Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: the management team will stick to its plan today

Given the last couple of months' worth of comments from the Red Wings over the past couple of months, never mind the last couple of weeks or days, or taking the team's cap situation and roster crunches into account, it's very evident that Detroit won't be particularly active today, save attempting to re-sign Damien Brunner and Daniel Cleary and attempting to bring in a second line center.

Given the hundreds and hundreds of comments made over the past couple of days, there is an assumption that everything would be different if Jim Nill were in charge instead of Ken Holland.

Such suggestions do not take into account a simple fact: the Detroit Red Wings are not a team whose decisions are solely made by Ken Holland. The Red Wings are run by a management team which consults its pro scouts, its ownership, and yes, its coaches before making major moves, and while Holland has the final say, he is not some lone cowboy going on his gut feeling.

The Red Wings have a defacto assistant GM in Ryan Martin, who's also the team's capologist and now the GM of the Grand Rapids Griffins, and Martin has to make sure that moves make sense going forward in both CBA-constrained terms and in terms of the "pushes" that the Calder Cup-winning Griffins may make for roster spots over the next three to five seasons.

Martin has director of player development Jiri Fischer, player mentor Chris Chelios and goalie coaches Chris Osgood and Jim Bedard, as well as the Grand Rapids' coaching staff in Jeff Blashill and Jim Paek, to serve as reality checks in that department.

They have a GM-in-training in Kris Draper, who's been working with the team for two years now, and, if we are to believe what's been said about him, Draper's well on his way to being someone's assistant GM sooner than later.

The Wings have a team of pro scouts who answer to Mark Howe, and their ranks include a former player in Kirk Maltby, and they have a group of amateur scouts who answer to Joe McDonnell--who just brought eight new prospects into the Wings' system--and their ranks include Swedish super-scout Hakan Andersson.

The team has Jimmy Devellano's decades of experience at their beck and call, the team has ownership that will never turn down a move that the Wings believe will make the team better in Mike, Marian and Chris Ilitch...

And yes, the team does consult its coaching staff in Mike Babcock, Tom Renney and Bill Peters regarding player personnel needs.

The Wings' front office held a powwow with all of the aforementioned members in attendance prior to the draft, and I'm sure that they've held meetings and conference calls with the vast majority thereof since the draft and over the past couple of days, as the cap compliance buy-out market has changed the face of the free agent class that's officially going to start signing crazy-money deals at noon EDT today.

Since the Wings front office reluctantly began to embrace a youth movement that delivered a two-round, 14-game playoff run, they've stated that the team plans on sticking to its guns for the most part.

Danny DeKeyser's signing and performance all but assured that the Wings would not be adding a defenseman unless they can find one via a trade, and someone like Alex Edler would cost a top-four defenseman and a top prospect in return. The Wings essentially bought out Carlo Colaiacovo because the growth of Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith and DeKeyser made Colaiacovo redundant at best.

Between extending Pavel Datsyuk's services and the fact that Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar have all earned full-time promotions for this upcoming season, there was little doubt that the team would feel a distinctive need to add much more than a goal-scoring winger, and as we have been told by the beat writers, the team's free agent focus has shifted to replacing Valtteri Filppula with another second-line center.

Cap-wise and roster-wise, the Wings have enough money to re-sign Nyquist, Andersson and Brendan Smith as restricted free agents, to attempt to retain Damien Brunner and perhaps Daniel Cleary's services, and in terms of a team admittedly perilously close to the 50-man roster limit, enough space to add another free agent forward, especially given that the team's crossing its fingers about Darren Helm and Todd Bertuzzi returning to health (and there isn't a market for Cory Emmerton or Jordin Tootoo given the number of similar players availiable for free at noon today).

Maybe, if they really feel excited about a free agent defenseman being an upgrade to Kyle Quincey, they'll add a body on the blueline as well as a forward. Otherwise?

This team didn't have the assets to go after someone like Tyler Seguin (the Wings dont have a second-line, goal-scoring forward that would have interested the Bruins to begin with, the Stars gave up the equivalent of Ryan Sproul, Tomas Jurco and Landon Ferraro, and the Stars will not be playing the Boston Bruins six times during the 2013-2014 season like Detroit will), and making a Shawn Horcoff-style deal (giving up a Jakub Kindl in return) would have blown the team's cap space.

The Wings are not a rebuilding team that had the cap space and prospects to burn that Dallas did. The Wings are not willing to spend for the sake of spending (Nathan Horton is not a $6 million-plus player and David Clarkson is not a $5-6 million player).

The cap's gone down from $70.2 million to $64.3 million, and that changes everyone's situation.

And if you're wondering where this, "The Wings are worried about Lecavalier/Iginla/Morrow's ability to keep pace with the game Detroit plays" line of thinking comes from, it's not Ken Holland talking.

That's Babcock. And if he doesn't believe that a forward can keep up, the management listens.

So the management team will move cautiously on a day that throws caution to the winds, and that's probably going to piss most of you off.

I don't necessarily agree with the team's lack of movement going into free agency or what will probably be a lack of moves over the next two weeks, either, but I'm not running the damn team.

But none of this is "new news." None of this is something dropped on us like a meteor from above.

As MLive's Ansar Khan suggests, the team is also understandably concerned with the fact that signing any of the avaialble UFA's they're interested in to long-term deals might hurt the team down the line--because the Wings are already going to feel the pinch from not being able to buy out Samuelsson, for starters...

The NHL's free agent crop gets thinner and less appealing every year as teams lock up their best players to long-term deals. What remains is a small group of noteworthy players that many teams bid for, inflating their prices (money and term).

Weiss may not be an option, as it turns out...

The Red Wings' primary need is a second-line center. Florida's Stephen Weiss, 30, has been their main focus for weeks. But, they may not be willing to meet his contract demands, expected to be at least five years and more than $5 million per season.

Washington's Mike Ribeiro is seeking a similar deal. That's more than the Red Wings would be willing to give a 33-year-old.

Detroit might seek lower-cost options like Tyler Bozak (Toronto), Matt Cullen (Minnesota) or Derek Roy (Vancouver). The Red Wings spoke to Senators captain and franchise mainstay Daniel Alfredsson on Thursday, as did the Boston Bruins, but he is expected to re-sign with Ottawa.

And the asking prices are kind of silly right now, Valtteri Filppula's included:

This free agent class is void of bona fide superstars. The closest would be Boston center Nathan Horton. But, his reported asking price of six years at $6 million a season, coupled with injury concerns (concussion, shoulder), make him a risky acquisition.

New Jersey right wing David Clarkson has a nice combination of scoring ability and toughness, but he is seeking a seven-year deal worth between $5 million and $6 million per season. The Red Wings aren't getting into a bidding war for him.

The club has not made any headway in talks with Valtteri Filppula because the enigmatic forward wants a seven-year pact in excess of $5 million per season. He is generating a lot of interest. Tampa Bay and Columbus are possible landing spots.

What's the plan if they don't retain Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner?

The Red Wings have spoken to the representatives of wingers Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow, both formerly of Pittsburgh. They were high on Chicago's speedy Viktor Stalberg, but that was before he disappeared in the playoffs (no goals, three assists in 19 games).

Other available wingers include Ryane Clowe (Rangers), Mason Raymond (Vancouver) and Peter Mueller (Florida).

And, as Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner notes, there is Mikhail Grabovski...and, to a lesser extent, Alfredsson:

Grabovski, 29, is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 183 pounds, skates exceptionally well, has terrific playmaking ability and, perhaps most important, is extremely close to the Wings' Pavel Datsyuk. Three times in his five-year NHL career, Grabovski has scored at least 20 goals, with his best season being in 2010-11, when he had 29 goals and 58 points.     

Grabovski was placed on unconditional waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday and must clear waivers on Friday at noon before the Wings can approach the creative Russian forward. If Grabovski goes unclaimed, which is a distinct possibility, he'll become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team but the Leafs.

It’s not a stretch to think that the Datsyuk connection would make Detroit the frontrunners; however, after he was placed on waivers, Grabovski unleashed a profanity-laced tirade toward Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle in an interview with TSN.

You have to wonder how Grabovski’s volatile personality would mesh with Wings coach Mike Babcock, regardless of his relationship with Datsyuk.

Alfredsson is a completely different story. The captain of the Ottawa Senators, it’s hard to imagine that the Swedish legend would finish his NHL career with any other team but Ottawa. Alfredsson, 40, has spent his entire 17-year NHL career with the Senators, but according to reports, Alfredsson is entertaining offers from other teams, including the Red Wings.

Detroit GM Ken Holland spoke to Alfredsson’s camp on Thursday and was informed that the right-handed shooting center will make his decision Friday morning. From all accounts, it’s down to three teams for Alfredsson: the Wings, Senators and the Boston Bruins. He's been in negotiations with the Senators throughout this process, which makes you believe he will remain with them.

Alfredsson is looking for a one-year deal, which appeals to the Wings, who are apprehensive to commit to a long-term deal with any of this year’s crop of UFAs.

Unlike other teams, the Wings aren't as optimistic about the salary cap rebounding to $70 million in short order, as Holland suggested to USA Today's Kevin Allen...

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he is hearing lot of teams would like to add some pieces, "but they are squeezed" by the new salary cap.

...

"We have a move or two left," Holland said.

The Red Wings would consider a move to add a defenseman to play in their top four, but Holland said concedes that he doesn't see many options in the marketplace. The Red Wings are also looking for a player to move into their top six forwards and Weiss seems like a likely target.

Take note from Mr. Clean, folks:

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he doesn't see much difference between how the teams are managing their cap this summer and how they have in the past.

"They are adjusting their practices accordingly," he said.

The big question for the teams is what's going to happen next season and beyond in the new CBA, which takes the owners and players to a 50-50 split of revenue. [Player agent Allan] Walsh predicts the salary cap will be at $80 million within three years. Daly has a different take.

"There is no expectation that the cap will grow dramatically next year," he said. "We expect growth, but relatively modest growth."

In "the spirit of the thing," the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa suggests that the Wings aren't as small, as old or as non-physical as those who fear the team's move to the Eastern Conference yielding a Wings team being manhandled up and down the ice might indicate...

First, the Red Wings are not among the smallest teams in the NHL, and Western teams are not significantly smaller than those in the East. But a lot of the stuff about physical aspects of the game is generally true.

There is not a statistic for physical play, but there are statistics that suggest physicality: hits, fights, blocks and penalties. Eastern teams generally hit and fight more, block more shots and take more penalties. But the quicker, skilled teams in the East, like the Penguins, Canadiens and Capitals, vied for the top playoff spots last season. So does it much matter?

Asked if the Red Wings must adjust their game to win in the East, coach Mike Babcock said he talked to one of his former assistants, Paul MacLean, who moved to the East two seasons ago to coach the Senators. MacLean justly won the 2013 Jack Adams Award for the coach who contributed most to the success of his team.

“I asked him the same question,” Babcock said. “He says it’s more physically demanding right from the get-go, as far as fighting and physicality. But he told me that he just did what he always did. And so, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to understand that might be part of it, but we’re going to get prepared.”

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has acknowledged in recent years the two big criticisms of his roster are size and lack of belligerence. In some of the new, young players in the lineup, the choices last weekend in the draft and perhaps in any signings of free agents beginning at noon today, the Red Wings clearly are getting bigger. But are they rougher and do they need it to compete successfully in the East?

“Boston is a big team and has had lots of success,” Holland said. “Montreal had a lot of success and they are not quite as big. Toronto is fast ...We’d like to get five percent better.”

It may surprise some, but the Red Wings do not seem to need much more size. Not counting goaltenders, the average weight of a player in the West last season was 203.1 pounds. In the East, 203.7 pounds. On the Red Wings roster, the average was 204.4.

That was sixth-heaviest in the West, where the Kings were largest at 207.3. The Red Wings would have been seventh-biggest in the East, where the Lightning were largest at 209.3.

He continues at length, with stats and such...

And all I can say is that while I understand that some of you are slightly dissatisfied with the team's free agency plans, and that most of you are moderately to incredibly dissatisfied with the team's free agency plans...

Before the 2013 season began, many of you were lamenting the fact that the "kids" didn't get to play. The Wings' moves this past summer certainly indicated that Mikael Samuelsson and Carlo Colaiacovo would be playing instead.

They got hurt, and on defense, Jakub Kindl proved that he's an every-day defenseman, Brendan Smith was an adventure but has promise, and Danny DeKeyser essentially was the team's unrestricted free agent signing--which we were told at the time.

Up front, Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist were supposed to play for the Griffins, and instead, they became indispensable players, booting Jordin Tootoo and Todd Bertuzzi to the press box in the playoffs. Ditto for Damien Brunner, who the Wings desperately want to retain, and now the team's going to make room for Tomas Tatar.

In goal, the team's sticking with Jonas Gustavsson very specifically because they've got a goalie who can either salvage himself with one year and $1.5 million remaining on his deal, or he'll give way to Petr Mrazek, who the team believes is too valuable to sit on the bench for 50 games while Howard continues to live up to his contract.

Kindl, Smith, DeKeyser, Andersson, Nyquist, Tatar, hopefully Brunner. They're all going to play.

The Wings managed to keep Pavel Datsyuk around for what will be a total of four more seasons, too, and that was the other panic-inducing worry. His extension is very reasonable.

Drew Miller came back at a silly discount, too.

In terms of dead weight, Colaiacovo's been bought out, and it sounds like the team would have bought Samuelsson out if it could have done so.

I am as disappointed as anyone that the Wings didn't flip Valtteri Filppula's rights to another team, but they didn't.

It sounds like Daniel Cleary wants more term than the Wings are willing to offer him given his degenerative knee issue and his history of groin injuries.

I simply can't blame the Wings for hanging on to Emmerton and Tootoo for insurance purposes lest Helm or Bertuzzi remain on the sidelines, but we know that their names were in play, and that their futures in Detroit are less than secure if they do anything less than prove that they're worth roster spots during training camp and the exhibition season. The same could be true for Patrick Eaves--and that's all because Andersson, Nyquist and Tatar are going to be playing on regular bases.

The optics look terrible, but the lack of moves this summer can be directly attributed to the team's commitment to sticking with the young players you wanted to see them play, the free agent defenseman and last-year-of-his-contract forward you wanted to see them sign, and because every playoff game the Wings played gave credence to the concept that the present roster mix,warts and all, can get the job done with a few positive tweaks.

Is that the "right way to go?" *#$%@& if I know. But it's not one person making these decisions. It's a *#$%@& team, and we can only hold them accountable based upon their results or the lack thereof as they play out over the season to come.

I understand that many of you don't like the "we've had enough growth from within" line, but it's what you and me both demanded to see after last year's spectacular flop that was not signing Zach Parise or Ryan Suter and not having any back-up plans save some lateral moves because the Wings' back-up plans went elsewhere while the Wings and you and I waited.

So it's not going to be a particularly exciting free agent period because we got what we hoped for. The Wings will probably sign some sort of Filppula replacement today, and if they don't keep Brunner, they may go after a winger.

While other teams spend and hold press conferences and commit long-term cap dollars to players who may or may not pan out, we're going to watch the Wings commit to what they've got and to financial sense.

That ain't fun. But when you look at the team's decision-making as coaching and management team making a collective decision as opposed to one GM against the world, you can at least come to some peace with the management team's decision to very consciously and conspicuously bank on team continuity and a mix of veterans and younger players that fell a make-up non-call short of the Western Conference Final this past season.

 

 

 

 

Also of Red Wings-related note:

Via RedWingsFeed, part 1: the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo posited a 5-player free agent "wish list" on 97.1 the Ticket on Thursday...


Via RedWingsFeed, part 2: It's a dead link now, but the Wings tipped their hat regarding something that is inevitable--Chris Chelios being named a Hockey Hall of Fame inductee on Tuesday:

(Recall the Kirk Maltby, Kris Chelios and Chris Osgood photo galleries leaked before their retirements)

If you find yourself in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on September 14th, Soo Today reports that the Wings' alums will play a charity game to raise funds for charity:

The Soo Eagles will face-off against a legendary opponent on Saturday, September 14, when the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Team meets them on the ice at Sault Ste. Marie’s Pullar Stadium.

Organizers are planning the perfect combination of hockey excitement and community support at this charity event being sponsored by the Sault Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

Proceeds from the event will benefit the KDR Challenge, the Soo Eagles, and The Sault Events.

"The KDR Challenge is so excited to be a part of bringing the Red Wing Alumni Team to the Sault. Kelsey was a huge hockey fan,” said Bonnie Raffaele, KDR coordinator and Kelsey’s Mom.

...

Tickets are on sale now at a variety of locations, including the Sault CVB office, the Sault Area Chamber of Commerce, Neville’s Superette, and the Soo Eagles office.

Tickets purchased before September 1 will cost $16 For adults and $12 for kids under 18.

Ticket prices will increase after September 1.

For more information about the event, call the Sault CVB at (906) 632-3366 or visit http://www.saultstemarie.com

.

And I'll weigh in as possible today, but I'm helping Paul given that the first day of free agency is nuts. N-V-T-S.

I did book my hotel room on Thursday, though, so I'm planning on heading up to Traverse City on Tuesday and will be attending the Wings' summer development camp from its official on-ice start on Wednesday until its conclusion the following Monday.

So goodnight and good morning.

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Comments

Bugsy's avatar

Such suggestions do not take into account a simple fact: the Detroit Red Wings are not a team whose decisions are solely made by Ken Holland. The Red Wings are run by a management team which consults its pro scouts, its ownership, and yes, its coaches before making major moves, and while Holland has the final say, he is not some lone cowboy going on his gut feeling.

But George, that isn’t what some see/want to see. They want the one person to easily praise/blame, it screws up the narrative….

It may surprise some, but the Red Wings do not seem to need much more size.

The more I looked at the roster during the draft, the more I was wondering the same, especially along the defense.

And if you’re wondering where this, “The Wings are worried about Lecavalier/Iginla/Morrow’s ability to keep pace with the game Detroit plays” line of thinking comes from, it’s not Ken Holland talking.

That’s Babcock. And if he doesn’t believe that a forward can keep up, the management listens.

So the management team will move cautiously on a day that throws caution to the winds, and that’s probably going to piss most of you off.

I don’t necessarily agree with the team’s lack of movement going into free agency or what will probably be a lack of moves over the next two weeks, either, but I’m not running the damn team.

But none of this is “new news.” None of this is something dropped on us like a meteor from above.

George, is it because your blogger role that you can’t specify how you would want the team to be more active? If there’s anything we’ve learned in this salary cap era, is that the Wings are pretty consistent in philosophy, and for better or for worse, they’re not exciting when there’s a cap to consider. Exciting as the extreme is the Flyers, and that hasn’t turned out so well. Come to think of it, the Wild despite their dual mega-signings finished behind the Wings after the Wings’ final push.

Until/unless they can snag top draft choices (as HTO noted Chicago did), it’s going to be interesting to see if the “get into the playoffs and take your chances on a hot streak philosophy” will eventually get them another Cup (or as debated, whether there is an equally/better alternative for a team perpetually making the playoffs), getting free agents to fill in the last pieces typically vs. relying on them as foundation as all teams seem to be re-signing their (young) talent. There have been only 2 teams in the last 10 playoffs that have won the Presidents’ Trophy and the Cup in the same year: Chicago this year, and Detroit’s last Cup.

are going to be playing on regular bases.

You just expanded my vocabulary, George. Thanks.

Get well for Tuesday, and I’ll be looking forward to hearing how Helm looks up there.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/05/13 at 03:35 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

(other than trading Filppula’s rights, which you mentioned George was frustrating to you as well).

Posted by Bugsy on 07/05/13 at 03:37 AM ET

EDJ's avatar

I haven’t been up to date on comments on Jim Nill’s moves and comparisons to Holland’s, but it makes no sense to make such comparisons. Nill has a rebuilding team that is shaky, and there is much less risk for him to blow up his roster while upgrading on talent than for a team that wlil almost certainly make the playoffs and is close to contending. No matter how much you call on Holland to take a risk and make a big move, you do not want to see Detroit fail to gel and fall out of a playoff spot, or completely blow up like the Penguins seem to do ever since either Crosby got injured or the won their last cup.

Jim Nill is a new GM so he’s going to get a bit of a long leash, and he probably thinks to himself, “What’s the worst that can happen? My team doesn’t make the playoffs again?” If he’s getting a young talent like Seguin, he’s going to do that deal every time.

But Detroit would have to give something like Franzen, Tatar, Pulkkinen, and Smith to come near matching value and that’s not even considering Boston probably doesn’t want to trade in the division.

Posted by EDJ on 07/05/13 at 03:50 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I don’t speculate more about the team’s moves or the lack thereof because I’m so damn busy covering what does and doesn’t happen that I have…I don’t have the time, energy or inclination to spend another couple hours debating what I think that the team should do with my readers.

Mostly it’s energy. You guys and gals go dozens of comments deep and debate and argue and hash things out…By the time you’re halfway through, I’ve found something else,  something else is happening or I’m trying to carve out time to do “normal people” stuff. When you’re spending 12-14-16 hours working, the last thing you want to do is spend more time thinking about it, never mind defending your opinions or apologizing when you inevitably step on someone’s toes.

I try to express my opinion and then get out of my audience’s way. I don’t try to suggest that my point of view is the only one or the only “right” one.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/05/13 at 03:56 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I didn’t mean to come off as dismissive..mtou guys and gals are so passionate that it would take the remainderof the 24 hours in my day to hash things out. It’s not as if I huffily “don’t have the time”...I very literally don’t have enough time.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/05/13 at 03:59 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

George, that’s what I figured was the reason. That’s good enough, your value is in what you’re doing already. I just figured if you were frustrated with the Wings’ inactivity (and since you know more than any of us—I’m not saying you’re always “right”, but I’d trust your opinion over most anyone else first) and that you might throw out your “I wish they had/will” thoughts out. I’m just surprised you’re able to do as much as you do already with the time you have. I hope you’ll get some rest between now and High Noon. Take care, and thanks, George.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/05/13 at 04:15 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

huh ... the red wings really are that big on average ??  coulda fooled me ... maybe I should blame do nothing hit nobody Ericsson for my surprise.

So, we don’t have to get bigger ... we just need to get a nasty attitude ... play a little chippier.  Maybe we wouldn’t have to find a power forward (i think it’ll be iggy) if Tootoo were as big and talented as Lucic or if Franzen would play bigger than he does ... We wouldn’t be looking for that one extra veteran defenceman if Ericsson played like Brad Stuart.

Based on what we almost did to Chicago, this Red Wing team is just that close to being a cup winner.

Not a lot is going to happen later this afternoon here in Detroit.  It kinda doesn’t have to.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 07/05/13 at 04:51 AM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

Just came back from reading Sarah’s blog ... last years crop of invitees sounded more promising than this years list (so far) but based on the little bit of reading I’ve done on these guys,  I’ll take Kurt Etchegary, Luke Glendening, and 3 Jamien Yakubowski’s.

Putting Glendening on that list is cheating really ... he’ll be signed as soon as they find out whether they have enough contracts.

Etchegary may need time to catch up after double hip surgery.

If he shows just the slightest hint of skill, this Yakubowski kid could be just what we need.  Keep a close eye on him George ... he could be another steal.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 07/05/13 at 05:27 AM ET

EDJ's avatar

maybe I should blame do nothing hit nobody Ericsson for my surprise.

We wouldn’t be looking for that one extra veteran defenceman if Ericsson played like Brad Stuart.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 07/05/13 at 04:51 AM ET

Ericsson may not hit much but he has been more than solid this past season playing against the top line every game. He’s been keeping opponent’s away from the front of the net and passing the puck out of the zone well. Stuart failed in the same role while playing next to Lidstrom. I wouldn’t say that you have to hit people hard to be a good defenseman, with Lidstrom being the greatest example, and although Stuart played hard and was a decent passer too, Ericsson has surprisingly played better than Stuart did when he was here. The fact that Ericsson goes out every night and doesn’t mess up is impressive by itself.

You could argue that Stuart wears down opponents in a way that Ericsson doesn’t but Stuart was still a minus puck possession player most of the time.

The Red Wings aren’t built to wear down opponents by hitting them, even if they are bigger than we thought, they’re built to wear down opponents by outskating them and spending time in the offensive zone. They’re looking for an extra top four defensman because currently the third and fourth defensemen are two of Dekeyser, Quincey, Kindl or Smith. Quincey has played well as a top four defensman before but he’s been up and down since coming back to Detroit, and the rest are unproven to say the least. They’re not looking for an extra top four defensman because Ericsson isn’t good enough.

Posted by EDJ on 07/05/13 at 06:56 AM ET

Avatar

According to TSN ratings, Andrew Ference would be a top-2 defenceman on the Wings. He’s rated 67.51, while Ericsson is a 65.82.

As far as Cola… I can see why he was bought out. He’s rated about the same as Lashoff but was paid $1.75 million more.

Now Grabovsky is available… and he’s pissed at the Leafs for waving him. Detroit will be in Toronto’s division next season.

As an armchair GM this is what I would like to see:

Abdelkader - Datsyuk - GRABOVSKY
Sameulsson - Zetterberg - Franzen
Nyquist - Andersson - BRUNNER
Bertuzzi - Helm/Cleary - Tootoo

Kronwall - FERRENCE
DeKeyeser - Ericsson
Smith/Lashoff/Quincy - Kindl

Posted by untvar on 07/05/13 at 07:29 AM ET

Avatar

It may surprise some, but the Red Wings do not seem to need much more size. Not counting goaltenders, the average weight of a player in the West last season was 203.1 pounds. In the East, 203.7 pounds. On the Red Wings roster, the average was 204.4.

I’m sorry, but that’s such a PuckStopsHere argument.  Average size means nothing.  It’s physicality that people value, and who on the Wings plays big?

Never mind that, in what world is “average” good or sought after?  If you’re looking for a goal scoring forward are you trying to find a guy who is average or a guy who is better than average?

How many average players are taken first overall?

How many players are knocked for being big but not playing big or physical?

But yeah, it’s always great to be happy to be average…

Posted by Garth on 07/05/13 at 07:38 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

It’s physicality that people value, and who on the Wings plays big?

I think part of it is when Babcock talks about being heavy on the puck, to be able to physically drive/hold onto it despite the pressure. Part of it delivering the check when needed (that TSN play of the year, when Datsyuk delivers the check in the defensive zone, helping start his rink long rush). I’m assuming you’re looking at Filppula, Franzen in particular, but the Wings have never been a Flyers type team. I do miss having players like McCarty and Shanahan, though, and wish there was a bit more of Kronwall type hitting from more than just Kronwall. Whether they’d help them win more now, I don’t know, but as has been stated over and over, in general, the East is more physical, and regardless of size, Garth, I think the same concern I have is they should try to play “bigger” to succeed in the East—not to extremes, but “enough”. Maybe they can win without changing a lot, but I guess we’ll soon find out, since they certainly didn’t draft small—attitude may actually be in the smallest player they drafted at 6’1” in Bertuzzi. Am I understanding your point, Garth?

Posted by Bugsy on 07/05/13 at 07:54 AM ET

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Based on what we almost did to Chicago, this Red Wing team is just that close to being a cup winner.

Come on.  This isn’t a team that came within a game of winning the Stanley Cup, it’s a team that came within a game of making the third round.  You can’t pretend that just because they took the Hawks to 7 it means they came close to winning the Cup…

Posted by Garth on 07/05/13 at 07:59 AM ET

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Am I understanding your point, Garth?

I think you are, and I’d like to add one other thing.  If its supposedly Babcock who was concerned about Vinny’s “pace” how come we’re discounting the many times he’s talked about wanting to get bigger, ie more physical?  How come nobody’s allayed his concerns by telling him the Wings are average size?

Posted by Garth on 07/05/13 at 08:05 AM ET

Bradley97's avatar

I think you are, and I’d like to add one other thing.  If its supposedly Babcock who was concerned about Vinny’s “pace” how come we’re discounting the many times he’s talked about wanting to get bigger, ie more physical?  How come nobody’s allayed his concerns by telling him the Wings are average size?

Posted by Garth on 07/05/13 at 08:05 AM ET

Because he’s always talking about his own players playing more physical, not just holding onto the puck but using their bodies in a physical manner, be it laying a hit at the right time or out pacing an opponent and blocking him out the play. His biggest comments are to keep skating, keep the legs moving, keep the pace up, outwork the other team, etc.

Posted by Bradley97 on 07/05/13 at 08:19 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

the Detroit Red Wings are not a team whose decisions are solely made by Ken Holland. The Red Wings are run by a management team which consults its pro scouts, its ownership, and yes, its coaches before making major moves, and while Holland has the final say, he is not some lone cowboy going on his gut feeling.

Ok, so it’s not Holland’s fault, it’s the entire management’s fault. Which somehow is even worse.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 07/05/13 at 08:40 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

On Alfie; You say nobody expects to see him in any other jersey but Ottawa’s, but nobody expected Brian Leetch to not be a Ranger.  Nobody expected Ray Bourque to not be a Bruin, or Iginla to not be a Flame. Lifers are extremely rare, especially in the CAP AGE.  While it’s unlikely that he’ll sign with us, we can’t rule it out.  After all, we are HOCKEYSTAD.

And, as I and others have mentioned, Grabovski could be a real interesting signing with a huge pay-out if he plays as angry as he recently appeared in the papers.  Yeah, he could be a 7-goal-a-year bust and might clash with Babs, but Babs is a sweetie compared to “If we’re losing, start punching” Carlyle (The man turned Teemu Selanne into a whiny, cheap-shotter!).  But, if he’s still got his 20+ shot AND something to prove, he might be a great signing.

If Kenny just wants a “cheap” signing, he could do a lot worse than that Mueller kid.  He’s inconsistent, but when he’s “on” he can play with a 2nd line.  And he’s probably not asking $5mil a year…

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/05/13 at 08:54 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

And I won’t be around much during the day today, since Gary “Fire Me” Bettman stupidly put the Free Agent Day on my Anniversary, so I’ll be in I’llbequirky on a Date Day and away from my computer. Stupid Bettman. Have fun with all the signings/not signings!  Be sure to tell Kenny to not pay Danny Creaky $3mil!

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/05/13 at 08:57 AM ET

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the management team will stick to its plan today

Out of curiosity, which plan are we talking about?  The plan going into the draft was to make several trades, get a #2/3 defenseman and at least one top six forward.

Seems like the “plan” since then has been to maybe re-sign Cleary and/or Filppula and to balk at every UFA’s asking price.

Posted by Garth on 07/05/13 at 09:07 AM ET

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Not just balk, Garth but openly point out the weaknesses in their game.  Holland seems to be flailing and has not grasped that teams no longer want to play for the Red Wings, at least at a discount.  I think Holland is privately thrilled that they could not buy out Samuelsson, now they have someone to blame when they once again don’t do anything In free agency.  They have their scapegoat anything to take the focus of off Holland and the other 10 gms in the organization.  I got a nice belly laugh out of the size argument, because we all know that stats tell the whole story, remember this team did draft Johan Ryno, a huge forward from Sweden, we remember how that worked out, right?  Was that included in their stats?

Posted by bababooey on 07/05/13 at 09:30 AM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

Wait….there is a plan?!?!? That’s what they call “standing pat” these day? A plan? I expect nothing happening on the Wings front today. Prepared to see Cleary and Sammy right back in it on opening night. We will really need Sammy, you know, once Brunner goes somewhere else. This team…..I like this team.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 07/05/13 at 09:41 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I have to agree with Garth.

It is not the physical size all the time that makes players play big.

Fil , Franzen, Samuelsson, etc play small whereas Z,  Pav and Cleary play big.

There are other examples but I agree it would be nice to have one player who is big physically and plays big, like Lucic, Chara and others.

I would dig up some stats but I know the Wings are in the middle of the pack in average age and I doubt they are in the top half in average size.

Howard probably plays bigger than some of the Wings who should/could add some nasty/grit to their games.

So now Holland has gone from being aggressive at the end of the playoffs to now and going to do nothing. The roster limit of 50 problem is caused by loyalty to players that are near or at the end of their careers.  Cleary should have been asked to retire not offered 2 years at 3M per year and Bert is at the end of the line and should retire ( I realize he needs $$ for his legal woes) but it is a waste of a roster spot.  I have been a big fan of Bert before he played with the Wings and Cleary has a huge heart and passion for the game.  Samuelsson can’t take a spot on the 50 player list and if wants to act hurt and avoid a buyout he will go on the LTIR.

If nobody wants some of our bottom 6 then make a choice.  Emmerton is too cheap to let go but 3M can get a better/younger/heathier player than Cleary.  I would be shocked if any one offered him $3M X 3years, I think KH will cave and waste $3M X3 years.

The UFAs after this season are Samuelsson, Bert, Eaves, Quincey, Big E, Gustavsson.

The RFAs after this season are DeKeyser, Emmerton and Tatar.

Maybe it is best if Holland rides out this season and next year the UFAs will take of themselves and the Cap will go up apparently by 2M. I only see one UFA Ericsson that I would keep and Quincey must have some trade/rental value at the trade deadline in 2014.

Sign Tatar and DeKeyser and no qualifying offer for Emmerton

Right now I don’t see the 2nd buyout candidate except Cleary if he is resigned or someone like Mule, etc lays an egg next year.  Not using it would be a mistake.

So I have apparently talked myself into stand pat and keep/play prospects. Samuelsson, Bert, Cleary won’t play 82 games and some will end up on LTIR..

Holland should make an effort to be a tad more consistent with his message to fans.  Some are very new/young Fans and you don’t want to lose them.  Use addicted old farts are here until Death Do Us Part. The Fing CBA and lockout is/was a joke.  Yes I am looking at hardass Ed Snider and Mario who seem to think the cap doesn’t apply to them.

After a reasonable 15 or 20 mins are High Noon today teams will start to announce signings that have already been agreed to and escape Buttman’s tampering watch.
I expect some clown like Holmgren will cave and announce that he has a new shiny toy to early and Snider will warn Buttman to sit down and play with his watch.

No knickers in a knot for me today.  I expect nothing and if something happens I will get a cheap beer to celebrate.

Rebuild this year and see if we make the playoffs.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 07/05/13 at 09:43 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I got a nice belly laugh out of the size argument, because we all know that stats tell the whole story, remember this team did draft Johan Ryno, a huge forward from Sweden, we remember how that worked out, right?  Was that included in their stats?
Posted by bababooey on 07/05/13 at 09:30 AM ET

Their size agrument is a complete joke. Remember the ‘97 and ‘98 Wings? They weren’t necessarily big but they played big and “heavy” i.e. not soft. Wings circa ‘08 played pretty “heavy” too. Who plays big on the Wings now? Helm? Abdelkader? Andersson? Cleary? They seem to be doing what every corporation seems to be doing these days, CYA (cover your ass)... which is sad

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 07/05/13 at 09:47 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

Until management realizes that prices are exactly what they are, they will never do sh*t. Its not what Kenny doesnt want to pay, its what the market bears. Unless he ever realizes that, he will never get back in the game. I dont get to haggle at the store over a gallon of milk price. Any deals made before you get in set the price. Pay it or be left in the cold. Its not rocket science. Teams get better around you, while you like your team.

I love my beloved Wings. But you gotta make the team better too. I’m all for Ference and Grabovski.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 07/05/13 at 09:53 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Such suggestions do not take into account a simple fact: the Detroit Red Wings are not a team whose decisions are solely made by Ken Holland. The Red Wings are run by a management team which consults its pro scouts, its ownership, and yes, its coaches before making major moves, and while Holland has the final say, he is not some lone cowboy going on his gut feeling.

Geeez, apologist.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 07/05/13 at 09:55 AM ET

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So every year the management team can’t come to a decision on free agents while the rest of the gms don’t seem to have that problem, no wonder why Jim Jill. Is having so much fun, no analysis paralysis by the committee.  I have to think that ownership allows the management to spend to the cap and who they spend it on is up to the management, no?

Posted by bababooey on 07/05/13 at 10:04 AM ET

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*jim nill*

Posted by bababooey on 07/05/13 at 10:05 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

You can’t spell apologist without, like, 4/5ths of logic.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 07/05/13 at 10:14 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Awful lot of hungover bitches in the Hasek this morning. Grab a bloodymary, sit down, shut up, and enjoy the ride; something we will all like will happen today.

Tick Tock.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 07/05/13 at 10:16 AM ET

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David Clarkson is not a $5-6 million player).

Says who?

Unlike other teams, the Wings aren’t as optimistic about the salary cap rebounding to $70 million in short order, as Holland suggested to USA Today’s Kevin Allen…

First of all, he didn’t come close to saying that and didn’t even infer that Second of all, only an idiot would even think that the cap isn’t going to skyrocket.  Fortunately, Holland is not an idiot.

Ok, so it’s not Holland’s fault, it’s the entire management’s fault. Which somehow is even worse.

Yup, that’s what happens when you hire all your ex-players, none of whom have experience as executives.  All they do is agree with you.  Wings management desperately needs a dissenting voice, someone to challenge the status quo.

Posted by jkm2011 on 07/05/13 at 10:27 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

I haven’t been up to date on comments on Jim Nill’s moves and comparisons to Holland’s, but it makes no sense to make such comparisons. Nill has a rebuilding team that is shaky, and there is much less risk for him to blow up his roster while upgrading on talent than for a team that wlil almost certainly make the playoffs and is close to contending.
Posted by EDJ on 07/05/13 at 03:50 AM ET

That is exactly the argument I made last night when some started singing the praises of how active and smart Nill was now that he no longer was restrained by Holland.

Horribly misplaced argument.  The Stars are a bad franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in several years.  Some fans are aware the Wings have qualified 22 straight years following a plan.  Why blow up the Wings? You don’t, and you can bet Nill wouldn’t either were he in charge.

Every year following a frustrating summer for Wings fans, more expensive, long term contract players come crashing to earth, underperform, and make their GMs look stupid and gullible for saddling their franchises with another long term albatross around their neck.

Now let’s hope the Wings don’t extend Cleary for 3 more years.  Good God.  He was a tough competitor in he playoffs but most of the season dragged down any line he was on.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 07/05/13 at 10:28 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

something we will all like will happen today.

bad news, girl just went to the doctor will have to remain touch-less for the weekend. (but only I like that)

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 07/05/13 at 10:30 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I want to go on record saying that I DON’T want Holland to blow this team up. Hell, I don’t even want him to sign a UFA for too much and too long. What I do want is something, anything to improve this team. Baby steps are fine but tummy time is not. Trade deadline would have been nice. Ian White anyone? Flips rights moved before draft. Anything to keep us rabid fans from stroming the town square. If Tick Tock signs Flip of Weiss this place is gonna blow the feck up.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 07/05/13 at 10:41 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

You enjoy NOT touching your BRAZILIAN girlfriend?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/05/13 at 11:10 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.