The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/21/13 at 11:49 AM ET
Updated 2x at 4:41 PM: Paul duly noted that the National Post's Michael Triakos asked whether Stephen Weiss, who's taking part in the Biosteel Camp in Toronto this week, will live up to expectations with the Red Wings.
As Triakos suggests, a 30-year-old center is both coming off wrist surgery and will be returning a hockey-mad atmosphere and high-pressure environment for the first time since he was nickanmed "Weisserman" while playing for the OHL's Plymouth Whalers. As such, the supposed step-up from Valtteri Filppula will be have to rise to the challenges he faces:
“There really wasn’t a lot of thought going into [the deal with Detroit],” said Weiss, who was not offered a contract to stay in Florida. “To join an organization like this is pretty special for me. [Yzerman] was one of my favourite players, no doubt. He’s a guy I looked up to for sure. But I’m not dreaming about trying to go in there and doing something similar. Hopefully I can just help out.”
With the Red Wings, he will help out in a different way than he is used to. Florida selected Weiss fourth overall in 2001 and he became the franchise leader in assists and was often the No. 1 scoring option. In Detroit, he will likely be the No. 2 centre behind Pavel Datsyuk.
Still, he heads into this year with something to prove after undergoing season-ending wrist surgery in March. While Weiss finished the 2013 season with just one goal and three assists in 17 games, the Red Wings rewarded him with a five-year deal worth US$24.5-million.
It was a steep price for a player who has never managed 30 goals or 70 points in a season. But Detroit is hoping for more than just offence from Weiss. They view him as a two-way centre.
“We wanted to get more scoring to our team,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said in a conference call to announce the signings of Weiss and veteran winger Daniel Alfredsson. “We felt we were challenged last year to score some goals and certainly in adding Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss to our team we’ve added two players who throughout their careers, Daniel’s been a tremendous scorer, one of the great scorers in the National Hockey League, and Stephen Weiss, one of the finest playmakers down in Florida.”
It is not as though Detroit had many other options. In a thin market where Mike Ribeiro received a four-year deal worth US$22-million from Phoenix and Valtteri Filppula walked away from Detroit and signed a five-year, US$25-million deal with Tampa Bay, Weiss’s contract almost seems like a bargain. That is, if he can get back to becoming the player who had 28 goals and 60 points in 2009-10. To that end, Weiss is in Toronto this week at the BioSteel strength and conditioning camp, where he and about 50 others are getting a head start on training camp.
Still, a large part of his success with Detroit will depend on his chemistry with Alfredsson, his probable linemate. If both can stay healthy and provide secondary scoring, Alfredsson’s decision to sign with the Red Wings because they are championship contenders might seem like a wise one.
“Obviously Daniel’s been around a long time and been a really great player, one of the best players in the league for a long time,” Weiss said. “So to add someone like that to the team is really special. In terms of picking a team that’s going to win a Stanley Cup, that’s nearly impossible. Some guys feel their chances are different with different clubs. That’s fair enough. It all starts with Day 1 in training camp.”
In what may or may not be a related vein, and while Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller take part in Michigan State University's pro camp in Lansing, while Daniel Alfredsson risks life, limb and international incident by skating in Ottawa, and while Henrik Zetterberg's skating with Rogle BK in Sweden, Wings players have slowly bu surely trickling back into the Metro Detroit area, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted that today's new additions:
Roose Tweeted this yesterday...
And this last Thursday:
Roose penned a preview of the Wings' most formidable Atlantic Division opponent in the Boston Bruins, too:
Though Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton are gone, the Bruins just might be better with the additions of Loui Eriksson and perennial All-Star Jarome Iginla. An accomplished goal-scorer, Iginla, despite his age, is still a lethal sniper who can finish around the net. The former Flames’ captain will likely assume the right-wing role vacated by the departure of Horton, playing on the second line alongside center David Krejci and left winger Milan Lucic.
The acquisition of Eriksson and forward Reilly Smith from Dallas in a trade that sent Seguin, a former first-round draft pick with tremendous upside, and Rich Peverley to the Stars should provide the Bruins will some immediate dividends. It’s assumed that Eriksson, who played on the left side the last seven seasons, will switch to right wing giving Patrice Bergeron another viable two-way forward on his line along with Brad Marchand.
The Bruins believe that Bergeron will fully recover from a series of injuries sustained in the playoffs, including a broken rib, torn cartilage, a separated shoulder, as well as a collapsed lung, which was discovered at the hospital following the Stanley Cup finals.
The other big moves the Bruins made this summer were intern, signing both Bergeron and goalie Tuukka Rask to eight-year contract extensions. Rask was certainly deserving of the $56 million deal after producing a season and postseason worthy of Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy consideration. Bergeron, who led the Bruins with a plus-24 rating, received a deal worth $52 million.
If there’s a concern heading into the upcoming season it might be with the lack of veteran depth on the blueline. With the loss of Andrew Ference and Wade Redden there will be some amount of turnover for the Bruins’ defense. They have veteran Zdeno Chara, who logged nearly 25-minutes per game last season, as well as a stockpile of good, young defenders led by youngsters like Livonia, Mich., native Torey Krug, as well as Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski.
This morning, the Lansing State Journal's Chris Solari posted both a text interview with Miller and a video interview with Miller, and RedWingsFeed noted that Clark Rasmussen posted a photo gallery from the event, too:
Regarding difficulties of a different kind, J.J. from Kansas pondered whether the Wings should trade Tomas Tatar over at Winging it in Motown...
Tomas Tatar is finally ready to play with the Red Wings full-time. Ok, maybe he's been ready for a while now. Perhaps that should read that the Red Wings are finally ready for him. Tatar, who will turn 23 this December is at a key point in his career in a few different ways. Coming off his Jack A. Butterfield Trophy win for being the AHL's most valuable player in a playoff run that saw his Grand Rapids Griffins team take home the Calder Cup, Tatar couldn't be better-positioned for a breakout.
For one, Tatar's opportunity to make his way on an NHL squad is all but guaranteed. While he's still on his entry-level contract, his experience with Grand Rapids since he joined them at age 19 makes him waiver eligible. Tatar cannot be sent for another stint in the AHL without first being offered to any other team who would play him at the NHL level.
Considering the circumstances, I'd call the chances of all 29 teams passing on an $840,000 cap hit for a winger who could fit into a few clubs' top six forwards slim. In fact, when combined with his pending RFA status for next year, which should help keep him more-affordable on his next deal, Tatar's potential value makes him one of the most-attractive pieces if the Wings should decide to try a trade.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not advocating that, just saying it's an option.
In the Twitter department:
And I'm putting this in mid-day reports now: I'm "on" the curve now, but I still need to raise a significant chunk of bucks to pay the costs of heading up to Traverse City for two weeks to attend the prospect tournament and main camp.
I need to raise about another grand to just afford the hotel bill (gas up there, back down and driving around there can be as low as $120 or as high as $220 depending on the price of gas--you'd be surprised at the amount of miles I end up racking up staying very close to the rink over the course of two-a-day trips--and while-I'm-there 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 WEEKS TO THE DAY 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.
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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.