Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: on the prospect tournament, prospects in general, Athanasiou & Tatar

Updated 3x at 6:15 AM: Thursday was a busy day, and if you missed some of the "action":

1. Ilitch Holdings held what I'd guess you'd call a local contractor-recruitment seminar at the MotorCity Casino, and as Paul noted, Olympia Development's sticking with an actual-rink-opening date of Summer of 2017, though the Free Press's John Gallagher reports that any sort of actual "groundbreaking" at the rink site won't happen until December.

Both Gallagher and MLive's David Muller reported that the parties involved in the District Detroit project will hold a "resident workforce outreach" at Coo Hall this October to help ensure that 51% of the construction jobs on the rink go to Detroiters.

2. The Red Wings and the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau released the Wings' prospect tournament roster, and it's a little thinner on free agent invites than I'd anticipated it would be.

When the 8-team tournament begins on September 12th at Centre Ice Arena (preceding the Wings' main camp on September 19th; Lindneau's also released the prospect tournament rosters for the Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild), the roster will probably have changed slightly, but the roster's certainly tidy:

2014 Detroit Red Wings Prospect Camp Roster

#      Name                               Pos.                            2013-14 Team                     Notes    
25    Mattias Backman            D                                 Linkoping (SHL)                   2011 5th round (146th overall)
31    Jared Coreau                  G                                 Toledo (ECHL)                     Signed by Detroit, 4/3/13
36    Jake Paterson                 G                                 Saginaw (OHL)                    2012 3rd round (80th overall)
39    Anthony Mantha              RW                              Val d’Or (QMJHL)               2013 1st round (20th overall)
42    Martin Frk                        RW                              Grand Rapids (AHL)            2012 2nd round (49th overall)
45    Colin Campbell                RW                              Lake Superior St. (WCHA)  Signed by Detroit, 3/17/14
46    Ty Stanton                       D                                 Medicine Hat (WHL)            Free agent invitee
48    Ryan Sproul                    D                                 Grand Rapids (AHL)            2011 2nd round (55th overall)
53    Joe Hicketts                    D                                 Victoria (WHL)                     Free agent invitee
54    Hayden Hodgson            RW                              Erie/Sarnia (OHL)                Free agent invitee
59    Tyler Bertuzzi                  LW                               Guelph (OHL)                      2013 2nd round (58th overall)
60    Marek Tvrdon                  LW                               Kelowna (WHL)                   2011 4th round (115th overall)
62    Zach Nastasiuk               C                                 Owen Sound (OHL)             2013 2nd round (48th overall)
63    Jerome Verrier                RW                              Drummondville (QMJHL)    Free agent invitee
67    Brandon Robinson           C                                 Kitchener (OHL)                  Free agent invitee
68    Lucas Peressini               G                                 Kingston (OHL)                    Free agent invitee
71    Mitchell Wheaton             D                                 Kelowna (WHL)                   2013 5th round (139th overall)
72    Andreas Athanasiou        C                                 Barrie (OHL)                        2012 4th round (110th overall)
74    Marc McNulty                 D                                 Prince George (WHL)          2013 6th round (169th overall)
76    Darby Llewellyn               LW                               Kitchener (OHL)                  Free agent invitee
77    Richard Nedomlel           D                                 Toledo (ECHL)                     2011 6th round (175th overall)
78    Dominic Turgeon             C                                 Portland (WHL)                    2014 3rd round (63rd overall)
82    Tomas Nosek                  C                                 HC Pardubice (Czech)        Signed by Detroit, 6/14/14
86    Blake Clarke                    LW                               North Bay/Saginaw (OHL)  Free agent invitee

Of the Wings' 8 free agent invites, there are only two "new faces." Saginaw Spirit forward Blake Clarke (very solid all-round prospect who had a crappy draft year), Sarnia Sting forward Hayden Hodgson (basically a skating pair of fists), Kitchener Rangers forward Darby Llewellyn (very solid defensively), Kitchener Rangers forward Brandon Robinson (6'3" and 215 pounds but very raw), diminuitive (5'8") Victoria Royals defenseman Joe Hicketts (very, very skilled playmaker but very, very small) and Kingston Frontenacs goalie Lucas Peressini (big but raw) all took part in the summer development camp.

I discussed these players at length during the summer development camp, and I really, really like Clarke

Lindenau has the details on both the aforementioned players and the new faces:

Ty Stanton - The 6-foot-4, 176 pound defenseman is a two way blueliner who has big frame but is extremely thin at 176 pounds. Stanton was passed over in the 2013 NHL draft after finishing the season as the 78th ranked North American prospect according to the Central Scouting Bureau. The Red Wings are loaded on the blueline with a number of emerging young defensemen on the horizon so the odds are stacked against Stanton.

Stanton's 19 and has played for the Medicine Hat Tigers for the past two seasons, posting 2 goals, 14 assists and 16 points in 44 2012-13 games and 5 goals, 17 assists and 22 points--with 50 penalty minutes to go along with the modest production--in 65 games this past season, as well as 8 assists and 16 PIM over the course of 18 playoff games.

Hockey's Future states that the left-shooting Stanton suffered a concussion during his first draft year, and the Medicine Hat Tigers' website has a video profile of Stanton (from a year ago), who the team announced would take part in the prospect tournament on Tuesday (he's also on Twitter).

This is definitely a Jeff Finley sighting as the Wings' chief scout's based in Western Canada, and I'm guessing that "big and lanky" plus a strong playoff showing earned him a spot on the roster.

Jerome Verrier – The 6-foot, 182 pound forward has been an offensive force in the QMJHL the past two seasons netting 75 and 72 points respectively. Verrier, who is the son of the Drummondville Voltigeurs President, is an undersized forward who works hard but may lack the skating and stick skils to compete at the pro level.

I've heard of Verrier, and not everything about the 20-year-old forward is positive.

Verrier posted 35 goals, 40 assists, 75 points and 116 penalty minutes over the course of 68 games played during the 2012-13 season; he followed that up with 39 goals, 33 assists, 72 points and 86 penalty minutes this past season, as well as a strong playoff performance--he registered 4 goals, 10 assists and 14 points in 11 games for Drummondville and that's very solid (he is of course on Twitter).

He took part in the Winnipeg Jets' prospect tournament last fall, and he has long Hockeyfights.com "Fight Card," too, including a bout with a certain Anthony Mantha during Drummondville's second-round ouster this past April:

At 6'2" and 192 pounds, he's solidly-built, and posting a point per game at the QMJHL level is good enough to have placed him 20th overall in scoring this past season, but even I know that he's a pest, and I don't follow the French-language media.

MLive's Brendan Savage penned an article about the tournament participants, focusing on their status amongst RedWingsCentral's "Top 25 prospects" list:

Mantha and Athanasiou are the highest-scoring prospects in the Red Wings system after scoring 57 and 49 goals, respectively, last season.

Mantha is the club's No. 1-ranked prospect after being selected in the first round (20th overall) of the 2013 NHL draft. Athanasiou, who was taken in the fourth round (110th overall) in the 2012 draft, is ranked eighth among Red Wings prospects.

Sproul, who played one game with the Red Wings last season, is No. 4 on the prospects list after being selected in the second round (55th overall) in the 2011 draft, and Backman, who was drafted in the fifth round (156th overall) in 2011, is No. 6.

Nosek, No. 9 on the prospects list, was signed as a free agent from the Czech Republic last season.

The other top 25 prospects who will be in Traverse City are forward Zach Nastasiuk (13); goaltender Jake Paterson (15); forwards Martin Frk (16) and Tyler Bertuzzi (17); defensemen Richard Nedomlel (19), Mitchell Wheaton (20) and Marc McNulty (21); and forward Colin Campbell (24).

So I'm assuming that you're asking:

A) "Hey George, where are the NCAA players? Where are Dlyan Larkin, David Pope, James De Haas, Mike McKee, Ben Marshall or Chase Perry?" They're going to be attending class and preparing for their hockey seasons. They're not allowed to take part in the tournaments;

B) "Hey George, where's Mattias Janmark, Christoffer Ehn, Julius Vahatalo, Axel Holmstrom, Alexander Kadeykin, or Hampus Melen?" They're playing in Europe, and in Janmark's case in particular, the Frolunda Indians' season starts on September 10th, and they don't want a prized signing to get hurt playing overseas;

C) "Hey George, where are Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen, Petr Mrazek, Teemu Pulkkinen, Mitch Callahan, Landon Ferraro, Andrej Nestrasil or Louis-Marc Aubry?" The "experience and eligibility" rules for the tournament that change every year, but you can be sure that each and every one of the above-listed players is either "too old" or has too much pro experience to take part.

The Wings would like to stack the deck as much as possible, but the team can't stock its roster with a dozen guys that have played for 2+ years in the AHL, nor is it particularly wise for the Wings to not give some free agents and less-established prospects (see: the conspicuously-absent-in-the-summer Martin Frk, Marek Tvrdon, Colin Campbell and Mitchell Wheaton) a chance to shine.

I'm a little surprised that Ouellet's not on the roster and that the Wings didn't manage to sneak Pulkkinen in, but the teams engage in a give-and-take battle to reach whatever the year's rules are in terms of age or pro games played--and the team's clearly making internal decisions as to who they want to place in leadership roles or shake out of their comfort zones.

The Wings' prospect tournament roster is a strong one, and adding Sproul, Backman and Frk to a summer camp roster in which Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Richard Nedomlel and the Coreau-Paterson duo were leading the way should give the Wings every opportunity to defend their first prospect tournament title.



3. In "new stuff," while we're talking about prospects, the Red Wings posited a Prospect Profile video discussing Andreas Athanasiou's development (and the Greek background music is brilliant):

Fantastic skating, big offensive talent, massively naturally talented and strong, big ego--right on the edge between incredibly confident in himself and incredibly full of himself--and Ken Holland and Jiri Fischer hit the nail on the head in pointing out that he skates like Darren Helm, but he has the talent to be a much more offensively impactful player...

If he can "bring it every day" and make no excuses for any inconsistent performances, new pairs of gloves included.

Hockey's Future's Adam Schnepp also posited a top-20 ranking of the Wings' top prospects as of late-summer-early-fall, and let's steer the focus away from the prospect tournament to examine the balance of the field:

4. (NR) Dylan Larkin, LW, 7.5C
Drafted 1st round, 15th overall, 2014

Watch Dylan Larkin and the first thing that stands out about him is his incredible skating. He is a quick, powerful skater who uses this ability to bolster his work both offensively and defensively. One area of uncertainty is just how much offensive upside Larkin really has. The next four years at the University of Michigan will give him plenty of ice time, and a byproduct should be a more accurate idea of what to expect from him offensively.

Even if Larkin’s offensive abilities do not develop to their fullest his effort will still make him a prospect to watch. He skates hard and plays with effort on every shift, which is indicative of a true two-way game. The uncertainty in Larkin’s offensive skill may seem like a reason to give pause, but he was drafted.


10. (11) Alexey Marchenko, D, 7.0C
Drafted 7th round, 205th overall, 2011

Alexey Marchenko has spent one season playing professionally and has already made a name for himself as a defender capable of shutting down opposing forwards. He plays a steady game, is responsible in all zones, and uses good stick work to break up rushes. Marchenko was rewarded with a spot in the 2013-14 AHL All Star Game and will return to Grand Rapids in 2014-15. If he continues to develop at the rate he has been he should be ready for the NHL in the very near future.

11. (16) Mattias Janmark, C, 7.0C
Drafted 3rd round, 79th overall, 2013

Mattias Janmark had a good season for AIK in 2013-14, scoring 30 points in 45 games. AIK, however, was less than successful and ended up being dropped down a tier of play. Janmark became a free agent and has signed with Frolunda for the 2014-15 season. He has a good work ethic and uses this to hang onto the puck and produce offensively. Janmark also has a good sense of where to be on the ice, which he also uses to set up teammates in the offensive zone.

Schnepp continues...

And in the prospect department, "exhibition game" category:

Alexander Kadeykin didn't register a point in Atlant Mytishchi's 2-1 win over Dynamo Moscow.



4. At the NHL level, non-Blue Angel ride category: The Free Press's Helene St. James focuses upon Tomas Tatar's attempt to establish himself as a consistent scorer this upcoming season:

Looking back: Tatar, 23, inexplicably spent most of the first month last season tucked away, appearing only sporadically in the lineup. He gained traction in November and, as teammates dropped like flies buzzed by lightning bolts of injury, Tatar shined as a second-line scorer, serving as a sparkplug next to bigger line mates in Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco. Tatar’s performance won him a spot on the Slovakian Olympic team, and later in the year he had eight points in seven games for Slovakia at the World Championships. He won a lot of hearts with emotional performances following the death of his father in mid-January, and spent the second half as one of the Wings’ most reliable sources of offense.

Looking ahead: Tatar earned his pay increase, but with it comes the expectation that he’ll be at least a regular 20-goal scorer. Last season, he made the most of getting big minutes in lieu of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk both missing so much time because of injuries. Minutes could be harder to come by this season, given the competition if there’s good health, and Tatar will also find himself more heavily covered by opponents who now know just what a puck hound he is, despite being undersized. If he does drop to the third line, he has the tools to make it potent.

The blemish on Tatar in 2013-14 came in the playoffs, when he was hard to spot against the Bruins. There’s no reason to think he won’t have another productive regular season, but the bigger test of progress will come in his his next playoff appearance.

Just like Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Gustav Nyquist, Tatar got checked into dust in the playoffs, and he and his fellow "kids" will have to play more consistent hockey while facing consistently more difficult opposition checkers.

If Tatar could crack down on the noise complaints from neighbors and crank down the, "Jiri Hudler on the ice and off the ice" comparisons, that'd help, too. I've kept the Slovak media coverage to a minimum, but he's tabloid fodder at home, and while the media is much more respectful here, you never want a player's personal life to become a distraction.



5. In "News From Other Blogs," I can only call Winging it in Motown's JJ From Kansas' continued analysis of Jimmy Howard's 2013-14 season via the statistical perspective offered by Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract "superb stuff";

And somewhat ironically, Octopus Thrower's Peter Fish looked back at the Wings' 2009 draft class, whose ranks included the aforementioned Tatar, Nestrasil and Jensen, the estranged Adam Almquist and two players who hope to make the roster this fall:

Landon Ferraro

Landon Ferraro signed a new contract with the Detroit Red Wings to keep him in the organization. He will most likely spend that time in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins and be called up to the NHL only if there are injuries to bottom six players. Ferraro was an important player for the Griffins two seasons ago, but saw a dip in production last year and in the four games he played with Detroit, he did not look like he was ready to make the jump yet.


Mitch Callahan

The Detroit Red Wings re-signed Mitch Callahan to a one-year contract. Last season, Mitch Callahan had a break out year and the Red Wings will be expecting more of him this coming season in the AHL. If he continues to trend upwards, we could be Mitch Callahan as the new Darren McCarty in Detroit and that would be a big boost to the team.

I'm not sure if Callahan's big enough to play like a heavyweight, but the Wings could use some scrappiness from a player who can keep up with the team's puck possession style of play, and Callahan's been in the system for three years now.

It's possible that the pair might be picked up on waivers if they don't make the NHL team, but these days, the waiver wire is much less active, and neither player's a blue-chip prospect. Callahan's expressed a desire to play for Grand Rapids to continue as a member of the organization, and that's a very good thing.



6. Otherwise...According to the Canadian Press, former Wing Jordin Tootoo will be releasing a memoir co-written with Stephen Brunt and Joseph Boyden, called All The Way in October;

Paul reported that the AHL is unveiling a drug-testing program, and the AHL is the kind of league where players are more likely to try to cheat to get an NHL contract-or-spot advantage over their teammates--and the travel schedule is unbelievably harsh, so prescription painkillers and sleep medications are in widespread prescribed use--so I'm very glad to hear that the NHL-NHLPA drug-testing program's doctors are going to oversee the program.

My only complaint with Griffins players involves the tins of chewing tobacco that you can find in the lockers of Ferraro, Callahan and others, but I worry about the guys trying to get sleep during those nasty three-games-in-thee-cities-in-three-nights slates.

As a fan and a plain old human being, I know that prescription drug use is a big issue in our society and I hope that this program gives anyone with drug issues what they need--help;

For what it's worth, the ECHL's Indy Fuel acquired Nick Bruneteau, a professional hockey-playing defenseman who's the grandson of Wings legend Ed "Mud" Bruneteau, and NHL.com ranks Mirco Mueller, the player the San Jose Sharks took with the draft pick the Wings "traded up" to get Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi, as the team's #1 prospect;

On Twitter...

While we're doing free advertising, the Red Wings reminded fans on their email list that they're holding a Hockeyfest at the Joe on September 14th, and that the Henrik Zetterberg Foundation is holding a charitable event on September 12th.

(Honestly, Ryan Sproul and Mickey Redmond are going to get along like two peas in a pod. Sproul loves his pickup truck and he he loves country music. Redmond drives a big diesel Ford F350, he loves country music and he wears camouflage)



And finally, I looked at my Paypal account and I'm very happy to say that your generous contributions have me 13 days removed from the prospect tournament with $954, which is just short of halfway to my fundraising goal.

The good news is that the hotel is booked ($1,500ish for two weeks) and that I'm about to submit my media credential request; the bad news is that I know that most of you gave big for the summer development camp ($1,500 hotel cost for 4th of July week, holy pants), so I have to ask for the nitty gritty:

At this point, if you can donate $20, $10, $5, whatever, that would be fantastic. Those donations are what's gonna get me to the camp, and if you can shake some pennies loose, I'd be grateful.

I've attended two of the past three Traverse City-based training camps/prospect tournaments and the past three summer development camps at your leisure. If you're willing to lend a hand, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.

Any and every donation helps pay the way up there (I break even) and I'm strongly considering printing some t-shirts and/or ensuring that every entry has a "sponsored by/brought to you by" note (and as always, the coverage is based upon your suggestions and questions, so it's an interactive experience).


My "merchant ID" is my non-work email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, and I'm incredibly grateful for your readership and support. Thank you.


Update: Axel Holmstrom and Christofer Ehn are on Sweden's roster for the Under-20 Four Nations Challenge:

Update #2: Via Allhockey.ru, in post-Soviet Russia, ice bucket challenges you! Or CSKA Moscow's coaching staff, including head coach Dmitri Kvartalnov, and one Sergei Fedorov:

Update #3: Oh this is going to go over like a lead balloon...

Via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Ansar Khan examines Johan Franzen's 2014-2015 season "outlook."

Franzen is of course signed until infinity plus one (or 2019-2020) at a cap hit of $3.95 million, and he did have a good season, posting 16 goals and 25 assists for 41 points in only 56 games played, but 2 assists and a -2 in five playoff games didn't cut the mustard, and he needs to put on a damn visor to help protect him from concussions.

Here's what Khan has to say about Franzen:

2014-15 outlook: The enigmatic Franzen took inconsistency to another level last season. When he was on, he dominated (29 points in 23 games). Then, like flipping a switch, he disappeared over the final month of the season and in the playoff series against Boston. He's been like that for several years. But because he's so productive when he's on, he typically finishes on a pace for 25-to-28 goals and 60 points in a full season. It would be difficult to replace that production at his price (slightly under $4 million cap hit), which is why the Red Wings are resigned to taking the bad with the good, at least for another season. Franzen, as usual, will play on the wing on one of the top two lines, though he played well at times at center, where he seemed more mentally engaged, when the team was in a bind due to injuries.

He's definitely better at center, and he's not a power forward--he's a sniper--but he's also a truly strange dude, with his sometimes-surly-with-the-press demeanor covering an incredibly quiet personality that may very well cause him to not want to score goals to avoid the spotlight.

Key question: Can Franzen reverse his recent trend by becoming more consistent and playing with intensity on most nights?


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


gowings's avatar

“Can Franzen reverse his recent trend by becoming more consistent and playing with intensity on most nights?”

oh wow….I didn’t know this was just a recent trend lol

Posted by gowings from MTL on 08/29/14 at 07:58 AM ET

DrD's avatar

After the concussions, Mule is just not the same player. He was always streaky, but at least you could count on him in the playoffs. Not any more…now he’s just another big, soft, perimeter player. Too bad, because he was a beast for those first few years…

On a brighter note, if Mantha doesn’t crack the lineup, I’d love to see him play on a line with Athanasiou in GR.

Posted by DrD on 08/29/14 at 10:22 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...the Red Wings posited a Prospect Profile video discussing Andreas Athanasiou’s development…

I love to listen to Jiri Fischer talk. You get a real sense of why he’s great at working with the young guys. It’s just a damn shame his playing career ended so abruptly.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 08/29/14 at 11:43 AM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Mule is what he is, except when he’s not, which is far too often.

I understand the argument for keeping him, I just disagree with it. But he’s a Wing and I’ll be pulling for him, or more likely pulling what’s left of my hair out when he’s lollygagging around the rink.

Sent you a few $$, George. Love your coverage, keep up the good work.

So camp officially opens on the 19th? Didn’t it use to open earlier in September and Opening Night was the in the first few days of October?

“Hey George,” so not only do free agents not want to come to Detroit anymore, the Wings are having trouble attracting prospects to their prospect tournament? wink  grin

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 08/29/14 at 02:58 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.