The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/01/13 at 04:34 AM ET
Update: Wish TMR reader Kevin good luck on his proposal to his girlfriend today, and...
Beware, Wings fans, auto-play clips lurk within:
After more "rumblings" and "insider" talk than anything else at the draft (the Wings' 18-for-20-and-58 swap was more indicative of the day's events than any other trade), I'm not thrilled starting this overnight report discussing the Red Wings' courtship of one marquee cap compliance buy-out player and their own unrestricted free agents-to-be instead of talking about the Wings' own 8-player draft haul, but you're probably more interested in Vincent Lecavalier than you are in Hampus Lindholm, so let's get the Le-cav-al-scoop from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun...
The Vincent Lecavalier courtship continued Sunday with the UFA center meeting with Detroit and Calgary, a day after meeting with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto, Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues and Boston. Three other clubs called after the fact Sunday to express their interest, putting the list at a dozen teams. This was not the original plan. The Lecavalier camp, led by agent Kent Hughes, had hoped to dwindle the list down by Sunday afternoon. That’s still going to happen, but over the next few days instead. The asking price continues to evolve. It’s going to take $4-5 million a season and 4-6 years to get Lecavalier to sign with you. The longtime Tampa Bay Lightning star went back home Sunday and digested all the information he took in, hoping to start making decisions on which teams are front-runners. The Habs, by the way, had owner Geoff Molson, GM Marc Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien in their meeting with the hometown boy.
And Ken Holland's take on the process fro the Free Press's Helene St. James:
The Wings are among about a dozen NHL teams who think Lecavalier would be a good addition, which will lead to eager bidding for his services. Holland described his meeting with Lecavalier as a sort of “feeling out” situation.
“I talked to him about our organization, where he’d fit in,” Holland told the Free Press. “If he's interested in us, we’ll talk later.”
Lecavalier, 34, became an unrestricted free agent last week, when he was bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Wings like his hands and leadership, though there are concerns about his pace. Still, he’s an intriguing possibility as a second-line center.
The stumbling block for the Wings is likely going to come down to terms. The buzz in hockey circles is that Lecavalier wants five or six years; the Wings aren’t likely to top two. Another team, like the Calgary Flames, who also met with Lecavalier, are likely to give him whatever he wants. So then it’s up to Lecavalier. Several others teams are in play, too: Montreal, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Dallas, Toronto, Washington and Boston.
With Sunday’s focus on the draft, talks with unrestricted free agents will heat up today. Players cannot sign until Friday. The Wings remain in talks with all three of their unrestricted free agents — Damien Brunner, Daniel Cleary and Valtteri Filppula — but all appear to want to listen to offers from other teams.
The Wings have most of their pieces in place. A top-six forward tops their wanted list, but that holds true for half the league. Holland reiterated that, “I'm not signing somebody just to have something to talk about. We’re not looking to make lateral moves. We’re not looking for one-year fixers.”
The players who are still Wings property until the 5th can now begin to speak to other teams under the new CBA's "wining and dining" period, so Brunner, Cleary and Filppula's agents will be able to gauge market interest before coming back to the Wings.
Thus, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan reported that the trio of unrestricted free agents-to-be (the Wings also have to re-sign RFA's Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson; the team will probably let RFA's Tom McCollum and Brent Raedeke walk by not submitting qualifying offers) didn't feel like signing deals--though it was somewhat surprising that Holland chose to hang on to Filppula's rights for four more days:
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland met with the agents for potential unrestricted free-agent forwards Damien Brunner, Valtteri Filppula and Daniel Cleary over the weekend, but progress on new deals was slow.
All three can become unrestricted free agents on July 5.
There was speculation leading into the weekend the Red Wings would trade Filppula’s rights, but that didn’t happen.
Holland will deal with the logjam of forwards this week. When restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson ultimately sign, the Red Wings will have 14 forwards — not counting the above three.
The Red Wings could alleviate the logjam with a buyout in the next few days, candidates being Jordin Tootooo Mikael Samuelsson.
Holland was blunt about what his plans are going forward when he spoke with MLive's Ansar Khan:
"Our goaltending is set, our defense is set,Holland said. "If we can get a top 2-3 defenseman, we'll look at it. They're hard to find. We got 14 forwards signed (they will after signing restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson). Some of them are kids. We have a move or two left over the next week or 10 days.''
Holland hasn't decided if he'll use a compliance buyout. The deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday, but a player who is bought out must be placed on waivers by noon Wednesday.
"I'm not even sure what we're doing (with buyouts),'' Holland said. "We got until Wednesday or Thursday to make some decisions.
"I talked to, if not all the teams, 25-26 teams yesterday or Friday. Probably lots of teams are like I am, they're not sure (about buyouts). There's lots of talk, but I can't tell you I sense anything's really happening. There might be something happening with a team or two or three.''
Holland said he continues talking with the agents for unrestricted forwards Daniel Cleary, Damien Brunner and Filppula, but nothing is imminent.
"I talked to them all just know or yesterday,'' he said. "We're going to continue to stay in touch.''
Holland was equally blunt while speaking with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
Centers Stephen Weiss, Matt Cullen and Patrik Elias could also garner some interest from Detroit along with wingers Jarome Iginla, David Clarkson and Nathan Horton.
There is also a chance the Wings could decide to use one or two of their allotted contract buyouts, but would need to do so by July 3 since that player or players has to go on waivers.
“I’m not even sure what we’re doing. We’re going to get through today. We’ll wake up tomorrow. I’m going to go home,” Holland said. “We’ve got until Wednesday or Thursday to make some decisions. I’ve talked to, if not all the teams, 25-26 teams yesterday or Friday. Probably lots of teams are like I am, they’re not sure what to make. There’s lots of talk but I can’t tell you I sense anything’s really happening. There might be something happening with a team or two or three.”
Teams are permitted two amnesty buyouts that can be used this summer or next summer. They would be able to buyout a player at two-thirds of their remaining value of the contract and not have any of the salary count against the salary cap.
And, otherwise, we'll have to leave chit-chat regarding the changes to come to Sportsworks' Pat Caputo and Terry Foster:
In terms of the Wings' draft haul, even WXYZ took note of Detroit's machinations...
And Anthony Mantha, the Wings' 20th overall pick--and I put a ton of work into the linked-to blog entry, so please give it a look--is the kind of player the Wings have been looking for at the NHL level in a big goal-scoring forward.
As the Windsor Star's Bob Duff suggests, the Wings were comfortable moving down in the draft (reportedly after Dallas took Valeri Nichushkin and Ottawa snagged Curtis Lazar) because they knew Mantha would be available and would be an attractive commodity:
“Obviously, it’s going to be a few years from now, but we’re real excited to get him where we picked him,” Detroit head scout Joe McDonnell said of Mantha, the 6-4, 190-pound forward from the QMJHL’s Val d’Or Foreurs they tabbed with the 20th pick of Sunday’s NHL entry draft.
Mantha’s 50-39-89 totals in 67 games this season placed him in a tie for second in goals scored among CHL players.
“It’s an offensive game,” Mantha said of his style of play. “Scoring goals and being on the power play are my assets.”
While he doesn’t play a physical game, Mantha still displays a nose for the net.
“His skill level is real good,” McDonnell said. “He’s got a great shot and he just seems to find the open ice in the offensive end. He just seems to find a way to hit the net. And with his size to go along with those things, he was a real intriguing package for us.”
“He was a guy we had targeted a lot higher, so we lucked out on that for sure,” McDonnell said. “We had it narrowed down to three names and would have been ecstatic with any of the three names. As soon as we got to the point where we knew we were going to get one of them, in was a no-brainer (to trade down). And then we ended up getting the guy we really wanted in the end.”
Mantha scores and scores regularly, and, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose notes, he's the grandson of former Wing Andre Pronovost, but that wasn't the reason the Wings picked him:
“He’s just one of those guys that seems to find a way to hit the net, find a way to sneak to the goalies,” McDonnell said. “His accuracy is excellent.”
Mantha agreed, saying, “I think it’s really the precision that I put into my shot. It’s not necessarily the force that you put, but more of the precision.”
It was no secret that the Wings coveted a trade that would have them move down and add depth to the system. Since 2000, Detroit has gone without a first-round pick in eight years, including 2009, 2011 and 2012. Heading into Sunday’s first-round, the Red Wings’ philosophy was to land a big, physical forward, and the selection of Mantha, who is 6-foot-4 and 190-pounds, certainly appears to give them that big offensive force that can provide long-term health of the franchise.
“His skill level is real good,” McDonnell said. “He's got a great shot and he just seems to find the open ice in the offensive end. And with his size to go along with those things it was a real intriguing package for us.”
Detroit’s new era began to reveal itself last season when high-end prospects Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Brenden Smith putting their stamps on the team’s roster. Since 2007, the franchise has accumulated young talent through the draft that has put players like Martin Frk, Calle Jarnkrok, Tomas Jurco, Petr Mrazek, Xavier Ouellet, Riley Sheahan, Ryan Sproul, Tomas Tatar in the pipeline. Now here comes Mantha, the grandson of a former NHLer. Pronovost played 556 games for Montreal, Boston, Detroit and Minnesota between the 1956-57 and 1967-68 seasons.
“It’s really an honor,” said the 18-year-old Mantha. “Words really can’t come, but it’s just being there and showing them what I’m able to do. It’s just something that’s great for me.”
Mantha, of Longueuil, Quebec, isn’t short on confidence, and believes that he will be ready to compete for a roster spot with the Red Wings in the fall.
“My approach is really to make the big team next year, if not, in the next two years,” Mantha said. “I will show them everything that I can to be there without having to go to the minors.”
MLive's Ansar Khan says that Mantha was more or less told that the Wings would snag him at the draft combine...
When Anthony Mantha was at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto this month, someone from the Detroit Red Wings shook his hand and told him, "€œI'€™ll go get you.''
And they did. As Khan notes, Mantha's a "late birthdate"--he was born on September 16th, 1994, in a draft full of players born in 1995, so the Wings will have to sign him within the next eleven months, and he will play only one more season with the Val-d'Or Foreurs--but the Wings aren't so sure that he's going to make the team right out of training camp:
"€œMy approach is really to make the big team next year, if not, in the next two years,'' Mantha said. "€œI will show them everything that I can to be there without having to go to the minors. I'll show everyone, every team, and the Red Wings, that they did not take the wrong guy.''
That kind of determination and self-confidence is good, McDonnell said.
"They might not say it, but most kids think that,'' McDonnell said. "€œThey think, 'I've got a real chance to make an NHL team,' and that should be their goal. They have to come in with lofty expectations. Deep down they probably know it's going to be tough, but it's good to say that.''
Mantha, like most draft picks, needs to bulk up.
"€œLike all these kids that are (drafted) today, there's not many that are real men yet,'' McDonnell said. "€œHe's on the skinny side right now, but we'll see his work ethic. He'll get bigger eventually.''
Mantha hopes to play with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg one day.
"They'€™re two great players. I love both of their styles of play,'' Mantha said. "€œIt will be an honor just to be around them and I'm pretty sure I'€™m going to learn by (watching) them.''
The Red Wings posted both a photo gallery of Mantha and a "behind the scenes" video of Mantha's post-being-drafted activities...
As well as ye olde walk-up:
The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a video of Mantha, too:
If you speak French, here's RDS's coverage of Mantha being picked, interview included:
And going into a division with Montreal, I will readily admit that I WILL NEED Y'ALL'S HILFE as my French is non-existent.
German? Studied it for seven years, off-and-on. Swedish? It's similar. Translated Russian? No problem. Translated Czech and Slovak? I can give you the highlights. Translated Finnish is...Still Finnish.
My mouth doesn't make those sounds, and that's why I picked German in high school to begin with (that, and it turns out that the mom's best pal growing up was from a German Jewish family, so I was saying, "Machen die Hosen zu" and "Gute Nacht" before I knew what German was).
Jedenfalls, die Red Wings haben sieben andere Spieler ausgewählt, aber sie haben von der erste Runde meistens seinen Noten bekommen (anyway, the Red Wings picked seven other players, but they received most of their "grade" from the first round), and the "experts" focused on the Wings' first round pick for the vast majority of that grade.
The Sporting News sizes up Mantha as follows...
20. Detroit Red Wings (from San Jose Sharks): Anthony Mantha, winger: Mantha scored 50 goals in the QMJHL, which earned him comparisons to James Neal. He's certainly got the size at 6-3 1/2, and Bob McKenzie called him an "off-the-chart" shooter on the TV broadcast. Detroit needs young offensive prospects, and Mantha fits the bill.
ESPN's Grant Sonier and Dave Starman offered this take on Mantha:
20. Anthony Mantha Detroit Red Wings (from SJS)
TEAM: Val d'Or (QMJHL) HT: 6-4 WT: 205 POS: LW
Pick analysis: Mantha is a 6-4 scoring machine, netting 50 this past year in the QMJHL. He has an excellent release to his shot and has the understanding of how to get open and find lanes in the offensive zone. He will need to grow up and form a more consistent overall game. In time I believe he will overcome those shortcomings. His overall hockey sense is excellent and the potential to score in the NHL is high. -- Sonier
Team analysis: Confidence in his puck skills and skating serve him well. He is definitely a playmaker. Physical play and his compete level were a concern. However, give him three years in Detroit's system and he'll be exactly what they want. -- Starman
TSN offered a quip from the aforementioned Bob McKenzie...
20. Detroit Red Wings - Anthony Mantha
2012-13 Team: Val d'Or League: QMJHL
Position: Left Wing Vitals: 6'4 /190 lbs
"He got high marks from scouts for his hockey sense. He’s an off-the-charts shooter. His 50 goals with Val d’Or this season is certainly evidence of that." - Bob McKenzie
SI's Allan Muir weighed in favorably...
20 Anthony Mantha
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE:The Wings aren't exactly regulars in the first round -- they've had just five such picks since 2000 - -but the decisions that have paid off (Niklas Kronwall, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith) have all been defensemen. Mantha is a different kind of beast, a 6-4, 190-pound winger who is all offense. He has a chance to fill a clear need for a sniper in Detroit's top six. He led the Q with 50 goals last season, displaying a knack for finding space and a sweet set of mitts. There's concern, though, that he plays too much of a perimeter game and that he's yet to familiarize himself with his own end of the ice, but those issues can be addressed over time. And the Wings are an organization that doesn't mind slow roasting its prospects.
Pick acquired with No. 58 via trade with San Jose for No. 18 in 2013
But the Red Line Report's Kyle Woodlief clearly dislikes Mantha, because his first-round analysis for USA Today yielded a harsh assessment...
20. Detroit Red Wings (from Sharks in swap of picks): LW Anthony Mantha (Val d'Or/QMJHL). Absolutely lethal on the PP and has excellent instincts in the offensive zone. Uses his wide body to gain and hold position around the slot and angle defenders away from the puck. Quite agile and light on his feet for a big man. Outstanding shooter with super soft hands. But honestly, does this guy even have a pulse? Plays with absolutely zero fire or passion.
And Sportsline's Chris Peters gives the Wings a "B+" overall draft grade on the strength of Mantha:
Pick 20 Anthony Mantha Detroit Red Wings: B+
The Red Wings did well to get a high-end goal scorer at No. 20, while also collecting a second-rounder from San Jose. Mantha scored 50 goals in the QMJHL last year and is 6-foot-4. I've heard some doubts about his overall upside and if the scoring will translate at the NHL level, but that type of production is worth taking a chance on, especially at this range.
The Red Wings didn't promote their draft blog very much, but for what it's worth, here's their blurb on Mantha...
The Red Wings selected Anthony Mantha with the 20th pick.
Anthony Mantha is a 6'4 lefty shot, he plays forward in the QMJHL, and scored 50 goals for Val D'Or last year. He skates well, has soft hands, and an absolute cannon of a shot. He was the only fifty-goal scorer in this draft and he's 18 years old.
And we're going to get this straight right now. You need to bookmark RedWingsCentral's player-by-player analysis of the Wings' draft haul and go back to it.
But I can't quote all of it, so we're going to go with their player profile of Mantha, and I'll let you read their master take on your own:
STRENGTHS: His bullet shot and lightning-fast release makes him a pure goal-scorer … Pinpoint accuracy … Extremely smart in terms of his positioning and his ability to get into the right place at the right time … Extremely dangerous on the power play … Excellent skater … Soft hands and impressive reach make him very difficult to handle defensively … Compared by TSN scout and former NHL general manager Craig Button to NHL 40-goal scorer James Neal … Takes criticism well and is eager to learn and improve.
WEAKNESSES:Knocked (sometimes in very harsh manners) in pre-draft scouting reports for lacking consistency and intensity … Game is weighted toward offense and it will need to become more well-rounded as he moves up the ranks … Not physical despite his sizeable 6-foot-4 frame … Top line goal-scorer or bust.
PROJECTION: The Red Wings went for a home run with Mantha, who is blessed with tremendous size and hands and was one of the most prolific goal-scorers available in the entire 2013 draft. There’s no question Mantha can score goals in junior and he projects as a top-line NHLer, but he’ll spend the 2013-14 campaign in the QMJHL improving his all-around game and shaking off knocks on his intensity level and competitiveness. As a late birthdate, he’ll be eligible to play in the AHL in 2014-15.
The Wings' first second round pick, Zach Nastasiuk, got short-shrifted because of the Wings' second second-round pick, but the Free Press's Helene St. James took note of the 6'1," 190-pound winger's presence...
“Once he gets going, he’s good,” McDonnell said of Nastasiuk, “but his first few strides are something that needs work. But I think the nice thing about him is, he’s a real quality kid that’s wiling to put in the work to get better. He had a real good tournament in April over in Russia for Team Canada, and was one of their best penalty killers. He’s another good-size kid.”
Nastasiuk said he was thrilled, “to join an organization like the Red Wings, with so much history.” A two-way forward, he described his strengths as being willing to work hard and “coming to the rink every day with focus.”
Both Mantha and Nastasiuk will be back with their junior teams next season. Come the following fall, in 2014, Mantha is pegged to make his debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Maybe at that time he’ll push for a spot in Detroit. He’s got the size and the skill, mixed with some good family genes, to make it happen.
Nastasiuk put things simply while speaking with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...
Nastasiuk, who’s 6-1, 190 pounds, had 20 goals and 20 assists last season in 62 games and was a plus-21. He was a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2013 Under-18 World Championship.
“I’m a two-way forward,” Nastasiuk said. “I take pride in my defense. I chip pucks in, chip pucks out, keep it simple out there, out-battle against the guy I’m out there up against. I come into the rink every day with a purpose.”
RedWingsCentral weighs in as follows...
STRENGTHS: A versatile two-way forward who can play both center and right wing … Aggressive on the forecheck and not shy about playing a physical game … Flashes offensive talent that has yet to be reflected in his statistics but that could make him more of a power forward than a role player … Has athletic genes, as his dad, Paul, played professional football as a running back in the CFL.
WEAKNESSES: Much debate surrounds his offensive potential, so it’s not clear yet if he’ll emerge as a scoring-line prospect or be more of a support, role-playing type … Skating could improve.
PROJECTION: Nastasiuk made a huge developmental leap during his draft year, getting significantly better late in the season in the OHL playoffs before winning gold with Canada at the IIHF world U-18 championship. His made a huge leap in Central Scouting’s rankings, going from 33rd at mid-season to No. 13 at season’s end. The Red Wings hope they’ve landed a hard-nosed two-way forward who could surprise offensively. He’ll spend the next two seasons in the OHL working toward a contract.
The Wings offered this blurb...
UPDATE: With the 48th pick in the draft, the Red Wings selected Zach Nastasiuk from Owen Sound.
Zach Nastasiuk has been called a very well-rounded forward. He's a team-first player who blocks shots, is great defensively, and is skilled.
Zach and his father, Paul--a former Canadian Football League player and Grey Cup winner--spoke to TSN's James Duthie after he was picked...
And St. James posted an interview with Nastasiuk, too...
And We All Bleed Red on YouTube posted the walk-up:
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan also took note of Nastasiuk's athletic bloodlines:
Nastasiuk’s father Paul, won the 1991 Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and holds the league record for most special team tackles in a playoff game, with five.
His mother, Sue, played basketball at Laurier University, and older sister, Samantha, plays for the Western (Ont.) Mustangs women’s hockey team.
“A real good character guy, comes from an athletic family,” McDonnell said. “He just needs some more time to develop.”
We need to lean on We All Bleed Red for the Wings' second second-round pick, because it floored everybody:
UPDATE: With the 58th pick, the Red Wings selected Tyler Bertuzzi from Guelph Storm.
Tyler Bertuzzi's a hard-nosed competitive kid who plays in-your-face hockey. He's very aggressive and is willing to play in the hard areas. The young Bertuzzi has good skill and good character. He also got better as the past year went on. He is the nephew of current Red Wing Todd Bertuzzi.
The Macomb Daily's Pleiness took note of the surprising pick...
Left wing Tyler Bertuzzi, from Guelph of the OHL, was taken with the 58th overall pick in the second round.
Bertuzzi, whose uncle is Detroit’s Todd Bertuzzi, finished ranked 207th by NHL Central Scouting and had 13 goals and nine assists in 43 games last season.
“I think he’ a bit of a rat,” McDonnell said. “He’s an Andrew Shaw kind of guy in Chicago and he’s real hard to play against. He’s just a real hard guy to play against and I think we really wanted him in the organization and he fits the role, and I think Todd’s really excited.”
Bertuzzi was a classic “reach” at the other second-round spot. Bertuzzi was ranked the 207th ranked North American skater according to Central Scouting - yet the Red Wings selected Bertuzzi at No. 57 overall.
At 6-foot, 176-pounds, Bertuzzi doesn’t have the size of his uncle but plays with a similar grit.
“He’s a rat, the type of player teams need,” McDonnell said. “He’s real good at what he does. He’s an agitator, good skater. He’s getting bigger (physically) and he’s going to be a player.”
Bertuzzi had 13 goals and nine assists in 43 games with Guelph (OHL) with 68 penalty minutes. Bertuzzi loves to fight and get under opponents’ skin, but needs to get physically stronger.
The best description I received of Bertuzzi, based upon his Hockeyfights.com fight card, is that, "He lost every one," but RedWingsCentral's prospect profile offered the perfect summation of his skills...
SCOUT COMMENTS: “He makes (Chicago Blackhawks winger) Andrew Shaw look like a Lady Byng winner. He’s a really aggravating guy to play against and has a really good feel for the game. He’s an agitating presence but also can make plays and is all over the place. He’s not the biggest guy in the world … but in terms of getting in people’s faces, being aggravating, making plays and being around the net, he’s an effective player.” — TSN analyst Bob McKenzie (June 2013).
And the Free Press's St. James did the smart thing when the Wings picked him--she called Uncle Todd:
One Tyler Bertuzzi had just been snapped up by the Red Wings in the second round of the 2013 NHL draft at Prudential Center. Tyler is the son of Todd Bertuzzi's sister, Angela, a left wing who plays for Guelph in the Ontario Hockey League. Tyler was projected to go somewhere in round three at the earliest, so when he went as early as he did, and to Todd Bertuzzi's team, one or two beers were raised in celebration during Bertuzzi's party in Kitchener, Ontario.
“None of us expected it,” Bertuzzi said. “We’re so excited. Detroit is getting a good kid. He’s a fearless little bugger.”
Joe McDonnell, Detroit’s director of amateur scouting, compared Tyler to Chicago’s Andrew Shaw, saying of Tyler that, “he’s a bit of a rat. He’s real hard to play against. He had some injuries sort of early and midseason, and I think that a lot of teams, I don't know if they really paid any attention to him later. He really took off near the end of the year. He’s just a real hard guy to play against, and that's something we really wanted in the organization.”
Tyler and Todd Bertuzzi could be skating together come September’s training camp, as young draft picks usually overlap a few days into the main team’s scrimmages. "I'm hoping so," Bertuzzi said. "That'd be pretty cool — a big, old one and little, young one."
Bertuzzi is cognizant, though, that his name has come up in compliance buyout chatter. If that happens, it'd be this coming week. He's 38, and coming off a season that saw him sidelined from early February on by back and leg pain. He came back to play briefly in the playoffs, and said he's now training and skating.
He hasn't heard from general manager Ken Holland, but, "I'm not young, I understand everything, I understand it's a business," Bertuzzi said. "But if does happen, it would break my heart."
I hope they keep him. Size and snarl, even if it's only occasionally applied, are very necessary in whatever the hell they're going to call "Division C," and I'd rather have somebody who could put in 10-15 goals and 35 points--who's also idolized by the Wings' younger players--over a Samuelsson or perhaps even Tootoo at this point.
As for Bertuzzi's hometown newspaper? The Sudbury Star's Ben Leeson let out a "fangirl squee":
Tyler Bertuzzi continues to follow in his uncle's footsteps.
Two years after the Sudbury native was drafted by Todd Bertuzzi's old junior team, the Guelph Storm, the gritty forward was selected by his uncle's current NHL team, the Detroit Red Wings, in the second round of NHL Entry Draft on Sunday.
The 18-year-old left-winger was plucked with the 58th-overall pick, much higher than many draft-watchers and scouts had him ranked.
Look full story, with reaction from Bertuzzi, in Tuesday's print and digital editions and online at http://www.thesudburystar.com.
From there, things get a little murkier. The Wings picked center Mattias Janmark-Nylen with the 79th overall pick, they nabbed left-winger David Pope 109th overall, defenseman Mitchell Wheaton 139th overall, defenseman Marc McNulty 169th overall, and they wrapped up their draft by picking skinny-as-a-twig Hampus Melen 199th overall.
This video of Wheaton fighting McNutly made the rounds after the pair were picked...
And you'll have to forgive this tired blogger for sort of glomping the rest of the prospects together.
The Red Wings draft blog's summations read as follows...
UPDATE: The Red Wings picked Swedish center Mattias Janmark-nylen with the 79th overall pick.
Janmark-nylen, 20, appeared in 55 games for AIK in the Swedish Elite League, collecting 14 goals, 17 assists and 32 penalty minutes. He's a 6'1 lefty shot.
UPDATE: With the 109th pick, the Red Wings select David Pope from the BC Junior League.
Pope is a 6'2, lefty shot who plays left wing. He scored 17 goals & 39 points in 42 games last year. Very smart, good instincts and has a good first pass.
UPDATE: The Red Wings selected Mitch Wheaton from WHL with the 139th pick.
Wheaton is a 6'5 defenseman, a lefty shot, plays big, and had 8 points last year in 39 games for the Kelowna Rockets.
UPDATE: With the 169th pick, the Red Wings selected Marc McNulty.
Marc is a 6'6 D-Man; big body but still raw. He scored 8 goals and had 15 points in 52 games last year for the Prince George Cougars, but was a -18. He is a project, but has potential with his size and reach.
UPDATE: With the 199th pick, the Red Wings selected Hampus Melen from Sweden.
Melen seems to be a Hakan Andersson late-round pick. He's a 6'2 winger with good numbers (40 points last season) but is built like a young man (137 lbs). He's a Swede who will likely play in the SuperElite league next season after moving up for just five games from the 18U league.
The Free Press's St. James offered a slate insights...
FORWARD, HO: The Wings went with one forward after another at the draft, selecting center Mattias Janmark-Nylen in the third round and left wing David Pope in round four. McDonnell said that, "we were sort of looking, too - there was a defenseman that we had real high, and we got sort of shut out, I think on our second pick - we thought we had a guy who was a defenseman, it didn't happen to work out. But we weren't overly disappointed with Zach Nastasiuk." The Wings took Nastasiuk 48th overall, after using the 20th selection on Anthony Mantha. Jeff Finley, Detroit's Western Canada scout, said Pope needs to get stronger, but "we see him as a third-line type of guy. He's got some good skill."
Hakan Andersson, the Wings' European scout, said he likes Janmark, "for his hands, his speed. He's got potential." The Wings picked up right wing Hampus Melen in the seventh round. "He needs to fill out, strength-wise," Andersson said, "but he has good hockey sense, good hands."
BIG D: The Wings are well-stocked with defensemen in their systems, and added a couple big in the later rounds Sunday. Mitchell Wheaton, 6-foot-4, was selected in the fifth round, while Marc McNulty is already, at 18, listed as 6-foot-6. Wheaton, Finley said, needs to improve his mobility. "Moves the puck very well, has great hockey sense, smart player for a big guy." Finley said McNulty "has a big long reach, has real good feet and real good hands for a guy that size."
St. James penned a bit more in a "Meet the Red Wings' Draft Picks" article...
C Mattias Janmark-Nylen
Overview: Was leading scorer in 2011-12, got promoted to men's league and he was second-best scorer, played on national team as a 20-year-old. Hakan Andersson said Janmark has a little of Patrik Berglund in him, but more tenacious.
LW David Pope
Overview: Big, tall lanky winger, got an NHL shot and release. Can play any forward position. Biggest weakness is he needs to get much stronger.
Ditto for the Detroit News's Kulfan...
Last season: Kelowna (WHL), 39 games, 1 goal, 7 assists, 27 penalty minutes.
Scouting report: A shoulder injury shortened Wheaton’s season but he returned in time for the playoffs …A project with great size, Wheaton is a defensive defenseman with good hockey sense.
Last season: Prince George (WHL), 52 games, 8 goals, 7 assists, 70 penalty minutes.
Scouting report: Needs to get stronger but has outstanding size, a long reach, and is a good skater…The knock has been his inconsistency, which needs to be worked on.
Last season: Tingsryd Jr. (Sweden Jr.), 5 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 2 penalty minutes.
Scouting report: Skill player who played in Swedish junior league…Classic Red Wings pick in that he’s a no-risk prospect, will be given plenty of time to develop and get stronger, and see if he pans out in a few years.
And RedWingsCentral's master draft page doesn't have profiles up for any of the five final picks, so you'll have to meander over to RWC to read its initial takes.
The Prince George Citizen took note of McNulty's status...
McNulty, an 18-year-old from Medicine Hat tallied 15 points (eight goals) in 52 games for the Cougars last season. The six-foot-six defender also had 70 penalty minutes. McNulty was selected by the Cougars in the 10th round of the 2010 WHL bantam draft. He's the first Cougars player to be drafted by the Red Wings. McNulty was listed by Central Scouting at 105th.
As did HQ Prince George's Hartley Miller...
--The 1995-born McNulty (6’6”, 189 pounds) led all Cougars defencemen with eight goals. He added seven assists for 15 points in 52 games, to go along with 70 penalty minutes. McNulty, who ranked 105th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, is the first PG Cougar player to ever be selected by Detroit.
NHL.com's Adam Kimelman took note of the Wings picks' familial connections...
Elias Lindholm, taken No. 5 by the Carolina Hurricanes, is the son of Mikael Lindholm, a 1987 draft pick of the Kings who played 18 NHL games with L.A. during the 1989-90 season but spent most of his professional career playing in Europe. His cousin, Detroit prospect Calle Jarnkrok, was taken No. 51 in the 2010 draft.
In addition, Anthony Mantha, Detroit's pick at No. 20, is the grandson of Andre Pronovost, who was part of four straight Stanley Cup championships (1957-60) with the Montreal Canadiens. Pronovost played 556 games for Montreal, Boston, Detroit and Minnesota from 1956-57 to 1967-68.
"There's no words to describe those moments," Mantha told NHL.com. "It's really the moments that he reminds himself of the most and he tells his sons and grandchildren."
Mantha said occasionally his grandfather would bring his championship rings out, but said he never tried them on.
"Never wore it," he said. "I hope I'll get my own in the next few years."
There were a few family reunions made possible by the draft. Guelph Storm left wing Tyler Bertuzzi, taken by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round, has a chance to be part of the same organization that employs his uncle, Todd Bertuzzi -- a first-round pick by the New York Islanders 20 years ago.
And I'll let the prospects themselves tell you how they feel:
Hampus Melen is also on Twitter (changed his handle to @Hmelen17 from @mongomelle), the Production Line has a handy-dandy Twitter handle guide up...
And this is "taking us out" to the bigger picture:
The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa looked at the draft from a wider perspective, noting that the Wings will attempt to get bigger and stronger without being able to bid on Bryan Bickell, who re-signed with Chicago, possibly without Nathan Horton, who's reportedly looking for $5.5-6 million a season despite owning a wonky shoulder that will require surgical repair, and probably without Vincent Lecavalier, who will DEFINITELY find SOMEone willing to pay him $5-5.5 million for 5 years at 34 (we'll find out whether a player who's set for life wants to win, wants to "play in a fishbowl" in Toronto or Montreal, or just wants to get wealthy in short order--and my bet is on the bucks).
What should Wings fans think given that it's unlikely that one, never mind both, of Horton or Lecavalier will pick the Wings, and given that the Wings probably don't want to pay whatever outrageous price the Canucks are asking for Alex Edler (if you recall, the Wings wanted to snag him with the pick they used on Johan Franzen, but the Nucks caught wind of Edler and surprised the Wings--and yes, Franzen still would have been there had the Wings used the 97th overall pick in 2004 on Edler)?
Here's Krupa's take, with a strong emphasis on "Mantha could be a home-grown Shanahan" optimism:
What does it mean about now? It means the Wings will continue to amass young talent to restock both the Calder Cup-winning Grand Rapids Griffins and their own increasingly youthful, surprisingly-successful roster in Detroit. And when they have enough pieces in place to pull the trigger on some moves for free agents that will suddenly and markedly increase their chances of winning the Stanley Cup, they will do it.
But, until then, Junes and Julys are more about youth and development for the Red Wings. While that makes thing less exciting, it also seems like the shrewd strategy. While it is less than 50-50, perhaps considerably so, that they will sign a big-name unrestricted free agent this month, they were picking up what they needed for the more distant future by drafting large, goal-scoring forwards.
It has been a need for a few seasons that was underlined again this year, when goals were at a premium for the Red Wings, especially in postseason.
Mantha is the highest forward selected in the draft by the Wings since Martin Lapointe, when that sizeable shooter was selected 10th in 1991. They also selected 6-1, 190-pound Zach Nastasiuk, a goal-scoring forward, with the 48th pick, and Tyler Bertuzzi, Todd’s nephew, a 6-foot, 178-pound goal-scoring forward, at 59th. Both Nastasiuk and Bertuzzi, who is less sizeable than his uncle but shares some of his tenacious, physical instincts, were selected in the second round.
The trio are unlikely to play anytime soon. But as the Red Wings continue to retool, as they continue to add youth and size to the lineup, they may be important acquisitions to be heard from in the years to come.
Meanwhile, Holland and Babcock are undoubtedly interested in kicking a lot of tires in free agency this month. There are more players than just Lecavalier and Horton still available.
But after re-signing defenseman Jakub Kindl and penalty-killing forward Drew Miller this week and drafting the trio of goal-scoring forwards, the Wings undoubtedly believe they already have had the sort of success this offseason that is consistent with how they intend to restructure a perennial Stanley Cup contender: with draft choices and with players they develop in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Toledo, to be topped-off, eventually, with some key free-agent acquisitions or trades.
Something big might yet develop for them in the summer of 2013 along those two paths. Even if it does not, however, their current plans are proceeding apace.
Long story long, for another couple of weeks, we have to cross our fingers and hope, and that ain't fun, but we get to do so with 8 new members of the Red Wings' family of prospects to get to know, which makes coping with the insanity that is the lead-up to unrestricted free agency a little more bearable.
And finally, I'm going to be laying low today (recharging after yet another 14 hours of work over a 24 hour period), but am about to put in my hotel reservation for Traverse City, and the prices are just jaw-dropping, even in my budget-friendly locale...So I'm keeping the Paypal button up for a couple more days:
I would like to attend the Red Wings' summer development camp from July 9-16 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.