The Malik Report
Red Wings overnight report: on Tomas Nosek, a unique potential draft target and not ‘being terrible’
by George Malik on 06/15/14 at 05:00 AM ET
Before getting into this morning's Red Wings-related news stories, I'm posting "the calendar" that the Red Wings sent out to their email subscribers waaaaayyyy back on locker room clean-out day again...
And, via Paul, it's worth noting that in addition to the salary cap-compliance buy-out market hitting on Monday (per Sportsnet's John Shannon) and the Florida Panthers announcing their head coaching decision on Monday (per the Miami Herald's George Richards; Wings associate-and-or-assistant coaches Tom Renney and Bill Peters are still in the running), the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo pointed out that the days leading up to the draft in Philadelphia should yield another set of, "Which free agent-to-be's being recruited by whom?" rumors:
The draft should be fun this year. It’s so late, the new free agency interview period in the NHL will be draft week, meaning theoretically, with the entire league in Philly, agents could line up free-agent meetings with teams in Philly.
You may or may not want to roll your eyes at this postulation from Russo regarding unrestricted free agent-to-be Matt Niskanen, however:
On defense, the most intriguing name is Matt Niskanen. He’s a good Minnesota boy, and if he doesn’t re-sign with Pittsburgh, the Wild would have a terrific chance to sign him. But he is coming off a career year and is only 27, so he will be looking to cash in on a long-term deal.
There’s two ways to improve offensively if you’re [Minnesota Wild GM Chuck] Fletcher: Getting a scoring forward or an offensive blue-liner. “We’ll look at both,” Fletcher said.
The Wings aren't in that boat per se--with Daniel Alfredsson possibly returning and the team leaning toward keeping Jonas Gustavsson, if you want to play "Armchair GM" on Capgeek, you're more likely to take inspiration from their list of unrestricted free agent-to-be defensemen than you are to look at the forwards that don't fit with the organization's overabundance of NHL'ers at that position, nor are you likely to find a goaltender who the team will find more attractive or affordable than Gustavsson or Petr Mrazek.
Regarding the free agent and "bonus draft pick" who the Wings officially signed on Saturday, it really bears mentioning that Tomas Nosek's the kind of player that the Wings have been more willing to pursue under the new CBA than they were previously.
Between the Entry Draft eliminating the 8th through 12th rounds, the fact that it's harder to hold on to prospects for an extended period of time (the AHL's waiver rules are tougher and players qualify for free agency far faster in this day and age), the Wings' developmental model (see: looking to develop young players that aren't picked first-through-fifth overall instead of tanking for half a decade to milk top picks and signing oodles of free agents to fill every roster hole) almost requires them to look through the 21-and-up-year-olds who've slipped through the draft cracks.
The team hasn't exactly struck gold here, but Brian Lashoff, Jared Coreau, Luke Glendening, Colin Campbell, Danny DeKeyser, Trevor Parkes and Damien Brunner have provided a few hits and at least a solid number of depth players, all signed for nothing more than the price of their contracts, and given what Ryan Martin and Jiri Fischer told MLive's Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness, it certainly sounds like Nosek could be another diamond in the rough.
Nosek, 21, is a late bloomer. He went undrafted in the 2011 NHL entry draft but this past season led HC Pardubice in the Czech pro league with 44 points (19 goals, 25 assists) in 52 games, while also posting a team-best plus-17 rating.
In 10 playoff games, Nosek (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) had six points (three goals, three assists).
Nosek is a natural center but can also play the wing.
Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings' director of player development, coached Nosek at the World Juniors Championships in 2012.
And Rotoworld didn't speak particularly positively about Nosek's potential...
The Red Wings are closing in on a two-year entry level contract for free agent Tomas Nosek.
The 22-year-old Nosek is an undrafted center/left-winger out of the Czech Republic who has been on Detroit's radar for a number of years. In 52 games for HC Pardubice in the Czech league, Nosek scored 19 goals and registered 44 points. The Wings are hoping he can crack their lineup next season. Nosek projects as a third-liner so temper your expectations.
But WDIV's David Bartkowiak Jr. duly noted that Nosek's pedigree is intriguing...
He has some decent size -- 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds -- and shoots left.
He captained Czech's team at the IIHF World Junior Championships in 2011-12.
It should be interesting to see him at training camp and possibly the pre-season.
If HC Pardubice sounds familiar (which I am sure it does), maybe it's because goalie Dominik Hasek spent nine seasons with the team in the 1980s before his NHL career. Hasek went back to Pardubice in 2009-10 for one season.
“He’s versatile, he can play center, wing, top six, bottom six, whatever the need is,” said Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer. “He kills penalties, takes faceoffs, plays on the power play. He’s a guy who fits in with teammates on all lines and that’s exciting.”
“He led his team in every situation, from PK to PP, five-on-five,” Fischer said. “He’s strong on the puck, he’s a very good playmaker, very smart. He’s good defensively and he doesn’t cheat or cut corners. He’s a distributor of the puck, he can hold onto it down low, but he can also make good plays in traffic. Puck skills are very good.”
Fischer said Nosek will need to continue working on his skating and shot release to have success at the NHL level, in addition to overcoming the usual obstacles of transitioning from Europe to North America. But Nosek’s projection is that of a player in high demand in the NHL these days.
Wuest continues at length, and RedWingsCentral's Twitter account added a few more tidbits to the mix:
The take from the Czech Republic is a little different. Nosek's agent told the Czech news agency, CTK, that he's delighted about the Wings having picked up his client (again, per Khan, Nosek's agent also represents Tomas Jurco; again, Czech ain't easy to translate, so what follows is very rough)...
Hockey forward Tomas Nosek's leaving Extraliga team Pardubice for the NHL. He signed a two-year, two-way contract with Detroit. CTK spoke with the player's representative, Ales Volek, from the company Alvo Sports Management, and he confirmed the signing with Detroit.
"Other NHL teams were interested in Tomas and he had more options, but we decided on Detroit, which has historically been very easy to work with young players," said Volek to CTK.
Under the rules of the overseas league, 21-year-old Nosek, who wasn't drafted, could sign a two-way contract with any team. The contract allows the team to send him to the farm with a lower salary. By an agreement with the NHL and IIHF, he had to be signed by June 15th.
Pardubice wasn't able to prevent his departure, but it will get a severance payment of $240,000 (4.9 million Czech Koruna). The agent wanted to make the case that Nosek should play in the NHL instead of the farm team in the lower league the AHL, but it did not happen. "We weren't able to do so. Of course Detroit wants to supervise its young players. They control everything," says Volek.
The forward who made his debut with the senior national team and played 11 games, according to his agent's words, is ready for the overseas promotion and fight for the NHL. "Tomas has two options: to fight for a spot on the core team, he'll have to fight on the farm team," said Volek.
Like defenseman Petr Zamorsky, who unexpectedly signed with the New York Rangers this week, Nosek should be able to leave for rookie camp.
Accordingto Volek, negotiations with Detroit began last week. The Red Wings confirmed that they watched him all season. Besides scout Vladimir Havluj, he was also recommended by former Czech team defenseman Jiri Fischer, who now works for Detroit and was an assistant coach for Nosek during the World Junior Championships.
iSport's "Iah" (iSport tends to contract its reporters' names, so I have no idea what Iah stands for, but he's the author) spoke with Fischer regarding Nosek (if you want to read a garbled translation of iDnes's Martin Svec's chat with Nosek just before the Channel One Cup last December, knock yourself out)...
"He's a very smart hockey player and is responsible defensively. He's also a good playmaker," praised fellow Czech Jiri Fischer, a former outstanding defenseman and now one of the leaders of the youth program of the overseas team. Nosek knows him, after all, as he captained the World Junior Championship team in 2012.
"He'll have to work on his fitness level and his skating, but I believe he can do it. The kid knows what he wants. During the last season he made great progress in shooting and finishing," added the man whose career prematurely ended due to heart problems.
(it's definitely intriguing that Nosek's 6'2" and listed anywhere from 200 to 205 pounds, but is still built like a stork)
Now he can help his countryman break into the world's most famous league.
But HC Pardubice--technically speaking, HC CSOB Pojistovna Pardubice, which translates to Hockey Club of the Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka (the Czechoslovak Commercial Bank) Pardubice--is a bit pissed off about losing a player who posted 44 points in 52 games in June.
European professional teams' seasons end before the World Championships start in May, and they usually end by either the end of March or mid-April, and they begin signing free agents as soon as their seasons are over (i.e. in many cases, even during other teams' playoff runs). For Pardubice, which played in 8 playoff games, they're losing a key player about two months before mid-August's training camps and "tournament" exhibition games begin, so losing Nosek this late in the summer is equivalent to an NHL'er signing in Russia in August.
HC CSOB Pojistovna Pardubice's official website's Jan Hrabal reports that the team won't protest Nosek's signing, but they're particularly annoyed by the lateness thereof:
"Among European teams and the NHL, when the contract's concluded, we have no choice but to respect it and release Tomas to the Detroit Red Wings. Due to Tomas' performance last season, we would have preferred that he stay with our team, but we wish him good luck in his new engagement. We believe we'll sign the next heir of our team, which will be a contract with a successful NHL player," said HC CSOB Pojistovna Pardubice's general manager, Ondrej Sebek, about the departure of the forward.
The talented center played in 142 Extraliga games with the A-team in Pardubice, and registered 28 goals and 42 assists. Now he'll play overseas. "We had some indications of interest from overseas teams, and we believe that for Tomas, his hockey development would've benefited from one more season in Pardubice. But immediately after the contract was signed, I congratulated him and agreed that in the coming days, we'll have a joint meeting," he added.
In other words, Nosek's still more likely than not to join the Wings and play for Grand Rapids, but HC Pardubice will make a last-minute pitch to Nosek and his agent.
In other Red Wings-related news stories...
Regarding one of the players the Wings may be able to draft with their six picks, NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale confirms a story first reported by the National Post--that the Red Wings conducted an interview with Brendan Lemieux, Claude Lemieux's son, at the draft combine:
Brendan had 28 interviews with teams at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto May 26-30 and scored well in the fitness testing. He finished with 14 repetitions on the 150-pound bench press, well above the testing average of 7.7.
One of the more intriguing interviews for Brendan took place with the Detroit Red Wings. It was during Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference Final that Claude Lemieux, then with the Avalanche, hit Detroit's Kris Draper from behind, driving Draper into the top of the boards near the Red Wings' bench and leaving Draper with a broken jaw, cheek bone and orbital bone.
Draper, now a special assistant to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, was on hand when the interview took place with Brendan.
"We had a great conversation," Brendan said. "He's a really nice guy. I did not think I was going to get interviewed by them, let alone have it be serious. I thought they were going to walk in, make a few jokes and I was going to leave, but I have nothing but good things to say about their organization. They were extremely professional and they barely brought it up. I tried to joke about it and they weren't even budging.
"I have no problem playing in Detroit after that interview, for sure."
Lemieux happens to be the 28th-overall ranked North American skater, which means that the 6'0," 206-pound winger (he played for Dale Hawerchuk's Barrie Colts this past season, posting 27 goals, 26 assists, 53 points and 145 penalty minutes in 65 games), will probably be drafted in the second or third round.
NHL.com's scouting report on Lemieux reads as follows:
Director of NHL Central Scouting, Dan Marr:
"Brendan is a guy you can put in front of the net because he can agitate and be a pest; I think that's in his DNA. He has the same skating stride as his father. He's also got a great one-timer and can finish. He's one of these guys who has an equal number of goals and assists, and he brings an important ingredient to a hockey team."
Regarding a potential Wings-Avs reunion, Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien noted that the Denver Post's Adrian Dater believes that the Colorado Avalanche will hold a Winter Classic or Stadium Series game during the 2015-2016 season:
NHL sources said Denver will not get an outdoor game this coming season, despite heavy previous speculation it would. The good news: Denver is likely to get one in 2015-16, the sources said.
If Denver had hosted an outdoor game this winter, it would have been part of the NHL's Coors Light Stadium Series, as the 2015 Winter Classic will be played in Washington, most likely at Nationals Park.
Whether Denver will host the Winter Classic or a Stadium Series game has yet to be determined.
Coors Field is the most likely venue for an outdoor game, a natural sponsorship tie-in to the beer company that is one of the league's biggest advertisers.
Regrettably, Dater and other columnists have made very passionate suggestions that the Avalanche need to reignite their fans' passions by pitching rivalries with the Blues, Blackhawks or other Western Conference powerhouses instead of playing up the Wings-Avs rivalry, so I honestly don't believe that such a game would involve the Wings.
Otherwise...I believe we call this a "creative tribute"...
In the, "What are they doing now?" category, the Grand Rapids Press's Cory Olsen reports that Luke Glendening was a judge in a set of celebrity boxing matches to benefit the DeVos Children's Hospital on Thursday, and Olsen took part in the event;
Pavel Datsyuk was got to play a cello (sort of) during his visit to a Pushkin play in Yekaterinburg...
Brendan Smith hitched a ride on Saturday...
According to WWJ, Mike Ilitch will attend Sunday's Tigers game as he's feeling better after recovering from surgery...
Denise Ilitch told CBS 62′s “Michigan Matters’” host Carol Cain that her dad Mike Ilitch is “doing great” and looking forward to the Tigers game.
“Well dad gets to do what he wants and guess what dad wants to do on Father’s Day?” Ilitch said. “He wants to go the ball game. So happy Father’s Day, dad. We’re going to be at the ball game with the whole family — it’s going to be nice.”
Mike Ilitch’s son, Chris, discussed before opening day what many fans were wondering as the team’s owner makes fewer and fewer appearances — how’s Mike Ilitch’s health?
“He’s very excited about the start of the season, he’s actually going to at the ball game today (opening day) and taking it all in,” Chris Ilitch said. “I think one of the greatest things about our Tigers owner is that he’s exceptionally passionate about the Tigers. He is like every other fan coming to the ballgame, he’s excited, he’s probably got some butterflies , but he’s doing great.”
If you want to read a column from, let's say someone who's gotten a little rusty, the Detroit News's Jerry Green penned a column about Rochester Hills native Alec Martinez's role in the Kings' Stanley Cup win (I tend to feel like anyone else who wins the Cup is dancing with one's dream girl, but I guess Martinez and Grand Blanc's Matt Greene winning a second Cup is a comfort to some Michiganders)...
This time the Kings trailed 2-1 entering the third period. They scored. The game went into overtime. Then a second overtime. On television, the performers were visibly exhausted. The L.A. crowd — still hockey neophytes except for the transplanted Canadians — were boisterous and animated. So noisy I could barely hear the NBC play-by-play from St. Clair’s Mike Emrick, and never has there been a better hockey broadcaster (including Foster Hewitt).
But then it happened, Alec Martinez — again — swept down the left wing and fired a rebound into the net.
This was a moment when television was at its marvelous best.
Martinez threw up his stick. Then he tossed his gloves up and onto the ice.
Then his Los Angeles teammates mobbed him in the corner by the end boards. A joyous scene of champions. Hugging and shrieking and jumping in victory.
The Free Press's Ellen Creager duly notes why I'm raising funds to pay for a 5-day trip to Traverse City--because the Cherry Festival and Independence Day = holy pants, hotel rates are stratospheric...
The cherries are ripening well, the Blue Angels are back, and a new half-marathon debuts at the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City July 4-12.
The free U.S. Navy Blue Angels and F-22 Raptor Festival Airshow is at 1 p.m. both July 5 and 6. The new half marathon (and the return of a 10K race) is featured in the Meijer Festival of Races on July 12, with part of the course going through a cherry orchard.
A giant picnic, parties, concerts and all the cherries you can eat are part of the fun. In addition, the Detroit Red Wings summer development camp (July 4-8) and the National Writers Series (July 7) both coincide with the festival.
For the entire schedule, see http://www.cherryfestival.org or call 231-947-4230.
Los Angeles and Chicago, which have faced off in the last two conference finals, have combined to win four of the last five Cups.
"Both of those teams have built programs with a lot of depth after being terrible for a long time," Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said in a phone interview. "They made good picks and made the right moves."
And maybe that's the best place to end things. Babcock, the Wings' coaches and management don't believe that the Red Wings don't need to "be terrible for a long time" to transition from the Lidstrom era to a new one. The team is trying to go a different route, and this past season, it really embraced the concept of allowing younger players to "steal jobs" while drafting the Manthas of the world to hopefully develop into stars and signing the Noseks of the free agent world to round out the roster.
The Wings have yet to make a significant playoff dent utilizing this model, but I'd rather have the team insist that they want to make one free agent signing and continue to draft and develop players--while the team's current players, coach and GM have promised to squeeze more out of the players already on the roster to ensure that the Wings don't bow out after the first round anymore--instead of watching the team tank for half-a-decade.
Finally, because I'm not able to head up to TC on my own, regrettably...
Over the three years that the Wings have held development camps in Traverse City, I've asked for your help in raising the finances to cover my hotel and gas bills, and you've been amazingly and remarkably kind in affording me the opportunity to "work for you"; due to my present financial circumstances, I'm afraid that I have to ask for your assistance again.
If there's any way that you can lend a financial hand in my attempts to get up to Traverse City for the summer development camp and/or eventually to attend the prospect tournament and main camp in the fall, I would be incredibly grateful for any help.
I'm sticking with Paypal as it's the most direct route (though I will also do the whole, "Give me your address and I'll send you a check or a few bucks in the mail" thing, too), and you have to use my email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, as the recipient.
Here's the button:
If you can aid the cause, I'd be incredibly grateful; if you can't, I understand, and as usual, literally any amount helps. You'd be surprised how many $5, $10 and $20 donations end up paying my way. Thanks.
Update: Nosek did speak with the CTK news agency on Sunday morning, and here's a very rough translation of said article:
I'm ready for a chance to battle for Detroit, says Nosek.
Prague--Hockey forward Tomas Nosek was near a possible campaign for Detroit three years ago. Representatives of the Red Wings seriosuly thought about taking the Pardubice native during the draft. But he wasn't selected. Nosek's services weren't needed, nor did any other team pick him, but the forward has just landed with Detroit. As a free agent he signed a two-year contract with the team.
"A week before the draft, I got a call from Detroit, and they said they would pick me. Regrettably, it didn't happen. But I got there eventually, so it's good," said nosek in an interview with CTK.
Although he was disappointed that day, he gave Detroit's offer priority over others. "I knew that they were watching me over an extended period of time, since I was eighteen. This outcome is what I'd hoped for," said Nosek, 21. "And it's one of the best organizations in the NHL in terms of young players and their development," he said.
He admitted, however, that his hopes weren't as high reagrding an offer from the Canadian-American league. "I really don't believe it. It happened very quickly over the past four days, and I was really surprised. And, of course, very happy. Getting into the NHL was my childhood dream, and I'm glad that it's worked out," said Nosek.
The former captain of the World Junior team, who played for the senior national team this past season, signed a two-way contract with Detroit. This allows the team to send him to the farm team with a lower salary. Nosek anticipates that he will play for the farm team during the next season.
"It will be very difficult to get right on to the A-team in Detroit, but players who thrive in the farm, they earn spots on the team. I'm going to have to fight for it. But if I get the chance I will thrive," believes Nosek.
HC Pardubice proposed that he should play with them until he gets into the NHL, but the player didn't think about it. "It's better for me to get used to the style of hockey overseas," he says.
Nosek's signing with Detroit seems to have earned merit from Czech national team defenseman Jiri Fischer, who now works for the team after his hockey career ended. Nosek knew him from the junior team, where Fischer was an assistant two years ago. His compatriot greatly praised Nosek in the overseas press. "I remember [the 2012 World Championship] fondly. I was the captain. I'm glad that Mr. Fischer is there for me and praised me," he says.
The talented forward has prepared thus far to play for Pardubice for the upcoming season. "It's hard to leave the team where I grew up in. But it's a big chance and I think that I haven't played for Pardubice for hte last time," says Nosek, who would like to continue training with the team. "Now I'm not, but I would be happy if I could, and could go to on the ice with them in July and August," said Nosek..
Update #2: FYI from the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa:
From June 25-30, teams may interview unrestricted free agents, before the July 1 opening of free agency. The interview window overlaps partly with the draft, which will take place June 27-28 in Philadelphia. Some of the teams may choose to conduct interviews in Philadelphia, as all of their hockey operations personnel will be in the city in preparation for the draft. While teams can agree to terms with players within this period, no contracts can be signed until July 1.
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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.