The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/30/13 at 03:46 AM ET
The Red Wings and their fans are in something of a holding pattern today.
With "the kids" sent to Grand Rapids, Cory Emmerton and his $533K salary destined for either the AHL or another team via waivers, and Darren Helm and his $2.125 million salary on the LTIR, the Wings would be able to both clear a Capgeek-estimated minus-Emmerton $1.854 million cap overage and afford whatever pro-rated amount Petr Mrazek's $790K cap hit will cost as Jonas Gustavsson's injury replacement.
With 24 men on the roster, however, today's medical evaluations of Patrick Eaves (sprained MCL, sprained ankle and a $1.2 million salary), the aforementioned Gustavsson (groin injury, $1.5 million salary) and Jordin Tootoo (bruised shoulder, $1.9 million cap hit and 2 years remaining on his deal) will determine whether:
A) One, two or three of those players will start the year on the LTIR (providing the team with cap relief) or the short-term injured reserve (freeing up a roster spot but no cap space);
B) The team has to reluctantly sent Gustav Nyquist ($950K cap hit) down to Grand Rapids for a short period of time as his waiver-exempt status expires with 2 more NHL games;
C) The team can recall a center (Riley Sheahan or Luke Glendening) to temporarily replace Helm and Emmerton, should the team feel it necessary to utilize a natural center to take faceoffs on the fourth line (in a pinch, Daniel Cleary, Johan Franzen, Drew Miller and Nyquist can all take faceoffs).
Over the long term, the Wings will still have to move two players to clear space for Helm's return and the returns of their injured players--most likely pawning off Eaves and probably Tootoo in salary-dumping trades--unless, by some miracle, the Wings can get rid of Mikael Samuelsson by eating $1.5 or $2 million of #37's $3 million salary while both finding a trade partner and convincing Samuelsson to waive his no-trade clause.
For the present moment, depending on the medical evaluations of Eaves, Gustavsson and Tootoo, the team can at least wait for other teams to suffer injuries and/or find themselves in need of players who provide Eaves' defensive aplomb or Tootoo's forechecking presence, hoping that the trade market will open up later this month.
For the present moment, given that 37 players were placed on waivers on Sunday, and given the fact that so many teams want to see whether their own "kids" and roster players can get the job done when the season starts on Tuesday, there is no trade market, so the Wings have to get under the cap and get under the roster limit by any means necessary, even if that means sending Nyquist down to Grand Rapids until the team's able to move bodies and/or accommodate Helm's return.
If you missed Ken Holland's comments on Sunday, or MLive's Ansar Khan's article noting that the players, coach and GM do not believe that the team needs a dedicated enforcer to compete in the Atlantic Division (thus my theory that Tootoo's an endangered species), Holland was blunt while addressing the team's decision to waive Emmerton with the Free Press's Helene St. James...
Emmerton could be attractive as a pickup for another team. He’s 25, serviceable as a fourth-line center and penalty killer, and makes just over $500,000. If he isn’t picked up by noon Monday, he’ll be assigned to Grand Rapids.
“We like Cory, he’s done a nice job, but someone has got to go on waivers,” general manager Ken Holland said today. “We feel with the way Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan have played, if we need, one of them can get the job done short-term.”
Joakim Andersson helped make the decision by coming in last season and doing a bang-up job centering the third line. Putting Emmerton on waivers also indicates that sending down Gustav Nyquist, who doesn’t need waivers, will be a last resort.
LTIR requires a minimum stay of 24 days or 10 games. Holland said “we believe Helm will be back in three weeks,” though that may be optimistic. Helm missed all exhibition season with a sore groin, after missing last season with a sore back that still bothers him. Helm has played just one game the last 18 months, and whenever he does return, will need need time before he’s back at full speed.
He offered a blunt assessment of Helm's status to the Windsor Star's Bob Duff...
"He’s played one game in 18 months, he’s just starting to get up and running,” Holland said. “He’s had a couple of practices, but it’s going to take a while. Tomorrow we’ll assess what other moves we have to make.”
Both forward Patrick Eaves (knee/ankle) and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson (groin) will be reassessed Monday by team doctors. If either were to be placed on LTIR, it would clear enough space to get the Wings under the US 64.3-million salary-cap limit. There’s also a chance that forward Jordin Tootoo (shoulder) will be placed on the 14-day injured reserve list.
“If they go on long term we got lots of (cap) space,” Holland said. “If only Helm is on long term, we’ll be tight until Gustavsson gets back.”
If not, the club may be forced to temporarily send forward Gustav Nyquist to AHL Grand Rapids in order to fit under the cap. At this point, Nyquist is not required to clear waivers to be sent to the minor leagues, but if he were to play two more NHL games, then he would have to be placed on waivers in order to be shipped to the minors.
Holland also indicated no other players would be placed on waivers. “Today was a move to position ourselves to be cap compliant tomorrow,” Holland said, allowing that he hopes Emmerton clears waivers.
"If he clears we know what he can do,” Holland said. “If he’s claimed he’s off the books, if he’s not claimed we have the ability to send him down. In the short term we’ll be a little challenged (at centre) until Helm gets back.”
And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and I differ as to whether the Wings will have to accommodate all or part of Petr Mrazek's salary as he's an injury replacement (under the old CBA, that wasn't the case, but I don't know if it's the case now):
Players placed on short-term injured reserve (minimum seven days) provide no cap relief, but it does open up a roster spot, while long-term trips (minimum 10 games and 24 days) provide cap relief.
If the Wings place Gustavsson on short-term IR, they’ll need to free up more cap space because his $1.5 million salary will count against cap and Petr Mrazek’s salary of $790,000 would also count.
That scenario would more than likely get Gustav Nyquist sent to Grand Rapids to begin the season, at least temporarily. His cap his is $950,000. Nyquist and Danny DeKeyser are both exempt from having to clear waivers to go back to the minors.
Nyquist played his balls off during the preseason, and given Brian Lashoff's performance during the preseason--and don't be surprised if Lashoff and his 1-way deal and $725K cap hit are eventual cap casualties, too, given the fact that the Wings can either sign Nathan Paetsch to a 1-way deal once they back away from the 50-man roster limit and/or promote Adam Almquist ($694K cap hit) if necessary--the Wings literally can't afford to send DeKeyser down.
In any and all cases, the Red Wings open the regular season hosting the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday at 8 PM (NBCSN will air the game exclusively, and I have no idea whatsoever as to whether we'll be able to see the pre-game player introductions. I doubt it ), and then they'll play back-to-back games in Carolina on Friday and Boston on Saturday (7 PM starts) before receiving a surprising 4 days off before hosting the Coyotes on Thursday the 10th and the Flyers on Saturday the 12th.***
FYI: the Wings then play 4 games over the course of 6 days in the middle of the month, and their road tilt against Boston on Columbus Day, a.k.a. October 14th, starts at 1 PM!
FYI #2: for the next eight months, my computer's wallpapers consist of MonkeyWrench32's Wings schedules. Good stuff.
FYI #3: Getty Images finally uploaded Dave Reginek's 2013-2014 season Red Wings mugshots. Willie Coetzee, who's on the LTIR due to knee surgery, wins the "Best Beard" award as he's growing a Brent Burns in a bet with his fiancee; as Nick Barnowski noted, Jonas Gustavsson wins the Serial Killer Face award; Alexei Marchenko earns the "Grr Face" award; Tyler Bertuzzi is far and away the prospect with the Happiest to Be Here face; and Red Wings massage therapist Inar Treiguts is The Guy You Didn't Know Existed Who is Probably Most Important to the Team (he came to Detroit from the Jets/Thrashers organization, and will work for Team USA at the 2013 Olympics), though Andrew Dickson, the right-hand man of the Wings' director of amateur scouting, Tyler Wright, has a smirk that screams, "Damn, I landed a sweet gig coming from Columbus and all," and that's just bad-ass.
I'm not sure why, but the Free Press's Sunday slate of Wings previews did not result in responses from MLive, the Macomb Daily, the Detroit News, Windsor Star, Fox Sports Detroit--though FSD is is airing a Red Wings preview from 6:30-7 PM EDT today, 12-12:30 PM on Wednesday and at 6 PM on Friday, prior to the Wings-Hurricanes game...
So we've got the recap of the Grand Rapids Griffins' second exhibition game instead. The Griffins defeated the Lake Erie Monsters 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday, when they played in Plymouth, but they dropped a 2-0 decision to Lake Erie while playing in Windsor Sunday, despite dressing a stronger lineup.
The Grand Rapids Griffins completed their preseason schedule on Sunday with a 2-0 loss against the Lake Erie Monsters at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ont.
Lake Erie center Mark Olver nabbed the first goal of the night at 7:09 of the opening period on a Monsters power play. Grand Rapids forward Travis Novak was called for interfering with goaltender Calvin Pickard at 6:15 and Lake Erie wasted little time in putting their extra skater to good use.
The Griffins failed to capitalize on a giant scoring opportunity halfway through the first after Lake Erie was caught with too many men, compounding upon a Monsters slashing penalty by Olver just over a minute before. The two penalties resulted in 34 seconds of a two-man advantage for Grand Rapids, but they were unable to convert on either of the chances.
The aggression on the ice turned up a notch in the second period when Trevor Parkes steamrolled Monsters defenseman Mikael Tam along the left boards in the Grand Rapids zone, sending Tam to the bench with a bloody nose. Both teams then engaged in a mutual quarrel, but no calls were made against either side.
Later in the frame, however, Parkes’ physicality resurged at 17:21 which resulted in a boarding call against Grand Rapids. Markus Lauridsen extended the Monsters’ lead to 2-0 when his shot found its way past Griffins netminder Jared Coreau on a feed from the point.
A late tripping penalty against Parkes at 16:41 in the closing period secured the fate of the Griffins. With just over a minute of play remaining, Coreau retreated to the bench to provide Grand Rapids with an extra skater. Ultimately, the effort proved fruitless and Lake Erie walked away with a shutout victory.
All four of Lake Erie's goals this weekend were scored on the power play.
The Griffins, who completed their preseason slate with a 1-1 record, will open their 18th regular season with two road games this weekend when they face the Rochester Americans on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7:05 p.m. and the Toronto Marlies on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m.
The Griffins' schedule is almost as odd as the Wings' schedule over the first couple of weeks of the regular season. They play road games in Rochester and Toronto on Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of October.
Then the Griffins don't play until October 12th in Hamilton, and their home opener on the 18th (they host Milwaukee) marks another slate of Friday-Saturday games for a team that doesn't play on a weekday other than Friday until October 30th.
Basically, they play twice a week for the first four weeks of the season, all on the weekends. And you wonder why I worry about the team's management of its players' free time more than anything else in terms of keeping the youngsters on the right player development track.
Anyway, the Griffins' games were severely under-covered, though Michigan Hockey posted a photo gallery from Saturday's game.
Thankfully, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned an article about the gaggle of turning-pro prospects (see: Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Richard Nedomlel, Marek Tvrdon, Martin Frk, Jared Coreau, the injured Nick Jensen European pros Teemu Pulkkinen, Calle Jarnkrok and Alexei Marchenko, or 10 players) after Sunday's game, speaking with Holland about the team's player development pipeline:
“Most of their key players I would think have a chance to be NHL players,” said Wings general manager Ken Holland, who also thinks forwards Riley Sheahan, Landon Ferraro and Luke Glendening could eventually find their way to Detroit.
Now, it’s not like the cupboard was exactly bare over the years. Other current Wings who developed from within the system include goalie Jimmy Howard, defencemen Jonathan Ericsson and Jakub Kindl and forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader. But it’s been decades since the franchise has seen such an influx of locally-developed talent.A team that once favoured the free-agent route to fill roster gaps has undergone a change in thinking.
“Since (the) 2005 (NHL lockout), we’ve been really conservative with our draft picks,” Holland said. “We’ve been conservative at the trade deadline. We’re trying to compete for the (Stanley) Cup, for the playoffs, but at the same time, we’re trying to rebuild. We’ve retired a lot of star players over the last six or seven years. It takes a while to fill those holes.”
Duff took note of Calle Jarnkrok's play, and while I'm surprised by his inability to bump and grind, I still believe that he's the Wings' highest-end and most important prospect:
“The space on the ice, it’s way different than back home in Sweden,” said Jarnkrok, still finding his way around the smaller North American rink.
Jarnkrok displayed flashes Sunday, including an effective burst of speed and change of pace and a hard wrist shot that’s delivered from a quick release.
“I think he’s really smart, and very competitive,” Holland said. “He has an upside. Certainly in Grand Rapids in Jarnkrok and Sheahan, we have two young centres who have a chance to be NHL players.”
Duff duly notes Holland's favorite line about the fact that Danny DeKeyser, Nick Jensen, Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul all enter the organization having won awards as the best defensemen in their respective leagues during the 2012-2013 season, and he points out that while the Wings don't necessarily believe that there's another Datsyuk or Zetterberg in a pipeline, they've got enough NHL talent to compete and then some:
“I don’t know that we have a lot of superstars coming, but I think we’ve got a lot of players who have a chance to be really good, solid NHL players,” Holland said.
As a bonus, he posted interviews with Sproul...
And one-sentence-answer Jarnkrok:
Yes, Jarnkrok uses the, "It's getting better and better" cliche. I'm stunned that Duff got a minute and 24 seconds out of Calle. Great kid, hard worker, smart young man, very humble, but man, is he a tough interview.
Otherwise, The Sports Forecaster penned a Swedish Olympic Team preview, and the defensemen-and-forwards parts are interesting enough...
With less physicality on international-sized ice, plus with a sturdy set of goaltenders, the Swedes could decide to have an offense-oriented blueline corps (led by uber-talented Karlsson). Hedman, Hjalmarsson and Ericsson should provide the size required, while Kronwall and Hjalmarsson are the most aggressive of Sweden's defenders. 'OEL' provides a little of everything, while Edler is a true wild card for the Swedish squad.
The Swedish attack is potentially its strongest quality. Led by seven returning forwards from the '10 Olympics, the mixture of playing styles across four lines should help balance things out. However, scoring depth might become an issue if stars such as the Sedin twins, Backstrom and Zetterberg get shut down. Players like Landeskog, Hagelin, Steen and Nyquist would need to step up. The almost-retired Alfredsson should make one final Olympic ap
And USA Today's Kevin Allen posted a massive, massive preview of all 12 Olympic-competing teams, offering this on Team USA's goaltending:
Goaltending options: Jonathan Quick (Kings), the 2012 Stanley Cup winner, is considered the best American goalie, but Miller played superbly in the 2010 silver medal run. Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings), Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils) and Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators) could be in the mix. General manager David Poile has said it will come down to who is playing best in late December when the team is selected.
This Week 7 Last Week 7 Detroit Red Wings 0-0-0: Moving to the East has the Red Wings looking a whole new host of rivals, but they also added a couple of veterans -- Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson -- that have taken more than a few laps around the Eastern Conference. Along with the familiar veteran cast, young players like RW Gustav Nyquist, C Joakim Andersson, LW Tomas Tatar and D Danny DeKesyer could all play significant parts for what should be a contending club.
Key Injuries: None.
The Buffalo News's Bucky Gleason did pen an Atlantic Division preview, and you may take his opinion of the Wings for what you will (Gleason = Buffalo's Evil Drew Sharp):
Detroit Red Wings
Offense: Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen accounted for nearly a third of their scoring. Daniel Alfredsson signed as a free agent, but last season he had more PIMs than points for the first time in his career. Stephen Weiss was a nice addition.
Defense: Niklas Kronwall was known mostly as a hitter, but he showed after Nicklas Lidstrom retired last season that he’s an all-around defenseman. The Red Wings were tightfisted with goaltenders before signing Jimmy Howard to a big contract.
Between the lines: Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller and Darren Helm are underrated players who play both ends of the rink. They may be under-appreciated in certain places but not in Detroit.
Final score: They’re a notch below Stanley Cup contenders, but this is a balanced team that can make a run if enough comes together.
And finally, while we're doing lists and previews, Expressen's Gunnar Nordstrom offered his list of the top 10 Swedes in the NHL, and two of 'em are Wings players:
3 Henrik Zetterberg: Center, Detroit Red Wings. Linchpin of the Swedish team Detroit. Sovereign over the ice, plus great charisma.
8. Niklas Kronwall: Defense, Detroit Red Wings. Has grown into a #1 defenseman since Lidstrom retired. Good leadership skills.
***I keep harping on it, but I'm going to be missing the Coyotes game itself and the entire day of the Flyers game because my friend Mark's wedding rehearsal dinner is on Thursday the 10th, and his wedding's on Saturday the 12th. I'm severely annoyed regarding the timing as I'll end up missing games 4 and 5 of the season, despite working my tail off to work on my physical and mental health...But hey, friend since 14 >>>>>> hockey 11 times out of 10.
Update: Good Tweet to read after two exhibition games:
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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.