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Red Wings pre-morning-skate news: on Glendening, Legwand, Datsyuk, ‘the kids’ and Nyquist

Amongst this morning's pre-morning-skate Red Wings news stories (the Wings will take to the ice in Montreal to prepare for tonight's tilt against the Canadiens shortly [7 PM on FSD, the CBC, NHL Network U.S. and RDS, as well as 1270 AM; Montreal rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Ottawa 7-4 last night, and they're 7-1-and-1 in the back half of back-to-back games]):

I'd been wondering about Luke Glendening's waiver-exempt status given that the Red Wings will have quite the roster crunch at forward next season, even if Daniel Alfredsson and David Legwand don't return, and RedWingsCentral answered my question about a certain #41:

The Wings have 5 games remaining in the regular season, and when you add in Glendening's 3-year extension signed this morning  (no terms released as of yet, and Glendening FINALLY scored today, eh?), I guess he's here to stay.

Update: Here's the dollar amount , per the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness (and MLive's Brendan Savage has the 3-year breakdown):

Speaking of Legwand, NHL.com's Dan Rosen spoke with the Grosse Pointe native about leaving the Predators at the trade deadline...

Instead of moving into a hotel and being away from his wife and two children, Legwand and his family are together in their own house in Harrison Township, Mich., a 30-minute drive from Joe Louis Arena. He grew up in Grosse Pointe, which is approximately 15 minutes from the Red Wings' home arena.

"I think it's huge," Legwand told NHL.com in a phone interview Thursday. "Not living in a hotel, having home cooked meals, having the things that you're used to around you, it helps. Things just seem more normal. When you're in a hotel and you don't know what to do when you get back, all that is different. It's been good so far. We'll see if we can get in [to the Stanley Cup Playoffs] and go on a long run."

It's quite evident that Legwand isn't comfortable with the Wings' system of play yet, and Rosen says there's a reason for Legwand's hiccups:

The Red Wings play with more speed and tempo, and utilize more of man-to-man principles in the defensive zone. Legwand has had to adjust on the fly in the middle of a tight playoff race at a time when his new team needed him to be excellent because of injuries.

"It was just new and different," Legwand said. "When you play in a new system some things come faster and harder. It was that type of stuff. Obviously playing the system that Barry plays it was different than the one they play here in Detroit. It is something I'm getting to understand now."

Legwand said Babcock's open-door policy has been helpful. For example, when Babcock bumped him down to the third line late last week after he went pointless with a minus-6 rating in three straight losses to the Minnesota Wild, Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens, Legwand went to talk about his game with Babcock, who is known for being honest and up front with his players.

"He's been good with me and tells me if I miss something or don't do something right," Legwand said. "He wants you to learn. He wants to teach you. He understands we're in an important situation and we need everybody's best every night. There were a couple of games when I struggled a little bit with some things off the faceoffs and those types of things. It was coming fast for me and I struggled, but other guys were stepping up and doing things to help our team. That's when you have to be a good professional, learn and do the right things to help the guys out."

In more "veteran hockey player" news, MLive's Ansar Khan penned a 6 AM-posted article discussng the impact of Pavel Datsyuk's return...

“I thought he looked like he’s a talented guy,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought his fitness showed in the third period for sure and that’s not a surprise. I don’t know if it’s his fitness or just he hasn’t played in so long, but he’ll probably feel better tomorrow.”

Datsyuk, in his first game since Feb. 27, logged a fair amount of ice time (17:45 – his season average coming into the game was 20:27). He didn’t record a point but won 11-of-13 faceoffs and posted a plus-1 rating.

With back-to-back games, Babcock hadn’t decided whether he would play Datsyuk and Alfredsson Saturday in Montreal (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit). But, as long as Datsyuk doesn’t experience a setback, he should get better, and he’ll be a big boost the last few games for a team that has put itself in a good position to earn a playoff spot.

“He can play with a broken leg and he's still going to look great,” rookie Tomas Jurco said. “It’s unbelievable how much energy and how much confidence he brings on the ice.”

And Khan took note of Babcock's most intriguing post-game quip:

“I thought our fourth line might be our best line; they just do it right every single shift and play against good people,” Babcock said.

““I liked all our groups tonight. I don’t know what we’re going to do, this (depth) is a nice problem. We didn’t have enough (players). Now all of a sudden we have lots of guys, so we’ll figure it out.”

Babcock's referring to the fact that he was able to scratch Joakim Andersson and Todd Bertuzzi as players fitting a term the Wings haven't had to use in a long time--"healthy" players.

Via Twitter, the Toledo Blade's Rachel Lenzi offers a few more quotes from last night's 3-2 "squeaker" win over Buffalo:

Mike Babcock created a term for what afflicted the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

“Cute-itis,” the ninth-year Red Wings coach said, who got his 413th win for Detroit, which ties him for the all-time franchise record with Jack Adams.

While there’s no formal entry in the dictionary for it, Babcock gave the media a brief explanation the term.

“We wanted to pass it one more time and the next thing you know, it’s game on instead of just doing things simple and hard and right,” Babcock said. “The game’s so simple that way. If you do it right, you get rewarded. And if you don’t do it right, you don’t get rewarded.”

Friday at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings almost made it complicated. Against Buffalo, one of this season’s snakebitten NHL teams, Detroit’s plum three-goal lead seemed secure until Nicholas Deslauriers’ third-period goal helped the Sabres cut Detroit’s lead to 3-2.

At that point, Buffalo appeared poised to throw a wrench into Detroit’s plans to earn its 23rd straight playoff berth. They forced Detroit to protect a one-goal lead and gave the Red Wings a preview of what they could see if they make the postseason.

“To me, it feels like we’ve been playing like this for months,” said Detroit right wing Daniel Alfredsson, whose goal at 15:28 of the first period became the game-winner. “Since the Olympic break, it’s been extremely tight and I think it’s going to continue. We’re used to it, and I think that’s a good thing. We’ll be a team that’s prepared.”

Regarding the Wings' playoff prospects (prepare for that dang Wild Card chart picture again)...

According to Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski (via RedWingsFeed), last night's Blue Jackets loss + last night's Wings win = the Wings have a 73% chance of taking the first Wild Card spot and a 21% chance of taking the second if you crunch SportsClubStats' numbers...

Speaking of the future, part 1, per Octopus Thrower:

Per Capgeek, Nyquist isn't a restricted free agent until 2015, so the Wings don't have to worry about him, but yes, DeKeyser, Tatar, Sheahan, the non-waiver-exempt Mitchell Callahan and Landon Ferraro and another half-dozen prospects are restricted free agents--re-signing those players may take up a significant chunk of Capgeek's estimated $21 million with which the Wings have to play with this summer...

And Daniel Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi won't be back as unrestricted free agents, it's a coin flip as to whether Kyle Quincey, Jonas Gustavsson, the aforementioned Alfredsson or Legwand will return as UFA's-to-be, and the Wings will:

1. Simply not submit a qualifying offer to Cory Emmerton, which will allow the restricted free agent to become an unrestricted free agent (that's how being an RFA works--if the team tosses you any contract offer, even if you hate it, you remain restricted, but if a qualifying offer isn't tendered, you become unrestricted);

2. And the team will probably use its last cap-compliance buy-out on Jordin Tootoo.

Again, as TPL Hockey has reminded us, the Wings cannot buy out Stephen Weiss using their final "get out of cap compliance jail for free" card. They'd have to pay Weiss 2/3rds of his salary, spread out over the next 8 years, and they'd do so while accruing the following cap penalties, per Capgeek's buyout calculator (with the cap penalties listed in italics):

SEASON  SALARY  CAP HIT  BUYOUT  SAVINGS  BUYOUT CAP HIT
2014-15  $4,000,000  $4,900,000  $1,583,333  $2,416,667  $2,483,333
2015-16  $5,500,000  $4,900,000  $1,583,333  $3,916,667  $983,333
2016-17  $5,500,000  $4,900,000  $1,583,333  $3,916,667  $983,333
2017-18  $4,000,000  $4,900,000  $1,583,333  $2,416,667  $2,483,333
2018-19  $0  $0  $1,583,333  -$1,583,333  $1,583,333
2019-20  $0  $0  $1,583,333  -$1,583,333  $1,583,333
2020-21  $0  $0  $1,583,333  -$1,583,333  $1,583,333
2021-22  $0  $0  $1,583,333  -$1,583,333  $1,583,333

I think the Wings are probably stuck with Weiss until they and every other team see what he can do when he's healthy, but again, given that roster crunch (Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen, Jurco, Sheahan, Tatar, Abdelkader, Helm, Miller, Glendening, Nyquist and Andersson are all also under contract next season, giving the Wings 13 forwards [including Weiss] signed without Alfredsson or Legwand returning, and Ferraro and Callahan won't be waiver-exempt), I wouldn't be surprised if the team tries to dump a little salary somehow...

And it's entirely possible, if not probable, that the Wings may pursue some sort of trade for a defenseman this summer which will alleviate the roster crunch. As the Free Press's Helene St. James reported, Buffalo's Christian Ehrhoff is probably a realistic target given that this summer's crop of unrestricted free agent defensemen is pretty weak.

Regarding the youth movement, the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo gave Gustav Nyquist quite the compliment this morning...

These are the five leading candidates to rank as Detroit’s next great professional sports athletes:

1. Gustav Nyquist – Nyquist had just five goals and hadn’t scored for an extended period when he went on a scoring streak not seen from a Red Wings’ player in two decades.

Nyquist is following a similar path as Datsyuk and Zetterberg. He wasn’t an early pick in the NHL Draft, he was a fourth-rounder (they went even later in the draft).

He showed signs of being a solid player at the University of Maine and in the minor leagues with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He did play well for the Red Wings in the playoffs last spring, but didn’t score many goals. It was impossible to see this type of goal scoring spree coming.

Nyquist has played on winning teams coming up, and gained more quality experience playing for silver medal-winning Sweden in the Olympics. He has potentially outstanding leadership qualities and command of the English language. It would not be surprising if, down the road, he becomes the Red Wings’ captain.

...

5. Anthony Mantha – Mantha, the Red Wings’ first-round draft choice last summer, played junior hockey this season, but he has an extraordinarily high ceiling as an NHL player. He scored 57 goals in 57 games in the Quebec Major Junior League this season. He starred for Canada in the World Junior Championships. He is 6-4, 200 pounds with room to grow on his frame, and a smooth skater with exceptional hands.

He was taken 20th overall in last year’s NHL Draft. Although it was an unusually deep draft, he undoubtedly would be selected much earlier in a re-draft.

Along with Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, who easily could have made this list, Mantha is a reason the Red Wings’ future appears to be so bright.

In the strict prospect department, I listed all the pertinent playoff action I'd seen online in last night's prospect post, but DRW Prospects on Twitter noted that the OHL didn't update its website until later in the evening (like after midnight), so...

In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm did indeed begin their second-round play with a 6-4 win over the London Knights, and Andreas Athanasiou's Barrie Colts dropped a 1-0 decision to North Bay.

If you missed it, in the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha scored 2 goals, rallying the Val-d'Or Foreurs from a 3-1 third period deficit, but Val-d'Or eventually dropped a 4-3 OT decision to Drummondville in the first game of the teams' second-round series. Mantha has 5 goals, 4 assists and 9 points in 5 playoff games played;

In the WHL, Marek Tvrdon and Mitchell Wheaton will play game 2 of their second-round series with Seattle this evening, up 1-0. in the series...

And tomorrow may or may not mark defenseman Mattias Backman's last game in Sweden. The Wings loaned Backman to Linkopings HC after signing him last year, and Backman's team's down 3-0 to defending Skelleftea AIK, the SHL's defending champions, with Game 4 of the teams' second-round series scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

In the Twitter department...

And, from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

Currently holding the No. 7 seed, the #RedWings will try to win five straight for first time this season when they face the Habs tonight.

...

#RedWings Jimmy Howard, who made 21 saves for his third straight win last night, reached the 20-win plateau for the fifth straight season.

...

A win tonight and Mike Babcock (413-196-90), coaching in his 700th game with #RedWings, will pass Jack Adams for most wins in club history.

...

On this day in 1955, the Canadiens allowed a club playoff record seven straight goals to the #RedWings in a 7-1 loss in Game 2 of SC finals.

...

Week in Review: The #RedWings ended an 11-game point streak by the @TBLightning (7-0-4) and a 16-game run by the @NHLBruins (15-0-1).

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Comments

stonehands-78's avatar

as usual, (though you prolly don’t hear it enough) Thanks! for all the info, GJM

good stuff

(especially the current status / updates on prospects, etc.)

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 04/05/14 at 12:45 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Thank you. smile

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/05/14 at 12:49 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

It will be interesting to see what the Wings will do next year in terms of forwards.

They are stuck with Weiss for at least another year.  They need to see what he can do when he’s healthy.  Given the emergence of Sheahan and Glending, not to mention already having Datsyuk and Helm, the Wings seem more than set down the middle.

if they let Afdresson walk, they could use another scoring Winger.

They need a veteran presence on defense.  An upgrade over Quincey would be ideal.

I am just not sure how much of the projected $21 million in cap space will really be eaten up by the re-signings of DeKeyser, Tatar, Sheahan and others.  I don’t think it will be all that significant.  The Wings should still have plenty of room to add another decent piece or two.  The problem as always, is availability of those pieces.  The UFA pickings are, as usual, slim.

Posted by Ajax19 on 04/05/14 at 12:51 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Andreas Athanasiou’s Barrie Colts dropped a 1-0 decision to North Bay.

If you missed it, in the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha scored 2 goals, rallying the Val-d’Or Foreurs from a 3-1 third period deficit, but Val-d’Or eventually dropped a 4-3 OT decision to Drummondville in the first game of the teams’ second-round series. Mantha has 5 goals, 4 assists and 9 points in 5 playoff games played;

Just about everything I’ve read about those two guys has me thinking, “Who the hell’s gonna center those two guys?”  They’re both phenomenal skaters.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/05/14 at 01:04 PM ET

primolak's avatar

Great update. thanks.

Posted by primolak on 04/05/14 at 01:27 PM ET

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Before I say what I want to say next, let me first say that Babcock is a very good coach and he is even better coach when his team is an underdog. He has been doing his best job with the team without Dats and Z.
And now comes my point I have been making for the last 2-3 years. Babcock is a great coach for players with limited skills. Give him 10 Glendenings and 2 guys who can score and he will make the playoffs with that team. He loves players who follow his script and guys like Miller, Glen, Cleary (when he could move)  do it and that’s why he loves them. Babock is not a great coach for talented skilled players, he really does not know what to do with them at times. You cannot put a guy like Tatar in a certain scheme. Tatar will want to go outside the box. I know that Babs won the Olympics with all-star teams, but again, who were the best players on the team. Bergeron, Benn, Getzlaf, Carter, physical defensive minded forwards. Crosby was possibly one of the worst players. Again, I think Babcock is a top 5 coach in the world and overall I like the guy, but I do think he is better with 4th liners than with 1st liners.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/05/14 at 02:00 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Speaking of signings, I think Babbles’ in the last year of his four-year extension [Source.]

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/05/14 at 02:09 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Posted by VPalmer on 04/05/14 at 02:00 PM ET

This is an interesting thought though as you point out his back to back gold medals, not to mention the ‘08 cup kind of dampen the point. I’d say what Babs does best is get people to play hard. That is why he is infatuated with Glenny and Miller because they set the bar in this arena. But that’s also how he got that all star team to win the gold. It’s also partly why our stars don’t take off shifts. I’m not saying Pav plays hard only because of Babs, but Babcock is often quick to point out that what he admires in Pav and Z is their work ethic and determination, NOT their skill. Skilled guys who don’t go all out, he ushers out the door. So I wouldn’t say he’s not as good at coaching skilled guys, I’d just say he thinks determination wins championships and that is what he emphasizes. He’s actually proven to be a pretty adaptive guy. He’s won with kids, with vets, with stars, and with nobodies, at every level too.

I do think Babs coaching Ovechkin would make a hell of a reality series!

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/05/14 at 02:28 PM ET

Avatar

Speaking of signings, I think Babbles’ in the last year of his four-year extension

I think Babs has one more year left in his contract. After that he will be resigned if he wants to continue coaching this team. And he should be resigned. I would prefer a 3 year deal. By that time Dats will retire, Z will be a complimentary player and the team will be lead by Nyq and Tatar. Maybe at that point there will be a need for a different coach.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/05/14 at 02:39 PM ET

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I do think Babs coaching Ovechkin would make a hell of a reality series!

Is Ovechkin like minus 35 on the season despite all the goal he scores? Pretty incredible.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/05/14 at 02:41 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Babock is not a great coach for talented skilled players, he really does not know what to do with them at times.

His two gold medals and two trips to the Stanley Cup finals with highly-skilled teams suggests otherwise.

All the last two (or three) years has shown is that Babcock is ALSO very capable of coaching less-skilled rosters.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/05/14 at 02:45 PM ET

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His two gold medals and two trips to the Stanley Cup finals with highly-skilled teams suggests otherwise.

Not really. He made them play basically a trap system and his best players were more defensive minded guys.  I am not arguing with the results though and that’s why I think he is a very good coach, but he loves having Glendening denying Malkin from scoring goals, that’s where he excels as a coach. Last season against Chicago, he made Dats and Z lines pure defensive units. The PP lacks creativity. All these signs prove my point in my mind.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/05/14 at 02:53 PM ET

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And our PK (that requires less skill, but more structure) is better than our PP that requires more skill and creativity.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/05/14 at 02:59 PM ET

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I am VERY happy with that Glendening signing.  Not too much term, low-enough cap hit to be tradeable if the need should arise, and a great financial reward for a guy who was in the ECHL 13 months ago.

Posted by captaineclectic on 04/05/14 at 02:59 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Not really. He made them play basically a trap system

That isn’t true for either SCF team or the Gold winners.  Defensemen were supremely active.

Last season against Chicago, he made Dats and Z lines pure defensive units

That’s not close.  He asked Selke-caliber players to play two-way.

The PP lacks creativity

that’s Tom Renney

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/05/14 at 03:13 PM ET

Avatar

Playing 2 way includes some offense too I think.
And I am pretty sure Renney only makes suggestions regarding the PP and Babs makes decisions.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/05/14 at 04:11 PM ET

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I am VERY happy with that Glendening signing

Don’t we have already 13 forwards signed for next year and that’s without Legwand and Alfy? What was the rush to sign another bottom 6 forward when we have like 10 of them already and Callahan and Ferraro are out of options. Nothing is wrong with Glen, but this could have waited for summer at which point a more clear picture will be with Alfy, Weiss, Ferraro, Callahan, etc.

Posted by VPalmer on 04/05/14 at 04:29 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.