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The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: sorting out the free agency strikeout yields more questions than answers

I am very upset with the way things turned out on Tuesday, but I've chosen to marry myself to "my" Wings no matter how angry or frustrated I might feel regarding a managerial or team performance, and I'm "married" professionally to this blogging job, so I'm going to resist the urge to pull the covers over my head and sulk and try to write an overnight report.

If you followed the the "strike-out," "Niskanen alive?" and "beat writers disagree" posts, you read quite a few contradictory Tweets regarding the players the Detroit Red Wings didn't land on Tuesday. Here are some later-breaking tidbits:

Bringing Alfredsson back? As long as his back's fine, he co-led the team in scoring. Bringing Cleary back? Only on a 2-way, league-minimum contract that is a pro try-out. With no preferential treatment and a promise that he's riding a bus if Tomas Jurco, Mitch Callahan or Landon Ferraro out-play him. Jurco does not deserve to be "Nyquist'd' to start the 14-15 season, no way, no how.

The Red Wings DID make 5 solid signings on Tuesday: they re-signed Riley Sheahan to a very affordable 2-year extension, they made sure that Petr Mrazek will be in the fold a year from now (thank Gord the Wings at least manage their youth well; if we didn't have that, I don't know where you or I would be in terms of having a team to believe in; Capgeek states that Petr's getting $737,500 in 15-16, which is fair as fair can be), and they signed Kevin Porter, Andy Miele and Shane Berschbach to round out the Griffins' roster (no news as to whether Miele will take part in the summer development camp)

Anyway, back to the Tweets of gloom:

As such, the Wings have earned this comment from the Toronto Star's Mark Zwolinski...


Detroit Red Wings: Didn’t do anything significant, and the immediate interpretation — fair or not — was that the Wings are no longer a marquee attraction for free agents. But Detroit entered this off-season with two huge concerns that may have affected their approach to free agency. First, the club suffered 421 man-games lost to injury in 2013-14, the most in club history and second-most in the league last season. Their best players missed almost half a season — Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk played just 45 games, Johan Franzen 54; and in a telling development, Stephen Weiss, their top acquisition last summer, played only 26 games. Also, Detroit called up 10 players from its AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, and had seven make their NHL debuts. Detroit may be opening the door for youngsters and looking at big bounce-back seasons from their marquee players.

This from Sportsnet's Gare Joyce...

Losers: Detroit Red Wings
You had to see Dan Boyle as the natural fit in Detroit, a variation or even an upgrade on Brian Rafalski from not so long ago. But when Boyle signed with the Rangers and Matt Niskanen turned them down, the Red Wings responded by… well, actually, we’re still waiting. Forwards Kevin Porter and Riley Sheahan re-signed, but it sure seems like the Red Wings aren’t quite the UFA destination they were five years ago.

This from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson...


Detroit Red Wings: Once upon a time, the Red Wings were the No. 1 destination for free-agents. Not so much anymore, give or take Daniel Alfredsson. They wanted Ehrhoff, Boyle and Niskanen and lost all three as they wanted a puck-mover on defence. Ehrhoff only took a one-year deal, but opted for Pittsburgh. They ended up re-signing Kyle Quincey when all the doors slammed in their face.

This from Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika...

Detroit Red Wings: No Niskanen, even though the Wings offered seven years and $38.5 million, almost as much as he got from the Capitals. No Dan Boyle, even though the Wings offered two years and $10 million, more than he got from the Rangers. No Robidas, even though the Wings would have matched the three years and $9 million he got from the Leafs. No Stralman. No Ehrhoff, either. The Wings settled for re-signing Kyle Quincey for Mitchell-to-Florida money – $8.5 million over two years. Not what they wanted on defense.

On video, TSN's Aaron Ward suggested that the Wings "lack a stud" on defense due to their youth, and in the process of getting them through free agency, players went elsewhere instead in Niskanen, Ehrhoff, Boyle and Robidas--though I suppose it should be noted that Boyle wanted to reunite with Martin St. Louis, and had been thinking about joining the Rangers for long enough that the Mercury News's David Pollak pegged the deal back in April, and that Ehrhoff signed a Penguins team with two fellow Germans in Marcel Goc and Thomas Greiss (strange the way those "lifestyle factors" kick in)...

And the Hockey News's Ken Campbell penned a damning critique of the Wings:

MOTOWN NO TOWN FOR FREE AGENTS Let me get this straight. Dan Boyle took less money and term to sign with the New York Rangers than he could have received from the Detroit Red Wings. What is this, Opposite Day?

After pretty much ruling the NHL for the past two decades, the Detroit Red Wings have fallen on hard times indeed. Remember the days when free agency would open and the Red Wings would basically open for business, basically telling whichever veterans stars they wanted that playing for the Red Wings was a privilege? The Red Wings never begged and they never got turned down.

Maybe the Red Wings need to learn from this by revamping their "wining and dining" approach. The team used to simply expect season ticket-holders to show up, too.

But now they find themselves in the position where both are happening. For the Red Wings to come away with nothing on the first day of free agency is shocking for an organization that once prided itself as the premier destination for free agents. There was a time when the teams such as Rangers would throw boatloads of money at players and they’d sign for Detroit for less money. But with Boyle, the Red Wings offered a three-year deal at $12.5 million (with salaries of $5 million, $5 million and $2.5 million), while the Rangers got Boyle on a two-year deal for $9 million. The Red Wings were also spurned by Matt Niskanen, who signed with the Washington Capitals for seven years and $40.5 million, $2 million total more than the Red Wings offered over seven years.

There were many in the hockey world who thought the Red Wings would get their comeuppance in a salary cap system, but that’s not at all what has happened here. The Red Wings have handled the salary cap as well as any big-spending, large-market team. They have the money and the cap space, but what they’ve lost is cachet. They are no longer a serious Stanley Cup contender, and for that reason, not a top destination for veterans looking to win now.

The Sporting News's Sean Gentille put things a little more delicately...

Red Wings: Winding up with Kyle Quincey (two years, $8.5 million) after chasing Niskanen, Stralman, Ehrhoff and Dan Boyle is … settling. Let's put it that way. Detroit is a great organization, but at some point, unrestricted free agents are going to have to start signing there again.

The Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted the out-of-town takes on the Wings' bad free agency day--with some glee, no less:

“My first priority was to be on a good team,” Ehrhoff told TSN.

That’s got to sting just a little bit, don’t you think?

Dan Boyle picked the bright lights of Broadway over Hockeytown for $3.5 million less than the Wings put forth. The Wings offered Matt Niskanen seven years and $42 million. He chose seven years, $40.25 million from the Washington Capitals. Just like that, the Wings were the Austin Jackson of free agency – three swings, three misses, go grab some bench – further evidence that Detroit is no longer a destination NHL players covet.

Second-tier defenders also spurned Detroit. Tom Gilbert already had the offer he accepted from Montreal by the time the Wings called. Stephane Robidas, saying he wanted to be closer to family, spurned the Wings to take a similar offer from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Wings weren’t willing to give Anton Stralman the five-year term he received from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Left standing at the altar again and again. It’s a trend that is becoming a recurring theme for the Wings. Remember the spring of 2012, when Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were the prize UFAs? Flying to Suter’s Wisconsin home on owner Mike Ilitch’s private jet, GM Ken Holland and Wisconsin grad Chris Chelios did the wooing. They boarded the return flight certain they had their man. But Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild. Word was his significant other vetoed any thought of living in Detroit.

Clearly, there’s an image problem afoot for the Wings. They skate in one of the NHL’s most ancient facilities. The view most outsiders have of Detroit is the bleak one presented on the nightly news.

That part, I won't deny, is an issue.

They are coached by a demanding, micromanaging taskmaster in Mike Babcock and that’s not a quality many of today’s pampered athletes seek in their bench boss. Post-season participants for a league-best 23 straight springs, the Wings aren’t winning when it matters most – one playoff series triumph in three years, five straight springs absent from the conference finals, their longest drought since 1989-94.

Babcock rubs players the wrong way from time to time--there's no doubt of that--but Tom Renney's a good foil, and the vast majority of those who play for Babcock at least respect the man.

“On the one hand I’m proud that we’ve been a playoff team, but on the other hand I’m disappointed that the last three years we’ve only been able to win one playoff round,” Holland admitted. “We’re working here to find a way to see if we can be a playoff team and go further.”


“In the old days, it was the Wings who were the big spenders and to see them shut out of this part of the process is interesting, seeing as unlike some other teams, they had some cap space,” Hockey Night In Canada’s Craig Simpson said.

If you were hoping for a back-up plan trade, CSN Washington's Chuck Gormley, via Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien, would like to shatter that assumption:

Ironically enough, it's via Pro Hockey Talk's O'Brien that we're going to transition to the, "What happened" part of the equation as opposed to the, "Because it did the Wings are losers!" talk:

This deal is quite similar to the last one he signed with the Red Wings. Quincey signed for two-years, $7.55 million last time around.

Quincey is the third highest-paid Red Wings defenseman and probably earns that description. He’s not the type who tends to put up spectacular numbers, at least with his possession numbers dipping a bit recently.

He’s a player with decent (if fading) offensive potential and a decent amount of snarl. In other words, not the kind of re-signing that will get many people excited, but likely a pretty wise move nonetheless.

So what you're saying is that it could be worse?

Quincey it is, and WDIV's David Bartkowiak weighed in...

The Wings were in the market for a right-handed top-4 d-man, but there were no takers in a limited pool. Quincey is a serviceable top-6 player who had some ups and downs this past season. The good news is he got better as the season progressed.

In 82 games with Detroit he scored 4 goals and 9 assists, and he was a -5. The key number there is 82. Quincey was a reliable guy (on a team with so many injuries) night-in and night-out, despite some poor performances.

The Red Wings seem to believe in a couple young defenseman who are down with the Grand Rapids Griffins, such as Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet. The move to keep Quincey could be nothing more than a depth one if those two, and possibly Alexey Marchenko, end up hitting the full potential the organization believes they have.

As did WXYZ...

Quincey, 28, struggled during the first half of last season but performed strong in the second half. He finished the 2013-14 season with four goals and nine assists and was one of two Wings to play in all 82 regular-season games, along with Drew Miller.

The Wings were in the market for a right-handed defender but found themselves rejected by all top unrestricted free agents who fit the bill. General manager Ken Holland said he will continue to talk to other teams to explore a possible trade, but there will likely be a high asking price.

Quincey is currently in his second stint with the Red Wings. He was Detroit's fourth-round pick (132nd overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and spent his first three seasons with the Red Wings before being waived in October 2008.  Quincey was then claimed off waivers by the Kings and spent time with both Los Angeles and Colorado before returning to Detroit in 2011.

Quincey's contract makes him the third highest-paid Red Wings defenseman.

And here come the quotes, from the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...

“We had hoped to sign a right-shooting D-man,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We made offers, but for a variety of reasons they chose elsewhere to go. That’s the reality of the cap world. There are a lot of reasons why players go in different directions.”


“It’s free agency, it’s wide open,” Holland said. “Other teams are after these players, too. Last year we got the guys wanted.”


The Wings could now turn to trading for a right-handed defensemen – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers, Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Edmonton’s Jeff Petry or Toronto’s Cody Franson – but the asking price is quite steep – Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco. Arizona’s Keith Yandle, who’s a left-handed shot, is also rumored to be on the trading block.

“There are still a lot of players out there that could be good one-year bargains,” Holland said. “We’ll keep kicking tires. I was hoping to get one or two right-shot defensemen, but they signed elsewhere, that’s their prerogative. That’s going to happen more and more with the cap ceiling and floor going up.”

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

“We went in looking to add a right-hand defenseman and we felt we made very competitive offers,” said Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, who had between $8 million-$10 million to spend. “For various reasons, they chose to go elsewhere.”

Holland said earlier in the day he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of turning back to left-handed shooting defenseman Kyle Quincey, a unrestricted free agent who did not sign with any team. That’s just what Detroit did, announcing Tuesday evening it had reached a two-year deal, believed to be worth $8.5 million.


Despite missing out of some top targets, Holland still believes the Red Wings are an attractive option.

“Daniel Alfredsson could be going to the Hall of Fame; he chose to come to Detroit (last season),” Holland said. “Stephen Weiss had a choice of teams, and he chose to Detroit. There is a salary cap. Players have a lot of options.”

With no big acquisition, the trade route is again a possibility. Defensemen such as Tyler Myers (Sabres), Dustin Byfuglien (Jets) and Jeff Petry (Oilers) — all right-handers — could be available.

“We need another defenseman, maybe two,” Holland said. “We’ll see what the rest of the summer holds.”

Times two...

The Red Wings have taken care of two of their own, and brought two in from the outside. Center Riley Sheahan, a restricted free agent, has signed a two-year contract for $1.9 million Tuesday, the first day of NHL free agency. Later in the day, the Red Wings announced they signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Kyle Quincey to a two-year, $8.5 million deal.

Unable to land any of the big-name (right-handed shooting) defensemen Tuesday, the Red Wings turned back to the left-handed Quincey.

"We needed to have an NHL defenseman," general manager Ken Holland said. "We know Kyle, he's a good guy, he plays a lot of minutes, he's a penalty killer, and he's played well for us."

MLive's Ansar Khan,who reveals some of the details regarding Niskanen's camp telling Detroit it didn't make the cut and Ehrhoff's camp not negotiating with anyone once the Pittsburgh deal was in place...

Holland dismissed speculation that Detroit isn't the free-agent destination it once was or that the franchise has lost its luster in the eyes of players hitting the open market.

"Thirty teams are a destination," Holland said. "The game has changed. Players can go wherever they want. We all have the same money (because of the cap). We made some pitches. Those players chose to go elsewhere."

Holland doesn't accept the notion that free agents don't want to play for coach Mike Babcock because of his demanding ways.

"I think we got a fabulous coach," Holland said. (Team Canada executive director) Steve Yzerman has picked him for two Olympic teams and the results speak for themselves (gold medals in 2010 and 2014)."

Holland said he will continue exploring trade possibilities for a right-handed shooting defenseman and look for free-agent bargains this summer.

"Still lots of players out there that could be good one-year bargains," Holland said. "I was hoping to get a right-shot defenseman or two. They signed elsewhere, that's their prerogative. That's going to happen more and more with the cap ceiling and floor going up."

And Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner asked Holland if he was disappointed by Tuesday's events:

When asked if he was disappointed that the Wings were shut out in the open market, Holland replied, "No, not in the least. You're talking about four to five players, and there's 30 teams. It's free agency. It's wide open.

"Other teams are after these players, too. Last year, we got the guys we wanted (forwards Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson). This year, we didn't."

Holland is well aware of the speculation that Detroit is no longer a destination for free agents, but doesn't buy it. He believes that in a salary-cap world, every team is a potential destination because the money is the same.

This comment really bugs me:

"The game has changed, players can go wherever they want," Holland said. "We all have the same money. We made some pitches. Those players chose to go elsewhere. I don't know the reasons we weren't able to get the players we targeted."

It's your damn job to find out why, Mr. Holland, because it keeps happening.

Prepare to cringe:

"There's still lots of players out there that could be good one-year bargains," he said. "We'll keep kicking tires."


"All I can say is, we targeted right-handed shot defensemen," he said. "There were a few on the market. We didn't land one."

The Red Wings need to spend the rest of the summer speaking with the agents of the players who didn't sign here, asking why they didn't pick Detroit, what the deciding factors were, and why the agents might feel that Detroit is not a "destination" for their clients.

While some folks have told me that they get a disturbing rumble that Babcock rubs people the wrong way, I have to be honest in telling you that there's always a player or two at some level who despises playing for the man, and there are always a vast majority of players who appreciate the fact that the "micromanager" does in fact keep practices brief, his pre-game, during-game and post-game comments brief, and that he's learned to delegate to the leadership group and his assistants in terms of buffering himself.

Other people have told me that the fact that Joe Louis Arena is on its last legs is a real deterrent to player-signing, and I think that Duff does have a point regarding the negative coverage about Detroit. The rest of the world seems to believe that Detroit is some sort of island of doom that floats separated from the rest of Michigan, and that players, fans, everybody's stuck on the damn island cowering in fear. That's not the case at all, and there is a perception problem...

I believe that the past three or four years' worth of mostly lateral moves, on the blueline especially (Alfredsson's signing was superb, but even Stephen Weiss sort of "offset" Filppula wanting to go and be "the man" in Tampa Bay, and the Wings didn't do anything to offset Jiri Hudler leaving to be "the man" in Calgary; the fact that St. James reports that Stuart was available and that the Wings didn't pounce just pisses me off), combined with the Wings' suggestions that they're a team in "transition," have made more aggressive teams appealing destinations over time.

Where are we at?

The Free Press's Helene St. James summarized things pretty dang well earlier on Monday evening...

While Quincey buys the Wings some breathing room, a pressing question is figuring out why players are rejecting what used to be a premier landing spot for hockey players. Part of it is fiscal — the Wings can’t throw money at players like they did a decade ago, because of the salary cap.

It’s not the metro area — while the city of Detroit may not have the allure of Chicago or New York, players routinely rave about living in the suburbs. Todd Bertuzzi has described it as awesome. Daniel Alfredsson and his family are living here next year, whether or not he plays. Owner Mike Ilitch and Holland are held in high regard for the way they treat players.

It’s not the competitiveness of the team — the Wings still boast superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

Is it head coach Mike Babcock? Babcock is demanding, but that’s considered a positive quality in a professional coach — the ones that let things slide don’t win, and players care about winning. Holland downplayed any chatter Babcock is a reason, saying, “I’ve never heard those rumors. I think that we’ve got one of the best coaches in the NHL and he’s been a reason why some people have come here.”

The Wings were Daniel Alfredsson’s hand-picked selection last summer, over the hard-pursuing Bruins. And Detroit is the only place Alfredsson wants to play again this season.

It’s worth exploring for the Wings why they seem to have lost some luster. Datsyuk and Zetterberg and both in their mid-30s, putting pressure on regaining contender status before their window to win again closes. That won’t happen unless the Wings once again become a go-to destination.

Here's what I know:

A good fifteen or twenty percent of these signings tend not to work out (ask "us fans" about Stephen Weiss, reclamation project!), and some of these players will doubtlessly be bought out...

But it sure would be *#$%@& nice if the Wings could spend a tiny fraction of that amount improving their team on a more-often-than-not basis, and for the past four or five years, it's been more-not-than-often.

This is the best thing Ken Holland said on Tuesday, and it comes from the AP's Larry Lage. It's small consolation:

The Detroit Red Wings, who signed restricted free agent forward Riley Sheahan to a $1.9 million, two-year contract, await the 41-year-old Alfredsson's decision whether to retire.

"If his back feels good in August, we'll talk about a one-year deal with him," general manager Ken Holland said. "He's not going to sign a deal with anyone else."

Alfredsson fit in fantastically well, and while yes, he is indeed 41 years old, he posted 49 points in 68 games, and his family is going to be staying in Birmingham regardless of whether Alfredsson continues to play or not this upcoming season.

Maybe he should've been part of the, "Come to Detroit, it's great here" wining and dining process. Maybe the Wings need Alfredsson and other active players to get more involved with this business, because it certainly didn't hurt in #11's case.




In the rumor department, from The Fourth Period:

It's believed the Leafs have some interest in unrestricted free agent forward Steve Ott, who split last season between the Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues. Ott, 31, is also believed to be courted by the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, among others.




In terms of the Wings' depth signings, Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples helps us get to know Kevin Porter...

The 28-year-old won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award during his senior season with the Wolverines in 2008. Since his four years with the University of Michigan, he has spent time in both the NHL and the AHL, playing professionally for the Coyotes, Avalanche and Sabres.

Last year, Porter played in 12 games with the Sabres, and 50 with their AHL affiliate in Rochester. In AHL competition, he recorded 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points, along with 24 penalty minutes.

He played for the U.S. National Team Development Program from 2002-04. Before his junior days, he competed for Little Caesars, Honeybaked and the Ice Dogs AAA program.

And Andy Miele:

Miele, a 26-year-old native of Grosse Pointe Woods, has signed with Detroit, according to Scott Norton of Norton Sports Management.

The Grosse Pointe Woods native won the 2011 Hobey Baker Memorial Award in 2011 during his senior season with the Miami RedHawks; Miele led the nation in scoring with 71 points in just 39 games.

Since moving onto the professional ranks, Miele has appeared in 15 games with the Coyotes, after the club signed him as an undrafted free agent out of college. He has spent the majority of his time in the AHL with the Portland Pirates; last season he recorded 72 points in 70 games and was named to the AHL’s Second Team.

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose noted Porter's signing, too:

Porter tweeted, “Being from Detroit I couldn't be any happier to be joining the Detroit Red Wings organization this next season. #MadeInDetroit”

Porter played four seasons at Michigan, and was captain his senior season for the Wolverines under legendary coach and former Red Wings forward Red Berenson. Porter is UM’s all-time leading goal scorer (85) and ranks second in career points (183) and fourth in assists (98).

In six NHL seasons, Porter has produced 29 goals and 55 points in 206 games with Phoenix, Colorado and Buffalo. He played in the AHL All-Star Game two seasons ago when he finished second in team scoring with 44 points in 48 games. Porter was a fourth-round draft pick of the Coyotes in 2004.

Signing the 28-year-old Porter will provide the Red Wings’ organization with versatile depth at forward as he can play all three positions up front.




In the actual prospect department, recent draft pick version, if you missed it, Dylan Larkin spoke with WDFN's Matt Sheppard on Tuesday morning, and if you ever need a reminder that this young man doesn't turn 18 until the end of July, this interview will sound like an interview with a 17-year-old:

Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples spoke with Larkin's parents...

For Kevin and Sidney Denise Larkin, the fact that their son Dylan was drafted by their hometown Detroit Red Wings made watching him walk up on stage and accept an NHL jersey even more special.

“You would think that the NHL would be a dream but to make it even better, a hometown boy, the new arena, it’s even more exciting,” Kevin Larkin said. “I know that Dylan is very, very thrilled. He had a good feeling all day.”

The elder Larkin, who was sitting next to his wife and older son Colin (who plays in the NAHL) while Dylan walked on stage to collect his new Red Wings jersey, said his family is thrilled about the fact that Dylan’s hockey journey will stay within the state’s borders for a long time to come. Dylan will be playing for the Michigan Wolverines next fall, after spending all of his youth hockey and junior hockey (with the U.S. National Team Development Program) inside the Mitten State.

“I guess we’re getting spoiled with being local,” he said. “He played all of his youth hockey in Detroit, and now going to Michigan, and the thing that we’re really excited about with the Wings is that they don’t rush their players. So we’re excited to get a fair turn at Michigan and then they (the Wings) will advise us accordingly.”

The elder Larkin hails from Toronto; he and his siblings moved to the U.S. for college soccer (he also played Junior A hockey in Canada). Sidney Denise is a U.S. citizen. The Larkin family certainly brought a hockey pedigree with them for their Michigan-born children. Dylan Larkin’s cousins Ryan and Adam Larkin are both building their own hockey paths – Ryan is a Miami University commit, while Adam will be heading to Yale after playing for the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

And while Larkin is obviously going to the University of Michigan, the Erie Times-News's Victor Fernandes reports that the Erie Otters, who own Larkin's OHL rights, will ask him to forfeit his NCAA eligibility to join the Otters:

[General manager Sherry]  Bassin plans to speak with Detroit Red Wings officials about center Dylan Larkin, the 15th pick in this past weekend's NHL draft and Erie's 10th-round pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection. He spent the past two years with the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., and is committed to the University of Michigan for next season. At the draft, Larkin was quoted as saying that "school has always been important to my family."




In the strangely-timed article department, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's latest "Wings in Waiting" article profiles Teemu Pulkkinen:

“Everybody talks about his shot,” [Red Wings director of player development Jiri] Fischer said. “Everybody talks about how he can score, about his dangerous shot. Well, you know what? The following year (after being drafted), he goes out and sets the record for most assists.”

During the 2010-11 season, Pulkkinen played in 55 games for Jokerit in Finland, earning 18 goals and 36 assists. The forward’s assist mark broke Teemu Selanne’s single-season record (25) set during the 1990-91 season.

Pulkkinen joined the Grand Rapids Griffins in April 2013 after his third season with Jokerit, earning an assist and a minus-1 with two penalty minutes in two regular-season AHL games. The forward played in 14 playoff games during the Griffins’ run to the Calder Cup championship, scoring three goals and adding two assists, and a plus-2 with 10 penalty minutes.

“When he got called up to Grand Rapids in the spring last year, he didn't earn the trust of (Griffins coach) Jeff Blashill to put him consistently in the lineup,” Fischer said. “He was basically watching in the press box for almost the entire playoffs. I believe he thought it was going to be easier for him to get better. I think he snoozed a little bit. Last year he started to work a little bit harder. He showed up in our development camp and he won the treadmill test. He showed up in great shape.”

Pulkkinen’s hard work paid off in his first full season with the Griffins, as he led the team and finished 16th in the league in scoring with 31 goals and 28 assists through 71 games. The forward also made his NHL debut during the 2013-14 season, appearing in three games with the Red Wings in which he recorded four shots.

“Every game he plays, he is dangerous,” Fischer said. “Every team Grand Rapids plays against, they talk about him in their pre-game meetings. He's got a very dangerous shot; he's got a lot of confidence to shoot the puck. Now, off the rush, he's not afraid to challenge defensemen one on one. He just wants to play well. He just wants to be better than the other guy.”




Regarding the summer developoment camp, which kicks off on Friday, the Red Wings have posted six videos chronicling the draft experience, and now they've chosen a predictable narrator to set the summer camp up...




Finally, I do have to ask one last time:

Over the three years that the Wings have held development camps in Traverse City, I've asked for your help in raising the finances to cover my hotel and gas bills, and you've been amazingly and remarkably kind in affording me the opportunity to "work for you"; due to my present financial circumstances, I'm afraid that I have to ask for your assistance again.

If there's any way that you can lend a financial hand in my attempts to get up to Traverse City for the summer development camp and/or eventually to attend the prospect tournament and main camp in the fall, I would be incredibly grateful for any help.

I'm sticking with Paypal as it's the most direct route (though I will also do the whole, "Give me your address and I'll send you a check or a few bucks in the mail" thing, too), and you have to use my email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, as the recipient.

Here's the button:

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Alan's avatar

All this just screams of people running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

We have kids in the minors, including a right-shooting D-man IIRC, that aren’t just knocking the door down. They’re bustin’ on through like the Kool-Aid Man.

Let’s chill with this panic in motown stuff (not necessarily directed at you George, more the diggers than anything). There’s still a good bit of offseason left to make moves, as well as preseason to figure out where we’re at and who’ll play where. I’m not worried at all.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 07/02/14 at 02:31 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Paul gave me wonderful advice for the time around free agency day: stay out of the comments sections, because people are going to be angry, and some of them are going to direct it at you. It happens, it’s part of the job.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/02/14 at 02:44 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

George, I know I’ve been away for so long, and jumping back in may be limited back shortly, but
1. Is this the last day? I might donate again if it is. The last number you put up was $300
2. If I gather what you’re saying, if we give KH the benefit of the doubt on this free agency period, he may have been trying hard, but needs to figure out the “why not” question, with plenty of good theories out there. It’s not whether Holland can do the leg work, it’s whether he will/was already going to in order to figure this out. It’s true that the playing field has leveled for multiple reasons, but he gets paid to figure out how to stand out from the crowd.
3. I wonder if the playoff streak, as wonderful as it is, has played into the safer “let’s get in the playoffs since the top seed doesn’t typically win anyway”. My hunch is that the front-office departure of Nill w/some front office staff in tow may have not just taken away talent but also shook Holland as far as being more cautious with his job in general. Pure guess.
4. I know what you’re saying though, that I’d rather have Ken Holland take the risks and live with them than be lukewarm, even if he wasn’t intending to be lukewarm. If he truly believes the window is closing with the Eurotwins, he has to start taking chances with trading away more of the youth. If he believes that strongly in the youth, then don’t sign Quincy for 2 years at those terms. Lukewarm is why people are dissatisfied. I want/hope that if it’s not a belief that the young defensemen are going to come up quicker than normal, that he does something smart AND bold before the season starts and grabs a veteran defenseman that, if nothing else, can help when the GR kids do come up.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/02/14 at 02:53 AM ET

Jaromir Blogger's avatar


Posted by Jaromir Blogger on 07/02/14 at 02:54 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

1. This isn’t the last day. I’m gonna ask again for the main camp, there’s no way I can get there on my own, either. I hate to do it but I have to. That’s being an independent blogger. :/

2. I’m not giving KH a pass per se, but I’m saying that this is a shitty disappointment, and what I want the Wings to do is to LEARN from their free agency missteps and do a better job of “selling” the team going forward. It’s clear that their sales pitch isn’t working right now, and the team has to work very hard to ask player agents and even players why that is the case.

If you’re failing at something and you can figure out a way to address your failings, you need to take the opportunity to figure out what’s going wrong.

3. Jim Nill’s departure has definitely left a void, but Ryan Martin and Kris Draper have grown into their roles. The team’s slowly but surely finding its way again after losing the right-hand man and the social smoother-outer.

It’s also important to note that the PLAYERS, GM and COACH all said that just making the playoffs wasn’t good enough in April, and the team has to find a way to make good on those promises.

4. The team’s walking a bit of a tightrope here. They don’t want to choke out the kids, but they can’t build the roster assuming that Kindl and Lashoff are going to lose their jobs to Marchenko/Sproul/Ouellet/Jensen/Backman, etc., and they don’t want to have to send Jurco to GR, but Alfredsson’s worth bringing back if he’s healthy, and who the *#$%@& knows what they’ll do about Cleary.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/02/14 at 03:06 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Gotcha George. I know they said the playoffs streak isn’t good enough, but as you noted, it’d be nice to see them at least do something to shake out of treading water.  This may be the most challenging stretch for KH in who knows how long. It has to sting no matter what he says, we’ll see if he can really back and learn what to improve on. I’m assuming/hoping that he gets the Maltby version of “If you can make it, fine, but no seniority brownie points this time”. I hadn’t heard anything about Martin/Draper, so that’s good to know. I’m assuming if they make the trade I’m hoping, that maybe Kindl/Lashoff is thrown in to seal the trade as giving a younger defenseman back with a higher grade forward that a veteran defenseman would apparently demand in return (and maybe partly alleviate the balance of youth vs. experience).

I’ll double check my budget later today.  If I donate a second time now, though, not sure I can for September.

I still don’t know how you do it after all these years.

Take care.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/02/14 at 03:22 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

If Holland can figure out a semi-painless way to get Petry away from Edmonton (kindl and/or andersson + a late round draft choice wouldn’t be horrible) I’d consider that more of a success than landing one of the UFAs.

There’s still a glimmer of hope ... all-be-it a dim one.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 07/02/14 at 04:35 AM ET

d ca's avatar

From what I read it seems that most of the players the Wings targeted had choice cities all things else being equal (same went for the DeKeyser and Justin Schultz sweepstakes)...

Boyle wanted to play with Martin St Louis again (and chose the Rangers/big city life/incentive laden contract with bonus overage possible).

Ehrhoff wanted to play with the 2 other German players on Pittsburgh plus run the power play for Crosby and Malkin and since he has buyout money can afford to “take less short-term.”

Robidas wanted to be as close to his kids in Montreal as possible (so 2.5 hours drive time + time at the border is the issue)

While Niskanen and Stralman got offers from the Wings that were slightly below what they signed for…depending on who you believe (conflicting reports say Niskanen was offered more).

Not much you can change as far as wining and dining…The issue is rebuilding on the fly and reloading vs tanking and rebuilding. Look at the Wings old rivals: SJ moving veterans and clearly going into rebuilding mode. Anaheim already started the process by moving Ryan. Colorado…tanked for a few years and is starting to lose its high draft picks to free agency(the Blues). Dallas rebuilding for a run after tanking. Making the playoffs 23 straight years is unheard of in today’s sports.  It’s Dats and Z that should be complaining the loudest and most publicly as they only have a few chances left as the stars and I didn’t even hear a proxy outcry.

But I do agree that the Wings made a mis-step and should have released their design for the new arena so that it would have been fresh in the UFA’s minds since most would have seen the building if they were signing a 3 year contract or more.

Posted by d ca on 07/02/14 at 05:42 AM ET

RW19's avatar

The Wings just came off two years in a row where they struggled to make the playoffs. Their two biggest stars are way north of 30 and coming of injury plagued seasons. The supporting cast is either beat up or too young. The defense and goaltending are average. The last impression free agents had of Detroit was a massive beat down at the hands of the Bruins which comes a year after choking on a 3-1 series lead against the Hawks.

Why is anyone surprised NHL players did not fall all over themselves to come here?

They need to be seen as an up and coming team, not one on the downswing. That can only happen if the young guys play more, not less. These guys have to lead the charge. A few more have to join them. I think all this talk of resigning the battered Alfredsson or hanging onto the likes of Cleary just gives other NHLers that impression the Wings are stale, boring and borderline. We fans don’t want to hear it but Ehrhoff said it and even Rask alluded to it in the playoffs when he said he wasn’t worried about our shots.

Bottom line here is they have to have a great season to restore the shine and they have to show that this team is more than just Z and Pav on their last legs. Do that and they will be a hot destination again.

Posted by RW19 on 07/02/14 at 06:31 AM ET


In the calm light of day, the world hasn’t quite ended for the Red Wings.  Ken “No, not at all disappointed” Holland has egg to wipe off his face for letting Gilbert and Stuart pass because he was certain he’d land Boyle, but to mix breakfast metaphors that’s spilt milk now.

Assuming Holland et al still want to compete rather than going into a full rebuild, there actually are options going forward.  Here’s a few thoughts about that:

1)  Package Tatar in a trade for a right-handed defenseman.  Our list of NHL-ready middle-six wingers—Nyquist, Tatar, Jurco, theoretically Abdelkader and Alfredsson, maybe Mantha, maybe Pulkinnne.  Our list of right-handed defensemen who can play in the top four—bupkis.  I think Jurco has a higher ceiling than Tatar and Nyquist is better right now, so Tatar’s the guy to move.  Byfuglien would be my pick at this point—he’d radically change the composition of the team playing on the second pairing.  But Myers would also interest me.

Other possibilities for trade, in terms of value to other teams/what we can bear to part with, are probably Abdelkader, Helm (hate to say it, but he has a lot of value and we have Sheahan and Glendening), and Smith, though Smith could only be moved if we were getting a surefire, obvious upgrade on the blueline.

2)  Pursue Radim Vrbata.  Whether to fill a planned gap created by trading Tatar or to simply get that upgrade to the top six we entered the offseason looking for.  He’s a right-handed shot who’s proven his ability to excel in complementary roles.  He’d obviously have more to offer this team than the other available “top six” kinda forwards, who are reclamation projects.  And right now we probably have more cap space than the other possibilities.

3)  Consider any one of the following consolation-prize signings, most of whom are old dudes or reclamation projects.  I don’t like going after these guys in general, but I am assuming we want to pursue a trade that will open a hole of some kind in our roster, most likely in the middle six forwards or in our defense.  These guys are spackle, and some of them could turn out to be kinda useful:

Sami Salo—right-handed, probably looking for a short-term deal—the guy we should’ve signed two years ago

Derek Morris—certainly good enough to play in our top 4 at this point—wouldn’t you rather have seen his name last night than Quincey’s?

Joni Pitkanen—at least a camp invite to see if he can skate yet

Dustin Penner—his DC disaster makes him cheap, but it’s the guy who was on a 25-goal pace on a good team, Anaheim, we’d be interested in.  Are we really sure he can’t outplay Abdelkader with Datysuk and Zetterberg?

Mikhail Grabovski—former Datsyuk teammate, allegedly had interest in us last year, should be cheap, could serve as “Weiss insurance.”

Nikolai Kulemin—Can it really be true that a 6’3, 235 pound, 28-year old winger has nothing to offer?  He could be the Russian Dan Cleary given the chance.  The Penguins are already thinking this, but we can offer him more money.

There’s also some bottom-six guys who would be interesting if we moved one or more of those guys.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/02/14 at 07:01 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Well, I’ll be.
Maybe it’s the sleep.
Maybe it’s the cool-down period.
The main theme comes down to being calm and rational so far.
The world didn’t end after all.

Miracles never cease,....

Posted by Bugsy on 07/02/14 at 07:11 AM ET


I just think this free agent day wasn’t that bad.

I just think youth should be served and this year should do that.

I’m not encouraged by spending 50% more for these free agents and after last year, not getting that much except for Alfie.

So, things will come, slowly.

Very slowly.

Posted by bobbo on 07/02/14 at 08:03 AM ET

Alzy's avatar

I think it was St. James who tweeted yesterday that apparently to get myers from BUF, it’ll take one of nyquist, tatar, jurco, pulkinnen, mantha, and our 1st. If that is true, then Jesus fuching christ Holland, why weren’t Jurco and our 1st traded last week? Throw in Kindl too so BUF has more cap to get to the floor. Then, try Tatar or pulkinnen, the newly signed Quincey and our 2nd next year or 1st in 2015 for Yandle, and see if ARZ bites. Just do SOMETHING to improve the team, because resigning kyle fuching quincey isn’t it.

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 07/02/14 at 08:11 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar


They have the money and the cap space, but what they’ve lost is cachet. They are no longer a serious Stanley Cup contender, and for that reason, not a top destination for veterans looking to win now.

And this:

They boarded the return flight certain they had their man. But Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild. Word was his significant other vetoed any thought of living in Detroit.

Clearly, there’s an image problem afoot for the Wings. They skate in one of the NHL’s most ancient facilities. The view most outsiders have of Detroit is the bleak one presented on the nightly news

This all starts and will probably end with Holland. He knew Lidstrom’s career was winding down. He knew Stuart was splitting. He should have done his due diligence. The uphill climb better start soon or we’re going to have to start getting used to mediocrity.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 07/02/14 at 08:11 AM ET


Not sure what so many, especially in previous postings blame Holland. He is not really the problem, the problem is the fact that players don’t want to come to Detroit.
What is the reason for that?
From everything I’ve always read, owners are great, organization in general is great.
Is it the area? is it Babcock? Is it taxes? Who knows.
I don’t mind Quincey coming back, I just think he got grossly over paid and that we can blame Holland for.
Also, sad, that we didn’t go after Stuart, especially since Wings were on his list to be traded. Solid, solid D-man.
So we are back to having the same team we finished the season with.

Posted by George0211 on 07/02/14 at 08:25 AM ET


offer for Niskanen and one team source said they would have given 7 years at $42 million.


Wings offered Dan Boyle three years at $12.5 million


Wings talked to Anton Stralman but didn’t want to give him 5 years. He signed for five years at $4.5 million per season with Tampa Bay.

Oh my God, what a joke.


I felt better about not getting anyone yesterday when I figured Detroit at least wasn’t making stupid, desperate offers.

I, apparently, was too quick to feel relief.  If those rumors are true, I’d like to send a big thank you to the agents of those players for saving Holland from making signings that would have hurt him.  They were 2 years and a mil high per on Niskanen, they were at least a year long on Boyle, and even getting in the vicinity of Stralman was stupid.

I guess the big takeaway from yesterday is that Holland just managed to avoid being as stupid and shortsighted as many of you wanted him to be.  I only wish he could have disappointed you all more.



Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/02/14 at 08:51 AM ET


It’s like Christmas morning, we really expected that new bike with all the cool stuff on it and instead we got some new clothes and a book.  This is not exciting stuff, maybe useful but not much fun.  I still think KH is going to swing a trade for a defenseman.  I hope he is careful and does his homework.  Nix on Petry from Edmonton, fans have been very critical of him & he seems to have some holes in his game.  Myers from the Sabres is also a big gamble, he has taken a couple steps backwards and we need to hope if we get him, that a change of address was all that he needed.  KH needs to be sure when he pulls the trigger that this is the right target.  Giving up a high pick & maybe Tatar (who seems to be expecting a lot of dough already) could be acceptable.

Posted by ajgusgervais on 07/02/14 at 08:53 AM ET


Clearly, there’s an image problem afoot for the Wings. They skate in one of the NHL’s most ancient facilities. The view most outsiders have of Detroit is the bleak one presented on the nightly news

This all starts and will probably end with Holland.

Oh man, the ( (oh my God I hope) unintentional obliviousness there brought quite a smile.

The uphill climb better start soon or we’re going to have to start getting used to mediocrity.

I’m pretty sure you don’t have any idea what mediocrity is.  Detroit loses a bajillion games of injured players but finishes 9 points short of 3rd in the conference in a year their big money goalie stunk and you think the team is ‘mediocre’?

Wings fans.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/02/14 at 08:57 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Ok HD; if Holland wasn’t stupid yesterday, what do you call Quincey’s signing?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 07/02/14 at 09:10 AM ET


Ok HD; if Holland wasn’t stupid yesterday, what do you call Quincey’s signing?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 07/02/14 at 09:10 AM ET

Oh Shit no one wants to come here, I am desperate. That’s what I would call it.

Posted by George0211 on 07/02/14 at 09:11 AM ET

Primis's avatar

All this just screams of people running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

We have kids in the minors, including a right-shooting D-man IIRC, that aren’t just knocking the door down. They’re bustin’ on through like the Kool-Aid Man.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 07/02/14 at 02:31 AM ET

And now those kids can’t/won’t play because the Wings committed a large enough AAV to Quincey that he can’t and won’t it, no matter how badly he plays.  And he is completely untradaeble.  He doesn’t need a NTC because his contract already effectively serves as that.

THAT is the problem.  You (in general) can claim all you want about the Kids, but the Kids now won’t play because there is no room for them.  Almqvist has already bolted, and quite frankly I wouldn’t blame Marchenko if he did now too.

And Almqvist, my God…. he’s very skilled and not been given a shot because he’s “too small”... but Kyle Quincey who possesses no skill whatsoever just got a nice RAISE and locked in for 2 more years.


Posted by Primis on 07/02/14 at 09:14 AM ET

Primis's avatar

“can’t and won’t sit”.

Posted by Primis on 07/02/14 at 09:15 AM ET

voline's avatar

Red Wings fans need to step back from the ledge. There are specific reasons why each individual player turned down the Wings this year.

* Boyle is an older player and his priority is getting a chance to win the cup. So, he signed with a team that made the finals this year. That seems totally reasonable. That team has the World’s best goalie (sorry, Tuukka), plays in Manhattan, and is coached by an easygoing, smart guy that players like a lot. Can’t argue with that.

* Ehrhoff took a one-year deal with Pittsburgh where two of his pals from Team Germany, Greiss and Goc also signed. Looks like they had a plan to play at least one year together.

* According to Greg Wyshynski Niskanen credits the Penguins’ assistant coach for defensemen, Todd Reirden for his career year in 2013-14. Reirden will be coaching next season under Trotz in Washington. I don’t think he’s worth a 7-year $42 million contract. He’s not the second coming for Ray Bourque! He had one 46-point season. No other year came close to that kind of production.

* One of the reasons the Wings wanted a right-shooting defenseman was to play the point on the power play. From what I’ve read Stralman doesn’t do that. So, little wonder the Wings didn’t want to give him a 5-year contract.

* Robidas went to play for Carlyle in Toronto so he’s clearly insane.

* While Detroit was negotiating with Ehrhoff and Niskanen, one of their fall-back guys, Tom Gilbert, took a deal with Montreal. Bummer. Could they have done a better job of stringing him along? We don’t know.

I don’t think it’s useful to generalize from each of these particular cases that, “players” don’t want to play in Detroit any more. Clearly, DeKeyser, Alfredsson and Weiss did last year. Do they not count?

Too bad about Bolye, but I’m really glad Niskanen saved Ken Holland from making a big mistake. I’m in love with at least three of the Wings’ defense prospects, so I’m glad Holland hasn’t panicked and traded any of them away. Detroit could still use a veteran right-hander on defense this year. It’ll be interesting to see if Holland can pull something off. I hope Jim Nill didn’t take all the hockey acumen with him to Dallas.

Posted by voline on 07/02/14 at 09:29 AM ET


You’re right, HiHD. Ken Holland is doing some fantastic work, we’re just too stupid to appreciate it. One day we’ll look back on this and say, “That. That was when things really turned around for this hockey club. The day we let 4,000 free agents slip through our fingers and re-signed Kyle Quincey for the sake of signing someone. The real genius of the thing was the raise. If Quincey doesn’t get that raise, we probably don’t get Eichel. Ken Holland, man. The guy is made of magic.”

Posted by Dont Toews Me Bro on 07/02/14 at 09:29 AM ET


Posted by voline on 07/02/14 at 09:29 AM ET

Your comments make a lot of sense, about why those players decided to go to other team.
Honestly, I am fine with the way things transpired, until I saw the Quincey signing for the amount that they signed him for.

Posted by George0211 on 07/02/14 at 09:33 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

2011: Face it, the Wings are mediocre

2014: How dare you call the Wings mediocre!

Time flies.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/02/14 at 09:36 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

* Robidas went to play for Carlyle in Toronto so he’s clearly insane.
Posted by voline on 07/02/14 at 09:29 AM ET

Read somewhere, might’ve been here in Malik’s entrees that Toronto was a shorter distance from Robidas kids.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 07/02/14 at 09:38 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

THAT is the problem.  You (in general) can claim all you want about the Kids, but the Kids now won’t play because there is no room for them.  Almqvist has already bolted, and quite frankly I wouldn’t blame Marchenko if he did now too.

And Almqvist, my God…. he’s very skilled and not been given a shot because he’s “too small”...

Posted by Primis on 07/02/14 at 09:14 AM ET

I am in no way happy about Quincey’s raise, but to suggest Almquist? If he was legit, why wouldn’t he just go through the waiver process? Even he knows his own reality, its about time fans 150 miles from Grand Rapids do to.

As far as Marchenko, had Holland signed a guy slotted for a 3rd pair, I’d agree, but Marchenko woudl not have made this team as a top 4 defenseman this year, not realistic to expect that, nor would it be fair to his development to put him in that role.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 07/02/14 at 09:44 AM ET

voline's avatar

I found some good perspective in Down Goes Brown’s free agency preview article:

“Will these people ever learn?

“We’re still not sure how the other nine questions will work out, but we can go ahead and answer this one now: No, they won’t. Teams never do. Despite living to regret the majority of deals handed out in the opening days of free agency, you can always count on somebody, somewhere getting carried away.

“Barring the appearance of a genuine superstar on the open market (and none of this year’s class qualifies), the smart move would appear to be to sit it out for a few days and then go bargain-hunting once the remaining players start to sweat. But the allure of hitting a home run on opening day is just too tempting for most teams. Besides, you have to imagine some of these GMs thinking that, if today’s deal ends up being a disaster, it will be some other guy’s problem soon enough.

“If your team stays on the sideline today, consider yourself lucky. If not, you might as well enjoy the day while it lasts. After all, it’s always fun to go shopping, even if it’s for stuff you can’t afford. History tells us the bill will come due soon enough, and it will be bringing more questions with it.”

Posted by voline on 07/02/14 at 09:47 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

May I suggest three more realstic issues for players choosing other teams over the Red Wings?

1) Our locked up for life leader and work horse Zetterberg had back surgery. I love Hank, but for anyone to think he’s going to just snap back to stardom for the next 5 years, and the miles are not taking their toll is crazy.  Name a few people you know of that are better after back surgery. 

2) Our premier talent, Pavel, has a knee issue that forced him out of most of last season.  His camp opted not to have off-season surgery and “hope” that cures the issue. He’s north of 35, and his tires are more towards reaching their warranty.

3) Jimmy Howard is locked between our pipes for at least 5 years. He’s unmovable with his contract, and has no track record of success outside of one regular season and a 1/2 a playoff series. And its not as if he’s an unproven rookie with upside, he’s been in the league a while, there’s a book on him.

So this team… or joing younger healthier teams with the likes of Malkin, Stamkos, Crosby, or stud netminding like Lunquist, surrounded by young, but not green talent.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 07/02/14 at 09:53 AM ET

RedMenace's avatar

I’d just like to make a couple of observations, if I may:

- Today’s date is July 2nd, 2014, which is the first day after the beginning of the NHL’s Free Agency period;

- The 2014-2015 season starts on October 2nd, 2014, which is three months from today;

Now, I’m no nuclear biopharmacist, but it seems a little premature to label something an “absolute” or “utter failure” after only one day. I mean, there are still a few Free Agents who remain unsigned, and ninety days is a decent amount of time with which to acquire one (or work a trade) to start the season, if deemed necessary.

Don’t get me wrong, however; I am no fan of KFQ, and quite literally lol’d in disbelief when I saw the signing… and while it pains me greatly to say this, HD does make a few good points regarding last season’s injuries and Howard playing more like “the Duck” than an NHL starting goaltender.

As always, I suggest the more moderate action of “wait and see” before kicking the tires and lighting the fires.

Posted by RedMenace from The Luke Witkowski Fan Club on 07/02/14 at 10:16 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

*I say this with my tongue mostly, but not entirely in my cheek*

You know, it’s not too late to throw some of our left-over money at Subban.  Worst case, Montreal matches and we get to keep our money.  Best case, we get a Norris winning, right handed D-man with a great shot. 

If anything, it’ll be nice to see Kenny troll a division rival.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/02/14 at 10:32 AM ET


Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/02/14 at 10:32 AM ET

If the price for Tyler Myers is Jurco and a 1st, and the price for throwing a 7-year, $56M offer sheet at Subban is two 1sts, a second, and a third, then I don’t see why the latter is outside the realm of consideration.

Montreal would match, of course, but that’d put them over the cap and in a bind.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/02/14 at 10:50 AM ET


I posted a full response in another thread and I’ll add to this one. There are a couple opposing viewpoints that I deal with internally. First, there is part of me that’s happy the team didn’t wildly gamble on a guy like Niskanen, who I don’t think is that great. He’s good and he’d improve the team, but he’s not great. Boyle would’ve filled a need but he’s nothing special, either. I was never an advocate for Stralman. If my choice came down to it, I’d take Gilbert at two years at $2.8M per over Quincey at $4.25M per for two years. Gilbert at least adds a puck-moving right-hander to the mix.

Second, this team isn’t getting better and it’s not getting worse. It’s just drifting and its best players are getting older, more injured, and less effective and productive. That’s a problem. In my opinion, signing Kyle Quincey is stupid. If you can’t execute Plan A, I think you really have to use a prospect as Plan B. What is the purpose of just holding steady on a team that’s gone from second round loser to first round loser to squeaking into the playoffs?

Right now, I see a team drifting. Its stars aging and its young talent on the blueline not going to be ready for primetime (read: Cup contention) by the time 13 and 40 are well past their prime and none of the young forwards look like replacements of either 13 or 40.

So what’s the plan?

Posted by VitoLambruski on 07/02/14 at 10:59 AM ET

Alzy's avatar

Paul or George, have either of you heard anything to substantiate St. James claim for the alleged price go trade for Myers (that being one of Tatar/Pulkinnen/Nyquist/Jurco/Mantha and our 2015 1st)? As I said before, if that really is the case, then I don’t understand how Holland hasn’t already dealt Tatar or Jurco. It just seems like a no brainer to me.

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 07/02/14 at 10:59 AM ET


I should add that I’m not in the “it’s the end of the world” camp but I am certainly concerned. For now, I’ll withhold full judgment to see if Ken Holland makes a good trade or somehow finds a way to fill some of the need(s) on the back end.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 07/02/14 at 11:01 AM ET


RE: Myers - the guy to move is Tatar, not Jurco. Tatar, Nyquist, and Pulkkinen are all smallish 2nd-line wingers. Ideally, one of those guys consistently plays on the 3rd line (on a Cup contender, no doubt that would be the case, if not two of them). I don’t believe Pulkkinen + a first-rounder would do it.

Nyquist > Tatar > Pulkkinen. Don’t compare Jurco to those guys because Jurco’s a bigger guy with a greater upside and has more tools.

Mantha is untouchable, unless we’re getting a blue chip guy coming back. Myers’ checkered past is not sufficient for me to call him a blue chip guy anymore. I’d only package Mantha if a guy like Ekman-Larsson, Murray, Brodin or Trouba is coming back.

I am concerned about moving the first round pick because the upcoming draft is deep and has high-end talent. In addition, this team may end up outside of the playoff picture, which could mean a top-10 pick. Not the year to give that up.

If Buffalo would take Tatar + Pulkkinen + 3rd rounder/Kindl, I’d jump on that. If there’s a legitimate chance, I’d bargain too, and maybe give up a little more if I had to.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 07/02/14 at 11:08 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I see a team drifting. Its stars aging and its young talent on the blueline not going to be ready for primetime (read: Cup contention) by the time 13 and 40 are well past their prime and none of the young forwards look like replacements of either 13 or 40.

So what’s the plan?

Posted by VitoLambruski on 07/02/14 at 10:59 AM ET

Exactly, time to blow this team right the eff up, and trade Pavel. Him alone, not to mention his cap friendly contract would without a doubt fetch this organization at least 2 players of Top 6 F or Top 4 D caliber down the road, when this team is in the hands of Mantha, Gus, Tatar and the wings new defense. And in that I assume that part of the package doesn’t pan out.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 07/02/14 at 11:11 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

When asked if he was disappointed that the Wings were shut out in the open market, Holland replied, “No, not in the least.

Holland, you are either a liar or an idiot.

The last 2 tweets by Khan regarding Stralman and Gilbert, and also how Stuart played out, really speak volumes towards Hollands ineptitude.  Especially in light of the Quincey signing.

I also like the preaching about this being only the first day of FA, when before this all started it was pretty widely agreed that there was barely any talent out there worth bidding on to begin with.  Now that Detroit lost out on all of that, all of the sudden there are a multitude of viable options in FA?  Colaiacovo?  Jovonovski?  No, barring any trades, this FA season is an “utter failure.”

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 07/02/14 at 11:15 AM ET


Brad Stuart AAV $3.6M.  Quincey $4.25M.  WTF Holland?!

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/02/14 at 11:18 AM ET

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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.