The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/25/14 at 10:12 AM ET
Okay, busy morning. Three stories of Red Wings-related note before I head out:
This morning, the Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Wings GM Ken Holland about Almquist's detour:
Losing him isn't a surprise, given that he had indicated earlier this year that he didn't want to play anymore in the AHL. But the Wings have done due diligence on paperwork, just in case.
"We retain his rights by making a qualifying offer, which we are doing," general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press.
St. James continues, and here comes story the second: MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Holland about the "wining and dining period," and Holland explained the team's take on the process in significant detail:
"It's an opportunity to let them know we have interest and to tell them how they would fit in on our team," Holland said. "It's an opportunity to see what's out there. It's an opportunity to sell your program."
The Red Wings' top priority is a top-four defenseman, preferably a right-handed shooter. Holland said he would like to acquire a top-six forward as well.
"I like it," Holland said. "It's excellent for the player. "(Before) you'd get to noon on July 1 and the player and team would have to make a decision in an hour or two."
Several right-handed shooting defensemen are expected to be available, including Pittsburgh's Matt Niskanen, who's at the head of the class. Given his age (27) and breakout season (46 points), he likely will command a long-term deal worth upwards of $6 million per season. That likely is more money and term than the Red Wings are willing to invest in a player with a limited track record.
Shorter-term and/or less costly alternatives include Dan Boyle (Islanders), Anton Stralman (Rangers), Tom Gilbert (Florida) and Stephane Robidas (Anaheim).
Holland didn't rule out re-signing Kyle Quincey after other avenues have been explored (including trades). But Quincey likely will see what's available in the market.
*grumbles* You could sign a
Holland said he'll resume talks with Cleary after July 1, after exploring the market and trade possibilities. The Red Wings are likely to fulfill the promise they made Cleary in September by signing him to an extension.
Spend your money elsewhere, Ken...Spend your money on a pet rock or something...Spend it all. No Cleary unless it's a *#$%@& two-way try-out contract.
Story the third: A few days ago, TSN's Bob McKenzie tossed off his final draft rankings, which have Kevin Fiala listed as the 15th-best prospect in the first round (though the undersized HV71 forward is the 3rd-ranked European skater), and today, Craig Button filed his mock draft. Button believes that the Wings will pick Jared McCann, the 10th-ranked North American skater. Here's NHL.com's profile of the 6'0," 175-pound center:
• McCann finished second on Sault Ste. Marie in goals (27) and points (62) during the 2013-14 season. In 2012-13, he received Ontario Hockey League All-Rookie Second Team honors after recording 44 points (21-23—44) in 64 games.
• He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2013 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and bronze at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship. McCann also represented Ontario at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
• He scored the game-winning goal for Team Orr in a 4-3 win over Team Cherry at the 2014 CHL Top Prospects Game.
• McCann is a superstitious player who hops into a cold tub before every game, a tradition he started while in a slump after hearing NHLers Rick Nash and John Mitchell do the same. McCann finished with a hat trick the first time he tried it, and has done so every game since.
• He wears No. 19 and models his game after the two-way style of Jonathan Toews.
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards: "Jared is a highly skilled and creative playmaker. He has excellent hands and puckhandling ability. He sees the ice very well and can get the puck through traffic with great saucer passes. He is not a guy who will always bring you out of your seat but is dangerous every shift. An excellent penalty killer who reads the play very well."
The logjam of defensive prospects in the Red Wings’ organization has gotten a bit thinner.
Defenseman Adam Almquist, according to reports out of Russia and Sweden, has agreed a two-year contract with Severstal Cherepovets of the Kontinenal Hockey League in Russia.
Almquist, 23, had four goals and 49 assists in 73 games in Grand Rapids last season. He scored one goal, while playing two games with the Red Wings.
Almquist, 23, had indicated throughout the season he would prefer not to remain in the AHL this upcoming season, so returning to Europe isn't a surprise.
An offensive defenseman, Almquist is a good passer and can skate. But his lack of size (5-foot-11, 178 pounds) and lack of a physical style were drawbacks in Grand Rapids.
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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.