The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/07/14 at 06:55 AM ET
Updated w/ St. James audio at 8:50 AM: The Red Wings' summer development camp continues with its second and last day of dedicated skill development practices starting at 9 AM today at Centre Ice Arena, and the camp will wrap up with an 11 AM scrimmage on Tuesday.
I focused on "Team Yzerman" during yesterday's drills, and today, I'll be watching "Team Lidstrom," who are undoubtedly led by the turning-pro Andreas Athanasiou. The Traverse City Record-Eagle's Chris Dobrowolski spoke with Athanasiou regarding the importance of this summer camp as an event that can build the foundation for his first pro season...
"As you really go on through the years, you really learn what it takes and you learn that every little bit of information that you have, take as much as you can from it," said Athanasiou. "It may be a little bit of information, but it will go a long way. Coming into this year I'm trying to pick up everything — everything the coaches say, strength and conditioning coaches, even when I go to the food seminar I'll be tuned in because I want to get better and be the best.
"It's a good week here. It's a good thing you get right in the middle of summer. You've got that pro hockey feeling again. You've got that feeling of practicing at a high level and we've got the games in, so it's good to get those games in and it takes you a long way. When you come into main camp you've had a little bit of feeling there in the middle of summer."
And Athanasiou talked about his other springboard experience in playing for th Grand Rapids Griffins after his Barrie Colts were eliminated from the OHL playoffs:
Athanasiou is coming off a career year on the ice. He scored 49 goals for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League — a 20-goal jump from his first season with the Colts in 2012-13. That led to his mid-April assignment to Grand Rapids, where Athanasiou saw action in two regular season games and six playoff games. All told, the speedy forward tallied one goal and three assists in his brief stint in the AHL.
"I think it was unreal," Athanasiou said. "You really got a taste of how pro hockey is and how the players act on and off the ice. You can see the game's at a whole different level and you really have to step up to play at that level. I know it pushed me to go harder. I knew coming in at the end of the season, and coming into my training off ice, that if I wanted to play at that level, and play at the next level, I'm going to really have to get ready to go."
Dobrowolski continues asks Athanasiou about his goals for this upcoming season. They match his levels of skill and healthy self-confidence...
Yesterday afternoon, the Red Wings posted a trio of videos regarding a quartet of free agent try-outs in Kyle Baun, Blake Clarke and Tylor and Tyson Spink, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose revealed something that some of us forget:
This is a busy month for Kyle Baun. Following the conclusion of the Wings’ camp on Tuesday, he is heading to the Boston Bruins’ development camp, July 9-13, in Wilmington, Mass.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to be exposed just being around the organizations and it’s a great learning experience,” said Baun, who has produced 25 goals in two seasons at Colgate.
Mike Borkowski is going to be busy, too -- he'll head to Vancouver next week for a Canucks camp, then it'll be on to Chicago, to try to impress the Black Hawks' coaching and scouting staff.
I have no problem with prospects taking advantage of as many summer camps as they can squeeze in--they're trying to find NHL homes, so they may as well "shop around" to maximize their chances. NCAA players can only participate in pro camps during the summer, and they have to pay their own way, so it makes sense for them to
Here are the Wings' interviews with Baun, who's going into his junior year at Colgate...
Clarke, who played for the OHL's Saginaw Spirit this past season, and, per Roose, will take part in the fall prospect tournament...
And the Spink brothers:
The Free Press posted a short Spink-brothers biography:
Considered mirror-image twins, they are playing on the same line at camp with Tyson shooting left and Tylor right.
“More or less we have always been on a line,” Tyson said.
Said Tylor: “It is pretty cool to play alongside your twin brother.”
The Ontario natives are enjoying their time in Traverse City. Tyson said he liked watching the Blue Angels and sitting by the beach.
I'm no fan of trade rumors, but I'm writing this listening to this beat writer appear on morning radio shows, based upon what I suppose is a well-intentioned column:
Both TSN 1050 and WGR 550--as well as the Slovakian press--are more or less treating her suggestion that the Red Wings should pursue Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers, even if doing so requres the team to send one of Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar (and a defenseman, and a first-round pick) to Buffalo.
St. James said this on Sunday, and on WGR 550, she mentioned Keith Yandle's name as well:
Myers stands a towering 6-feet-8, the only D-man who can look Boston’s Zdeno Chara in the eye without craning his neck. Myers is only 24, but already he has played 318 NHL games since joining Buffalo in 2009-10, the season he took home the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year on the strength of 48 points in 82 games.
He is good offensively (he has hit or come close to 10 goals four out of five seasons) and valuable on the power play, where he has 13 of his 41 career goals.
In 2013-14, Myers had nine goals and 22 points in 62 games, averaging just under 22 minutes per game. He is a very good skater, plays in all situations and can serve as a shut-down guy. Myers makes mistakes (like everyone else), but he has franchise defenseman written all over him, and he is still two or three years removed from even entering his prime.
Two years ago, the Sabres signed Myers to seven years for $38.5 million, working out to a very amenable $5.5-million annual salary cap hit. He has already made $18 million, making the rest of his contract all the more attractive as the most he’ll pull in salary is $5 million a season.
Myers has 5 more years of that $5.5 million cap hit coming, per Capgeek.
The downside of having to trade instead of signing a free agent is the internal cost. Myers is Buffalo’s top defenseman and the asking price is going to start with one of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco. Buffalo might well ask for Anthony Mantha, but the Wings aren’t relinquishing him. One player alone wouldn’t do it, though — there would likely be a high draft pick involved, too, maybe even a second player, someone in his mid-20s.
When she appeared on TSN 1050 and WGR 550, St. James also talked about the Wings' free agency strikeouts, suggesting that Dan Boyle went to New York because he believed that the Rangers are closer to winning a Cup (in addition to the Martin St. Louis friendship thing), and she stated that the Wings were most interested in Matt Niskanen, but weren't quite willing to match the Capitals' compensation for a player with one fantastic season (though some of her other Wings beat writers disagree with that monetary assessment).
BIGGY UPDATE: Here's St. James on TSN...
And here she is on WGR:
Who did the Toronto and Buffalo radio stations mention as the first player their respective teams would want in a trade? Mantha, Mantha, Mantha. And Nyquist, Nyquist, Nyquist.
The Buffalo radio gents, Howard Simon and Jeremy White, don't believe that Myers going to be traded, either.
You should expect NHL teams' management staffs are asking for that kind of compensation TO START conversations for such players' compensation, and that's why I don't believe that Myers or Yandle are coming to Detroit--and if I may be blunt, we have no clue if there's fire where there's summertime smoke (well-intended smoke, but still).
I say that because I read NHL on Sirius/XM Radio's Jimmy Murphy posit this...
– Speaking of silly, it would be silly of a team like the Dallas Stars — who according to a team source are looking into shedding Sergei Gonchar‘s $5 million cap hit — to not take a look at 24-year old UFA puck-moving defenseman Michael Del Zotto. That same source indicated that they are and you can expect other teams to as well. As NHL Network host and analyst EJ Hradek pointed out to me on Twitter Saturday, DZ could benefit from the tutelage of Larry Robinson in San Jose. Del Zotto will join me on Monday’s edition of ‘Top Shelf’. I’d keep an eye on the Red Wings, the Islanders, the Devils and Maple Leafs as teams maybe interested in helping Del Zotto get back on track and fulfill his potential.
And while Del Zotto's 6,' 195 pounds, 24 years old, and he has a 37-point 09-10 season and a 41-point 10-11 season to his credit, one would think that the beat writers would discount Del Zotto entirely because he "shoots left."
What do I think will happen, based upon the team's historical moves and the less-than-bustling July trade market?
Absolutely nothing. The Red Wings' decision to re-sign Kyle Quincey gives them "no room at the inn" to find out whether Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Mattias Backman, Alexey Marchenko or Nick Jensen are ready to steal Jakub Kindl or Brian Lashoff's jobs during training camp.
Just as importantly, the fact that the salary cap's upper limit came in at $69 million instead of $71.1 million makes players harder to move, whether we're talking about Kindl (signed for 3 more seasons at a cap hit of $2.4 million) or Lashoff (though he's signed for 2 more seasons at a cap hit of $725,000). If any of the aforementioned quintet of defensemen "steal" their jobs.
Sure, when teams start suffering injuries during training camp and the exhibition season, that makes a trade-off more realistic, but the Wings might suffer some injuries, too, and that's why they're not moving Kindl or Lashoff (never mind the fact that the Del Zottos of the world remaining unsigned = Kindl and Lashoff have less trade value than a bag of stale airline peanuts right now).
You and I can hope and dream that a "cap floor" team like Buffalo or Phoenix would also be willing to take Kyle Quincey's 2 years at $4.5 million off the Wings' hands, too, or perhaps that the Washington Capitals would "equalize" a trade for a Mike Green with an established veteran defenseman, but that's the Red Wings fan's version of Toronto and Buffalo broadcasters suggesting that the Wings would be willing to part with one or both of Mantha and Nyquist to acquire Tyler Myers.
Ideally, the Wings will make some sort of move at a more traditional time, either over the course of the regular season or nearer to the trade deadline. If somebody gets hurt and/or a team with an elite offensive defenseman might find that they have more depth than they assumed due to their own prospects "'stealing jobs," then a trade might happen.
Too many free agents are still available for the cost of their salary, and prior to training camp and/or the exhibition season, there's no real impetus for any team to subtract unless they're in cap trouble.
Trade talk is fun. Trade reality is not as much fun. The reality of any trade situation, whether we're talking about Tyler Myers, Keith Yandle, Mike Green or anyone else--and again, who the flippity flurk knows whether these players are actually on the market to begin with--is that the Red Wings would be asked to "help" the teams that had available assets by sweetening deals with untouchable players.
It doesn't work the other way around, and a within-division trade for a Myers would involve Sabres GM Tim Murray telling Ken Holland that no deal would be made until the Sabres "helped" the Wings get rid of Mantha and/or Nyquist to take on Myers' reclamation project.
That's sports' real version of teams "helping" other teams, and while I would certainly like to see the Red Wings add a right-shooting defenseman to their lineup, I don't believe that we're going to see any sort of "trade action" until next March's trade deadline.
172: Led the Red Wings in hits, which ranked No. 59 in the league paced by New York Islanders forward Matt Martin, who dished out 359 hits for a 4.54 hits/game average through 70 regular-season games. Abdelkader has led the Wings in hits in three of the past four seasons.
147: Set a single-season career high for shots on goal averaging 2.1 shots per game. He had a season high six SOG twice at Philadelphia (Jan. 28) and at Tampa Bay (Feb. 8).
In the Twitter department...Joe Kocur's reminding us about his charity softball game on August 23rd...
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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.