Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: trying to keep perspective as the rumor mill cranks up to 11

If I may be blunt, this time of year is less than fun for a "play-it-straight" blogger and/or a "play-it-straight" website.

From today's general managers' meetings on toward the draft on June 27th and 28th in Philadelphia, and then as free agency approaches, the free agent and trade rumor mills go into uber-overdrive, and I feel like I spend more of my time putting out fires than I do actually covering hockey (and I work pretty dang hard to find news stories at this time of year).

Between absolutely baffling trade scenarios involving the Red Wings, suggestions that the team's restricted free agents-to-be will be poached (you're going to have to trust me when I say that Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar and Danny DeKeyser are not the belles of the RFA ball), questions about free agent unsigned prospects due to Sweden-via-New Jersey-via-Ottawa rumors, and of course there are at least a few Wings fans--again, the same Wings fans who were preaching the, "Play all the kids, waive all the vets" line--who now believe that the Wings need to sign multiple free agents at every position, which is a wee bit confusing...

And mostly not bloody likely.

I expect that the Red Wings' biggest decisions involve whether the team will bring back Jonas Gustavsson and Daniel Alfredsson, how much money the team needs to offer the aforementioned Sheahan, Tatar and DeKeyser to lock them up for longer-term, how the team's going to bolster its blueline via either free agency or trade, and resolving its assistant coaching situation (the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov reports that Bill Peters and Tom Renney, among others, will chat with the Panthers' owners on Wednesday)--all while firming up its draft plans--with the team's hopes to sign Mike Babcock and Gustav Nyquist to contract extensions taking a back-seat to more imminent matters until early-to-mid July.

Given that the Wings don't have a second-round draft pick thanks to the David Legwand trade, I gave The Sports Forecaster's list of "Draft Sleepers" a good read (could an Edgars Kulda slip to the 3rd round? Yep, this year, definitely) and given that--as noted on Tuesday--Jim Nill's Dallas Stars are going to be picking right before the Wings' 15th overall selection in the first round, I was glad to read the Dallas News's Mike Heika confirm what I've been hearing all along regarding which players will go where after the "Top Five":

Question: Haven't been paying much attention to the lead-up to the Draft. Who are some prospects to pay attention to and what are the possibilities for the Stars?

Heika: It's sort of a wide open field at 14. In fact, there are some who believe you can toss a blanket over a group from about 12 to 30. We'll see. There are a ton of left wings available, and the Stars have a need for left wings in the organization, so I would concentrate on that group right now. As for top names, Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart are the top two to watch. There is also talk that Florida might be willing to trade the first overall pick, so that makes things interesting.

The "good news" for Wings fans in the most immediate sense of the term is simple: because this is supposedly a "weak draft," it's entirely that a player several mock drafts and draft experts have as guaranteed top-10 picks could end up falling to that 15th spot, and it's just as likely that the Wings (and Stars) might choose to "trade down" in the first round to reacquire a second-round pick, and the team could still emerge with a top-ten talent.

As far as I'm concerned, the Red Wings need to let their speedy forwards shine by bolstering their blueline, so I don't look at Capgeek's lists of unrestricted free agent-to-be forwards, defensemen or goaltenders with a whole lot of hope save perhaps the Wings landing a "bridge" defenseman--mostly because I don't believe that Matt Niskanen's worth $7.5 million a season, because I don't believe that there's any way in hell that Mike Ilitch's pizza money could convince the Canadiens and Geoff Molson's...Molson money to not match an offer sheet for P.K. Subban, and because I basically want to see the Wings make one or two calculated moves and then not screw up this whole "youth movement" thing.

But reading this from the Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger reminded me of what's inevitably to come from both fans and media types alike:

As the weather outside heats up, so have the trade discussions being held on the cell phone of Dave Nonis.

“There have definitely been more calls in the past week,” said Nonis on Tuesday evening, speaking from New York.

And why wouldn’t there be? With the NHL’s entry draft less than three weeks away and free-agent frenzy poised to be unleashed on July 1, teams know that the next month is key in any rebuilding — or, in some cases, retooling — endeavours.

But the real groundwork for potential deals comes during the GM’s meetings in the Big Apple on Wednesday. As Nonis points out, “no matter how many times you’ve talked on the phone, face time with your colleagues always seems to speed things up.”

There are plenty of big names said to be on the market — the Joe Thorntons, the Patrick Marleaus, the Ryan Keslers, the Brad Stuarts, just to name a few. And when it became known that the Leafs had kicked tires on Thornton, among others, the Internet blew up.

Ken Holland echoed those remarks regarding in-person conversations--ever-so-cautiously--over the past couple of weeks, and while the Wings aren't in the market for Thornton, Kesler, Marleau or, if we believe what we read, Alex Edler...

The Brad Stuart remark got me thinking, thinking about a trade and-or free agency conversation that we might need to actually have.

If the Red Wings aren't able to land a Niskanen, a Dan Boyle or a Tom Gilbert, would you be happy to see the team go after a Matt Greene instead?

For that matter, do you believe that the team needs to not only add an offensive puck-mover, but also to perhaps bolster the back end with a stay-at-home defensemen?

I don't believe that the "youth movement" philosophy accommodates 2 such signings and/or trades.

We certainly know that Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff didn't cut it during the playoffs, and we know that Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Mattias Backman, Alexey Marchenko, Nick Jensen and possibly the no longer waiver-exempt Adam Almquist should yield at least 1 or 2 solid NHL defensemen (not everybody pans out), but we don't know exactly when those players will be ready to "steal" the jobs of the aforementioned Kindl and Lashoff.

At the same time, I would rather that the Wings--for once--don't hedge their bets that none of the above-listed names aren't ready for NHL duty, even if that means starting the 2014-2015 season with Kindl and Lashoff as defensemen 5 and 6, if not 6 and 7 (should the team add said puck-moving defensemen).

If the Wings don't add a puck-mover, I'd be fine with the team doing nothing as opposed to adding another stay-at-home guy who wouldn't help the team's breakout. I want to see the team return to its puck possession-via-puck-moving-defensemen blueprint. I believe that improving the breakout is the most expedient way to maximize the scoring and physicality of the team's current forward lineup.

You may not, and while I certainly haven't heard suggestions that Brad Stuart's on the block--and after returning to the Bay Area to reunite with his family, Stuart's posted two middling seasons with the Sharks, who may or may not be interested in retaining him because he's...a step slow...

I can't deny that seeing his name out there made me stop and think.

I'd suggest that when we hear names like that dropped sans source, perhaps we ought to remember that every veteran the team adds to the mix yields another roadblock for the youth movement, but what do I know?

Along those lines, on Sunday, the Free Press's Helene St. James posted a list of 9 free agents who she believes the Wings should target, and this morning, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan upped that list to THIRTY players.

This guy gets my "STAY THE *#$%@& AWAY, HE'S RAY *#$%@& SHEPPARD" (i.e. lots of finishing ability, but not much in the way of game-breaking offense on his own) endorsement...

Left wing Thomas Vanek, Montreal. 2013-14 season: 78 games, 27 goals, 41 assists, 68 points. Age: 30. Salary: $6.4 million. Vanek will be the biggest name on the free agent market, but some teams won't be as interested after an uneven postseason with Montreal. A former University of Minnesota star, there's speculation Vanek wants to play for the Wild.

And I had a thought about this guy:

RW Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit, 68 games, 18 goals, 31 assists, 49 points. Age: 41. Salary: $5.5 million. If Alfredsson decides to play another season, it'll likely be with the Red Wings. But can he stay healthy over a long season? Does he want to continue? Alfredsson still has one of the hardest and most lethal shots in the game, and he's a leader in the locker room.

When we talk about the Wings losing Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski's offense, we tend to foget Stuart's status as a "glue guy," we tend to ignore Tomas Holmstrom's invaluable power play performance not only as a goalie-screener and shot-tipper, but also a puck-retrieving maestro, and I think that the retirements of Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby have been understated in terms of their impact upon the team.

The reason I'm such a big "Bring Back Alfie" person involves not only his 18 goals and 49 points--it also involves the fact that the Wings' young players seemed to play calmer, more focused and more effectively with Alfredsson on the ice, on the bench and in the locker room. Wings of both young and advanced ages raved about Alfredsson's leadership, and Babcock praised his status as a huge part of the leadership group when Zetterberg and Datsyuk went down with injuries, too.

To me, Alfredsson's leadership makes up for the fact that, at 41, he's either superb offensively or frickin' inconsistent depending on the game. To me, if he can stay healthy, you can't bottle his leadership or his chemistry with the Wings' youthful group of players, and to me, that's why you bring him back, even if he presents something of a roadblock to a young forward.

I am most certainly interested in this gent, but I think he's going to be priced out of the Wings' range in a hurry...

Defenseman Matt Niskanen, Pittsburgh, 81 games, 10 goals, 36 assists, 46 points. Age: 27. Salary: $2.3 million. Niskanen is coming off a career-best offensive season, a perfect time to be an unrestricted free agent. But how much of his performance is based on playing with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? The Red Wings and many other teams will be interested -- if the price is right.

And as such, I'd be happy with either of the following instead...

D Tom Gilbert, Florida, 73 games, 3 goals, 25 assists, 28 points. Age: 31. Salary: $900,000. A late signing by the Panthers, Gilbert had a surprisingly effective season at both ends of the rink. Gilbert had such a positive influence on and off the ice, the Panthers are interested in re-signing him. He'd probably appreciate the security at this point in his career.

....

D Dan Boyle, San Jose, 75 games, 12 goals, 24 assists, 36 points. Age: 37. Salary: $6.6 million. The Sharks have already told Boyle they're not re-signing him. A few years ago, Boyle would have been one of the bigger names available. Boyle can still be a fine bridge to a defense transitioning to younger players. All of which makes the Red Wings an ideal fit.

But Kulfan names three players who I think are overrated: Brooks Orpik (hoo boy, ankle issues = waaay less mobility), Anton Stralman (great third-pair guy, or a #4 defenseman? Sure, but not anything more, and not an offensive contributor) and this guy:

D Derek Morris, Phoenix, 63 games, 5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points. Age: 35. Salary: $2.75 million. Morris hasn't lived up to his early career potential, but he would be a good minute-munching, offensive defenseman for certain teams (Red Wings included). Staying in Phoenix, where Morris has put down roots, remains a strong option.

The Orpiks, Stralmans, Morrises, guys like Ron Hainsey, Andrej Meszaros and Andrei Markov (whose terrible knees will remain in Montreal) are the types of players who make me say, "Whoa there, if the team's not substantially upgrading its defense, there are FIVE GUYS in Grand Rapids who might be 'ready,' six if you include Almquist. Why throw up a roadblock just to plug a hole?"

I cannot deny, however, that I read Brad Stuart's name and I forget the times that he'd be plodding around in the corner for some reason while an opposing player snuck into the slot, or how Stuart and Lidstrom getting beat by a forward who snagged a "home run" pass was almost as bad as watching Nick and Larry Murphy try to catch a similar player, and I think, "Heyyyy, he played here, and his daughter's over 18 now, so there are no custody issue...WAIT STAY ON MESSAGE STOP GETTING SENTIMENTAL."

The reality of the situation--and the bottom line here--is that you and I are going to read hundreds of trade rumors and free agent rumors over the next three weeks, but we're more likely than not to see the Wings make only a handful of moves. They will most likely involve re-signing Jonas Gustavsson, re-signing Daniel Alfredsson if he wants to continue playing, possibly extending Sheahan, Tatar or DeKeyser before July 1st, probably resolving their assistant coaching situation, drafting six or seven players, and then the Wings going out and trying to trade or sign ONE offensive defenseman to improve their puck-moving corps.

It can be fun to dream up a perfect trade, restricted free agent offer sheet or unrestricted free agent scenario, but the reason I don't tolerate rumors likely is simple: the Red Wings tend to move in a deliberate, predictable and less-is-more manner, and after the last three years' forays into Samuelssons, Tootoos, Quinceys, etc., maybe it's not a bad thing to hope for "less"movement yielding "more" in terms of results this time around.

 

 

 

Somewhat ironically, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's "Red Wings Firsts" focuses on Adam Almquist's first NHL goal:

In just his second career NHL game, Adam Almquist sported a smile that could be seen from miles away. He had good reason to celebrate. The rookie defenseman had notched his first career NHL goal to give Detroit a 2-0 lead over Dallas on Nov. 7, 2013.

“I got a really, really good pass from (Henrik) Zetterberg,” Almquist said of his goal. “I walked into the slot and got it and shot it and luckily it went in.”

Unfortunately for Almquist, his accomplishment was achieved in a loss, as the Stars mounted a 4-3 comeback to hand the Red Wings their fourth straight loss at the Joe Louis Arena for the first time in four years. Almquist’s goal was a bright spot of the game, but there’s no doubt that he would’ve traded it for the W.

“I’m pretty sure he would exchange that for a win, but it’s fun to see him get rewarded,” Zetterberg said.

“That was (too bad) we couldn’t get the two points we wanted,” Almquist said. “It was a bitter end, bittersweet. We worked hard and deserved to win.”

Cue the video:

 

 

 

In the "Bad Memories" department, the Ashbury Park Press's Chris Rotolo spoke with former New Jersey Devil Jim Dowd about the Devils' Stanley Cup-winning sweep of the Wings in 1995...

"That was a different scenario back in 1995 than what we're seeing this year," said Dowd, who spent 16 seasons in the NHL with 10 different teams, including the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, and his longest tenure of four seasons with the Minnesota Wild. "The Red Wings won the Presidents' Trophy (best regular season record in the NHL) that year and were the heavy duty favorite against us. They had a ton of firepower, so what we were able to do that year was a pretty monumental upset."

Dowd played a pivotal role in the 1995 Cup finals when he silenced a daunting Joe Louis Arena crowd in Game 2, collecting a rebound late in the third period off a Shawn Chambers shot from the point, and chipping the puck on his backhand past Red Wings goalie Mike Vernon to put the Devils up 3-2 en route to a 4-2 victory.

The Devils completed the sweep at home after consecutive 5-2 decisions. The Kings look to wrap up their series tonight at Madison Square Garden, and unfortunately for Rangers fans, Dowd sees some similarity in the business-like atmosphere that surrounded his New Jersey club, and this 2014 Kings team.

"With us it was all business," said Dowd, who led Brick Township to the 1985-86 NJSIAA State Championship. "That was my second year in the NHL, and I was playing with guys like Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, and John MacLean. If we lost a regular season game, there were no smiles in the locker room until we won again. When we were in the playoffs and the finals we were there for the purpose of winning. That was it. And you can see that same focus with this Kings team."

And I don't know about you, but Fox Sports' Erin Malinowski's recollection of "Five Improbable Comebacks" from which the Rangers can draw inspiration was hammered into me as if the Wings dropped their 3-games-to-none lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs yesterday:

1942 Stanley Cup Final

It remains, to this day, the most famous and unlikely comeback in hockey history, but the fact is that the Detroit Red Wings really had no business ever being up 3-0 on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first place. With a dismal 19-25-4 regular-season record, the Wings had to win not one but two three-game series to make the Final. Toronto, by virtue of its second-best record of 27-18-3, had to beat only the top-seeded New York Rangers to advance.

After the Red Wings won the first three games, they led 2-0 at home in Game 4, but the Leafs pressed their way back for a 4-3 win. (The night proved so calamitous for the Wings that Detroit coach Jack Adams ended up punching an on-ice referee in the face after the game's conclusion.) Toronto won the next two games, 9-3 and 3-0, but was losing 1-0 at home in Game 7 with just 20 minutes to play before scoring three clutch goals.

 

 

 

Under the radar, part 1: As noted by Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus, Bauer Hockey is changing its changing its corporate name to "Performance Sports Group Ltd," and Reuters reports that it's going to "go public" on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.

Why? Very quietly, Bauer--which is the majority equipment-seller despite Reebok-CCM's partnership with the NHL and other developmental leagues, and despite earnest efforts by Easton and Warrior--ended up buying Easton's baseball and softball brands, and according to the gents on ModSquadHockey, they've let Easton-Bell Sports twist in the wind, and Easton's hockey division is not doing very well.

Given that Reebok is trying to switch its identity to that of a "fitness brand," and that we're likely to see NHL'ers wearing Adidas jerseys and apparel (Adidas owns Reebok) and more and more CCM gear as Reebok-brand hockey gear disappears, and given that Easton's footing is not particularly strong right now, we may see a very different equipment picture emerge over the next two or three years...

Under the radar, part 2: This is just as "hard to call." The Russian Hockey Federation is holding its elections shortly, and kind of out of the blue, Slava Fetisov decided to run for the FHR's presidency (per F-Sport) opposite Vladislav Tretiak.

Initially, Fetisov insisted that he felt that Tretiak shouldn't run unopposed, but over the past couple of days, Fetisov's cranked up his rhetoric, he's pointed out that he spent seven years as Russia's Minister of Sport, and people are starting to suggest that Fetisov might in fact provide a more proactive approach to reforming and expanding Russia's youth hockey programs than Tretiak, who's turned out to be a staunch supporter of letting the KHL and the National Team do the legwork in terms of setting developmental examples.

 

 

 

Otherwise...

The Plymouth Whalers are selling season ticket packages for their 25th Anniversary season...

I don't know if the Wings are still having their prospects train with Aaron Downey, but the Orangeville Banner's Chris Halladay reports that Downey's still training a staple of young NHL'ers and NHL prospects, including Dallas's Brett Ritchie, at the family farm in Shelburne;

The Wings didn't issue a press release regarding their "Corporate Partner Summit," but they did post a 35-image gallery from said event (via RedWingsFeed);

 

 

 

And finally, I looked at the hotel prices for Independence Day Weekend, and they're terrifying, so I'm going to have to continue asking for assistance in order to afford to get up to Traverse City to work at the Wings' summer development camp.

Over the past 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.

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Comments

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Hockeytown Wax's avatar

gotta agree with you George .. we still miss Rafalski’s and Lidstrom’s puck moving skills which is why I think we should make more than a half-assed attempt to sign Dan Boyle.  Past his prime sure but, he’s still a very smooth skater a-la Paul Coffey and still has one of those shots from the point that makes good things happen.  If that doesn’t happen, that’s when you revert to the half-assed attempt to woo away either Willie Mitchell or Matt Greene from the Kings.  If they both say no then stick with the kids.

Call this a crazy idea but ... knowing Holland is a goalie himself, he’s going to make Mrazek work for his spot ... there will definitely be a UFA signing here ... which leads me to the crazy idea.  Who says Gustavsson is the best choice ??  Why not take a stab at Marty Brodeur ??  Depending on how much has to be spent on our RFAs, we should have plenty of cap space to throw a few mil. at him ... especially if Alfie decides to come back ... or maybe signing Brodeur would insure Alfie coming back ... hmmmmmm

As for a forward ... he’s going to be someone young enough to fit in with the kids but old enough to automatically play defence first.  Vanek would feel smothered in the Red Wing system so scratch him off the list.  Iggy finally got back to playing Iggy hockey in Boston so, even though I’d love to see him wearing a winged wheel, I say he stays where he is.  If shelling out $7 mil. a season doesn’t bother you then Paul Stastny wouldn’t be a bad choice but that would put him above Datsyuk/Zetterberg salary range and we all know you can’t piss off those 2.  Matt Moulson seems to be where the smart money should go.  30 goal scorer his last 4 years, 30 years old so we’re probably talking 3 or 4 year contract as acceptable ... somewhere in the $5 mil. per range.

I haven’t worked up any possible roster combos yet but, if Alfredsson decides to come back, we manage to sign Boyle and Moulson, AND it turns out Weiss is actually healthy ... you could put a cardboard cutout of Eddie Mio in goal for all I care ... LOL

This could be a fun season if the cards fall in the right places.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 06/11/14 at 05:25 AM ET

Chet's avatar

come on.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 06/11/14 at 06:56 AM ET

Avatar

Call this a crazy idea but ... knowing Holland is a goalie himself, he’s going to make Mrazek work for his spot ... there will definitely be a UFA signing here ... which leads me to the crazy idea.  Who says Gustavsson is the best choice ??  Why not take a stab at Marty Brodeur ??  Depending on how much has to be spent on our RFAs, we should have plenty of cap space to throw a few mil. at him ... especially if Alfie decides to come back ... or maybe signing Brodeur would insure Alfie coming back ... hmmmmmm

So…you’re crazy lol. Brodeur has posted consistently worsening numbers for the last 3 season going .908 .901 .901 in save percentages and 2.41 , 2.22, 2.51 and goals against.  With those numbers you might as well give Tomas Mcculom a shot, or more realisticly call up Mrazek or hopefully sign Gustavsson(or an equal F/A) to a 1 year contract until Mrazek is ready.  Its not that I do not repect Marty, but the man should of hung them up last season, and now he is looking for work but does he think he can be a legit starter?  I hope not for his legacy sake, but it doesn’t seem like he wants to ride pine for 50+ games.

To the article at hand, I honestly think the offseason mode just went to 12.  I just finished another article where the author thought the wings should sign Mike Raup or Bryan Boyle because we lack grit and need an enforcer to compete with, and get this, Dion Phenuf type defensman, and also should somehow sign Niskanen?Boyle and a back up goalie like Vokoun and Tomas Vanek and Paul Statsny.  I guess the trade for everyone, sign everyone crowd just hasn’t heard of capgeek.com.

Personaly I have my thoughts, but with the way everything has gone, I have literally locked in my bet and I am not holding my breath.  As long as we cut some dead weight and give the kids an honest chance in the camps and pre season I am good.

Posted by 3rdshift on 06/11/14 at 07:11 AM ET

Chet's avatar

I feel this post is beneath GM’s usually high standards.

So is Brodeur. The move is to promote mrazek, make him compete, and when next spring both his and Howard’s numbers are pretty good to great (Howard’s worse), sell high in Howard. If he’s in detroit’s net by opening day 2016 I’ll be shocked.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 06/11/14 at 07:20 AM ET

EDJ's avatar

I feel this post is beneath GM’s usually high standards.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 06/11/14 at 07:20 AM ET

Could you elaborate?

Posted by EDJ on 06/11/14 at 08:19 AM ET

RW19's avatar

@ Wax

Moulson can’t skate well enough to play in Detroit. According to Elliot Freedman of CBC and HNIC, Moulson had trouble keeping up with the skating pace of the playoffs both when he was in New York last year and again this year with Minnesota. In the Min-Chi series he saw less and less time and got demoted to the 4th line.

It they sign a forward not named Alfredsson, it likely will be someone that either brings more grit or a RH shot. Moulson does not seem like the right fit.

Posted by RW19 on 06/11/14 at 08:45 AM ET

Avatar

What about a trade for Boston’s Johnny Boychuk? I know he is in the division, but the Bruins are going to be scrambling to sign Iginla, and they have a lot of good young defensemen.

Posted by Lidstromfan on 06/11/14 at 08:50 AM ET

topshelf14's avatar

Here’s what’s going to happen.

Dan Boyle will sign here for 2 years at 6 per.
Gustavsson will not resign and it will force Holland to have Mrazek up. (Which is a good thing)
Alfie will resign and this will officially be his last season.

We will finish 2nd in the division behind Boston.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 06/11/14 at 09:16 AM ET

Avatar

Dan Boyle will sign here for 2 years at 6 per.

I hope you’re wrong.

Posted by Garth on 06/11/14 at 09:25 AM ET

topshelf14's avatar

I’m not, and you can thank me later Girth.

Boyle is still a legit 2 on most teams. He provides leadership, grit and most importantly he scores. Kronwall needs help offensively on the back end. Look at the Kings in this final, offense from defense is criticalin today’s NHL.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 06/11/14 at 09:33 AM ET

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I was wondering what people thought of signing Steve Downie?  I know he is an UFA and I doubt Philly gives him a new contract.  He is still young and could fit a role this team needs.  I also know he has his on ice issues, but that can be corrected on a team such as the Wing.

Posted by BAD_WES on 06/11/14 at 09:42 AM ET

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I’m not, and you can thank me later Girth.

It’s Garth, *#$%@&.

Posted by Garth on 06/11/14 at 09:48 AM ET

topshelf14's avatar

I’m with you Bad_Wes, I think adding some tougher players to play against on our 4th line could definitely help. I like the idea of Downie, Ott or another pest who can also occasionally contribute a goal.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 06/11/14 at 09:52 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Steve Downie got paid as much as two Drew Millers last season to put up fewer goals despite being given much more opportunity to do so both at even-strength and on the power play all while not killing penalties. He also took penalties at a rate higher than any Red Wings player did last season.

Steve Ott is a better hockey player than both Downie and Miller. he’s also more expensive than Downie (the guy who costs 2 Drew Millers). For that benefit, Steve Ott provided two more goals.

Somebody is going to pay those dipshits more money than they’re worth. I’d prefer if it weren’t Ken Holland. Tough guys on the fourth line is a dying game.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/11/14 at 10:39 AM ET

Primis's avatar

If the Red Wings aren’t able to land a Niskanen, a Dan Boyle or a Tom Gilbert, would you be happy to see the team go after a Matt Greene instead?

No.

No, no, NO.

First-pairing capable d-man, or do nothing at all.  There is no in-between.  Adding a 3-6 guy simply will add to the logjam of non-top pairing guys DET already has.

You CANNOT improve things with any move that leaves Ericsson still on the top pairing.  It has to start there, and if it’s not going to, then Ken Holland need not waste his time.

And FTR Dan Boyle is not a realistic top pairing d-man anymore, so… yeah.

Posted by Primis on 06/11/14 at 10:42 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Somebody is going to pay those dipshits more money than they’re worth. I’d prefer if it weren’t Ken Holland. Tough guys on the fourth line is a dying game.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/11/14 at 10:39 AM ET

Spot on.

Posted by Primis on 06/11/14 at 10:43 AM ET

Avatar

For that matter, do you believe that the team needs to not only add an offensive puck-mover, but also to perhaps bolster the back end with a stay-at-home defensemen?

Yes, absolutely.  We need a puck mover to replace the player Kindl never grew into, and we need a stay-at-home guy because we had end-of-game and end-of-period issues with faceoffs in the defensive zone, particularly when Ericsson was injured.

 

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/11/14 at 11:08 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

For that matter, do you believe that the team needs to not only add an offensive puck-mover, but also to perhaps bolster the back end with a stay-at-home defensemen?

I don’t believe that the “youth movement” philosophy accommodates 2 such signings and/or trades.

We certainly know that Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff didn’t cut it during the playoffs, and we know that Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Mattias Backman, Alexey Marchenko, Nick Jensen and possibly the no longer waiver-exempt Adam Almquist should yield at least 1 or 2 solid NHL defensemen (not everybody pans out), but we don’t know exactly when those players will be ready to “steal” the jobs of the aforementioned Kindl and Lashoff.


I’m normally a proponent of the youth movement, but I still think there’s room for two veteran signees.  Kronwall and Ericsson are locks for the top four and DeKeyser can pretty much be pencilled in there as well.  Smith is there some games, not there some games, and until he gets more consistent it would not be a bad thing to have a veteran that can take more of the burden off him.  Treat him like a streaky NBA player; send him out in the second pairing for the first ten minutes then decide if he ‘has it’ and can stay there or needs to drop down to the third pairing and be sheltered.  Quincey could be one of those two veterans but will probably be too expensive for a 4/5 guy, and isn’t reliably good enough to be a lock for that second pairing.  If we knew he was going to be the end-of-this-year Kyle Quincey, not the previous decade’s Kyle Quincey, then that might be different, but we don’t.

I think the ideal situation would be to have four veterans and three young guys on the roster so there’s a good balance.  I feel that DeKeyser and Smith would both benefit greatly from having a consistent, reliable veteran partner so they don’t have to worry about what the other guy’s doing and can focus on their own play- I fully believe the inconsistencies of Kyle Quincey has done lasting damage to Smith’s growth.  This might resolve itself if DeKeyser can add some weight and play more with Kronwall and free up Ericsson to drop down to the second pairing with Smith or one of the younger guys.

The youngsters will have their ups and downs, much like Smith has.  In my mind, the situation you absolutely cannot have repeat itself is the train wreck that was Detroit’s defense in the playoffs last year against Anaheim and Chicago where (with DeKeyser out) it was an adventure every time Kronwall and E weren’t out there.  If you have three veteran guys you can at least cobble together two reliable pairings and if you have four then you’re in much better shape, and that’s without mentioning protection against injury.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 06/11/14 at 11:19 AM ET

Rumbear's avatar

G, you referenced Stuie 7 times…..your Freudian slip is showing!  wink

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, doing the pre-season shuffle.... on 06/11/14 at 11:42 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Guys and gals, I know that this post is a departure for me, but I wanted to let you all know that I have the same free agency and trade thoughts that you do—I just try to stifle them.

I’m trying to reinforce some themes while saying, “Hey, the rumor mill is about to crank up to a whole other level, and it’s difficult to remain realistic regarding the Wings’ roster moves, but it’s at least my job to do so, and I hope you don’t set yourself up for disappointment.” That’s all.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/11/14 at 12:27 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Tomas Holstrom deserves a lot of credit for the time he put in at Detroit, but honestly I can understand why we’re still mourning after him.  The guy drew bad penalty after bad penalty whether it was by reputation or not.  He was a liability.  And the waived off goals were back breakers.  I don’t miss that in the least.

Moreover, the team’s Holmstrom-offense turned one dimensional as time went on.  The” lob from the blueline and hope for a tip” strategy isn’t a reliable source of scoring.  Even as far back as ‘09 it started to become clear that all you had to do to shut the Wings down was keep them on the perimeter, which was easy since their offensive plan was to gain the zone and defer to the point, every damn time. 

Homer was a great one, and in most other towns his number would be in the rafters.  But I can’t wait for the Wings to wake up from that hang over and learn how to grind again.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 06/11/14 at 12:28 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Brodeur has publicly stated he would be a backup for a Stanley Cup contender or a Number 1 for other teams.

UFAs and Draft year are weak this year. No UFAs jump out for me. Trying to sign or trade for an RFA really never happens anymore and is very expensive,

I guess where I am going is stand pat this year but I sure would like to see Kindl move on. Seems very disinterested with his play.

Trades? Who knows what the GMs have on the Market and what Holland is willing to pay (shudder!!!).

Torn to whether Mrazek should be the backup or sign Monster, etc.

Toronto always signs or trades for all players, right..LOL

The guessing game will continue through the Sept camp, IMO. Sitting on my Fence here in Canada!!!!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 06/11/14 at 12:37 PM ET

Avatar

One of the things the Wings can do about the “finding the next great defenseman” problem is to roll the dice. As we know, trying to trade for a guy like Shea Weber or signing an RFA guy like Subban are pipe dreams with extraordinary costs. But what might actually be attainable is to find a draft where there’s a real stud defenseman and find a way to get far enough up in the draft to get that guy.

Let’s say hypothetically that the Wings think Ekblad is a legit top-pair guy destined to be an all-star. Or let’s say last year, they believed that about Seth Jones. It will still cost you a lot - but much less so than trying to trade for an established #1 defenseman. I think the only way the Wings will get their next #1 will be through a draft. I don’t think any of the guys in GR - good as they are - are going to be #1s. So do we slowly bottom out as Kronwall ages beyond top-pair capability and try for a hail mary (a la Suter) free agent signing (how often do defensemen that good actually hit the UFA market and then, what’s your odds of signing him?)? Or do we get aggressive and roll the dice by drafting a guy ASAP (and likely, that includes trading some important assets to get that high a pick)?

I really think it is time that the Wings look this route in trying to acquire their next great defenseman. I don’t think they’ll do it any other way, except by bottoming out and ending up with a high pick because of a bottom-five finish. Of course, there’s a ton more risk when dealing with prospects. But I trust the Wings’ staffing and development process and I’d expect with a top-five pick in a position to select such a defenseman, in a draft where the scouts have identified this player, I’d like to see the team get very aggressive in trying to implement this game plan.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 06/11/14 at 01:04 PM ET

Avatar

I hate this time of year when we’re not playing, but sitting around going crazy with all kinds of stupid scenarios waiting to see what will really happen.

My take on what George has discussed:
1.  resign Alfie, but no more than $4M for one yr. If not, trty Vrbata @ $4M, 2 yrs.

2. Go after Dan Boyle, but 2 yrs. only max $4.5M - He’s # 4 D-man,  help on the PP.

3.  Start Defensively with Kronwall, Ericsson, DeKeyser, Boyle (or Smith, if we don’t get Boyle), Smith, Kindl, Lashoff and finally Almquist (for last try)

4.  After one-third of the season (27-28 games) make decisions on Kindl & Lashoff & Almquist. If they stay, fine. Otherwise trade them for best possible draft picks. Bring up Sproul, Marchenko, Ouellet, etc. and get them some minutes.

5.  Sign Gustavsson as back up. We need 3 goalies due to potential injuries.

Posted by Heresy from Aiken, SC on 06/11/14 at 01:50 PM ET

awould's avatar

I don’t want them to sign any forward free agents, other than Alfredsson.

I’d like to see Niskanen signed to a 5 year deal at around $7MM. Probably less than he’ll get but I don’t mind “overpaying” since the cap will go up and it’s all relative. I hate “internal” caps based on some other player’s salary. I don’t care if Datsyuk isn’t the highest paid player on the team. I doubt he cares that much either.

Or Boyle to a 2 year deal at $5MM.

I don’t know anything about Tom Gilbert so, maybe?

I do not want them to acquire two defenseman. I’d rather see the young guys get a shot.

Or, if Holland could swing a big trade to get a top D like Weber or Yandle/Ekman-Larsson from Phoenix. If they were able to wrest Subban from Montreal. If Lidstrom came out of retirement, faster and stronger. Bobby Orr? Too old maybe.

Posted by awould on 06/11/14 at 02:02 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Pay Niskanen. He is probably the dman out there with potential left in the tank.

Sign Alfie if he wants to come back.

Sign th RFAs obviously.

Let Monster walk and bring up Mrazek.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 06/11/14 at 02:02 PM ET

Avatar

Or, if Holland could swing a big trade to get a top D like Weber or Yandle/Ekman-Larsson from Phoenix

Ekman-Larsson is probably as close to untouchable as you can get. Weber will cost probably 2 1st-rounders, Mantha, and two top defense prospects, if not also/instead Jurco/Tatar/Nyquist. Yandle the only realistic name there. Not overly excited about him, but we do need a guy who can drive the offense. I wouldn’t hate it.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 06/11/14 at 02:08 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

First-pairing capable d-man, or do nothing at all.  There is no in-between.  Adding a 3-6 guy simply will add to the logjam of non-top pairing guys DET already has.

You CANNOT improve things with any move that leaves Ericsson still on the top pairing.

Posted by Primis on 06/11/14 at 10:42 AM ET

I’d have to disagree. This makes it sound like there are two kinds of defensemen, top pairing ones and others, and other distinctions don’t matter for the purposes of improving the defense. I don’t see that. This might sound silly stupid duh, but if you add anyone that’s better than any of the current top six (which probably isn’t hard given that we had Quincey, Smith, Kindl, and Lashoff), then the team will be better off. If that defenseman gets penciled in for the fourth spot, for instance, not only will the fourth spot be better, but the defensemen in the fifth and sixth spots will be better than before since better players are moving down and they will be playing lesser competition.

Obviously obtaining a top pairing defenseman would be preferable, but I highly doubt that could happen for a price that more people would be happy with than unhappy with, not even considering hemight arrive and be a bust. And I agree that in the long term, the team needs a top pairing defenseman, and I am willing to concede that it may be better to have youth play and get rid of Quincey, Lashoff, or Kindl.

Posted by EDJ on 06/11/14 at 05:55 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

trying to keep perspective as the rumor mill cranks up to 11


“Eleven. Exactly. One louder.”

Thanks, George. tongue wink

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 06/11/14 at 07:44 PM ET

Avatar

The reason I’m such a big “Bring Back Alfie” person involves not only his 18 goals and 49 points—it also involves the fact that the Wings’ young players seemed to play calmer, more focused and more effectively with Alfredsson on the ice, on the bench and in the locker room.

Malik, you’re killing me.
The FACT that wings players SEEMED??????
Stop with your nonsense. Alfredsson didn’t make Tatar or Jurco better. Or if he did, i highly doubt you’d have a way to know.

You’re just advocating for more of Kenny’s Swedish Country Club.

Get over it. We need to smash the Country Club to bits and start making players earn their keep. Enough Lifetime contracts. Enough Swedes. Enough veteran loafers who can’t get it done when it matters.

Posted by Captain Bob on 06/12/14 at 04:17 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

[Name of mysterious person redacted by request, who could it be now], give it a rest.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/12/14 at 04:18 PM ET

Avatar

Anonymous user, here George. You should probably delete that.
Regardless, There’s no need for Alfredsson. Your logic for keeping here is soft, putting it politely.

Posted by Captain Bob on 06/12/14 at 04:36 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

You want to play the game, you’re playing the game.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/12/14 at 04:39 PM ET

Avatar

Haha.

Have a good one George.

Posted by Captain Bob on 06/12/14 at 04:46 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Enough Swedes.

lol

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/12/14 at 05:15 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Or, if Holland could swing a big trade to get a top D like Weber or Yandle/Ekman-Larsson from Phoenix. If they were able to wrest Subban from Montreal. If Lidstrom came out of retirement, faster and stronger. Bobby Orr? Too old maybe.

Posted by awould on 06/11/14 at 02:02 PM ET

Bobby Orr, hmmmmm, interesting. wink Thanks for the much needed levity.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 06/12/14 at 08:54 PM ET

Avatar

You want to play the game, you’re playing the game.

And lo, the High Priest of Compassion drew forth a shotgun from behind his lectern, to better chastise his fractious flock.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/12/14 at 09:21 PM ET

Avatar

Re: Alfreddson, if Detroit could get him for 3ish mil, sure… what the heck.  Anything beyond that is too much investment for too much risk.

As an aside, Franzen outscored and outpointed Alfredsson per game, can play center, was paid 1.1 mil less against the cap, and people think he should be traded.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/12/14 at 09:32 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Addressing several issues:

1. Mr. Bob, I have redacted my comment.

2. However, please know, folks, that when you’re commenting “anonymously,” we know who you are, and while there is an “ignore” button for you to mute your fellow commenters, Paul and I receive email notifications regarding each and every comment made.

If you feel that you’re being bullied or abused, your job is to email Paul or myself or to comment stating as much (he’s pk at kuklaskorner dot com and I’m georgemalik at the same address)...

3. Regarding my “fractious flock,” yes, I understand that my job as a content author is, to some extent, to be your pincushion and your pinata, but I’m allowed to get annoyed and jab back from time to time, if not hurl a brick back.

I didn’t make the rules of engagement for this comments section, nor did I do anything than inherit a rather spirited group of professionally passionate folks who may or may not have an minority of outspoken individuals that enjoy arguing more than they enjoy sports…

But that sort of Laissez-Faire atmosphere is not what I prefer, and I have made no bones about the fact that I would establish a new set of requirements that might mean some of you wouldn’t be here.

I don’t quite understand why getting off on getting angry at a particular content provider is fun for some of you, but if you’re going to play professional antagonist, and I’m going to have to deal with you (even though some of you have repeatedly ignored entreaties from management to respond to us via email and explain and/or account for your actions when you very, very narrowly skirt being banned, because we do ban people from time to time), you bet I’m gonna be packin’ a slash-happy stick sometimes.

I did check with Paul, and he was completely fine with what I did earlier today. So let that serve as a warning—just as some of you think you have the right to “troll” as you “play the game,” the management has empowered me to get nastier than I did today if I feel the need to do so.

So *#$%@& with each other, and me, at your own peril.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/12/14 at 10:29 PM ET

Avatar

Is this how confident you are in the opinions you advance? That when someone points out your opinion is based on fluff (Alfie makes the kids better), you call them trolls and threaten to ban them?

Posted by Captain Bob on 06/12/14 at 10:37 PM 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.