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The Malik Report

Red Wings morning news: on mock drafts, developmental philosophies, Jurco, Timonen and fundraising

Updated 5x at 1:36 PM: Amongst this morning's Red Wings-related news stories:

1. The Wings duly note that you can determine whether Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist will earn TSN's Play of the Year award...

2. There's little to no consensus regarding "who goes where" in this June's NHl draft, at least after picks 1 to 5, but MLive's Brendan Savage noted that ESPN's Corey Pronman has the Wings taking Sonny Milano in his mock draft, and Savage provides background information regarding Milano. Pronman's mock draft (it's an Insider-only entry) notes that the Wings and Dallas Stars have similar options and similar philosophies:

14. Dallas Stars: David Pastrnak, RW, Sodertalje (SHL)
DOB: 5/25/96 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 168

During the Stars' regime change last year, they brought over Detroit's assistant GM Jim Nill, who oversaw the draft for the Red Wings as their chief scout. That regime is the type to emphasize puck skills and hockey sense. It's why I would project a highly skilled player like Pastrnak to Dallas, with options like Sonny Milano, Robby Fabbri and Jakub Vrana as potential picks, as well. Given the number of players that could be a fit, I can see Dallas moving down from this pick, too.

15. Detroit Red Wings: Sonny Milano, LW, USNTDP (USHL)
DOB: 5/12/96 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 185

Detroit has a history of trading down and trusting its area scouts to find value, so who knows if the Red Wings will stay at No. 15. But if they do, the dynamic Milano fits the bill for the kind of player they like. While they drafted a left wing in Anthony Mantha last year, Milano is much younger than Mantha, and the Wings aren't exactly known for bringing the kids up to Detroit quickly. Potential alternatives are the same as Dallas'.

3. More substantially, the Edmonton Journal's Jonathan Willis compared the Red Wings and Oilers' philosophies regarding drafting and developing prospects, and his "anchor quote" is superb:

It’s difficult to show with numbers the ideal development route for prospects. That’s because better players tend to make the jump to the NHL earlier than worse players, so the players who graduate at a younger age tend to have better careers than those who do at a later age.

However, it’s generally accepted by some of the NHL’s best managers that it’s important to allow individuals to work out the kinks at a lower level before moving them into major-league competition.

From the book Behind the Moves, here’s Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland:

I spent nine years in the American Hockey League, and what impacted [me] there as I got into my third, fourth, fifth year of pro, was that I was a veteran American league player who was kept around to provide leadership and to be a good player to help the team win. Hartford would bring all these kids in – and the organizations that I was with in Detroit and Hartford, they were struggling organizations. The minute a young kid would play well for six weeks, he’d get [called] up and [provide] a little bit of spark [to the parent club,] and then six weeks later they would [be sent back] down and they were just beaten up. The league was too tough. They couldn’t make a difference. It took you another few weeks, few months to get those players back to where they [had been] confidence-wise and playing-wise. So from a player-development standpoint – a personal-development standpoint – [I learned that] people are ready when they’re ready and [I learned about] the importance of building a foundation.

Holland practices what he preaches – the Red Wings are among the most patient teams in the NHL when it comes to the development of their prospects.

In their recent drafts, from 2010-on only Riley Sheahan has played more than 40 NHL games – and he and Tomas Jurco (2011 Draft, 26 NHL games) only got long looks thanks to Detroit posting the worst injury season of any NHL team since 2008-09. Even more incredibly: none of the players drafted and developed by Detroit since 2006 have yet hit the 200-game mark in the NHL. Some of that is draft position and acumen, but most of it is organizational doctrine.

Looking at established NHL’ers (min. 200 games played) over the last 15 years who were drafted and developed in Edmonton and Detroit reveals two very different patterns, even after top-10 picks are removed from the equation

Willis continues...

4. My Slovak is terrible and the online translation of Hokejportal.sk's Michal Runak's interview with Tomas Jurco is...Iffy...But I can at least summarize it:

  • Jurco's taking two weeks off after having played NHL, Olympic and AHL playoff games this past season, but he's about to begin off-season training in his hometown of Kosice with a pair of trainers and some of the players from Slovak Extraliga team HC Kosice;

(apparently one pronounces it "Ko-sheets-a")

  • Jurco admits that shuffling back and forth from Grand Rapids to Detroit and Sochi was quite the whirwind, but he didn't mind it;
  • He does address his disappointment in the Wings not allowing him to play in the World Championships again, saying that he was afraid that he'd lose motivation to play, but knowing that ken Holland and Mike Babcock were watching him gave him more than enough desire to better prepare himself for the NHL season to come (and he scored a hat trick). He also says that getting injured at the World Championship would've obviously been a particularly "bad break" as it were;
  • He feels that his "natural game" and speed will help him earn a bigger role with the Wings;
  • And he's rooting for Marian Gaborik and the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.

5. Regarding unrestricted free agents-to-be, especially on defense, Comcast Sportsnet Phildelphia's Sarah Baicker unwittingly throws out a dark-horse name in Kimmo Timonen, who may or may not return to Philadelphia after posting 35 points in 77 games and earning $6 million at the tender age of 39.

I think that Timonen's a superb defenseman, but he's definitely not a top-two guy at this point--and not worth a $6 million investment on a multi-year deal given that Timonen's unsure about his desire to continue playing--and The Sports Forecaster describes the 5'10," 194-pound defenseman as follows:

Assets:  Can log huge minutes and is very durable for his limited size. He competes, is extremely mobile and can rush with the puck or pinch in from the point. Reads the play well, and shoots the puck with accuracy. Will block shots.

Flaws:  Does have difficulty at times when opposed to big NHL forwards and is not generally regarded as a physical defender by any stretch of the imagination. Is starting to slow down with overuse over the years.

Career Potential:  Savvy veteran big-minute defenseman.

6. And finally, doing this makes me a little uncomfortable, but I have to do so. I'm not able to get up to Traverse City for the summer development camp (from July 4th to 8th) or fall prospect tournament on my own, and again:

Over the past three years that the Wings have held development camps in Traverse City, I've asked for your help in raising the finances to cover my hotel and gas bills, and you've been amazingly and remarkably kind in affording me the opportunity to "work for you"; due to my present financial circumstances, I'm afraid that I have to ask for your assistance again.

If there's any way that you can lend a financial hand in my attempts to get up to Traverse City for the summer development camp and/or eventually to attend the prospect tournament and main camp in the fall, I would be incredibly grateful for any help.

I'm sticking with Paypal as it's the most direct route (though I will also do the whole, "Give me your address and I'll send you a check or a few bucks in the mail" thing, too), and you have to use my email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, as the recipient.

Here's the button:

If you can aid the cause, I'd be incredibly grateful; if you can't, I understand, and as usual, literally any amount helps. You'd be surprised how many $5, $10 and $20 donations end up paying my way. Thanks.


Update: I don't trust Andy Strickland for a second, but you may take these updates on Dan Boyle's situation, provided by TSN, for what you will:

Newsday's Arthur Staple is more reliable here:

Update #2: Via Paul, the Hockey News's Rory Boylen posited a list of "Top 10 off-season trade candidates." This one, you've heard of:

6. Mike Green: They have a new GM. They have a new coach. Now the Washington Capitals have to start working on getting a new team. The current model built by the outgoing George McPhee is broken, with splinters of the Excitement Era mixed with the sludge of modern ways. Green has had durability issues, but he’s a strong puck-mover and goal scorer who would be a nice pickup for any team looking to get offensive help on the blueline and more bang from the power play. But with only one season left on his contract with a cap hit at $6 million and an actual salary of $6.25 million, his move may be made for the sake of change.

Update #3: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jeremy Rutherford also weighed in on the free agent machinations to come:

Another playoff disappointment prompted GM Doug Wilson to start cycling out high-priced veterans. The first to go was offensive defenseman Dan Boyle, an unrestricted free agent.

The Islanders spent a fifth-round pick to get exclusive negotiating rights to Boyle. The veteran defenseman hasn't ruled out signing with the Islanders, assuming the team meets his expectations for a two-year deal.

Should Boyle sign, the Islanders will upgrade that trade price to a fourth-round pick. The Red Wings and Lightning are two possibilities for Boyle if he hits the open market.

Update #4: Two more things:

If you missed this report from the Florida Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov, it sounds like Bill Peters and Tom Renney are still in the mix for the Florida Panthers' head coaching job:

The Panthers coaching search will pick up steam this week as six front-runners for the vacancy, including fired Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, will meet with the team's brain-trust in New York City, according to a team source.


Other than Bylsma, the other five leading candidates have all met or spoke to General Manager Dale Tallon, but now will also sit down with the team's co-owners, Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu, as well as CEO/President Rory Babich.

Those repeaters are believed to be Ron Wilson, Canadiens' assistant Gerard Gallant, former Stanley Cup — winning coach Marc Crawford, and Red Wings' assistants Tom Renney and Bill Peters.

And in cap talk, from the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle:

Get ready for a skyrocketing salary cap in the NHL, even before the league’s new Canadian TV deal gets factored in. According to a report on Monday from Chris Botta of the SportsBusiness Journal, NHL revenues for the 2013-14 season are expected to hit $3.7-billion, which would be a 12-per-cent increase over the league’s last full campaign.

With the new TV revenue added in a year later, meanwhile, that figure will for the first time crack the $4-billion mark in 2014-15.

That’s obviously a good business story for Gary Bettman and Co., but the more pertinent result of much higher hockey-related revenues for fans (and general managers) is the impact it’ll have on the cap.

As a reminder, the basic formula for calculating the NHL’s cap under the new CBA is: ((Half of total revenue - player benefits) / 30 teams) x cap inflator x 15 per cent

Revenue we have a pretty good idea of due to Botta’s report and others. I’m told by multiple sources that player benefits are projected to be approximately $120-million, a noteworthy rise due to some of the concessions players got from the league during the lockout.

The inflator is an optional 5 per cent boost that is almost always in play and the 15 per cent takes you from what’s known as the midpoint to the ceiling. So if revenues come in at exactly $3.7-billion, next year’s cap would be roughly $69.6-million.

Update #4: Earlier this moring, WDFN's Matt Sheppard spoke to Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika regarding the Stanley Cup Final and the Wings, which the pair discussed over the course of a 13-minute interview:

Update #5: If you find yourself in Dubinca, Slovakia next Tuesday, Tomas Tatar will be taking part in a charity inline hockey game, and the Slovak news agency TASR reports that Tatar was taking part in a set of fitness tests with fellow Slovak national team members today, hoping that the test results will help him focus his off-season workouts.

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About The Malik Report

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.