The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/28/13 at 12:38 PM ET
Updated 4x at 3:57 PM: Today's Red Wings-related news stories involve more tangentially-related Wings news than anything else, but we'll start with good news regarding a Wings prospect, via RedWingsFeed and the Saginaw Spirit:
Saginaw Spirit goaltender Jake Paterson will have the opportunity to further impress both the Detroit Red Wings and the Canadian National Junior program over the next few weeks. The first stop for the Mississauga, ON native will be the Red Wings annual prospects development camp which will go from July 10th to 15th at the Center Ice Arena in Traverse City. As it stands, the NHL club has identified 21 players in its system who will participate in the event, with more expected to be added following this Sunday’s National Hockey League Draft in New Jersey. Paterson was taken by the Red Wings as the team’s third round pick in the 2012 selection process, and he is slated to begin his fourth OHL season with the Spirit in 2013-2014.
Paterson will also try and help his cause towards a second straight appearance at the World Junior Hockey Championship as he has been named to Team Canada’s Summer Development Camp. The invitees, through Hockey Canada, will gather for the camp which will go from August 4th to 10th in Brossard Que., and Lake Placid N.Y.
In other prospect news, MLive's Brendan Savage compiled six "mock drafts" and found six different players listed as probable Wings picks, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan posited a 16-image, annotated photo gallery of the top prospects out there;
Regarding a soon-to-be-former Red Wing, the Fourth Period more or less confirms that the negotiations between Valtteri Filppula and the Red Wings are getting down to brass tacks:
Valtteri Filppula's future in Detroit should be a lot clearer once the NHL Draft concludes and the weekend comes to an end, TFP has learned. Filppula, a native of Vantaa, Finland, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 5.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Filppula's agent Bill Zito have had ongoing dialogue with respect to the 29-year-old, but so far the two sides have not been able to come to terms on a new contract.
According to a source close to the organization, concepts have been exchanged, but it's unclear if any formal offers have been made from either side.
If the two sides cannot come to terms on a new deal, though, it's believed the Red Wings will trade Filppula's rights.
Holland and Zito are expected to speak again in the near future, and could connect at some point later today.
In terms of trade candidates, ESPN's Craig Custance lists no Wings among his crop of trade-worthy players (in an insider-only entry), and suggests that Shawn Horcoff will end up in Dallas, and the same is true for the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle's list;
In terms of probable free agents, the CBC's Doug Harrison posited a list of 12 targets, including the following Wings targets:
BRYAN BICKELL, LW: The 27-year-old Bickell was this year’s breakout performer of the post-season with nine goals and 17 points including the game-tying goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals for Chicago. He could command close to $3 million US a season after notching 23 points in 48 regular-season games.
DAVID CLARKSON, RW: A 29-year-old power forward, Clarkson, left, is fresh off a season in which he led the New Jersey Devils with 15 goals and added nine assists for 24 points in 48 games. The Toronto native also had 78 penalty minutes and averaged 17 minutes 35 seconds of ice time while making $3 million US.
NATHAN HORTON, RW: The power forward will hit the open market this summer and spend most of it recovering from surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder. He had 19 points in the playoffs for Boston after a disappointing regular season (22 points in 43 contests). He hasn’t played a full season since 2008.
VINCENT LECAVALIER, C: The 33-year-old has averaged less than a point per game over the last five seasons, but posted solid numbers in 2013 with 10 goals and 32 points in 39 starts. Lecavalier, who hails from Montreal, also has missed 42 games over the last three season but has 24 goals and 52 points in 63 playoff games.
STEPHEN WEISS, C: Weiss, 30, is coming off season-ending wrist surgery in early March. The Toronto native is the Panthers’ all-time leader in games played with 654 (394 points) but it appears Weiss’s 11-year run with Florida is over. He had only one goal and four points in 17 games in 2013 after notching 57 points as recently as 2011.
Regarding Lecavalier, we've talked about the concept that he's no sure thing for the Wings during the overnight report, and this afternoon, the Hockey News's Adam Proteau estimates that the Wings are the third-likeliest spot for Lecavalier to land, after Toronto and Montreal, and before Dallas, New York, Minnesota and Pittsburgh (what, no Vancouver or Chicago?)...
3. Detroit: Red Wings GM Ken Holland has had recent experience in signing a veteran star (Marian Hossa) to a short-term pact and if unrestricted free agent pivot Valtteri Filppula leaves via free agency, Lecavalier makes a lot of sense on a one- or two-year contract. Detroit’s move to the Eastern Conference makes them a more attractive option in terms of travel, but the biggest draw for Lecavalier could well be the Wings’ sterling reputation among NHL players as one of the league’s top organizations.
But the Toronto Star's Damien Cox suggests that any and all suitors, the Red Wings included, ought to be prepared to pay up despite Lecavalier's status as "on the decline," using a comparison with Leafs center Tyler Bozak as a comparison:
If Lecavalier is looking at replacing his monstrous old deal with a whopper of a new one, say in excess of $6 million at six years or more, will the Leafs or any team bite?
The market is going to be filled over the next few days with players available because they were either compliance buyouts or weren't tendered qualifying offers, and some of the names will be well-known. The challenge will be not to look at somebody like Lecavalier or goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and, just because they are unrestricted, give them any big contract based on less what they can actually produce and more on what they once could do.
For the Leafs, their preference is still to sign Bozak, and that's ahead of the likes of Lecavalier, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy and Stephen Weiss, all of whom will be available. They know Bozak, they like the way he plays with Phil Kessel, and even injured he was effective in the first round of the post-season.
But if Bozak's demands come in north of $5 million, the guessing here is the Leafs will look elsewhere. They know he's a second-line centre who owns a first line job because the team doesn't have a true No. 1 centre, but they're not going to pay him No. 1 money just because of that. Moreover, GM Dave Nonis is mindful of the fact that too often teams have made decisions in recent seasons without considering the full cap implications, or at least only considering the most optimistic scenario.
Talks between Bozak's agent and the Leafs have been almost non-existent. If the Leafs were to turn to, say, Lecavalier, it would because his agent would be willing to look at something at or less than what the team is willing to pay Bozak, and for three or four years.
Lecavalier's likely to get a better offer than that, and it could well be that Tampa's financial error will simply be repeated by another club that gets the name confused with reality.
Now I'm not exactly a Mr. Contrarian Cox fan, but I do think that he makes a point--if only "sort of." If Lecavalier simply wants to be paid somewhere close to the $7.727 million in cap $ he earned with the Bolts on a per-season basis, i.e. over $5.5 million, he's going to find someone willing to pay that amount, but it's not going to be a team like Detroit.
If he wants to earn a more modest $4-5 million for a fresh start, well, the "contenders," near-contenders (like the Wings) and also-rans will all line up to give Lecavalier a soft landing spot, and, obviously, teams like Detroit, Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh and Vancouver would allow Lecavalier to be a cog in the winning machine as opposed to someone who's got to prove that he can be "the man" again, and I suppose that's the rub.
In the land of pompous bizarro-land amusement, via Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun, I present you with this take on the elimination of spin-o-rama shootout goals, from the Sporting News's Jesse Spector:
Getting rid of the spin-o-rama makes little sense for two reasons: One, we now know that "spin-o-rama" is an official NHL term, so it seems wasteful to get rid of it, and two, ending tie games with shootouts to produce an artificial winner is something that the NHL does purely for entertainment purposes... and now they want to strip away one of the most entertaining moves that players have at their disposal.
"It is about entertainment, but it's also about the integrity of the goal, of the shot," [Brendan] Shanahan said. "I think that there's some very entertaining moves that you can still do in a shootout. I think when we looked at some of the spin-o-ramas, there was a lot of interference with goaltenders, there was a lot of questions as to whether the puck was still moving forward or the player was still moving forward. So, certainly it's all about entertainment, but it's also about the integrity of the goal. I think that, over time, that's become more and more in question.
"In communicating with the NHLPA and the competition committee, they agreed, and the goaltenders, and the forwards, and the scorers—is it entertaining? Yes. Is it always agreed upon that these goals have the integrity of what should be a goal? Not necessarily. So I think that was the reason, and when you look at some of the goals I've seen from guys like (Calder Trophy winner Jonathan) Huberdeau and (Detroit Red Wings star Pavel) Datsyuk, it doesn't have to be a spin-o-rama to be an entertaining goal in a shootout."
Can somebody tell Shanahan that the words "integrity" and "shootout" shouldn't be in the same paragraph? It's a frickin' skills compeitition, and players like Patrick Kane move the puck so slowly that it's hard to determine whether he completely stops it repeatedly.
Gustav Nyquist played more than hundred pro games this season, appeared in his second Stanley Cup playoffs and helped the Grand Rapids Griffins win the Calder Cup. It was an exhausting time, but one that Nyquist hopes to build on for the future.
“It was a lot of hockey, but I was fortunate to be healthy all season long,” said Nyquist, in a phone interview with DetroitRedWings.com. “I felt pretty fresh the whole time. Some games, obviously like the end of the season, you do feel like you don’t have the legs, but you just have to keep going. In the playoffs, you’re so excited to play you don’t really think too much if you’re feeling it because your adrenaline is pumping. It’s just fun to be out there.”
Nyquist produced 78 points in 104 total games between Detroit and Grand Rapids, including 22 regular season games, and 14 in the playoffs, for the Red Wings. Also, he was one of just three NHL rookies to score an overtime goal during this spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs, lifting Detroit to a 5-4 win in Game 2 of the opener round at Anaheim.
For his efforts, the 23-year-old Swedish star has been named the 2013 Red Wings’ Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. Nyquist is the 44th recipient of the honor that was first awarded to center Max McNab in 1949.
“I’m really excited and real honored,” Nyquist said. “You look at some of the past winners. It’s really a great honor to have my name in that same group. We had a lot of young guys playing and the other young guys did a great job. It must have been hard to pick just one, but again, I thought all of the young guys did a tremendous job. We had a lot of fun and gained a lot of experience, so it was a good season for us.”
And finally, the (St. Clair and Macomb County, MI) Voice Newspapers' Brian Marshall offered a list of his favorite Wings based upon watching the team since the early 70's, and his list is worth reading:
Gordie Howe: Mr. Hockey. Two words and you have the essence of the greatest player of all time. Not just the Wings’ best, the best the NHL has seen. Never has there been the combination of scoring, intimidation and leadership that he put on the ice for four decades. Played for the Wings until 1971 and amassed 801 NHL goals.
Nicklas Lidstrom: Not quite the force that Howe was as a forward, but every bit the best defenseman – or certainly in the top five – in hockey history. He could still be playing at an All-Star level. Blistering shot from the blue line, best outlet pass in the game and able to disarm enemy puck handlers with hardly touching. Oh, and a humble gentleman for good measure.
Sergei Fedorov: Many saw him as an enigma, because he had arguably the most pure talent of anyone on this list. Had some spectacular moments and a memorable MVP season, but gained a reputation for floating on occasion. Still, with 400 goals with the Wings, he was magical winding up his own zone for another rush. Best skater I’ve ever seen.
Fedorov's the most naturally-talented athlete I've ever witnessed grace the ice with his presence. The problem is that he knew he was gracing us with his presence.
Vladimir Konstantinov: Along with Howe, the toughest Wing I have seen. Willing to take out the man in front of the net, also had a great first pass out of his own zone. Add in a strong shot from the point and he easily belongs with this group. Played just six seasons due to the tragic accident that left him paralyzed, but what an impact Vladdie made.
Some people assume that fans who have Konstantinov jerseys, like me, are remembering him for his accident and what he could have been (see: the physical version of Lidstrom, or something close). to some extent, that's true for some, but for me, it's for who Vladdie was as a player and is now as a human being. He was utterly amazing in terms of his toughness, the delight he took in being a dirty player, and at the same time, his integrity in understanding that his viciousness meant taking as good as he got and simply skating away from hard hits.
Chris Chelios: Believe it or not, he played 10 seasons with the Wings, lending a rugged leadership along the blue line. Brought instant league-wide respect, even if he was on the downside of a Hall of Fame career. Had skills you would use to model a young defenseman.
That's still the truth for Chelios, whose presence is invaluable for the Wings' young defensemen.
Strengths: He has tremendous speed, good size and some offensive upside, having scored 22 goals in 2011-12.
Weaknesses: Doesn't use his size to play physical. Lacks consistency. Doesn't kill penalties. His stock plummeted in the playoffs after he was scratched the first two games of the Detroit series for complaining about a lack of power-play time. He struggled throughout the postseason and does not have a good track record in the playoffs.
Why he would interest the Red Wings: If Damien Brunner doesn't return, Stalberg could be a lower-cost alternative for the third line, providing speed, energy and some offensive ability. The Red Wings were interested in him before his play took a turn for the worse in the postseason. The Blackhawks have indicated they will not re-sign Stalberg.
How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He would be a third-line player. He was part of an effective third-line with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw for much of the regular season. He could also play on the power play.
What it might take to get him: While Bickell's asking price soared, Stalberg's might have taken a hit. As a result, he might take a shorter-term deal, perhaps in the $2 million-a-year range. Coming to a dressing room full of Swedes might appeal to this native of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Update #2: Wings director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell spoke with the Windsor Star's Bob Duff about the team's draft plans:
“We’d really like to get a forward, unless there’s a defenceman that’s too good to pass up,” Wings head scout Joe McDonnell said of the team’s likely plan when they make their first-round pick at No. 18 overall in Sunday’s draft at New Jersey’s Prudential Center. “When it comes to our pick, if we feel there’s two players that are even we’ll lean toward the forward. We have a lot of good, young defencemen – (Ryan) Sproul, (Xavier) Ouellette, (Brian) Lashoff, (Mattias) Backman. We think we have a number of good ones. If we can add a little size up front, it would be beneficial.”
A lack of girth at forward this past season forced the club to play Justin Abdelkader and Daniel Cleary among their top two lines, players whose games are better-suited to lesser roles, which is why the Wings are expected to strongly pursue power forward types who are unrestricted free agents such as New Jersey’s David Clarkson and former Windsor Spitfire Bryan Bickell of Chicago.
Another intriguing possibility came into play Thursday when the Tampa Bay Lightning used a compliance buyout to get out of their long-term contract with centre Vincent Lecavalier, who suggested he’d be intrigued to play for the Wings.
“It’s actually a team I grew up idolizing,” Lecavalier said. “Them and Montreal were my favourite teams. Steve Yzerman was my favourite player. They made the playoffs the last 20 years. It’s a great team, a great organization. It’s definitely a place I would consider.”
Getting bigger up front is an ongoing process for the Wings and it will continue on draft day.
“It’s just the way the game has evolved,” McDonnell said. “It’s a big man’s game. I’m not saying there’s no room for smaller guys, but if you can get a big, skilled guy, you go that route. We’ll still take small guys if we have to, but we’re looking to get bigger. We have bigger guys coming up in (forwards Tomas) Jurco and (Riley) Sheahan.”
Update #3: Here's the Hockey News's Lyle Richardson's take on Lecavalier's situation:
Don't expect Lecavalier, 33, to seek merely a one-year contract and then attempt to return to the Lightning next summer on a more affordable deal. His preference is “a contract which can bring me to retirement”.
That could mean a four- or five-year contract worth between $4-5 million per season. While no longer a first-line star, Lecavalier, who received more than $32 million via his buyout, won't have any difficulty attracting lucrative offers.
The Canadiens (having used their remaining compliance buyout on Tomas Kaberle) have a little more than $9 million in cap space. Adding Lecavalier, however, would raise questions over the future of current Habs centers Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais.
The Red Wings ($10.6 million in cap space) are unwilling to pay $5-million per season to re-sign Valtteri Filppula, but could pony up that much for Lecavalier.
Doing so, however, would leave limited space to re-sign key free agents like Damien Brunner and Daniel Cleary. The Wings could free up additional space via trades or buyouts of Mikael Samuelsson, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jordin Tootoo or Cory Emmerton.
The Capitals could be interested in Lecavalier if they lose Mike Ribeiro to free agency, but they only have $5.7 million in cap space.
They could free up space with compliance buyouts of Joel Ward ($3 million) and Jeff Schultz ($2.75 million), but they must also re-sign Karl Alzner, Marcus Johansson and Matt Hendricks.
As for the Leafs, they have the space ($19.6 million), but also have to re-sign restricted free agents Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Bernier, Cody Franson and Carl Gunnarsson, plus re-sign or replace pending unrestricted free agent center Tyler Bozak.
Update #4: Here's DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose with some historical context for the Paterson invite:
Red Wings prospect Jake Paterson will be among 35 players who will participate in Canada’s national junior team summer development camp in August.
The week-long development camp is set to begin August 4 in two cities – Broussard, Quebec and Lake Placid, N.Y.
Paterson, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, has played the last three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Saginaw Spirit, which is about 1 ½ hours north of Detroit.
Paterson was the Red Wings’ third-round draft selection last June in Pittsburgh. He is one of 14 camp invitees who were drafted last summer. In three OHL seasons, he has posted 46 wins with a 3.45 goals-against average.
Paterson, who was Canada’s third goalie, but did not see action in the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, was one of three OHL goalies who participated in Team Canada’s Program of Excellence goaltending camp earlier this month in Calgary. Mississauga’s Spencer Martin and Sault Ste. Marie’s Matt Murray were the others in the U20 camp.
Canada’s national junior team will gather in Brossard at the Montreal Canadiens’ practice facility for two practices on Aug. 4 and 5 before travelling to Lake Placid, N.Y., for exhibition games against Finland (Aug. 7), Sweden (Aug. 8) and the United States (Aug. 10).
If Paterson makes the national team and plays in the U20 tournament this December in Malmo, Sweden, he will become just the third Red Wings’ goalie prospect to play in the World Junior Championship for Canada, and the first since Corrado Micalef did so in 1981.
The first Wings’ prospect to play between the pipes for Canada in the U20 tourney was Al Jensen, who helped Canada to a silver medal in 1977 and a bronze medal a year later.
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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.