The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/27/13 at 05:10 AM ET
Okay, as we approach the draft on Sunday and what certainly sounds like a busy off-season in the making, things got kind of yell-y in the overnight report and mid-day news entries, so please try to remember that the foundation of spirited debate is understanding that not all of us are going to agree with divergent points of view, but that everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if we disagree and/or think that the other person is nuts.
Because I've been doing this for a long time now, and I've learned that the period of time from just before the draft until the middle of July involves readers and commenters being very passionate about their point of view and very prickly when someone posits a suggestion that might conflict with theirs...
Also: trolls exist, and, um...Sometimes people can be assholes. And the answer to assholery is not to attempt to be a bigger *#$%@&. Because then we just get a bunch of assholes, and only some people like a bunch of assholes, especially given that sometimes assholes get into farting contests. Which just stinks.
Capgeek's Wings salary chart in hand?
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan delivers us good news regarding QO's and an injured player...
[Ken] Holland has tendered qualifying offers for defensemen Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl and forwards Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, all restricted free agents.
... Holland said forward Darren Helm (back) will skate during the development camp in Traverse City beginning July 10.
“I just talked to Helmer a day ago and he says he’s feeling better every day,” Holland said. “This will give him an opportunity to test it.”
And he pretty much, um...confirms all the stuff we've been hearing about over the past few days, stating that Holland and the Wings will wait until after the draft to decide whether to use one or both of their salary cap-compliance buy-outs to shed players and salary going forward
“We’ll explore our options,” said Holland, who’d like to make trades to alleviate a logjam of forwards. “We’ll see what happens. We’d like to do something.”
The Red Wings have 14 forwards under contract, not including potential unrestricted free agents Valtteri Filppula, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner.
It’s likely the Wings will trade forwards Jordin Tootoo and Cory Emmerton and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, although Tootoo (two years, $3.8 million left) could be bought out.
"And" is definitely new to the mix...
Forwards Mikael Samuelsson (one year, $3 million), Todd Bertuzzi (one year, $2.075 million) and Colaiacovo (one year, $2.5 million) are other candidates to be bought out.
The Free Press's Helene St. James of course offered her take on the competition for forward spots 10-14 (see: Abdelkader, Andersson, Datsyuk, Eaves, Franzen, Helm, Miller, Nyquist and Zetterberg are all signed)...
■Jordin Tootoo: It was a curious season for a guy much heralded last summer when he was signed for three years and $5.7 million. He became a healthy scratch late in the season and in the playoffs. He did what he was asked, though, and likely will be in the lineup next year.
■Cory Emmerton: The Wings are not that high on this guy. He played regularly last season because of all the injuries. He'll likely be packaged in a trade or waived.
■Tomas Tatar: He seemed to have a good stretch when he was up with the Wings, but there's concern in the front office about Tatar's toughness. He might get a shot at finding a spot on the fourth line.
■Mikael Samuelsson: Was injured nonstop. Subject to a buyout, though he may be able to fight it if he can prove he's not healthy. He has been told by doctors he doesn't need surgery, though.
■Todd Bertuzzi: Pinched nerves kept him out of the lineup after early February. He's big and strong and good in front of the net, but the question is how he will hold up over an 82-game season? He could be considered a buyout option.
This list doesn't include the team's own unrestricted free agent forwards. Negotiations are under way with Damien Brunner and Daniel Cleary but faltering with Valtteri Filppula. Filppula has played mostly wing the past two seasons, which is part of the reason the Wings would just as soon replace him with a second-line center so that Datsyuk and Zetterberg can play on the same line.
Regarding that comment about Tatar? St. James responded to some Tweets before leaving us with this:
Those trades wil theoretically come during the draft, and the "fourth line" thing? Meh. Ideally, the Wings have two third lines--the Nyquist-Anderrsson-Tatar line worked very well in Grand Rapids, but so did Nyquist-Andersson-Brunner up here--and whatever's left over will be the "fourth line," though it's hard to imagine, say, caling a Bertuzzi-Helm-Tatar line a "fourth" line.
Regarding the draft itself, the NHL's order of selection was released on Wednesday, and the Wings will pick:
18th overall in the 1st round;
48th overall in the 2nd round;
And then, due to a compensatory pick awarded to Winnipeg...
79th overall in the 3rd round;
109th in the 4th round;
139th in the 5th round;
169th in the 6th round;
And 199th in the 7th round.
The draft takes place on Sunday June 30th in Newark, NJ, and will begin at 2:30 PM EDT. It will be aired on TSN in Canada and probably streamed on NHL.com.
All seven rounds take place on the same day, and the first round usually takes 2.5-3 hours, with the entire remainder of the draft taking another 2.5-3 hours, so if you plan on watching, bring snacks.
The beat writers seem to also differ as to which terminology they employ to address the Wings' current managerial structure. The Wings chose not to replace Jim Nill as Ken Holland's assistant GM, choosing to promote capologist Ryan Martin to the Grand Rapids Griffins' GM and a de-facto assistant, and director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell to the decision-maker at the draft.
Technically speaking, that makes both Martin and McDonnell assistant GM's, and
Kulfan the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa calls McDonnell the assistant GM while both positing a superb profile of the relatively unknown super-scout and addressing his responsibilities for this Sunday:
Joe McDonnell, 52, joined the team 18 years ago as a scout, hiring on when Jimmy Devellano was general manager and Holland his assistant. McDonnell’s name is on all four Stanley Cups the Wings have won since then. Nill relied heavily on the low-profile McDonnell, especially in recent years.
“Jim and I were both over in Russia together when he pulled me aside and told me he was going to do this,” McDonnell said. “It’s really not going to be a big change, except at the draft table this year; when I look to the left it will be Ken Holland instead of Ken Holland and Jim Nill.”
Nill’s duties are to be split between McDonnell and Ryan Martin, the assistant general manager of hockey administration, who presides over contractual issues and salary cap management.
While Nill takes a lot of knowledge of the current crop of entry-level players with him, it is probably little different from what McDonnell and Hakan Andersson, the Wings’ director of European scouting, also know.
“As I always say, and as Ken Holland will be the first guy to tell you, our scouts have been the backbone of our organization,” Devellano said.
“Whether it’s been picks in the middle rounds, and occasionally later, our scouts have done a nice job of culling out guys,” Devellano said. “And I think one of the strengths is that they have been doing it a long time.”
He continues at length, and Kulfan's profile and back-story are excellent, so read away, because you'll find that McDonnell's been with the team since 1995, that he did play in the NHL, and that he's on board with the youth movement:
“And then, last year, to see what happened, devastated with all those in juries and things and then to go on through the year with the young guys, McDonnell said. “With the confidence these kids have developed over the year, it’s just going to help down the road tremendously. And all our guys and all of our scouts were just thrilled to see how well we played and how well the kids did.”
As for the art and science of mock drafting, as noted last night, there's almost NO consensus as to who's going where after the first five picks.
Sportsline's Chris Peters' mock draft has the Wings picking defenseman Mirco Mueller...
18. Detroit Red Wings -- Mirco Mueller (WHL) - D
Detroit has some solid, older forward prospects in the system who have been developing well. Bringing the focus back to defense makes sense here since Mueller is still on the board. He has terrific size and a very high ceiling. Mueller moves the puck well enough, but he's best in his own end and has a good hockey IQ. He'd be an easy call here.
USA Today's Kevin Allen believes that the Wings will go with a forward....
18. Detroit Red Wings, LW Morgan Klimchuk (Regina/WHL): He’s a proven scorer with a quick release, and the Red Wings are looking to add scorers to their system.
And ESPN's Grant Sonier's insider-only article suggests that a third player's the 18th-best prospect available:
18 Ryan Pulock
POS: D DOB: 10/6/94 HT: 6-0 WT: 211 SHOOTS: R
TEAM: Brandon (WHL) GM 61 G 14 A 31 PTS 45 +/- minus-7
A tough season of battling through injury will not scare teams off from selecting this dynamic, strong-shooting blueliner. He possesses perhaps the hardest shot out of any player in this draft and that weapon will be very attractive to many teams. He is strong for his size and has the potential to be a solid two-way D-man with PP upside.
I hate to say it, but long story short, this is the biggest "crap-shoot" draft I can remember in a decade, and NHL.com's just the latest to re-draft the 2003 one...
And 6 of NHL.com's Corey Masisak's re-draft first-round picks were picked 100th or later, and only 14 of the 30 re-picks were actually picked in the 2003 draft's first round, so that should tell you all you need to know about the odds of a 1st-rounder making the NHL in some way, shape or form, at least outside the top 10: about 1 in 2.
In other English-language news, the stuff I found on Thursday afternoon and evening was downright weird:
- The Edmonton Journal's Jonathan Willis wondered what Carlo Colaiacovo's worth might be to the Edmonton Oilers in a trade, even though there is NO FIT for Colaiacovo on the Oilers' roster;
- The CBC's Brandon Hicks' "Fake NHL Awards" include the following:
Best Underdog that Never Really Was An Underdog Award
Winner: Detroit Red Wings
Yeah, they may have barely scraped into the playoffs, and had a bit of roster turnover this season, but c'mon! The only people that were really saying the Detroit Red Wings were underdogs in the playoffs were the Detroit Red Wings, and even they didn't believe it.
Pushing the eventual Cup champions to overtime in Game 7 definitely didn't help their cause. Also, that whole 22 straight post-season appearances thing.
(I didn't think he was funny at all)
- Via RedWingsFeed, Russian Machine Never Breaks' Ian Odland wants us to know that Sergei Fedorov still uses his Capitals toiletry bag (seriously);
- And EJ Hradek praised Henrik Zetterberg's leadership in the Wings' 1st round series against the Ducks:
So that would have been a mediocre to crappy overnight report, but the languages that are the bane of my Wings-following existence surprised me.
In Finnish...Valtteri Filppula told MTV3.fi's Matti Nyrhinen that, well...His knee is fine, and that while he'd like to remain with the Wings, he's going to be a free agent, and if he doesn't re-sign with the Wings, he knows he'll have some good alternate choices, so he, "Has a merry heart." Or so Google says. Finnish is indecipherable.
In Swedish...Andreas Lilja's moved back to Helsingborg, where he's going to play for Rogle BK of the Swedish Allsvenskan, and he spoke with Kvallsposten's Alf Karlsson about his NHL career in retrospect, and his highlight, obviously, was winning the Stanley Cup with the Wings in 2008;
And in Slovak...
A) Tomas Tatar did a photo shoot for the hockey equipment website Allforhockey.eu in Trencin, Slovakia, and he gave FIVE interviews.
Slovak...Is not my strong suit, to say the least. But the highlights of his interviews go as follows:
1. In speaking to the Slovakian equivalent of the Associated Press, SITA, Tatar stated that:
He took being demoted to the Griffins very hard, but Grand Rapids' playoff run more than made up for the disappointment;
He's going to be able to keep the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the AHL's MVP for the summer, but is working on bringing the Calder Cup to Slovakia, and he jokingly points out that Trencin natives Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus could perhaps make a double-trophy visit possible;
He says that he's aware of the fact that he's going to be on the Wings' roster, but hasn't received official word from the team that he'll be attending training camp. He did speak with Mike Babcock and says that he'll head to the U.S. a week before training camp to check in regarding some of Babcock's points of emphasis (and to skate with the Wings' players in some informal pre-camp practices, obviously);
He partied heartily in Grand Rapids and celebrated his Calder Cup win with friends and family in Slovakia when he returned home last Friday, but he's allowing himself to take a little break, and after visiting with fellow potential Slovak Olympians in their pre-Olympic meeting on July 1st, he's going on vacation.
2. In an interview with Pravda.sk's Michal Maslan, he stated that:
Four days of fun in Grand Rapids plus three days with the friends and fam = seven days of Calder Cup celebrations;
The best parts of his playoff run were lifting the Calder Cup...and hearing that he's going to graduate to the Wings' roster on a full-time basis, which he learned through the media (when Ken Holland stated that Tatar's waiver exemption is at an end, and that he would be picked up if the Wings were to waive him);
That he's more or less figured out that his previous statements about maybe being traded somewhere to get a chance to play weren't brilliant, and that he understands the fact that the Wings expect their players to work their asses off to earn a full-time spot on the roster, and then stay there;
His conversation with Babcock was both surprising and pleasing because Babcock told him he'd played well and that he fits into the Babcockian system;
He understands that being a Wing doesn't necessarily mean that he'll play every night or get oodles of ice time, so he's going to do his best to prepare to play well during training camp;
He'll be training with strength and conditioning coach Roman Svantner after his vacation;
To some extent, as his peers have suggested, it's almost easier to play in the NHL because of the quality of one's linemates and the less hectic pace thanks to easier travel(!);
He understands that the Olympic summer meeting is no guarantee of making the Olympic team;
He says he now understands and respects the fact that the Wings chose to leave him in the AHL for the playoffs;
He's headed to Crete on vacation, and then he's not sure whether he'll get yet another tattoo;
He says that he does try to update his Facebook fan page regularly to help him connect with fans;
He's impressed by Tomas Jurco's puck-dangling skills, though he chides Jurco about having to play hockey, not for the circus;
And while he thinks that Jurco will play in the NHL, Jurco's going to have a hard road just like Tatar did.
3. In an interview with CAS.sk's Milan Hanzel, he confirms that:
He's heading to Crete next week;
Babcock's phone call involved some points of emphasis for Tatar to focus on this summer;
If he's allowed to do so, he'd like to change his number from #21 to #90.
4. In an interview with SME.sk, he says that:
His demotion was timed very well in terms of allowing him to score in the NHL and then return to the AHL with confidence to prepare for the playoffs;
5. And in an interview with Sport.sk, he said that...
He's crossing his fingers about bringing the Calder Cup to both Trencin and his hometown of Dubinca, so that fans can see the trophy;
Babcock's call did involve praise and congratulations as well as a to-do list;
Again, he wants to wear #90 if he may do so;
He's starting to understand that the Wings don't give players an easy road to the NHL, but that the Wings' goal is to develop players who spend successful careers with the Red Wings, and that patience has been key for him and will key for Jurco;
And he's going to take part in a celebrity tennis tournament in Trencin this Saturday.
B) Tomas Jurco conducted an interview with Sport.sk's Michal Carnoky, and he stated that:
He had a fever and was nursing an elbow injury when the Griffins flew back to Grand Rapids, so he was one of the few sober folks on the plane, watching his teammates goof off while taking things in stride because he was on antibiotics, and as we all know, alcohol and heavy antibiotics don't mix;
He made sure to both enjoy the celebrations and take little for granted as next year's team is going to be a different one;
He was very proud to score the game-winner in Game 7 of the Griffins' Western Conference Final series against Oklahoma;
He's not friends with Richard Panik, like Tatar is, so the fact that Panik was a fellow Slovak didn't mean very much to him. He was just another opponent;
He wasn't surprised that it took the Griffins six games to defeat Syracuse after taking a 3-0 lead as, well, it's the championship series, and every game's hard-fought;
He thinks that he was more lucky than good, if you will, in winning a QMJHL championship, a QMJHL championship and Memorial Cup, and then a Calder Cup during his first three years of playing hockey in North America;
His first pro season was very difficult--the first part thereof involved earning his coaches' trust and sitting on the bench--but he's proud that he managed to become one of the Griffins' key players and key contributors to the team's success;
He really broke through in mid-January;
He feels that playing in the AHL and playing well in the AHL represents a significant step forward in terms of being able to keep up with the pace of North American hockey;
Between travel and practices and playing games, the AHL schedule can be pretty brutal, with little free time at all, so winning the Calder Cup was very gratifying;
He knows that he'll get the opportunity to play in some exhibition games this fall, but he expects to start the year in the AHL and to hopefully get a couple of cup of coffee call-up games in;
And he was happy to see the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup because of the style of hockey they play as well as the presences of Hossa and Handzus on the team.
And finally, the fundraising drive got a kick in the pants on Wednesday. I don't know who said what to whom, but thank you--things are going better, though there's a long way to go. Your support is greatly appreciated:
I would like to attend the Red Wings' summer development camp from July 9-17 in Traverse City, MI, but I am a blogger. My paycheck is not very big, and due to health crap, this is the only job I've got. As such, I do not have the funds to pay for gas to get me to Traverse City or 11 days of a hotel stay.
During previous years, I've asked you to lend a hand and you've come though in a big way. I need to ask, if it is at all possible, that you might consider tossing a few bucks into the Paypal tip jar. I've generally found that the smallest donations, $5, $10, stuff like that, end up paying for gas and a huge chunk of my stay, and anything more is a bonus.
So if you want to donate, that's awesome, if you don't want to donate, that's cool, and one way or another, I hope to get up there and provide you with in-person, every-day coverage.
My "ID" is my personal email address, email@example.com, and you'll need to use that as the person you're sending $ to.
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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.