The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/18/13 at 03:11 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings' summer development camp's ended, but prospect profiles continue to roll out (which ain't a bad thing). The Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindneau penned an article discussing one of the Wings' top prospects in one Ryan Sproul, who's more than ready to turn pro after an absolutely dominant season with the Ontario Hockey League's Soo Greyounds:
“It’s just another step up from the OHL,” he said of his time with the Griffins. “I played in two games of the regular season and then I was with them for some of the playoffs. The experience was great and it should help me coming into this year.”
Having spent the past week in Traverse City, MI at the Red Wings development camp, Sproul is focused on getting ready for the upcoming season – his first as a pro. In addition to adding muscle to his frame the past two years, the big defenseman is hoping to show he can bring more to the ice than just offense.
”I am working on trying to be versatile,” Sproul said. ”I want to make sure the coaches can put me on the ice in any situation. I want to be accountable, but I also want to play my offensive game.”
He will be one of five rookie defensemen (the others include Alexei Marchenko, Nick Jensen, Xavier Ouellet, and Richard Nedomlel) competing for a limited number of AHL roster spots this fall. The ultra competitive Sproul is excited about then the defensive competition expected in training camp.
“It’s competition between all of us,” he said “We are all good buddies and as much as it is competition, we are going to push each other the best we can. I am looking forward to it.”
She continues and discusses Sproul's participation at last summer's Canadian World Junior selection camp and his OHL accolades...
And the Detroit Free Press's George Sipple penned a profile of the goaltender with the last name Paterson and/or Patterson and/or Patersson and/or Pattersson who displayed impressive from during the Wings' summer development.
The London Knights' Jake PaTTerson didn't exactly dazzle in the crease, but Wings draft pick and Saginaw Spirit goaltender Jake Paterson looked incredibly good until the last day, when he revealed that he's actually human.
The Free Press's George Sipple spoke not with Paterson, but the person who's helping mold Paterson into a professional goaltender in Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard:
Paterson didn’t give up a goal during his time on the ice during a scrimmage with other prospects last week. Wings goaltending coach Jim Bedard said he liked the “level of confidence” that Paterson showed.
Paterson (6-feet-1, 183 pounds) was 25-18-5 with a 3.53 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage in 50 games last season for the Spirit. The Ontario native served as the No. 3 goaltender for Canada in the world junior tournament in Ufa, Russia. He was invited back for the 2013-14 selection camp to be held Aug. 4-10 in Brossard, Quebec, and Lake Placid, N.Y.
“I just think Jake’s got this level of maturity and we’ve worked a lot on his skating also,” Bedard said. “He’s positionally sound. I’d like to see him play out a little bit more and use the fact that he’s such a good skater and play bigger.
“Overall, I’m really thrilled with his progress. I really like his attitude and the way he looks at the game. He doesn’t get all bent out of shape. He’s focused and competes, but at the same time he doesn’t dig himself into the ground by being too intense.”
The hardest part of interviewing Paterson was...Well, getting an intriguing quote out of him. Jared Coreau's an enthusiastic fellow who has an intriguing worldview when he takes to Twitter, Petr Mrazek's just as confident and outgoing in the locker room as he is on the ice, and Tom McCollum may not end up with the Wings' organization over the long haul, but he's an earnest young man. Paterson's almost too even-keeled, and he comes from the Chris Osgood school of slightly-cocky-cliche-machine-style interviews.
Nice kid, don't get me wrong--really nice young man--but he reminded me of my friend Shaun. If you don't ask him a specific and direct question about a specific and interesting question...You're out of luck.
In other and somewhat surprising news, the Red Wings decided that they'd post an episode of Fox Sports Detroit's Wingspan on Wednesday, offering an episode in which their players-turned-executives were profiled...
And somewhere along the way, they decided to post NINE MORE EPISODES. Which is actually pretty cool.
In other and less interesting news, the Ottawa Sun's Tim Baines and NHL.com report that Bobby Ryan's first appearance as an Ottawa Senator involved expressly stating that he is neither Daniel Alfredsson nor his replacement;
As I neither want to rub Senators fans' faces in the Alfredsson divorce, nor give a crap about the fact that it's an "easy" story, and as such, posting yet another article about the situation would probably increase my "hit" statistics for the day (yeah...The boss can worry about that. As I've repeatedly stated, I REFUSE to alter my behavior to generate more hits, and if that changes, please hit me on the head), you may enjoy Grantland's Sean McIndoe's discussion of Alfredsson as the latest in a line of "heel-turners" on your own (McIndoe seems to have forgotten Marian Hossa's name);
ESPN's Rob Vollman has decided to grace us with two Insider-only entries regarding the, "Best Free Agent Bargain-Buys" and the "Top 5 Risikiest Free Agents," and it should come as little surprise that one incoming Wing and one outcoming Wing made his list--and his metric for determining this criteria is something he calls "Goals Versus Salary"...
The system we use to find these riskiest contracts is based on Goals Versus Salary, or GVS, which measures the value of a player's contributions -- offensive, defensive and goaltending, in terms of goals relative to what a player with the same cap hit would provide over the course of the entire deal. Our expectations for each player are based on an average of their past three seasons, where each season is given twice the predictive weight as the one previous. We are considering only the unrestricted agents who were signed on or after the July 5 start to the free-agent season -- which means that players like Flyers signee Mark Streit, who otherwise would have easily made this list, are left out.
As such, he feels that the Wings' investment in Stephen Weiss is very "risky," but that the Tampa Bay Lightning's investment in Valtteri Filppula is "riskier":
Stephen Weiss, C, Detroit Red Wings
5 years $4.9M/year | GVS minus-55.4
Weiss is certainly a good player, but five years and almost $5M per season is a lot to invest in a 30-year-old coming off a serious wrist injury. That's particularly true for a forward with an even-strength scoring rate of 1.8 points per 60 minutes or less in each of the past four seasons.
Even if Weiss fails to return to his career highs of 28 goals and 61 points, he can still typically win around 53 percent of his faceoffs, can be potent on the power play, remains a usable secondary penalty-killing option and has been top four among Florida's forwards in average quality of competition in all but one of the past five seasons. That, however, wouldn't be enough to earn much more than half of his hefty new deal in Detroit.
Valtteri Filppula, LW/C, Tampa Bay Lightning
5 Years, $5.0M/year | GVS minus-32.4
Filppula is a 29-year-old forward coming off a bad season. He has topped 20 goals only once in his seven-season career, with 23 in 2011-12 -- which was also the only season he topped the 40 points he recorded in 2008-09. This past season, Filppula's usually consistent scoring rates of 2.0 points per 60 minutes at even-strength and 3.3 on the power play dipped to just 1.4 and 1.6 respectively. His penalty-killing time has also steadily decreased to under a minute per game in each of the past three seasons.The gamble here is that a change of scenery can help Filppula replace Vincent Lecavalier's offense, which is perhaps possible with some easier competition -- in Detroit he generally faced a top-six average quality of competition and even led the Red Wings by that measure a year ago. The Bolts can safely expect the talented Finn to continue to provide value by winning 52 percent of his faceoffs and draw several more penalties than he takes, but his contract will be considered a success only if Steven Stamkos and/or Martin St. Louis can transform Filppula's 66-point season from the exception into the norm.
In the FYI department, from Wednesday afternoon:
The NHL, International Olympic Commiteee, IIHF and NHLPA are all involved here, so expect a further delay...
As you might expect, the Grand Rapids Griffins' front office received an award for ticket sales efficiency...
And, well...I would post an entry on this if I could verify that it's true, but I can't--and if it's not true, it's exploitive--so it goes here. From Reddit Hockey:
Hey /r/Hockey, I could use some help.
My friends father was diagnosed with lung cancer about six months ago. Like all cancer, the prognosis wasn’t great, but the doctor encouraged high hopes. For the first 4 months or so, he had exactly those. He was continuing on with life and enjoying everything it had to offer.
About 2 months ago, things changed. After a visit to the doctor showing that the chemo wasn't working he sort of felt defeated and lost hope. Despite everyone else's efforts, his mood remains unchanged. So I’m hoping you can help me with this a little bit.
He is the ultimate Red Wings fan. Living in West Michigan, he doesn't feel too far away from Hockeytown. Jay, for as long as I've ever known him, has lived and breathed Red Wings. So I know its a super long shot, and I certainly don't want to impose, but I know a lot of people read this subreddit. I was curious if anyone had any contacts or information they could send me to get in touch with someone from the Red Wings. I’m confident that a signed puck or jersey, or even a letter from a current player, or past would really uplift his spirits. Hopefully enough to keep on fighting.
So again, I know its a monumental request, but if anyone has any connections, I’d appreciate if you tell them this story and see what they can do. I’m tired of seeing my friend crying, and want to find an avenue for hope.
A Reluctant Penguins Fan.
EDIT - THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE! Though the advice of everyone here...I sent a tweet to the Red Wings and they responded with this - http://i.imgur.com/ad76jtf.png Aside. form that, I've had a few different people offer up their signed pucks, jerseys and other memorabilia. You have no idea how exceptional you all are. Thank you all again...I can't wait to share the good news with Jay.
The Wings are apparently involved now, and their community relations department will look into it and/or verify its validity.
Update: Some folks get pissed off when I describe Marian Hossa as a "mercenary," so in a weird way, it's comforting to read the Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen use that term while discussing several athletes that he wishes "would return to Detroit" (via RedWingsFeed):
Red Wings - Marian Hossa
This one is rather obvious. And Hossa is probably the overall winner among all Detroit athletes. Forget his disappearance in the 2009 playoffs. And forget the fact that he lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in consecutive years. Just remember that the Blackhawks have won two Cups since he arrived in town and he remains one of the most dangerous scoring threats in hockey. He had seven goals and nine assists in Chicago’s run to the Cup this year. If the Wings had Hossa instead of the Blackhawks this past spring, who knows what would have happened in that seven-game series? (Here’s a guess — Wings/Kings Western Conference Finals) But I really don’t get the persistent booing he receives each time he skates at the Joe. Hossa was a mercenary. It was a one-year try. He tried. The Red Wings tried. And he moved on. He was never going to stay longer than that one season.
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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.