The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/23/14 at 04:15 AM ET
So the ten-to-sixteen-day period of super super busy-ness begins. The Red Wings released their 2014-2015 regular season schedule on Sunday afternoon, and this week...
- Today, it is incredibly likely that former Red Wings Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano will be part of the Hockey Hall of Fame's 2014 induction class. The Hockey Hall of Fame's Selection Committee will announce its decisions at 3 PM EDT on TSN;
- On Tuesday, the NHL Awards take place in Las Vegas, NV (at 7 PM EDT on NBCSN and 8 PM EDT [on tape delay] on the CBC). Mike Babcock is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, and Danny DeKeyser will introduce his coach to the crowd; a healthier Ted Lindsay is also tearing up the strip ahead of awarding the NHLPA's MVP award, a.k.a. the Ted Lindsay Award, on Tuesday afternoon;
- On Wednesday and Thursday, the NHL's Board of Governors will meet in Philadelphia, PA ahead of the draft;
- Between Wednesday, June 25th and Monday, June 30th, teams can't officially re-sign unrestricted free agents-to-be or restricted free agents-to-be. Potential unrestricted free agents-to-be can meet with prospective employers during the NHL's new "wining and dining period," though the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo revealed that teams can't hammer out the final details of contract agreements with would-be signees;
- On Friday and Saturday, the NHL Draft takes place in Philadelphia. Round 1 will take place on Friday (at present, the Wings pick 15th overall), and it will air on NBCSN and TSN at 7 PM EDT; rounds 2-7 will take place on Saturday (on the NHL Network; the Wings pick 76th, 106th, 136th,166th, 196th and 201st overall);
- On Tuesday, July 1st, the unrestricted free agent period begins;
- And from Friday, July 4th to Tuesday, July 8th, the Wings' summer development camp takes place in Traverse City, MI.
“His track record speaks for itself,” Kirk Maltby said. “Dom was in category by himself at the time. He was a world-class goalie. To add him to a team with the firepower we had …he had only one objective and that was to win the Stanley Cup.”
Hasek’s resume is impressive – six consecutive Vezina Trophies, given to the NHL’s top goalie; a two-time Hart Trophy winner, awarded to the league MVP; an Olympic gold medal.
“He was unique,” said fellow Czech native Jiri Fischer. “He was special. The bigger the game Dom played, the more confidence he gave us as a team.”
And what really made Hasek, who took a million dollar pay cut to join the Wings, unique was his ability to bounce back.
“Dom dug in mentally,” [Ken] Holland said. “He was a tough, fierce competitor. Even though he was a little past his prime he was still a little better than everyone else. The great ones can defy Father Time.
“Between Dom, Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur, they were the three best goaltenders of their era and the history of the NHL,” Holland continued. “They revolutionized the art of goaltending.”
The Dominator is the top new candidate for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Class of 2014 will be announced today in a 3 p.m. conference call from the Hall’s selection committee meeting in Toronto. The inductees will officially became Hall members during a ceremony on Nov. 10.
Hasek, now 49, had seven straight seasons with a save percentage of .930 or higher for the Sabres and won 234 games, second in franchise history to Ryan Miller. He was acquired in a 1992 trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hasek is a six-time Vezina Trophy winner and won Stanley Cups with Detroit in 2002 as a starter and again in 2008, when he was a backup to Chris Osgood. His three straight Vezinas with the Sabres from 1997-1999 mark the only three-peat by a goalie in the post-1967 expansion era.
“I had great years here in Buffalo and I say thank you that I was traded to this city and this organization from Chicago,” Hasek said when he met reporters here in March to discuss his selection to the Sabres’ Hall. “I got a chance to become a starting goalie. … It was an honor for me to play here. This is something I’ll never forget.”
Asked that day about a potential call to the Hockey Hall, Hasek said, “I appreciate it. It’s very nice to be among all those big players. There are new goals in life and there’s always something new to prove. I appreciate that one day maybe I’ll be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But it’s never my goal.”
Regarding the draft, RedWingsCentral already pointed out that the Wings may very well not use their 15th overall pick on Friday...
[T]he seven times in the past eight years the Red Wings have held a first-round pick, they’ve traded down and acquired an extra pick, usually landing two selections in the second round instead of just one in the first.
Typically this occurs when the prospects the Red Wings were targeting are taken by other teams. Since the scouting staff ranks prospects in tiers where appropriate, the Red Wings can often guarantee a player in the current tier will still be available at the lower pick they’ve acquired. In that case, the extra selection is just a bonus.
How has it worked out? The philosophy certainly hasn’t blown up in their faces.
Last year, they traded the 18th overall pick (Mirco Mueller) to San Jose for the 20th (Anthony Mantha) and 58th (Tyler Bertuzzi) choices. At this very early stage — despite the fact Mueller is a tremendous prospect — it’s doubtful many Red Wings fans are complaining about this one, with both Mantha and Bertuzzi coming off sensational seasons.
The Red Wings figure they’ll get a pretty good player with the 15th overall pick in the NHL draft on Friday in Philadelphia.
The Wings haven’t had a pick in the teens since taking defenseman Jakub Kindl 19th overall in the 2005 draft. They haven’t had a top-15 pick since taking forward Martin Lapointe with the 10th overall pick in the 1991 draft.
Here’s a look at five of their worst drafts since 1994:
■ 1996: This draft class produced one NHL player and no goals for the Wings. Defenseman Jesse Wallin, the 26th overall pick in the first round, had two assists in 49 career games for the Wings. Of course, the Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998.
I'll let you read the rest, save this year, which still aggravates me:
■ 2006: The Wings didn’t have a first-round pick, but they didn’t benefit much from the three second-round picks — Cory Emmerton, Shawn Matthias and Dick Axelsson. Emmerton had 12 goals and nine assists in 139 career games for the Wings. He is heading to Russia next season after playing this past season for Grand Rapids (American Hockey League). Axelsson played in 17 games for Grand Rapids before returning to Sweden to continue his pro career. Matthias, the 47th overall pick, was traded in February 2007 for forward Todd Bertuzzi, who played in eight games for the Wings, before signing with the Ducks as a free agent.
Of course the Wings lost Jiri Fischer's services as a hockey player during the 2005-2006 season, but when the team named Fischer their director of player development, the Wings didn't have the kind of prospect pipeline they do today.
Between the more restrictive player signing and retention rules under the post-second-lockout CBA and the team's realization that it was still missing far more regularly than it "hit," the team began to build the set of prospect mentors that it has today in Chris Chelios, the once-part-time goalie coach Jim Bedard, etc. etc., the team built a stronger relationship with the Grand Rapids Griffins and its coaching staff, and in 2007, the team held its first structured summer development camp at Joe Louis Arena (the Wings also held a summer development camp in 2005, at the Troy Ice Arena, but it wasn't nearly as regimented).
Now, when players join the organization, they're in Traverse City a week later, learning how to train with strength and conditioning coach Pete Renzetti, learning the Wings' systems of play via Jeff Blashill, Jim Paek and Keith McKittrick, they take short classes discussing nutrition, flexibility and probably a little social media preparation here and there, and they most certainly take their fitness "baseline test" and post-camp numbers and utilize them as something of a prescription as to what they need to work on for the balance of the summer, knowing that they'll start establishing a pecking order at the fall prospect tournament--or, if they're NCAA prospects, that they should expect to see Chelioses, Drapers, Maltbys, Ken Holland, Ryan Martin and Mike Babcock at some of their games, and that Fischer's their go-to source should they have a question or a problem.
There's so much more information available to both the Wings about their prospects and the prospects about how one should or should not train, practice or behave as a professional hockey player-in-the-making, and the Wings do a superb job of helping players navigate their respective paths.
I've said it before and I'll say it again:
The Wings and the players they draft and/or sign and/or develop are fighting an uphill battle. Within two-to-four years of having been drafted, the team has to decide whether players are ready to play pro hockey, and two-to-four years after that, the team has to decide whether the players are NHL-caliber talent.
Ideally, the players' physical maturity, mental maturity and hockey skills all arrive at the same time (or nearly so), but those of us who are just amateur human beings for a living can tell you that one's body, brain and skill sets don't reach ready-to-be-a-professional-anything levels at any sort of remotely coordinated time.
For most people, the mental and professional parts are harder to figure out; for some, it's the body that doesn't cooperate.
The Wings give their prospects the best possible opportunities to fulfill their professional potential, and the Wings spend a crapton of time, energy, effort and money aiding their prospects' development, but it doesn't always work out.
This is still educated guessing, and the young men the Wings draft are the ultimate decision-makers.
Regarding the present day's draft, in cheerier terms, we've talked about the NHL's North American and European skaters, not so much about the North American and European goaltenders (the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy penned a Sunday profile of Plymouth Whalers goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, who's a superb netminder). Today, the NHL asked its draft exper...erm, correspondents to weigh in with final "Mock Drafts."
The trio offered the exact amount of consensus that most pundits have regarding picks outside the Top 4: none.
Adam Kimelman's mock draft has the Wings selecting a defenseman...
15. DET: Jack Dougherty, D, USA U-18 (USHL)
Red Wings have added youth and skill to their forward group the past few years; now is the time to focus on smart, skilled defensemen.
Quoting NHL.com's profile of the 6,' 184-pound defenseman, who's ranked as the 30th-best North American skater:
• Dougherty has committed to the University of Wisconsin for the fall of 2014.
• Dougherty moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan prior to the 2013-14 season to join the U.S. National Team Development Program, totaling five goals and 17 points in 49 games with the under-18 team. He shared the team-lead among defensemen with a plus-33 rating.
• At the 2014 Under-18 World Hockey Championship, Dougherty scored the opening goal in Team USA’s 5-2 win over the Czech Republic in the gold-medal game and finished the tournament with four points (2-2—4) in seven games. He also won a silver medal with the U.S. at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, tying for second on the team with three points.
• He scored Team Johnson’s opening goal at the 2013 USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game in Pittsburgh, helping the team to a 5-2 win.
• Dougherty played two seasons of high school hockey with the St. Thomas Academy Cadets, tallying 24 points (3-21—24) in 25 games in 2012-13. He added six assists in three games at the state tournament as St. Thomas captured their third consecutive Class A title.
NHL Central Scouting’s Greg Rajanen: "Even as a high school player, he was a smart two-way player and proved to be very responsible. He's also tough and can play the powerplay and work the point well.”
Steven Hoffner has the Wings picking a forward...
15.DET Adrian Kempe, RW, Modo Jr. (SWE-JR)
The big, smooth-skating forward would fill a need up front for an aging forward group.
Again, quoting NHL.com's profile, this time of a 6'1," 178-pound right-winger, who's ranked 6th overall among European skaters...
• In 2013-14, Kempe posted 19 points (3-16—19) in 20 games and was an assistant captain with MODO’s under-20 team before joining the club’s senior team in the Swedish Hockey League where he posted 11 points (5-6—11) in 45 contests.
• His brother, Mario, was selected in the fifth round (122nd overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL Draft. Mario has spent the past five seasons playing in Sweden, most recently alongside Adrian with MODO in Sweden’s top league.
• A member of Sweden’s gold-medal winning team at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Kempe averaged a goal per game (5-0—5) including a second-period tally in the team’s 7-5 win over Russia in the final.
• At the 2014 Under-18 World Championship, Kempe finished third on the team with seven points (1-6—7) in seven games as Sweden placed fourth, falling 3-1 to Canada in the bronze-medal game. He also tallied three points (2-1—3) in four games at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial.
• Kempe’s hometown is Ornskoldsvik, Sweden (approx. population 28,000). He plays for the same MODO hockey program that produced NHL stars Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Victor Hedman.
Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb: "He's a big, strong, bullish forward who can play center or wing. He likes to drive hard for the net, using his strength and skating to his advantage. He plays the body and is aggressive when forechecking. He has a good defensive game for a player with his offensive skills; mobile, solid and strong. He's a power forward, strong along the boards with smooth hands and is a very speedy skater. He's a solid two-way forward."
And finally, NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale has the Wings picking a defenseman:
15.DET Julius Honka, D, Swift Current (WHL)
Played a key role for Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship. Excelled in his first North American season with 16 goals and 56 points in 62 games; good awareness and excels on the power play.
To the profile of the 11th-ranked European skater, a 5'7," 180-pound defenseman!
• Honka was a member of Finland’s gold medal winning team at the 2014 World Junior Championship. It marked the third time Finland has earned the gold medal at the tournament, after previously winning in 1998 and 1987. He also earned bronze with Finland at the 2013 Under-18 World Junior Championship registering four points (1-3—4) in seven games.
• He earned the first Western Hockey League Player of the Week award of the 2013-14 season, his first in North America, after picking up six points in his first two WHL games. He went on to finish the season leading all Swift Current defensemen in goals (16), assists (40) and points (56).
• Credits Broncos second year goaltender Eetu Laurikainen, also from Honka’s hometown of Jyvaskyla, with helping him transition from Finland to the WHL.
• An offensive defenseman who models his game after Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators.
NHL Central Scouting’s Peter Sullivan: “Let’s just say that when you go to a game and you see his name in the lineup, you’re excited to watch the game because he’s got about four or five different gears. You think he’s just skating normally and he puts it in another gear, then another gear. Excellent vision and on-ice awareness. He reads the play so well sometimes he’s two or three steps ahead of his own teammates.”
I'm trying to keep the rumors to a bare minimum, but you can guess what happened when the Pittsburgh Penguins' media corps found out that Willie Desjardins didn't want to coach Maro Lemieux and Ron Burkle's team (okay, technically speaking, Jim Rutherford is the general manager, but Lemieux and CEO David Morehouse are calling the shots), and then they found out that Bill Peters didn't want to coach a team whose owners are calling the shots, either...
Yes, that's right, they suggested that this is all part of the team's master pan to snag Mike Babcock! Okay, not all of them, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Cook did make that suggestion:
According to reports, which aren't always true as evidenced by the premature news of Bylsma's firing three weeks before it happened, the Penguins want their next coach to take a short-term deal, perhaps two years. Lemieux and Burkle must be getting tired of paying a fired coach to do nothing. They will have to pay Bylsma $2 million a year for the next two seasons if he doesn't take another coaching job. They had to pay off Michel Therrien for 2½ seasons before Bylsma.
But it's understandable why any promising coach would turn and run from a two-year offer from the Penguins. He knows he is being hired by Rutherford, who has said he doesn't expect to keep his job for more than two or three years. What happens when the next general manager comes in and wants to bring his own coach? The Penguins have to make at least a three-year offer to get a good coach for next season.
There also is the Mike Babcock factor to consider for the next coach. Babcock, the Detroit Red Wings coach, is going into the final season of his contract and will be in much demand next June. He would be a great fit for the Penguins. He has coached Crosby on Team Canada in each of the past two Olympics and together they won two gold medals. That doesn't put the Penguins coach next season in a very good spot. He might have to win the Cup to keep Lemieux and Burkle from going after Babcock.
There would be great pressure on the next Penguins coach even if Babcock were not going to be out there. Shero and Bylsma were fired because management said the team "underachieved" in the playoffs for five consecutive years even though it went to the Eastern Conference final two years ago and made the second round this past season. Time is ticking on the Crosby-Malkin era. The Penguins are built to win now. They had better win now.
In "Numerical" news, per Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien, On The Forecheck founder Dirk Hoag posted his super-miles-traveled schedule at his new place of employment, Hockey Gear HQ, and Dirk reports that the Wings will travel 34,179 miles...
The 7th...Least in the league?
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose also looked back at Tomas Tatar's 2013-2014 season "By the Numbers." Most noteworthy from Roose's six stats:
19: Goals scored in his first full season, which second most on team, behind Gustav Nyquist (28), despite being a healthy scratch in eight of Detroit’s first nine games of the regular season. Tatar enjoyed a three-game goal scoring streak immediately following the Winter Classic producing a goal each at Dallas (Jan. 4), San Jose (Jan. 9) and Los Angeles (Jan. 11).
158: Lead the Red Wings in shots on goal, which was the lowest total to lead a team in the league during the 2013-14 season. He averaged 2.16 SOG per game, his lowest per/game total since turning pro in 2009-10.
41: Number of takeaways that he had in the regular season, ranking second on the team behind Pavel Datsyuk (59), who missed 37 games with a knee injury.
And finally, ahead of what's going to be my busiest three-week stretch of non-season activity, I do need to ask for assistance in terms of getting my butt up to Traverse City to attend the summer development camp. With ten days to go, I'm a couple hundred short of the hotel goal and a few hundred more short of being able to pay for gas and eat frugally:
Over the 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.
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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.