The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/09/11 at 05:15 PM ET
This morning, fantasy hockey expert Darryl Dobbs suggested that Ty Conklin will acquit himself well in his second stint with the Wings, and today, Dobbs offers an assessment of the Wings’ prospects,’ well, prospects, from a fantasy hockey-focused perspective, via the Hockey News:
Detroit Red Wings
Gone – Kris Draper, Chris Osgood, Ruslan Salei, Derek Meech, Brian Rafalski, Mike Modano, O-K Tollefsen.
Incoming– Ty Conklin, Chris Conner, Garnet Exelby, Ian White, Mike Commodore.
Ready for full time – I am thrilled to see the Wings (so far) leaving a couple of spots open up front for their graduating prospects, but am disappointed they wouldn’t do the same on the back end. Brendan Smith is ready, but it’s looking like he’ll spend at least half a season in the AHL, barring an injury or two.
Left winger Jan Mursak was an offensive dynamo in the Ontario League and has since developed a strong, energetic two-way game as a pro. Given more AHL time, he probably would have taken another step offensively. But he’s now on a one-way NHL deal so he’s in Detroit to stay. He has some long-term potential, but as a rookie I would be surprised if we saw more than 35 points from him.
Center Cory Emmerton is on a two-way deal, but he has to clear waivers to be sent down. Like Mursak, Emmerton was a high-scoring junior player who has developed a strong defensive game as a pro. And because of the two-way deal, there is a chance he’ll get sent down, but only if he is beat out by my next “ready” prospect.
Tomas Tatar, who is still only 20, is a talent who may force the Wings to make an exception. Generally, Red Wings players season in the minors until they are 22 or 23, especially forwards. But Tatar has had two very strong training camps and has fit in every time he has been called up. Second on Grand Rapids in scoring as a teenager, you know Tatar will not be carving out a living as a checker. What really caught my attention: Tatar’s seven-point performance in an AHL game in late-November. While Tatar is a winger and Emmerton is primarily a center, when we are talking about a battle for a depth roster spot, it becomes forward vs. forward and defenseman vs. defenseman. Whether the player is a winger or a center is not necessarily a sticking point if a spot is earned.
Fantasy Outlook – Goaltending is average, but depth in that position is weak. However, the rest of the positions are rock solid, with a handful of players ready to move up and fill roles if given the opportunity. The Red Wing conveyor belt of quality prospects continues to roll, just as it has for nearly two decades. Fantasy Grade: B+ (last year was B+)
Shifting focus to a very different part of hockey fandom’s repertoire, the Wings announced that Johan Franzen will be immortalized in bobblehead form via a fan voting, per DetroitRedWings.com’s Rick Bouwness:
Johan Franzen used a strong showing on DetroitRedWings.com to capture the latest round of voting in the Red Wings’ Operation: Bobblehead campaign. As a result, production will begin on Franzen’s likeness for a special bobblehead to be given away to the first 7,500 fans in attendance at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday, Dec. 8 when Detroit plays host to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Franzen joins teammates Pavel Datsyuk (Oct. 13), Henrik Zetterberg (Nov. 3) and Nicklas Lidstrom (Apr. 5) as players to be featured in the Red Wings’ season-long Bobblehead Thursday promotion, with just two more spots yet to be determined by the forthcoming results of Operation: Bobblehead. Recommencing at one minute past noon today with none of the votes from last week counting towards this week’s total, balloting for Operation: Bobblehead is conducted simultaneously at DetroitRedWings.com and via the club’s official Facebook page.
With four of the six players to be featured on Bobblehead Thursdays at The Joe in 2011-12 now set, citizens of Hockeytown are invited to have their voices heard and select which remaining members of the team will round out the bobblehead giveaway lineup. Voting will be conducted on a week-by-week basis and will close at noon every Monday. The following day (Tuesday) at 12:01 p.m., voting will begin anew; no ballots cast the previous week will count towards each player’s total.
Red Wings’ 2011-12 Bobblehead Giveaway Schedule
Thursday, October 13 vs. Vancouver – PAVEL DATSYUK
Thursday, November 3 vs. Calgary – HENRIK ZETTERBERG
Thursday, December 8 vs. Phoenix – JOHAN FRANZEN
Thursday, January 12 vs. Phoenix – Winner of Fan Vote #3
Thursday, February 23 vs. Vancouver – Winner of Fan Vote #4
Thursday, April 5 vs. New Jersey – NICKLAS LIDSTROM
(NOTE: all games begin at 7:30 p.m.)
The Wings’ website and Facebook page offer locations for fans to vote for the third week of Operation Bobblehead, and Wings social media coordinator Jake Duhaime asked an aesthetically-related question which merits an answer (and click on the link at your own, “Eewwww!”-inducing risk):
Now the question is, will we see a clean-shaven Mule? A bearded Mule? Or the Mule face that we fell in love with following Game 2 of the Red Wings 2011 first round series against the Coyotes?
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan and NHL.com’s EJ Hradek answered a slate of Red Wings-related questions via mailbag features today, and here’s Kulfan’s slate of answers (minus the questions?):
1) jessup…The team that has improved itself quite a bit is San Jose. I like the additions of Brent Burns and Colin White on defense, and Martin Havlat and Michael Handzus up front. After so many near misses, the Sharks may have finally gotten it right. This is a good roster.
2) PeteKR….I was a little surprised that Osgood decided to retire. I felt he had one more season left in him. Obviously he wasn’t as healthy as he needed to be. Injuries pretty much knocked out the last two seasons of his career.
3) Islanderfan….The Islanders will stay on Long Island. I don’t see them being relocated. But the Coyotes or Panthers…that could be another story.
4) Twingsfan…Franzen is a big story heading into this season. After scoring those 5 goals in Ottawa, the offensive production just stopped. And injuries diminished his effectiveness in the playoffs. For the Wings to reach their full potential, Franzen must return to form.
5) shellymn…no chance of the Wings bringing back Mike Modano. In fact, expect Modano to offically retire any day now.
And let’s just say that Hradek’s question is…getting to be pretty damn predictable:
Will the Wings jump at the chance to sign Shea Weber next year if Nicklas Lidstrom retires?—@The_K_Mac_D
What team wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to get Shea Weber? In Detroit’s case, I don’t think Lidstrom retiring would have anything to do with it. I figure Wings GM Ken Holland would be interested in adding Weber under any circumstances.
cord, after receiving a one-year, $7.5M arbitration award last week, Weber still can’t test the open market (if he wants to) until July 1, 2013. Next summer, if he hasn’t signed a new deal, he again will be a restricted free agent.
There is a difference, though. By CBA rule, Nashville doesn’t get a second chance to choose team-elected arbitration for Weber. That means that an interested opponent could attempt to sign Weber to an offer sheet. The Predators retain the right to match, but the small-market franchise could be put in difficult financial bind.
That’s why I believe GM David Poile has to get a long-term deal done with Weber before he hits RFA status again. If Poile can’t get that done, I feel he’d be wise to deal him.
And I’ll simply say that it’s disappointing that the Flint Journal’s Mark Spezia reports that the Boston Bruins won’t reveal when or if Tim Thomas will bring the Stanley Cup home to Flint.
Otherwise, via RedWingsFeed, RedWingsCentral’s Sarah Lindenau posted the roster of the New York Rangers team which will take part in this year’s prospect tournament in Traverse City, which begins on the same day as Hockeyfest takes place at Joe Louis Arena…
The Wings’ Twitter account states that we’ve got only 58 days until the regular season begins…
And I don’t know why the Sports Exchange keeps on pumping out Wings “roster reports” for 97.1 The Ticket in August, but Evan Jenkins suggests that Ken Holland offers us a quote of the day regarding the Wings’ ability to tweak its roster at the trade deadline:
“I think we can compete and I like our salary cap space. If, after 60 games, we get to the (trade) deadline and are in a playoff position, we can make a deal. We haven’t had that (cap space) the last couple of years.” — Wings general manager Ken Holland.
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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.