning power during at least half of their most-productive (and most-volatile) years.

They have the right to recoup something on their investment, and after a short time the player has the complete right and opportunity to go work for someone else for as much as he can get.

7-9 years of a professional hockey player’s life is not a short time, especially considering the average NHL career is much shorter than that.

If the system were not set up, <rigged>, in this fashion the whole thing would eventually collapse on itself and degenerate into something we wouldn’t want to see.

What specifically do you think a salary-capped system would degenerate into which we wouldn’t want to see?

Personally, I feel that keeping the ELC system and ending RFA limitations would keep more good Europeans in the NHL, it would separate out pay grades more evenly and it would punish teams much more quickly for overpaying mistakes, which would add a bit more variance to hockey.  I think that extra variance would be something I very much WOULD like to see, because honestly, I get tired of the sameness that the closer-to-parity era brought along.

The concept that the system is good because the system exists is not something with which I agree. the RFA system is the NHL owners cutting their own risk at the cost of more excitement and it is the older players among the NHLPA selling the youth out so that they can keep a bigger part of what they “earned” by sacrificing anywhere from 4-9 years of their earnings potential.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/25/14 at 02:09 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Chris Ilitch has a very good handle on what is going on with the team:

“Now, Ken Holland is rebuilding and he’s doing it the exact same way that the original team was built,” Ilitch told Shepard. “I look at our team as somewhat in transition and rebuild mode but, boy oh boy, what incredible progress our team has made in a short period of time. Incidentally, what the Red Wings have been able to accomplish is not normal.

“The way the league and the draft is set up, every team gets it chances at the top of the wheel and then they end up at the bottom of the wheel. If you lose your top personnel, then you have to draft again and restock. The Red Wings somehow, some way, have been able to stay in the playoffs and continue to be a pretty competitive team.

Posted by w2j2 on 07/26/14 at 08:22 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.