The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/22/14 at 02:54 PM ET
I hate playing "quash the trade rumor" at all, but it's that time of year so:
- Per (Chris) Nichols on Hockey:
John Thornton, the agent for San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, told TVA Sports' Louis-André Larivière on Sunday that despite all of the reported interested in his client from around the NHL "San Jose is the only team on his list."
The agent also hinted at what he's recently said, that Joe Thornton - who holds a full no-movement clause in his contract - would consider leaving if he felt the fans of San Jose didn't want him there.
- As Paul noted, the Denver Post's Adrian Dater reports that the Avalanche may join the 12-plus-team race for Matt Niskanen and/or Dan Boyle's services. I'm starting to wonder whether Tom Gilbert's ticketed for Detroit at this point, or whether the Wings will make a free agency move on defense at all;
- If you're interested in the Wings adding some "toughness up front," Blues GM Doug Armstrong made a telling comment regarding one Steve Ott. It sounds like Armstrong believes that Ott's put on some Daniel Cleary-style hard miles on his body:
Ott, 31, who was acquired from Buffalo last season, is wrapping up a four-year, $11.8 million contract.
“We had initial conversations, but that’s gone quiet,” Armstrong said.
In 23 games with the Blues, Ott had no goals and three assists, along with a plus-minus rating of minus-13.
“He’s a really good sort of jack of all trades,” Armstrong said. “He can go up and down in your lineup. Obviously I don’t think there’s any more expanded growth in Steve Ott’s game — he is what he is. We want to do fair contracts, but we don’t want to be anybody’s retirement package.”
- In a more general vein, via RedWingsFeed, USA Today's Kevin Allen updated his free agent prospectus...
1. Defenseman Matt Niskanen (Pittsburgh Penguins): The defenseman pool is shallow, and Niskanen, 27, is coming off a breakthrough season. He's a puck mover and has improved his defensive play. With the Philadelphia Flyers' Andrew MacDonald signing for $5 million a season, Niskanen's expectations might start at $5.5 million and move upward. The Penguins want to re-sign him, and he likes it in Pittsburgh. He'll have to decide whether he wants to swing with all of his might or take slightly less to stay with the Penguins.
5. Defenseman Andrei Markov (Montreal Canadiens): He's a veteran defenseman, power-play quarterback, smart and effective. The only worries are his age (35) and durability. He has had bad injury luck in recent years.
10. Defenseman Dan Boyle (New York Islanders): The Islanders acquired his rights so they could talk to him before he becomes a free agent, but he is expected to enter the market. Many teams are looking for puck-handling defensemen, including the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers.
Oh good, the Panthers want to "add, not subtract"...
16. Defenseman Anton Stralman (Rangers): This would be a tough loss for the Rangers because he played well during the playoffs. He is a dependable performer and he won't break your budget. He could have a strong collection of interested teams.
Again, the New York Post's Larry Brooks suggested that the Rangers will have $4 million to re-sign Stralman to a longer-term deal, and if he wants stability for himself and his family, that's a very reasonable deal. I'm not sold on paying a #4/5 defenseman $5 million...
- And, regarding the Free Press's Helene St. James' "The Wings could target Keith Yandle" article?
The theory that a Tatar, Nyquist, Jurco or Mantha AND a first-round pick AND a top-four defenseman (Smith) would "get the deal done" is nice in theory, but the reality of the situation is this: Yandle led the Coyotes in scoring with 53 points this past season, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson had 44 points, but a blueline consisting of OEL, Zbynek Michalek, Connor Murphy, David Schlemko, Michael Stone, Brandon Gormley and Chris Summers behind Yandle is not world-beating, and the Coyotes' prospects haven't made the jump from "Hockey's Future says Gormley and Murphy could be really, really good" to "Gormely and Murphy are really, really good at the NHL level" yet.
Phoenix has a consistent 30-to-50-point-scorer on the books for 2 more years at a cap hit of $5.25 million. Why the hell would they want to get rid of Yandle unless they have a successor in waiting--or the Wings provide them with a successor in-the-making?
It's an intriguing idea, but I just don't see Phoenix having any need to trade Yandle, and as such, I find it hard to believe that the Wings would have to do anything than throw the team's top prospects on forward and defense, as well as a bona-fide NHL defenseman with 30-to-50-point upside (anyone? Bueller?) and a first-round pick Phoenix's way...And I still see Phoenix turning down the deal.
They need Keith Yandle helming their defense. They don't need a blueline without him.
As we wait for tomorrow's Hockey Hall of Fame announcement, the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno duly noted that Dominik Hasek will "headline" the class...
"For me it's a no-brainer," former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said earlier this year.
Hasek, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner, won one Stanley Cup as a starter with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002, then split time with Chris Osgood and became the backup in the playoffs for the 2008 title. He came close to the Cup in 1999 with Buffalo, only to be beaten by the Dallas Stars on Brett Hull's overtime goal.
Hasek's best years came with the Sabres, when he had seven straight seasons with a save percentage of .930 or higher. He finished with 234 regular-season victories.
Veteran goaltender Tomas Vokoun "knew all along" Hasek would be great from watching him play in their native Czech Republic.
"It took him a little bit just because of his style and all that to convince people here," Vokoun said in a phone interview with the Canadian Press. "I definitely consider him, if he's not the best, one of the top three to ever play. ... He definitely deserves to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer."
"I appreciate it, it's very nice to be among all these big players," Hasek said recently when asked about impeding election to the Hall of Fame. "I appreciate to be one day, maybe, in the Hockey Hall of Fame, however ... it was never my goal when I was playing hockey."
The Dallas News's Mike Heika spoke with Mike Modano regarding several impending events..
Mike Modano has been on the edge of anticipation lately. His wife Allison is due to give birth to twins in about a month, and oh yeah, there’s this little Hockey Hall of Fame announcement that’s schedule to come out Monday.
“It’s the last one, and it’s the biggest,” Modano said of the honors at the end of his career. “Yeah, it’s a little nerve-wracking.”
Many believe Modano has nothing to fret, listing him as a sure-fire first ballot Hall-of-Famer. But it’s not easy for the guy who’s being assessed, having to wonder if he’s good enough to make the cut on the first try.
Modano ranks 23rd all-time in scoring with 1,374 points and also is the all-time leading American-born scorer. He won the 1999 Stanley Cup, but major individual awards eluded him at a time when Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman were dominating the center position. Modano was the second team All-Star center in 1999-2000 behind Yzerman and finished second in rookie of the year voting in 1990.
The first pick in the 1988 entry draft by the Minnesota North Stars, Modano played all but one season with the Stars and leads the organization in almost every offensive category. His No. 9 was retired last season by the organization and he already has been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Still, to be one of the players in the big “Hall” in Toronto would be a dream come true.
“You definitely think about it growing up and everything, but then it just seems too big to think about when you get here,” Modano said. “I think winning a Cup is different because it’s such a team thing, and winning an individual award is great, but it’s for one season. This is for your entire career, so it’s a lot to think about.”
And while MLive's Brendan Savage noted the following...
Modano had no impact during his brief tenure with the Red Wings.
He suffered a severed tendon and nerve damage in his right wrist 20 games into his only season with the Red Wings, underwent surgery the next day and missed three months before returning for the final 20 games of the season.
Modano finished with career-low totals for goals (4) and assists (11) in 40 games. He was a healthy scratch in nine of Detroit's 11 playoff games, drawing just one assist in the two games he played.
How forgettable was Modano's stint with the Red Wings? Well, consider this: Nowhere on his personal website is his one year in Detroit mentioned.
The website says Modano is "a retired American professional ice hockey player, who most notably played for the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise" without mentioning the Red Wings.
1. Modano's website isn't spectacular;
2. Modano told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan this about his time in Detroit:
Obviously, Modano will forever be linked to the Stars, making hockey a viable sport in a non-traditional market.
But getting an opportunity to play his final season with the Red Wings was special.
“I had a ball,” Modano said. “I really did, until I got hurt. Just the response I received around town from people, getting the opportunity to play in front of family, it was special. Had I not gotten hurt, I really believe I could have played there another season or two.”
I hate having to post this, but Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski duly noted that Chris Osgood won't receive the call tomorrow while posting "odds" for the Hockey Hall of Fame-eligible crowd:
Chris Osgood 10/1: Ah yes, the great Chris Osgood case.
Three Stanley Cups, and the backstop for two of them with the Detroit Red Wings. A postseason GAA of 2.09 and a regular season GAA of 2.49. A postseason save percentage of .916, and a regular season one of .905. He won two Jennings and led the NHL in wins in 1995-96, and is 10th all time in that category.
The only thing we know is that it won’t be this season. But Chris Osgood’s Hall of Fame debate is second only to Lindros’ for stoking fan passions.
Paul and I received a release regarding the NHL Awards and their media availabilities, and we noticed this about Monday's scheduled chats:
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Nominee Media Availability The Country Club, Wynn Las Vegas-- 2014 NHL Awards credential required for entry –
**Hart and Ted Lindsay Nominee Sidney Crosby; Selke, NHL Foundation Player Nominee and EA NHL 15 Cover Vote Finalist Patrice Bergeron; Norris Nominee Shea Weber; and Jack Adams Nominee Mike Babcock will not be available at this time. Please see note on Red Carpet availability.
Babcock will be available on the "red carpet," but we were...surprised given the rumors swirling around Babcock. At least until Vancouver's Team 1040's Jeff Paterson explained that Babcock will be busy on Monday raising funds for Hockey Canada:
Also from teh Twitterz:
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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.