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Red Wings wining-and-dining update: looking at Grabovski, Alfredsson; Cleary, Brunner to test market

Things have gotten crazy while I was battling boogers. Among the Red Wings-related items of note, MLive's Ansar Khan reports that the Wings are looking at Mikhail Grabovski since the Leafs bought him out...

Grabovski, a creative playmaker and good skater who can play center and the wing, is a close friend of Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, whom he idolizes. They played on the same line for CSKA Moscow during the NHL lockout this season.

The Red Wings will be seeking a second-line center when free agency begins Friday at noon, if, as expected, they're not able to re-sign Valtteri Filppula.

Grabovski (5-11, 183) was placed on unconditional waivers. He has four years and $21 million remaining on his contract, so it's highly unlikely he will be claimed by noon Friday.

He will become a free agent, able to sign with any team except Toronto. He might be had at a somewhat discounted price, since the Maple Leafs will be paying him $1.8 million a year through 2020-21.

The Red Wings began reaching out to free agents on Wednesday, the first day clubs were permitted to make contact under the new CBA. Stephen Weiss of Florida is their primary target. They also touched base with the agents for Mike Ribeiro (Washington) and Matt Cullen (Minnesota), among others.

Grabovski, 29, slumped this season, with nine goals, seven assists and a minus-10 rating in 48 games. He had a disastrous playoff series against the Boston Bruins, with two assists and a minus-10 rating in seven games.

But the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings' interest in Daniel Aflredsson has been stifled by the league [edit: though Alfredsson's told the Gothenburg Times' Alexander Piauger that the Senators are his first priority]...

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has been in contact with pretty much every candidate that would make a good No. 2 center — Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson is the leading candidate, if he agrees to a bonus-loaded contract — but an e-mail sent out around noon today precluded the Wings and every other NHL team from making any concrete offers to a new face.

Contrary to many clubs’ impression, contract offers to unrestricted free agents cannot be made until noon Friday. That was the gist of a message sent out by Bill Daly, after Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi called and complained early Thursday.

The Wings do have offers out to all of their own three UFAs — Valtteri Filppula, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner — but all three are expected to cross into the free market Friday. Filppula is out of the picture for the Wings, anyway, because he believes himself to be a No. 1 center. Cleary is looking for a three-year contract around $3 million per season, and he has garnered interest from almost a dozen other teams. The Wings remain hopeful of working out a deal because Cleary rebounded from a slow start to have a great playoff stretch, he brings leadership and he’s beloved by coach Mike Babcock. Likewise, Brunner’s camp has been contacted by several suitors, but the Wings remain hopeful of retaining his services, too.

Looking at possible new faces, the Wings have had talks with the camps for Alfredsson, Stephen Weiss, Mike Ribeiro, Tyler Bozak and Matt Cullen, as well as Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow. It’s not that the Wings aren’t willing to spend money; it’s that they don’t want to overpay for services. Alfredsson would make a good fit, because he might agree to a low salary with bonuses that could be deferred until 2014-15’s higher salary cap. Weiss is rumored to be pushing for close to $6 million a season, an average cap number that would match that of Henrik Zetterberg. The Wings were very interested in New Jersey’s David Clarkson, until they were told he’s looking for six-to-seven years at a $6 million average. Boston’s Nathan Horton, on the other hand, is looking for a quiet hockey market in preferably a warm climate, so that knocks Detroit out on both counts.

And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan says that the situation is fluid to say the least:

General manager Ken Holland said he contacted up to six players in the 48-hour period that prospective free agents were able to have discussions with interested teams.

Alfredsson’s name emerged in numerous reports around the league Thursday after negotiations between the Senators and their longtime star hit a snag.

...

Senators general manager Bryan Murray was asked about Alfredsson’s status Thursday during a press conference to announce a three-year contract extension for head coach Paul MacLean. Murray expressed confidence that the Senators can get a deal done with Alfredsson.

"I guess it's the big issue in town now," Murray told reporters. "I didn't realize it was that big an issue because we're going to get it done I would assume."

There’s also the Red Wings’ own free agents, and Holland is working on those negotiations with agents for forwards Valtteri Filppula, Damien Brunner and Daniel Cleary. Filppula is a key piece of the puzzle. If Filppula were to leave —which is expected — Holland would go on the market in search of a center, such as Weiss or Ribeiro, to replace Filppula.

About six teams have shown serious interest in Filppula, 28, who slumped to a 17-point season (nine goals, eight assists) last season. Filppula earned $3 million last season but could attract an offer close to $5 million because of a free-agent class that lack many proven offensive players.

The situations with Cleary and Brunner are different from Filppula’s. Cleary, 34, is looking for about a three-year contract, which he would likely get from another team if he can’t come to terms with the Red Wings. Brunner continues to attract attention from numerous teams because of his offensive potential. Brunner’s agent, Neil Sheehy, confirmed there was contact with teams over the last 48 hours and said, “Important decisions will have to be made between now and Friday.”

Update: Oh yeah, by the way, the Wings are looking at defensemen, too, per the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

Two names they appear to have interest in are Andrew Ference and Marek Zidlicky.

Ference, 34, would slot right in and would provide a veteran presence along the Wings’ youthful blue line. He made $2.25 million last season and may cost the Wings a year-deal at $3.5 million to obtain his services.

Zidlicky, 36, may bit a bit costlier since he’s coming off a deal that paid him $4 million last season in New Jersey. He could be looking for a two- or three-year deal at $4 to $4.5 million to sign.

His point-per-game average has been on a decline and his play in the defensive zone has made him a liability.

...

Detroit currently has six defensemen under contract for next season – Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Jakub Kindl, Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff.

Brendan Smith is a restricted free agent and will get a deal done bringing the total to seven on the blue line heading to training camp.

Detroit just re-signed Kindl, who was a restricted free agent, to a four-year extension worth $9.6 million.

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Comments

WingedRider's avatar

Check out Grabo’s expletive filled reaction to Carlyle after being bought out!

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=426967

Not sure he will come to Detroit and Babs scary look? LOL

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 07/04/13 at 07:01 PM ET

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So with interest in Cleary from outside the “organization” that means that we’ll pay him even MORE than he’s worth, I wonder? What happens if all three of Fil, Cleary and Brunner bolt…that will kind of force Holland’s hand, yes? And what if their potential targets have already signed elsewhere? Tomorrow is likely to blow.

I do hope Detroit looks long and hard at Ference. I think he could be a great mentor for our young blueliners.

Posted by godblender on 07/04/13 at 07:02 PM ET

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Detroit signing a vet defenseman after waiving a vet defenseman would be… puzzling.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/04/13 at 07:05 PM ET

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I’d like Mike Ribeiro (over Stephen Weiss) and, especially if Brunner bolts, Michael Ryder.  Let Cleary walk.

Posted by joshy207 on 07/04/13 at 07:06 PM ET

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Not sure he will come to Detroit and Babs scary look? LOL

Posted by godblender on 07/04/13 at 07:14 PM ET

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Battling Boogers? George—- that’s the definition of Too Much Information

My priorities:
C:—We need one offensive center.
1) Grabovski - slots in as Pavel’s winger or second line center. Good flexibility to have. Solid two way guy. Studies the best. Friends with Datsyuk.
2) Flip—Knows the system. Solid two-way guy. Bigger, younger and better producer than Weiss (subtracting the kind of PP time Flip has NEVER gotten in Detroit).
—————
Not interested in Weiss or Cullen.  Might rather sign Handzus for two years until Jarnrok/Sheahan are ready.

Winger: Would like to sign 2. One to replace Cleary, one to replace Brunner
1) Morrow—A line of Grabovski-Datsyuk-Morrow would be sick. Morrow’s stats have been down a couple years, but produced nearly as much as Zetterberg at even strength. Like to think we could get him for under $4M
2) Brunner—I have faith this guy can be a big producer. If we let him walk when all he wanted was $2.5M, I’m not going to be happy.
3) Ryan Clowe—If he can be had for less than $3M—I’d do this.
4) Dustin Penner—frustrating player who seems to elevate game when it matters most. Huge guy. Former teammate of Howard in college, IIRC.  $2.5M or less.
Peter mueller—Young, fairly big, right hand shot, could be really cheap and a big payoff.
5) Iginla—Not that interested in him, but he could work. I think he’ll be overpaid.
6) Matt Cooke - Hard hitting guy, good on the PK, Underrated player.
———-
Not interested in—- Alfredsson/Jagr/Ryder/Cleary

Defense—if we can dump Kyle Quincey, I’d like a defenseman:
1) Rob Scuderi - We need this kind of guy. Can he be had for $4M?
2) Mike Komisarek - Heart-and-soul guy, 3rd pairing guy on the cheap?
3) Douglas Murray - Nothing special. But huge. A pk, net-front presence we need.

Posted by Captain Bob on 07/04/13 at 07:18 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Cleary is good friends with Horcoff.  Maybe Nill will do us a favour if he picks up Horcoff?

Posted by godblender on 07/04/13 at 08:14 PM ET Hope Grabo doesn’t see that Babs Pic?  Not sure I wanted to see it but I think I have seen him smile? Hmmm, LOL

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 07/04/13 at 07:21 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Detroit signing a vet defenseman after waiving a vet defenseman would be… puzzling.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/04/13 at 08:05 PM ET

If that defenseman can make into more than 20% of the regular season games, that would make sense,.... He was averaging under 70 games a season even before he came to Detroit (it’s not personal, even Holland acknowledged the risk). Ference had his shorter seasons, but played 70, 72, and 48 games the last 3. Zidlicky had the two previous years short on games, but last year played 48. If the price isn’t totally ridiculous,...

1) Rob Scuderi - We need this kind of guy. Can he be had for $4M?

He’s going to be pretty popular from what I’ve been reading if LA doesn’t sign him.


Oh, George, are you almost there with the expenses? Throw out the PayPal button again if you’re not too ill to put it up.

 

Posted by Bugsy on 07/04/13 at 07:22 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Not sure I wanted to see it but I think I have seen him smile? Hmmm, LOL

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 07/04/13 at 08:21 PM ET

I don’t know how to embed photos, but
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT662NcCOlEhV0iyugIt8GJWNdGwE9IxYN-fADeE7wrTRjajgQ3fmJwZg

Posted by Bugsy on 07/04/13 at 07:27 PM ET

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Cleary is good friends with Horcoff.  Maybe Nill will do us a favour if he picks up Horcoff?

Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.

I hope they can sign Brunner, and one other forward who isn’t Cleary, Filppula, Ribeiro or Weiss, preferably a winger, but it’s hard to be too picky at this point…  And if they landed Ference I wouldn’t be displeased.

Posted by Garth on 07/04/13 at 07:30 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

  Cleary is good friends with Horcoff.  Maybe Nill will do us a favour if he picks up Horcoff?

Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.

Well, 1/2 is done
http://kuklaskorner.com/hockey/comments/horcoff-on-his-way-to-dallas

Posted by Bugsy on 07/04/13 at 07:41 PM ET

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Garbo is alright, depending on the price, but he’s essentially Filppula with a little more offence ability but less defensive ability.  Small, over handles the puck…

If we’re looking at former Leaf centres, I’d prefer a Bozak.  Good skater, good instincts, and he’s a righty, too.

Posted by Garth on 07/04/13 at 07:44 PM ET

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Don’t know how it will work out yet, but is anyone noticing all the moves Nill is making now that he isn’t under Hollands thumb?

Posted by murph1jj on 07/04/13 at 07:45 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

If we’re looking at former Leaf centres, I’d prefer a Bozak.  Good skater, good instincts, and he’s a righty, too.

8 years for over 4 million?
http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/blog/eye-on-hockey/22611289/nhl-rumors-tyler-bozak-looking-for-eightyear-deal-from-maple-leafs

Don’t know how it will work out yet, but is anyone noticing all the moves Nill is making now that he isn’t under Hollands thumb?

Yes, but Dallas was in worse shape to start with….

For what it’s worth, I’m using these sites to keep track:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?id=25880 UFA tracker
http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/9443762/nhl-2013-free-agency-top-35-free-agents-rankings  Custance

If ESPN Insider costs too much, wait until near Christmas when DiscountMags offers up to 4 years for $5 a year, I’ve done that twice:
http://www.discountmags.com/

Posted by Bugsy on 07/04/13 at 07:50 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

To clarify, they might charge more this year for ESPN the Magazine (Insider comes free with that), and the first time I renewed was $3.49 a year x 3 years, last time was $4.99 x 4 years through the special at discountmags.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/04/13 at 07:58 PM ET

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8 years for over 4 million?

No, absolutely not, but I would guess he made that suggestion after he’d already decided to test the market, but figured “hey, if Nonis says yes, that would be great, if jot, oh well.”

Posted by Garth on 07/04/13 at 07:59 PM ET

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If that defenseman can make into more than 20% of the regular season games, that would make sense,.... He was averaging under 70 games a season even before he came to Detroit (it’s not personal, even Holland acknowledged the risk). Ference had his shorter seasons, but played 70, 72, and 48 games the last 3. Zidlicky had the two previous years short on games, but last year played 48. If the price isn’t totally ridiculous,...

I suppose I don’t see the big difference between Colaiacovo at 2.5 and those other guys at similar numbers considering it’s not like the Wings need Colaiacovo to play 82, or even 72, anyway.

He’d have been the #6 or #7 guy and he’d be battling Lashoff for a spot on the ice at all for half the year.

Let’s say Detroit signs Andrew Ference.  Does he play ahead of Kronwall, Quincey, Ericsson, Dekeyser, Smith or Kindl?  Not consistently.  In that context I don;t think the ability to play a bunch of games in a row and stay healthy is as relevant as it might be otherwise.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/04/13 at 08:02 PM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

Let Cleary walk, but letting Brunner do so would be a mistake. That being said, I am ready to read some bs tomorrow about how Kenny let Brunner walk, overpaid Cleary to stay, the signing of Cullen and Kenny asking us to all pray that Sammy heals which would round out the team. Nill is already making a huge impact on Dallas. Maybe instead of new blood on the team, the Wings could use some new blood in the front office?

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 07/04/13 at 08:16 PM ET

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Let’s say Detroit signs Andrew Ference.  Does he play ahead of Kronwall, Quincey, Ericsson, Dekeyser, Smith or Kindl?  Not consistently

1) yes, of course he consistently plays ahead of some of those names.
2) if they sign Ference, one of the names on your list is being replaced by Ference.  As in, traded away from the Detroit Red Wings.  I’m guessing Quincey or Kindl.  They’d not be bringing Ference in as a 6/7 guy.

It’s patently ridiculous to think otherwise.

Posted by Garth on 07/04/13 at 08:17 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

I suppose I don’t see the big difference between Colaiacovo at 2.5 and those other guys at similar numbers considering it’s not like the Wings need Colaiacovo to play 82, or even 72, anyway.

He’d have been the #6 or #7 guy and he’d be battling Lashoff for a spot on the ice at all for half the year.

Let’s say Detroit signs Andrew Ference.  Does he play ahead of Kronwall, Quincey, Ericsson, Dekeyser, Smith or Kindl?  Not consistently.  In that context I don;t think the ability to play a bunch of games in a row and stay healthy is as relevant as it might be otherwise.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/04/13 at 09:02 PM ET

Purely speculating, but if the Wings are going to get that kind of defenseman, they’ll probably aim lower that Ference, I would think. If they sign Ference, then I might try for a bigger trade for a top 3 defenseman or top 6 forward and see if Smith or Quincey with one of the excess forwards (and maybe a draft pick) could be put together?? I’m just throwing that out.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/04/13 at 08:18 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Garth beat me to it.

Posted by Bugsy on 07/04/13 at 08:19 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Filppula is out of the picture for the Wings, anyway, because he believes himself to be a No. 1 center.

...

Weiss is rumored to be pushing for close to $6 million a season


I give up trying to figure out this crap anymore. This is insanity.

I’m starting to think the Wings should not sign anybody and just go with all the kids.

 

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/04/13 at 08:30 PM ET

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Filppula is out of the picture for the Wings, anyway, because he believes himself to be a No. 1 center.
...
Weiss is rumored to be pushing for close to $6 million a season

I hope these are both true.

Posted by Garth on 07/04/13 at 08:31 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

In what universe is Weiss worth $6 million a year and Filppula is a #1 center?

(Not directed at your post Garth, just general dumbfoundedness on my part.)

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/04/13 at 08:35 PM ET

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Oh, I totally agree.  The reason I hope it’s true is that It probably means neither of them sign with Detroit.

Posted by Garth on 07/04/13 at 08:51 PM ET

Bugsy's avatar

To summarize, from June 30: http://kuklaskorner.com/tmr/comments/st.-james-updates-red-wings-pursuit-of-lecavalier-says-wings-ufas-to-be-wil

The Wings have most of their pieces in place. A top-six forward tops their wanted list, but that holds true for half the league. Holland reiterated that “I’m not signing somebody just to have something to talk about. We’re not looking to make lateral moves. We’re not looking for one-year fixers.”

  If the Panthers are willing to move Tomas Fleischmann, #redwings would be interested. Former Wings draft pick who led FLA with 35 points..
  — Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) June 30, 2013

  in 48 games…makes about 4.5 million for next couple years..perfect salary and Wings have always liked Fleischmann
  — Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) June 30, 2013

“At the end of the day, we’ve got a move or two left,” Holland said. “Our goaltending is set, our defense is set. If we can get a top 2-3 defenseman we’ll look at it. They’re hard to find. We got 14 forwards signed (including RFAs). Some of them are kids. We have a move or two left over the next week or 10 days….(of course the buyout just happened)
I’ve talked to, if not all the teams, 25-26 teams yesterday or Friday. Probably lots of teams are like I am, they’re not sure what to make. There’s lots of talk but I can’t tell you I sense anything’s really happening. There might be something happening with a team or two or three.”

June 25, before the draft
http://www.freep.com/article/20130625/SPORTS05/306250022/ken-holland-red-wings

“I’m going to explore a trade or two,” Holland said Monday. “Maybe a two-for-one deal, maybe a three-for-one, or three-for-two.”

I still thinking a trade is still out there for Ken Holland?

Posted by Bugsy on 07/04/13 at 08:52 PM ET

RWBill's avatar


Don’t know how it will work out yet, but is anyone noticing all the moves Nill is making now that he isn’t under Hollands thumb?

Posted by murph1jj on 07/04/13 at 08:45 PM ET

You mean ,  now that he has a roster in turmoil that hasn’t made the playoffs in three years?

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/04/13 at 09:32 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Gotta sign Grabovski now.  He’s so ticked off he’s going to bring it every night, especially against now-division rival Toronto, just to shove it all down their throats.  He’s got a huge chip on his shoulder now and something to prove to the world.  Sign the mad man!!!!

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/04/13 at 10:20 PM ET

SYF's avatar

“At the end of the day, we’ve got a move or two left,” Holland said. “Our goaltending is set, our defense is set. If we can get a top 2-3 defenseman we’ll look at it. They’re hard to find. We got 14 forwards signed (including RFAs). Some of them are kids. We have a move or two left over the next week or 10 days….(of course the buyout just happened)
I’ve talked to, if not all the teams, 25-26 teams yesterday or Friday. Probably lots of teams are like I am, they’re not sure what to make. There’s lots of talk but I can’t tell you I sense anything’s really happening. There might be something happening with a team or two or three.”

He only said he’s looking at the opportunity to snag a top 2-3 defenseman if it presents itself, otherwise it seems to him that he’s perfectly content with his defense corps however young it is.  I think Evans and Billins are capable call ups.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 07/04/13 at 11:54 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.