The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/02/13 at 02:11 AM ET
I don't need to do anything more than check my email to know that Red Wings fans are a frustrated bunch right now. The last two entries alone have produced almost a hundred comments, and most of them have little to do with the Red Wings' eight draft picks on Sunday.
Instead, Wings fans are voicing their displeasure with the team's inability to pawn Valtteri Filppula's rights at the draft (hint: there was a reason that so few teams flipped signing rights--because they had six days to wait until they could sign players for only the price of their contracts), the team not alleviating its roster crunches up front or on defense, and because Vincent Lecavalier hasn't already made his post-cap compliance buy-out decision (and yes, given that the entire management team and coach Babcock were at the draft, you can be assured that Babcock and Ryan Martin were in the room when Lecavalier headed to the Marriott Millennium to kibits with the Wings on Sunday morning) , I keep on reading that this is somehow the management's fault as opposed to Lecavalier taking his time and apparently continuing to meet with and/or be entertained by the 15 teams he's being courted by.
I don't buy it. Just as we can't say for sure which of the Red Wings' draft picks will pan out and which players won't because half of player the job of player development lies with the player himself, it turned out that other general managers had no appetite to swap contracts before the cap-compliance buy-out market plays itself out--it ends if players aren't waived by 5 PM on Thursday--and as it turns out, CBS Sports' Brian Stubits notes that the new CBA has a strange wrinkle that PROHIBITS players from re-signing with their current rights-holders until July 5th:
First off, while free agency doesn't technically begin until Friday at noon ET -- that's when players can actually sign with new teams -- there is a new window that will open on Wednesday in which free agents can flirt with teams. If a player and a team find a fit by 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, for example, they can announce an agreement is in place and essentially will be done. Unless players suddenly adopt the definition of commitment used in the world of college recruiting, all that should be left is to do the I's and cross the T's.
This is an introduction with the new CBA that will stick around and should make for a more exciting first official day of free agency. You remember what July 1 used to be like, right? It was incomparable in sports. The signings would come fast and furious, a process that takes weeks in other sports would almost always happen in just one day in hockey. It was an overwhelming yet glorious spectacle.
In the past couple of years, the fun has largely been sucked out of the day. The biggest free agents haven't signed on the first day. Instead, they were exploring their options. So, two years ago, Brad Richards was fielding suitors and signed with the Rangers on July 2 while Zach Parise and Ryan Suter took their time last year and didn't actually sign with the Wild until July 4. The excitement of free agency was drained from it like air from a leaky tire. It wasn't a good look for the voices on TSN in the NHL's free-agent television special to have few deals to actually discuss.Now the courtship can be done before the wedding day and though perhaps some of the suspense will be taken away come Friday (it will go back to July 1 in the future; the dates changed only for the lockout), it should be a positive process for the league overall. It also reduces the pressure on the players to make a decision right then and there. You couldn't blame guys for taking their time to make such a huge decision, could you?
As it's been explained to me, that secondary, "You can talk to your free agents, but they can talk to other teams and reach deals with those teams" lasts until 11:59 PM EDT on July 4th, so that's really when things get interesting...
And that sort of, "Hi, this is Valtteri Filppula's agent, and here's what other teams are offering, can you match these numbers?" style of open negotiations both encourages the Wings to hang on to players like Filppula, and it encourages the Wings' unrestricted free agents-to-be in Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner to essentially "play the market" before they technically become unrestricted free agents.
It takes three to tango--the team, the player and the player's agent--and the way the new CBA's set up, it basically gave the representatives for Filppula and Cleary to test the loyalty of a team that is loyal to its current players to a fault, and it encouraged Damien Brunner and his agent, Neil Sheehy, to see what's out there before circling back to the Wings.
As for Lecavalier, he was able to speak with other teams as soon as he cleared waivers on Sunday, and in a looser sense, he was informally speaking with teams a few hours after he was bought out, and ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, among others, have reported that Lecavalier and Kent Hughes decided that he extended courtship process would yield deciding on "finalists" to bid for his services--possibly with in-person visits--no earlier than Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Wings did receive some good news on the UFA front as David Clarkson's decided to join Nathan Horton in officially testing the UFA waters on Monday, and the Rangers couldn't find a partner to acquire Ryane Clowe's rights on Sunday after informing the player that the team did not intend to bring him back (and both reports come from TSN).
But Bryan Bickell re-signed with Chicago on Sunday, reducing the number of "power forward" players available, and given that the Wings also plan on finding a center out of a mediocre UFA pool to replace Filppula...
I hate to say it, but all these factors seem to suggest that the team's initial plan to alleviate its forward crunch by attempting to shop Cory Emmerton and possibly Jordin Tootoo, to entertain buying out Mikael Samuelsson and maybe Todd Bertuzzi, and attempting to knock its number of defensemen down to seven by moving Carlo Colaiacovo may take a much more conventional course in one that will draw itself out over the course of the summer, with trade opportunities opening up either after the free agent marketplace has been picked over and/or as we get closer to, if not into training camp and the exhibition season, and other teams' players start suffering inevitable injuries, and cap space opens up for affordable replacement players like Emmerton and Colaiacovo.
Does it suck ass that the team's open admission to the media that it planned on aggressively shopping its players bumped into the reality that 99% of the pre-draft and draft-day trade talk was bullshit being pawned by general managers who were going to sit on their hands, and the honest truth that this kind of shit doesn't get done all at once?
Yeah, and it's *#$%@& frustrating to realize that the one time Ken Holland and company didn't set the level of expectations at rock-bottom levels, they failed to meet 'em. No 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 deals. Instead, we got silence, and that's annoying.
But the draft was predictably peppered with about a dozen trades and only one jaw-dropper in the Schneider deal, and the truth of the matter is that the combination of possible cap-compliance buy-outs and this new wining-and-dining period for players not named Lecavalier has gummed up the works.
So shit happens. And we grumble about it.
Holland did tell the Free Press's Helene St. James that he's going to do his best to give at least his management team a clearer picture of what they're facing over the next day or two...
General manager Ken Holland is scheduled to meet today with Daniel Cleary, one of three Wings leaning toward unrestricted free-agent status. Valtteri Filppula wants to test the market. Discussions have been ongoing with Damien Brunner.
Players cannot sign until Friday, but free agents can talk to other teams Wednesday, and those players who’ve been subject to buyouts are already in play. The Wings met over the weekend with Vincent Lecavalier, but given the immense interest in his services, Detroit is unlikely to be his landing place.
Lecavalier probably will end up in Dallas, where new general manager Jim Nill, formerly the assistant GM in Detroit, is molding the Stars into a playoff team. Lecavalier is believed to be looking for a five-year deal, at around $5 million a season, and the Wings don’t want to commit that much term to a 34-year-old with questionable pace.
I'm not so sure that landing in Dallas is a fait accompli. The Montreal lifestyle could appeal to him, the Leafs have a crapload of cap space, the Flyers may be batshit insane to want to sign him, but the Flyers also throw money around like nobody's business, and Washington, St. Louis, Calgary, Florida (close to "home"), Boston and Anaheim are among the teams that have made pitches, and they've all got their pluses and minuses.
It's going to be up to Lecavalier, though the suggestions that he wants 5 years at $5-5.5 million per season at 33 years of age does seem to tilt the scales toward Lecavalier chasing money.
If he does, well, that speaks to what he really wants. If he wants to win, but he doesn't feel that he has to prove that he's still "the guy," and he doesn't want to go from anonymity in Tampa Bay to a total "fishbowl" experience, Detroit's the perfect spot for him. But that's three variables in addition to money, and what Lecavalier and his agent decide probably have less to do with the quality of the "pitches" delivered than what his desires lead him to determine is the "best fit" for him.
There are other intriguing forwards who will be on the market, too. Boston’s Nathan Horton is a 6-foot-2, 230-pound scorer who shoots right, but he has got a severe concussion history that can’t be overlooked. There’s also New Jersey’s David Clarkson, a 6-1, 200-pound former 30-goal scorer who also shoots right. The Wings need help on the scoring end, far more so than on defense, and all the more so if Brunner doesn’t return.
I'd go down to pitting the odds of Brunner returning at 60/40 from 2/3rds to 1/3rd, but his agent, Neil Sheehy, is as odd a duck as odd ducks get (that's a "nice way" to say eccentric, which is an equally "nice" way of saying nuts), and as we already know, Brunner sounded fascinated about seeing "what's out there." He gets to do that starting on Wednesday.
NHL teams spent the weekend at the annual draft, where the sound of selections being made cadenced over chatter about trades. Ultimately only one big trade was made, between Vancouver and New Jersey. As Holland put it, “I’m hearing people want to do things, but a lot of people are squeezed.”
I.e. squeezed by the salary cap.
The Wings aren’t handcuffed by the decreasing salary cap like some teams, but Holland does have to figure out in the coming days whether he wants to use the two compliance buyouts teams can implement this summer or next. The three possibilities boil down to forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi, and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo. Colaiacovo doesn’t really fit in after Danny DeKeyser joined the back end in March. Samuelsson, 36, spent all of last season injured; Bertuzzi, almost as much time.
St. James is the only one suggesting that the Wings are considering buying out Bertuzzi, but when Holland held that Q and A with season ticket-holders, he stated that the Wings would do whatever was necessary to "make room" for a top-3 defenseman if one were available via a trade, and LeBrun who stated that the Wings made a legitimate offer to the Canucks regarding Alex Edler about four weeks after St. James told us that the Wings were interested in a top-three defenseman.
I hope that the team simply buys out Samuelsson and tries to move Colaiacovo, because Bertuzzi's physicality and leadership may be even more necessary with Daniel Cleary seemingly likely to follow Filppula out the door, but that's just my opinion.
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan framed the week to come a little differently:
“We have decisions to make,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “There’s a push from (Grand Rapids).”
Besides a plethora of talent the Red Wings have with their affiliate, the Griffins, there are trades, compliance buyouts — they can be used until 5 p.m. Thursday — and re-signing to consider. And that’s where the madness starts — or really, has started.
■Forward Bryan Bickell re-signed with the Blackhawks last weekend for four years and $16 million.
■Vincent Lecavalier, bought out by the Lightning last week, has met with at least 15 teams, including the Red Wings.
Lecavalier, the biggest name on the market, likely will command a contract worth $5 million per season for about five years — length and money the Red Wings likely don’t want to approach.
But, there are players who should fall into the Red Wings plans — Panthers center Stephen Weiss, Blackhawks left wing Viktor Stalberg, Bruins right wing Nathan Horton, Devils right wing David Clarkson and Canadiens right wing Michael Ryder, to name a few.
“If there’s a fit out there, we could be interested,” Holland said.
But there are internal issues the Red Wings must deal with, too. For example, the logjam at the forward spot.
Valtteri Filppula, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner are unrestricted free agents, and join restricted free agents Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist in the mix of forwards.
So, using one, or both, of the compliance buyouts that will help teams get to the $64 million salary cap is the path the Red Wings could take. So, get ready for the ride. It could get bumpy.
And, again, a more realistic assessment of how things are playing out league-wide, with teams feeling "squeezed" by the cap going down to $64.3 million from $70.2 million, but equally intrigued by free agents to the point that the free-spenders (see: Philly) and teams determined to make a, "We're not rebuilding, we're just reloading, even though we're really rebuilding" statement (see: Dallas, Calgary) alike are going to play the market before even contemplating making some sort of sane, economical move.
If you haven't had enough of free agent perusal yourself, the NHL posited videos in which Craig Button discussed his top 5 free agents-to-be...
His top free agent forwards--and it should be noted that TODAY is the last day teams can submit qualifying offers to RFA's (the Wings have already done so for Brendan Smith, Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyqust), so we will find out whether the team wants to retain Tom McCollum or Brent Raedeke's services on Wednesday (Button talks about Brunner, Cleary and Filppula, too)...
And his top free agent defensemen (if you want to gauge the goalie market, enjoy, but it doesn't apply to the Wings):
NHL.com's Dan Rosen penned column listing a baker's dozen's worth of UFA's-to-be, too:
David Clarkson: Clarkson scored 15 goals in 48 games in 2012-13 and 30 goals in 80 games in 2011-12. He is reliable and resilient, having missed two games over the past three seasons. He's also coming off a three-year, $8 million contract, which was somewhat of a bargain for a 30-goal scorer who brings a physical element as well.
The Devils want Clarkson back, but it's possible he hits the open market on July 5 to see what his value is. For comparison purposes, Clarkson is a slightly cheaper option than Nathan Horton. Clarkson is from Toronto and the Maple Leafs could use a player like him.
Ryane Clowe: Clowe, a rugged left wing, is coming off multiple concussions, but when healthy he is a top-six forward with a history of performing well in the playoffs.
The New York Rangers would like to re-sign Clowe, but it may not be possible because of their cap situation and the fact that Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh and Justin Falk all need new contracts. Clowe is coming off a four-year contract that paid him $3.625 annually.
Clowe had 19 points in 40 games split between the San Jose Sharks and Rangers in 2012-13. He had three goals and five assists in 12 games after being traded to the Rangers, but was injured for most of the playoffs and appeared in two of 12 games. He has 46 points in 70 career playoff games.
Stephen Weiss: The long-time center for the Florida Panthers was limited to four points in 17 games in an injury-plagued 2012-13 because of a wrist injury. He was considered potential trade bait until the injury derailed his season in early March.
Weiss, who made $18.6 million on a recently completed six-year contract, has played 654 games with the Panthers and has 145 goals and 249 assists for 394 points. He could be a slightly cheaper option for teams looking for help at center that don't want to pay Lecavalier or Ribeiro.
Nathan Horton: Horton has told the Bruins that he wants to test free agency. He should be a sought after power forward even though he needs surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder.
Horton spent most of his time in Boston playing on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. He struggled in 2012-13 with 13 goals and 22 points in 43 games, but he rebounded in the playoffs with 19 points in 22 games. His 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons were cut short by concussions.
And then there's this guy:
Valtteri Filppula: Filppula is interesting for teams seeking a second-line or third-line center. He earned $3 million annually on a recently completed five-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings, who are in the market for Vincent Lecavalier, a sign they could be willing to let Filppula walk.
Filppula has played center for most of his career, but spent a good portion of 2012-13 at left wing in a top-six role. He struggled with 17 points in 41 games before scoring six points in 14 playoff games.
As noted in the mid-day report, Filppula intimiated to YLE.fi that he would stay with the Wings if there was no salary cap, but that money has to matter because an athlete's career is relatively short, so it sounds like there's no way that he's returning to the Wings when he knows he can land a career-defining payday at 29 years of age.
Shifting our focus to the Wings' draft haul from this past Sunday, a pair of team assessments popped up on Monday afternoon, with NHL.com's Adam Kimelman giving the Wings, well, a non-grade grade...
DETROIT RED WINGS
The thought: With a number of young defensemen ready to graduate from junior hockey to the American Hockey League, adding some blueliners to the early end of the prospect pipeline was a possibility.
The result: The Red Wings picked up an extra second-round pick from the San Jose Sharks to move back two spots, and at No. 20 selected Val-d'Or Foreurs forward Anthony Mantha, the only Canadian Hockey League draft prospect to score 50 goals. Second-round pick Zack Nastasiuk is a rising talent who showed a strong all-round game in 2012-13 with Owen Sound in the OHL. With the extra second-round pick from the Sharks, they picked up Guelph Storm left wing Tyler Bertuzzi -- nephew of Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi -- in the second round.
And the Sporting News's Jesse Spector giving the Wings an "A" grade:
DETROIT RED WINGS: A. Got an extra second-round pick for being willing to move down two spots in the first round, where they came away with a fine prospect in Anthony Mantha. Didn’t pick anyone smaller than 6-0, 178-pound Tyler Bertuzzi, selected with that extra second-rounder.
Switching things up a bit, Bertuzzi himself spoke to the Sudbury Star's Ben Leeson about his selection, and a first-person perspective from someone who's not a star player is refreshing:
When the Detroit Red Wings drafted Tyler Bertuzzi on Sunday, some may have raised eyebrows. But perhaps not those who watched him raise hell for the Guelph Storm this past season. Detroit plucked the scrappy Sudburian in the second round, 58th overall, of the seven-round draft, far earlier than most pundits had predicted.
“I didn’t think I was going to go that high,” said the 18-year-old left-winger, reached on Monday. “We were watching the draft show on TV and everyone was talking, but then they said, ‘from the OHL,’ and my dad’s eyes brightened up. Then they said, ‘from the Guelph Storm,’ and they said my name, and I was in shock.”
Bertuzzi established himself as a willing combatant in 2011-12, his rookie season, but showed more of his skilled side as a sophomore in 2012-13. He missed much of the first half with a concussion, but returned to push his regular-season totals to 13 goals and nine assists. He was even better in the playoffs, prompting Storm head coach Scott Walker to reward him with big minutes and a spot on the first power-play unit. Bertuzzi believes it was that display of hockey chops, combined with his competitiveness, that put him over the top as a pro prospect.
“I always believe in myself and I knew that a team could get a steal if they drafted me,” Bertuzzi said. “I spent about half the season hurt, but I think I showed a big improvement and I was able to show I could be dominant at the end of the year. At the start of last year, I was still fighting and everything, you know, just causing s--t. But toward the end of the season, I just started playing hockey. I had been injured and I didn’t want to fight, so I just started playing hockey. I knew I had it in me, I just had to show it. I’ll still fight and be a s--t disturber, but now I’ve shown some confidence with the puck and that I can make plays.”
He credits Walker for helping him round out his game.
“He had me on the first power play, standing in front of the net, and in one game, with the goalie pulled, he had me out there, just standing in front of the net. It was great to know he had that kind of confidence in me.”
The Wings' draft class, at least in my opinion, seemed to address three basic needs:
1. The team wanted a natural scorer in the lineup after spending every draft pick not named Tomas Jurco investing in all-round and/or playmaking forwards over the past five years, so they grabbed Mantha;
2. The team wanted to ensure that the usual 1-out-of-4-or-more ratio of defensemen who actually mature into NHL'ers was covered in terms of grabbing a stable of players with size and strength by adding Marc McNulty and Mitchell Wheaton to a mix of prospects that includes a pair of similar stay-at-home guys in Richard Nedomlel and Michael McKee;
3. And the team tends to address its "grinder" needs by grabbing undrafted free agents like Trevor Parkes, but it clearly wanted to have more than Mitchell Callahan in the "shift disturber" department, so they grabbed Bertuzzi early, and they targeted Zach Nastasiuk even earlier.
Wings pro scout Jeff Finley readily admitted to the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that size was literally and figuratively a big part of the draft equation for Detroit...
“We like skill, too, but it’s sort of the way the league is going right now, you want to take some cracks at some bigger guys,” Detroit Western Canada scout Jeff Finley said. “If they have a dimension to their game you hope you have something.”
The tallest player, defenseman Marc McNulty, of the draftees could be taller than 6-foot-5.
“Maybe even bigger,” said Finley, who thinks the blue liner is more like 6-foot-6. “He’s big, has a long stick and big reach. He’s got real good feet and good hands for a guy that size.”
But like many of the late round picks, McNulty still needs to grow into his large frame.
“(He’s) real weak right now at this stage,” Finley said. “He needs a lot of strength and consistency. Probably the reason he fell to where he did there were a lot of nights he needed to be better than he was. He’s a bit of a project right now but I think he has huge upside because of his size and mobility.”
Defenseman Mitchell Wheaton is the second tallest of the Wings’ draft picks, standing 6-foot-4. But he comes with a drawback to his size.
“Mobility is a big issue right now,” Finley said. “Coaches in Kelowna (British Columbia) rave about him. He’s got great work ethic. He’s found the gym, he’s lost some weight. He moves the puck well, had got great hockey sense, defensive instincts and a smart player.”
And while DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose discussed family bloodlines (Mantha's grandfather is former Wing Andre Pronovost, Bertuzzi's Todd Bertuzzi's cousin, and Nastasiuk's father won a Grey Cup as a CFL'er), he also offered eight player capsules which include comments from the Wings' scouts:
Here is what [director of amateur scouting Joe] McDonnell had to say about the first three Red Wings’ selections in the 2013 draft at the Prudential Center on Sunday:
ANTHONY MANTHA, RW, 1st ROUND, No. 20: “His skill level is real good. He's got a great shot and he just seems to find the open ice in the offensive end. And with his size to go along with those things it was a real intriguing package for us.''
ZACH NASTASIUK, RW, 2nd ROUND, No. 48: “Zach is a real hard working kid. He’s got real good hands. If he has one thing that he has to work on it’s his skating. Once he gets going he’s good, but the first two strides are something that needs some work, but the nice thing about him is he’s a kid that is willing to put the work in to get better. He had a real good tournament in April over in Russia for Team Canada and was one of their best penalty-killers on the team. Played a lot, and he’s another good sized kid who has some work to do, but we think in the end he’s going to be a real good third-line kind of guy who can kill penalties and things like that.”
TYLER BERTUZZI, LW, 2nd ROUND, No. 58: “I think his a bit of a rat. He’s an Andrew Shaw kind of guy in Chicago and he’s real hard to play against. He had some injuries early and mid into the season and I think a lot of teams, I don’t know if they really paid attention to him later in the year and he really took over late in the year. He’s just a real hard guy to play against and I think we really wanted him in the organization and he fits the role, and I think Todd’s really excited.”
Here is what Jeff Finley, the Red Wings’ amateur scout based in Kelowna, British Columbia, had to say about the three Western Canada prospects taken by Detroit on Sunday:
DAVID POPE, LW, 4th ROUND, No. 109: “He's a big, tall, lanky winger, he's got an NHL shot and release. That's the strength of his game, sort of an up-and-down type of player. Versatile player, can play center and both wings. His biggest weakness is he needs a lot of strength. See him as third-line type of guy that can move up. He's got some good skill.” He will play college hockey at Nebraska Omaha beginning in the fall.
MITCHELL WHEATON, D, 5th ROUND, No. 139: “Big guy, mobility is a big issue right now. Coaches in Kelowna rave about him. Great work ethic. He's found the gym, he's lost some weight. He moves the puck well, has got great hockey sense, defensive instincts. Smart player.”
MARC McNULTY, D, 6th ROUND, No. 169: “Big, long stick, big reach. He's got real good feet and good hands for a guy that size. Real weak right now at this stage. He needs a lot of strength and consistency. Probably the reason he fell to where he did there were a lot of nights he needed to be better than he was. He's a bit of a project right now, but I think he has huge upside because of his size and mobility.”
Here is what director of European scouting Hakan Andersson had to say about the two Swedish forwards selected by the Red Wings on Sunday:
MATTIAS JANMARK-NYLEN, C, 3rd ROUND, No. 79: “He's a 20-year-old. Season before he set a junior record in Sweden for points. Then they promoted him to AIK, Swedish Elite League, and I think he was their second-best scorer. So he played really well. He was rewarded by playing a couple of exhibition games on the Swedish national team, which is pretty good as a 20-year-old. Good skater, works hard, had ability with the puck, has some hands and hockey sense. Needs to beef up. He's a bit of a kid still. He doesn't have detailed plan yet that he's going to be a pro. He just plays because he loves it. There's potential for sure. … He became one of the go-to players for his team, so there will be more pressure on him this year because now the other teams know about him.”
HAMPUS MELEN, RW, 7th ROUND, No. 199: “He's about 6-2, 6-3, weighs about 160 pounds. Played Junior B league in Sweden most of the year, set a point record there. Works hard and he has very good hands and hockey sense. But needs to beef up a lot. Good thing about that is I met him a couple of times in February and we talked about nutrition. Now he went and hired a personal trainer and last two months, he'd gone from 147 to 160. The parents told his agent, ‘Something has happened to Hampus.’ It looks like he's on a mission now. The personal trainer said the same thing. The teachers called the parents and said, ‘Something has happened with Hampus, he's so much determined in school.’ Last two months he started to work.”
RedWingsCentral penned a "master plan" summary of the Wings' draft picks and articles profiling Mitchell Wheaton, David Pope, Marc McNulty and Anthony Mantha by mid-Monday, and on Monday evening, he profiled the rest of the Wings' picks.
Here's part of their article on Nastasiuk...
“He’s a guy that plays a strong game in terms of his (competitive) level and his determination,” said Ryan Martin, the Red Wings assistant general manager of hockey administration. “He’s a really smart two-way player and he competes hard and plays big.”
Nastasiuk, who plays for former Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Greg Ireland in Owen Sound, finished fifth in Attack scoring in his second OHL season, recording 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points in 62 games.
But he led the Attack in playoff scoring with four goals and seven assists in 12 games and went on to play a pivotal role for Canada’s gold-medal-winning squad at the world under-18 championship, recording two goals and two assists in seven contests.
From Jan. 9 on in the regular season and playoffs, Nastasiuk produced 16 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 41 games, moving his Central Scouting ranking from 33rd at mid-season to 13th at end-of-year. The consensus among various scouting publications had Nastasiuk ranked as a second-round draft prospect and that’s exactly where Detroit nabbed him.
Part of their article about Bertuzzi...
“He brings that element, and we felt like we wanted to add a player like that into our mix of prospects,” said Red Wings scout Jeff Finley. “A lot of times what happens is you like those guys, but they go a lot earlier than you were planning to take them. We just thought, instead of taking a chance that he’s not there in the third round, we had an extra pick in the second, and we didn’t mind him there where we took him.”
Bertuzzi just completed his second OHL season with the Guelph Storm, recording 13 goals and nine assists for 22 points along with 68 penalty minutes in 43 games. Although he fought 15 times as an OHL rookie, he cut back to just three fighting majors last season.
“He’s got something you can’t teach in terms of his fearless approach to the game and he plays bigger than he is,” said Ryan Martin, the Red Wings assistant general manager of hockey administration. “He’s an energy guy who is willing to fight and plays that abrasive style.”
Martin said Bertuzzi has grown an inch and a half recently and believes he’ll give Guelph even more of an energy boost as he gets stronger develops his skill-set.
Part of their article about Mattias Janmark-Nylen...
The Philadelphia Flyers, Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks are believed to be among the other teams who had heavy interest in Janmark-Nylen, who was one of four Swedish Elite League rookie-of-the-year nominees.
Janmark-Nylen, who had 61 points in 40 games at the J-20 SuperElit level back in 2011-12, projects as a scoring-line player at the NHL level and is closer to realizing his potential than most players drafted outside of the first round on Sunday.
“He’s confident with the puck, his speed his fine, his hands are very good, and he’s tenacious — he chases the puck all the time,” Andersson said. “He’s not physical, but he chases the puck. If he loses it, he chases it and gets it right back. If he doesn’t have the puck, his feet are always moving.”
“I like what he can do with the puck, but that goes along with the fact that he plays with intensity all the time,” Andersson said. “Those two things, that he’s good with the puck and plays with good intensity — that’s what I like.”
And part of their article about the boom-or-bust pick that is Hampus Melen:
“He really has talent with the puck,” said Andersson, who was also responsible for taking Henrik Zetterberg in the seventh round back in 1999. “His best skills are his hockey sense and his hands.”
Playing on the J-18 Elit circuit — a level below the J-18 Allsvenskan — Melen piled up points, recording 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points in 24 games to finish among the circuit’s top-20 scorers. But Andersson is the first to admit Melen needs a bigger challenge.
“He was a little too good for the league,” Andersson said. “If he lost the puck, he’d just chase after it and win it back. He did what he wanted to do.”
Under new NHL-NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, the Red Wings hold Melen’s rights for four years — through 2016-17 — before they need to sign him.
Well that explains why the Wings drafted two Swedes, doesn't it?
I was also surprised to see the New York Islanders website's Greg Picker profile Nastasiuk as a possible Islanders pick:
Owen Sound Attack, OHL
A terrific performance in the postseason helped Zach Nastasiuk jump in the rankings from 33rd at mid-season to a final ranking of 13th overall among North American skaters. In 12 playoff games, the Owen Sound winger tallied 11 points (four goals, seven assists) to lead his team. He also performed admirably in the U-18 World Junior Championship, scoring four points (two goals, two assists) in seven games for Team Canada while earning gold.
Pos. RW Shoots R
Ht. 6'1" Born 3/30/1995
Wt. 190 Hometown Barrie, ON
What they're saying: Trent Klatt, Islanders Player Development
Zach Nastasiuk is a hard-working, grinding winger that sets the tone of games. He’s responsible really in all areas of his game and excels in his overall performance and package. He drives the net and is strong on the walls. Even in small areas with guys all over him he can still make plays.
The Islanders' website posted a clip of Nastasiuk highlights, too:
If you want to watch a video of Hakan Andersson praising Janmark-Nylen while speaking with Hockeysverige.se's Uffe Bodin, in Swedish, enjoy.
Via RedWingsFeed, you'll probably get more out of KvallsPosten's Petter Landen's article about the Wings' decision to swing for the fences with Melen, which I can at least roughly translate (and it should be noted that Melen's team, Tingsryds AIF, is a Division I team, which is one league below the Allsvenskan and two removed from the newly re-named SHL, a.k.a. the Swedish Eliteserien. In other words, it's somewhere between the ECHL and the league now calling itself the IHL, and it's the same semi-pro league that produced Johan Franzen):
In the NHL draft's seventh round, with the 199th pick, Hampus Melen's name was called out. It was a shock given that Melen hasn't played an A-league game for Tingsryd thus far, but spent most of his time with the junior team.
"I saw Hampus on the under-18 team and he looked exciting. He's big and good with the puck,' says Hakan Andersson.
Andersson'salso found Henrik Zetterberg, who went late in the draft, 210th overall in 1999. But Andersson doesn't want to compare the players.
"It would be unfair to Hampus. Whe he has to think about now is working hard and putting on lots of muscle."
The Red Wings own the rights to him for four years, and after that time, they will decide whether to sign him.
In the meantime, Andersson guarantees that they will help the player as much as possible. He hopes that Hampus Melen will be another dream pick.
"We hope for all our draft picks. Now I expect that he'll have a good season with Tingsryd's under-20 team."
The player himself, Hampus Melen, was not there in the United States when he was drafted. Instead, he was at a friend's, and none of them were prepared for the news.
"It was a bit of a shock. We were thrilled, of course, it's a dream I've had since I knew what a draft pick was," he says.
His goal for this year: an a-league game.
After the announcement, Melen was overwhelmed with congratulations from all sides. From phone calls and text messages to Facebook postings and Twitter comments.
Someone who wasn't shocked was Patric Larsson, who is the head of Tingsryd's sports teams.
"Hampus has awesome moves and good wrists. Now he has to slowly progress. We and Tingsryd will certainly help him along the way. But now it's mostly up to him," says Larsson.
Hampus Melen is preparing to go to a training camp with the team in mid-July. Afterward, he'll continue to paly for Tingsryd, though he acknowledges that he could have decided otherwise.
"I had offers from other teams. I can't say which ones. But I didn't move, so I'm staying."
Were they clubs from the Eliteserien?
"Yes, they were."
After spending most of this season with the under-18 team, Melen hopes to graduate to the under-20 team, and maybe even take another step.
"I want to be in an A-league game this year."
From there, the journey toward his NHL dream will take further steps after his consultations with Hakan Andersson.
"I talked to him the day after I was drafted, and he told me to always work hard, and not try to do dumb things, but instead, just play my game."
The NHL's reduction of teams' rosters to 50 players and the draft from 12 to 7 rounds have yielded many more signings of free agents, and, put bluntly, a good three dozen undrafted prospects each and every year, so the Wings have invited several players to their summer development camp from July 10-15, and the St. John's (Nova Scotia) Telegram's Brendan McCarthy reports that you can add another player to the invite mix:
On Sunday night, as the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft was winding down, TSN's cameras scanned the stands at the Prudential Centre in Newark, N.J., catching the faces of a number of young men nervously waiting to hear if their names would be called in the last 30 or 40 picks of the seven-round draft.
One of those anxious visages belonged St. John's native Kurt Etchegary, who attended the draft with a number of family members. Unfortunately, the 18-year-old Etchegary's name was not one of the 211 called out Sunday.
Etchegary, a centre for the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts, was the only Newfoundlander ranked by NHL Central Scouting for the draft. He had been rated 72nd overall among North American skaters, but while many players seeded much lower than that were selected Sunday, Etchegary was left to deal with disappointment.
Perhaps teams were scared off by his medical history, since the 5-11, 185-pounder missed three months of last season as he recovered from two athroscopic surgeries to repair hip joints. When he returned to action, Etchegary performed well, as he had 25 points, including nine goals, in 31 games. He also added eight points (two goals, six assists) in 10 playoff games.
However, the fact he wasn't chosen Sunday doesn't end Etchegary's pro chances. In fact, on Monday night, Etchegary (@etchy19) tweeted that he will be going to camp with the Detroit Red Wings.
He turned down an invite from the Avs to attend the Wings' camp.
And at the other end of the spectrum, Travis Novak never caught on the Wings despite attending three development camps, but he played for the ECHL's Toledo Walleye last season, and the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe reports that the team tendered Novak a qualifying offer.
For what it's worth, and in "other news," the NHL Network's EJ Hradek named Gordie and Mark Howe his second-best "hockey family" after the Hulls...
And yes, I'm still trying to make the financial cut for the Wings' summer development camp, so the Paypal button will remain for another day or three.
I would like to attend the Red Wings' summer development camp from July 9-16 in Traverse City, MI, but I am a blogger. My paycheck is not very big, and due to health crap, this is the only job I've got. As such, I do not have the funds to pay for gas to get me to Traverse City or 11 days of a hotel stay.
During previous years, I've asked you to lend a hand and you've come though in a big way. I need to ask, if it is at all possible, that you might consider tossing a few bucks into the Paypal tip jar. I've generally found that the smallest donations, $5, $10, stuff like that, end up paying for gas and a huge chunk of my stay, and anything more is a bonus.
So if you want to donate, that's awesome, if you don't want to donate, that's cool, and one way or another, I hope to get up there and provide you with in-person, every-day coverage.
My "ID" is my personal email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and you'll need to use that as the person you're sending $ to.
Thank you again for your support!
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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.