The Malik Report
Red Wings overnight report: coaching stuff, potential UFA’s, draft talk, cap talk and slight geekage
by George Malik on 06/18/14 at 03:16 AM ET
Amongst this morning's Red Wings-related news stories:
- First, if you're interested, ESPN's taking surveys regarding its 2014 NHL Franchise Rankings, and you can let the sports world know where the Wings rank in all sorts of meaningful categories. Teams pay attention to these rankings;
- The Daniel Cleary saga isn't the only song that never seems to end. In coaching news, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari report that Wings assistant coach Bill Peters is one of seven (or eight) candidates being interviewed for the Pittsburgh Penguins' coaching vacancy, and the team may or may not interview Tom Renney, too;
- If you missed it, Nashville Predators GM David Poile told the Tennessean's Josh Cooper and the Nashville Post's J.R. Lind that the Predators won't offer Patrick Eaves a contract;
- Regarding Daniel Alfredsson, I'm glad that The Fourth Period set the record straight...
The Red Wings are waiting to hear whether or not veteran right wing Daniel Alfredsson plans on playing another season.
Alfredsson, 41, is contemplating playing another season and if he returns to the NHL next year, it'll be with the Wings.
- And regarding the Wings' last cap-compliance buy-out, I regret to inform CBS Sports' Brian Stubits--and some of you--that the Wings will be using it on Jordin Tootoo, not the following player:
Detroit Red Wings Buyouts remaining: 1. After buying out Carlo Colaiacovo last summer, the Red Wings only have one at their disposal now and they aren't likely to use it. Unfortunately for them, Stephen Weiss is free from a buyout after his abysmal first season in Detroit. Johan Franzen is an interesting option for the Wings as he is due nearly $4 million per season for the next six seasons, which takes him to the age of 40. He's still productive for now but it's fair to wonder if that contract still looks good in two seasons from now. Either way, it would be an utter shock if the Red Wings actually did that as Franzen is still a key part of the team. They might think about it, but not for more than two seconds.
There's a definite sense that this might be Franzen's last season with the Wings if he doesn't return to form--I really woudn't be surprised if the Wings try to trade The Mule (assuming they could find someone to deal with the cap recapture issues), even if they had to eat some of his salary--but he's not going anywhere.
- Regarding potential free agent targets, the Free Press's Helene St. James takes a look at 27-year-old Anton Stralman today. Stralaman earned all of $1.8 million this past season, and while I'm not sold on his theoretical status as a "top-pair defenseman," there's no doubt that his playoff performance certainly earned him a $4+ million paycheck as a strong #4/5 defenseman:
Stralman spent last season with the New York Rangers, helping them to the Stanley Cup finals. He didn’t have overwhelming offensive numbers — one goal, 12 assists — but he played in 81 games and then had five assists in 25 playoff games. A year ago, with the Rangers, he had seven points, four of them goals, in 48 games. He began his NHL career in 2007 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, then spent two years with Columbus before landing in New York.
Assets include being a solid hitter and shooting right, the latter of which the Wings dearly want to add to their back end.
Stralman turns 28 in August, and is just entering the prime of his career. Defense is a tough position, and it can take a player until his mid- to late-20s to start blossoming. Stralman could well hone his scoring touch in a place like Detroit, and don’t discount how being Swedish could help him flourish on a team loaded with successful countrymen. Stralman just finished up a two-year deal worth $3.4 million. Given the dearth of quality unrestricted free-agent defensemen available this summer, Stralman probably can command at least $3 million a season. Much more than that would be stretching it for a guy who just three years ago failed to garner a qualifying offer from Columbus, and was released from a training camp tryout by New Jersey before being rescued by the Rangers.
I really do believe that he'll make more than that. My issue with Stralman is that he's going to get as much money as Dan Boyle or Tom Gilbert can command.
- Speaking of which, regarding the Red Wings' free agent and cap parameters, per Capgeek:
Under what Capgeek is still listing as $71.1 million "upper limit" (the cap may actually end up in the $69-70 million range), and minus restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Tomas Tatar or Riley Sheahan, or unrestricted free agents-to-be Jonas Gustavsson, possibly Daniel Alfredsson and possibly Daniel Cleary, Capgeek figures that the Wings have $17.117 million in cap space.
That's enough to re-sign the RFA's and UFA's (presuming that the Wings don't give Alfredsson or Cleary gigantic raises), and to maybe make one big free agent signing to retain some cap flexibility (unless the Wings plan on "capping themselves out").
- Of note from ESPN's Craig Custance's chat on Tuesday:
DJ (PGH): Craig, lots of chatter amongst fans, but what do people inside the league predict Babcock does going forward after next season? Re-up with Detroit, or become the hottest coaching free agent in recent hockey history?
Craig Custance: DJ - Boy, that's a tough one. I'd really like to see what the Penguins do this year before I make any predictions. The Red Wings will push to sign him to a long-term deal but he's in no rush to sign it. He has all the leverage in the world right now. The fact that Detroit locked up Blashill the way they did is a sign they think Babcock could walk. The easy prediction is to say he returns to Detroit and it would make sense for all sides. My fearless prediction? Toronto.
Jason (St.Paul): Any guess on Dan Boyle's destination (cmon we both know its not the Islanders) and what can that team expect from him?
Craig Custance: Credit Garth Snow for trying, he's exactly the kind of player the Islanders need. But you're right, I don't expect him to sign there. He never wanted to leave Tampa and he'd look good in a return to the Lightning. Or what about Detroit? The Red Wings need help on defense and Ken Holland loves his veterans. If I'm Dan Boyle, I'm picking one of the Eastern Conference playoff teams and hoping to hit on the right one for a playoff run.
JD (PA): Call me crazy, but I think Matt Niskanen will be the most overpaid UFA when all is said and done. Not saying he isn't solid, but I think he was a product of those around him. I see him more as a steady 3 rather than a top pairing guy.
Craig Custance: JD - He's definitely a 3-4 defenseman but the reality is that there just aren't top pair defensemen in free agency at his age. So, if you need defense, you have to pay a little more for Matt Niskanen or else you get nothing. It's the reality of free agency. The best teams can balance that out with good young players on entry level deals. That's why you can no longer build your teams just through free agency. I don't see it as overpaid, it's what the market will allow. But when you compare it to other 3-4 defensemen, it'll be much higher.
DJ (PGH): Craig, us Spartans are very smart, or at least think alike. I too feel like if Babcock goes, it won't be to Pittsburgh, but Toronto. There's more glory in winning there than pretty much anywhere
Craig Custance: DJ - That's part of my thought process. Mike Babcock has accomplished just about everything he can as a coach. Bringing a Stanley Cup to Toronto has to be like the Holy Grail. If he were able to do that, he cements himself as one of the best ever.
(No, because the Leafs' ownership is still a clusterfuck, even under Shanahan's guidance)
- Regarding potential trades, I'm not a fan of Dustin Byfuglien, but Sportsnet's Mark Spector's added his voice to the chorus of pundits suggesting that Evander Kane and Byfuglien are on the block in Winnipeg, and I mention the 6'5," 265-pound and 29-year-old defenseman with the $5.2 million cap hit not because I believe he's a favorite to join the Wings, but because Wings GM Ken Holland had this to say to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan regarding potential draft-day trades:
Holland, on talking with other general managers in meetings last week in New York regarding possible trades: “I have a good idea of who could be available. We’ll continue to talk."
- The GM spoke with the Windsor Star's Bob Duff about comparisons between the Wings and San Antonio Spurs as well:
“I think there’s a lot of similarities between the Spurs and the Red Wings,” Detroit general manager Holland said.
Taking more of a “what have you done for me lately?” approach, Holland is quick to disengage the comparison in recent years.
“They won their fifth (NBA) title (on Sunday) and we’ve only got four,” Holland said. “They’ve got a recent one, where we don’t have a recent one. I think that certainly I wouldn’t want to sit here and compare ourselves to the Spurs when they’ve come off an NBA championship and we’ve won one playoff round in our last three years.”
I'm not going to quote all of Duff's article, but this quip (there's more) seems a bit ironic:
“When you look at the Spurs and you look at us, it’s probably the stability, a lot of the same players for the same time,” Holland said. “We’ve tried to have a team based on stability. We haven’t had a ton of change. We’ve had change, but you really don’t notice the change because we’ve been able to be a playoff team every year.
“We’ve slowly tried to move people in to take jobs and because the transition has been slow and we’ve had a lot of people here for a long time, there appears to be from the outside some stability.”
- Speaking of prospects, in the theoretical vein, The Sports Forecaster's posted its first-round mock draft, and I'm surprised at the name of the player they believe will slip to the 15th overall selection:
15. DETROIT RED WINGS
Kasperi Kapanen, RW, KalPa (Liiga)
Kapanen would be considered a best-player-available selection here, but his dynamic offensive game and European training are perfect for Detroit's system. Whoever gets picked here will be several years away, since Detroit has a strong pipeline at the moment.
The Sports Forecaster describes the 6'0," 183-pound forward, who is indeed Sami Kapanen's son, as follows...
Assets: Owns a very good sniper's release, so goal-scoring is his strong suit. Skates very well and knows how to free himself from coverage to get open. Has good hockey sense.
Flaws: Isn't overly big, so he needs to add more bulk in order to maximize production in the North American game. Also, he needs to continue to work on his play in the defensive zone.
Career Potential: Skilled goal-scoring winger with good upside.
• Kapanen has played the past two seasons on the same team as his father, former NHL player Sami, for Kalpa of the Finnish Elite League. Sami was drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the fourth round (87th overall) of the 1995 NHL Draft, and totaled 458 points in 831 games with the Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers. “It’s pretty incredible. I can’t describe what it feels like to see him every day on the ice and be on the ice with him. But when we’re on the ice I see him as a teammate, but when we go home and eat dinner I see him as a father.”
• He finished second among all players with five goals, including the game-winner in the bronze-medal game against Russia at the 2013 Under-18 World Championship in Sochi. He also led Finland with 3-6—9 in five games at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Kapanen was selected to Team Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship, but was unable to play due to injury.
• Kapanen lists Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Kimmo Timonen as some of his favorite NHL players -- all three were teammates of his father while he played for the Flyers.
• His grandfather, Hannu Kapanen, was a forward for five seasons with Jokerit and HIFK, and also played for Finland at the 1976 Canada Cup and 1976 Olympics.
Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb: “He’s a good-skating wing and can also play center. He has a smooth and surprisingly fast style that has surprised many unsuspecting defensemen. His tricky puck skills and quick release have paid off in many games and he has good hand-eye coordination. He’s not overly physical, but does not shy away from rough situations.”
I've read Kapanen be picked somewhere between 5th and 10th overall in every other mock draft I've read, so I'd imagine that the Wings would be fine with his lack of size (NHL.com lists him as 5'11" and 180 pounds) given his potential.
- Speaking of prospects, in the literal sense of the term, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's latest "Wings in Waiting" article profiles Petr Mrazek:
There’s no one Petr Mrazek would rather have between the pipes than Petr Mrazek.
“He wants to be the guy,” said Jiri Fischer, Detroit’s director of player development. “I had a chance to coach with the (Czech) World Junior team. He was our best player. He wanted to be in every pressure situation. He wanted to stick it to the other team more than anyone else on our roster.”
“The practice level when you have Petr around is always better,” Fischer said. “When he turned pro, the challenge he posted for Tommy McCollum of every day fighting for the No. 1 spot, since then, Tommy McCollum's career has taken off the way everybody was hoping for and we believed would. His presence has been great for everyone.”
Mrazek was named to the AHL Second All-Star Team last season, finishing second in the AHL in goals against average (2.10) and third in save percentage (.924) through 32 regular-season games. The 22-year-old earned a 22-9-1 record in his second season with the Griffins, while also seeing action in nine games with Detroit. Mrazek earned a 2-4-0 record with the Red Wings, with a 1.74 GAA and a .927 save percentage. His wins were shutouts at Edmonton (Nov. 2) and at St. Louis (Apr. 13).
- In the prospect department, "small consolation" version:
The Texas Stars defeated Mrazek and the Griffins in the 2nd round of the AHL playoffs this spring.
- In charitable news, part 1: Speaking of Fischer...
- In charitable news, part 2, per the Wisconsin State Journal's Andy Baggot:
An impressive array of NHL talent makes up the rosters for the first Blake Geffrion Hockey Classic.
Among the former University of Wisconsin men’s hockey players scheduled to participate are Rene Bourque (Montreal Canadiens), Brian Elliott (St. Louis Blues), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers), Justin Schultz (Edmonton Oilers), Brendan Smith (Detroit Red Wings), Craig Smith (Nashville Predators) and Derek Stepan (New York Rangers).
Proceeds from the event, to be held June 27 at 6:30 p.m. at LaBahn Arena, will go toward helping the UW Burn Center.
UW men’s coach Mike Eaves will oversee the Red team, which will have Madisonian Adam Burish (San Jose Sharks) as captain.
UW women’s coach Mark Johnson will direct the White squad, which will have Madisonian Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild) as captain.
More than 1,100 tickets have been sold for the game which Geoffrion, the 2010 Hobey Baker Award winner, hopes to make an annual affair.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth 2 through 18 and seniors 55 and older. They can be purchased at the UW Athletic Ticket Office, 1440 Monroe St., or at http://www.uwbadgers.com.
- A Red WIngs alumnus passed away on Tuesday, per NHL.com:
Larry Zeidel, who played parts of five seasons in the NHL for three teams, died Tuesday at the age of 86. The former defenseman was battling congestive heart failure, kidney problems and dementia, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nicknamed "The Rock," Zeidel played for the Detroit Red Wings (1951-53), Chicago Blackhawks (1953-54) and the Philadelphia Flyers (1967-69). He had 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) and 198 penalty minutes in 158 regular-season games and won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 1952.
Zeidel also had a lengthy career in the American Hockey League and Western Hockey League.
"While Larry Zeidel really only played in our inaugural season, he helped define Philadelphia Flyers hockey," Flyers chairman Ed Snider said in a statement. "He was a tough son of a gun on the ice and a terrific fighter. He was a colorful guy and he was that way his whole life. It's a sad day for our team and we're really going to miss him."
- I would strongly suggest that anyone who's chewing tobacco presently gives The Hockey News's Adam Proteau's article about its status as a scourge upon hockey, in light of Tony Gwynn's passing, a read;
- FYI part 1, from the Canadian Jewish News's Paul Lungen:
Morgan Pressel hails from the Sunshine State, where golf, tennis, football, baseball and basketball – maybe even jai alai – are front runners on the sports pages, well ahead of that import from the north, hockey. But she can talk pucks with the best of them.
Ask her to name her favourite players on her favourite team, the Detroit Red Wings, and Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom top her list. But it’s hard to ignore Pavel Datsyuk from the current edition of the Red Wings, she said.
Pretty impressive, but can she recall the third-pairing left-shooting defenceman for the Wings from those cup-winning teams? Better not to ask; she might actually know the answer.
So how does a Florida-based professional golfer, in 37th place in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, come to be a fan of the Red Wings and hockey?
Her family hails from the Detroit area and as a young girl she’d spent a lot of summers there. She played quite a few rounds of golf with Kirk Maltby, a Red Wing from the glory era.
Her love of hockey is right there on her LPGA bio and Pressel is all smiles describing her younger days on the course with Maltby. There seems to be an affinity between hockey players and golf, she said.
- FYI Part 2, nerd alert: The Goalie Guild was able to visit Vaughn Custom Sports' plant in Oxford, MI on Tuesday, and as such:
And finally, I do have to ask yet again. I'm still around 50% funded for the Traverse City trip with exactly two weeks remaining until departure:
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:
If you can aid the cause, I'd be incredibly grateful; if you can't, I understand, and as usual, literally any amount helps. You'd be surprised how many $5, $10 and $20 donations end up paying my way. Thanks.
Update: MLive's Brendan Savage has posited yet another mock draft...
Fans who want to see the Detroit Red Wings get bigger might like a new mock draft out of Philadelphia.
CSNPhilly.com has put together a mock draft that predicts the Red Wings will use their first-round pick (15th overall) this month to take forward Brendan Perlini of the Niagara IceDogs.
Perlini, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound left wing, had 34 goals, 37 assists, a minus-2 rating and 36 penalty minutes in 58 games for Niagara last season.
"The Red Wings need some more offensive powerhouses in the cupboard," wrote Russ Cohen of CSNPhilly.com. "Perlini wins puck battles and can score down low. Detroit likes these kinds of players, and he's only a few years away from playing in the NHL."
Perlini, 18, was born in London, England and moved to Sault Ste. Marie when he was 9. He played in Detroit's Belle Tire program before moving onto the OHL.
NHL.com's profile of Perlini reads as follows:
• Perlini led Niagara during the 2013-14 season with 34 goals in 58 games, and finished second on the team with 71 points. He was named the most sportsmanlike IceDog for 2013-14.
• He began playing hockey in the United Kingdom where his father, Fred, worked as director of a hockey program after his playing career ended in 1997 with the Guildford Flames of the British Hockey League. He wears No. 11 as a tribute to his father, who played eight games with the Toronto Maple Leafs after being drafted in 1980 (158th overall).
• Perlini registered four points (3-1—4) in seven games for Canada’s bronze medal winning entry at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship.
• His minor hockey career began with a national championship with the Guildford Junior Ice Club in Surrey, England. His family then moved back to North America where he played three seasons of minor hockey in Sault Ste. Marie before joining the Belle Tire program in Michigan when his family relocated to Detroit.
• Brendan’s brother, Brett, played four years at Michigan State University and was drafted by Anaheim in the seventh round (192nd overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. He currently plays in the ECHL for the Toledo Walleye.
Director of NHL Central Scouting, Dan Marr: "He plays an unselfish game moving the puck around and he gets his stick on pucks and arrives on time for chances. He's a good shooter and has a good touch finishing chances.”
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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.