The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/19/12 at 07:05 PM ET
Updated with some rather depressing takes on the Weber sweepstakes from Khan and Pleiness at 7:11 PM: While I’m more than willing to give Ken Holland and the Red Wings’ management A’s for effort in terms of knocking on every trade and free agent possibility’s door, aggressively, over the last month, and as mentions of that fateful Carolina Hurricanes offer sheet to Sergei Fedorov back in 1998 and as Flyers owner Ed Snider’s rightfully getting mocked by the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau for having his Board of Governor hawkishness and eating his exploit-the-CBA cake and eat it, too, standards of sporting morals…
The Free Press’s Helene St James suggests that the Red Wings did not inquire as to one Shea Weber’s availability from Nashville for the same reasons that they were rebuffed by the Columbus Blue Jackets when the team inquired about Rick Nash’s availability—but she reports that the Wings were indeed speaking to Weber’s agent throughout this pre-offer sheet process:
#RedWings did not talk to Preds about trading for Shea Weber.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 19, 2012
#RedWings talked to Weber’s agent numerous times in July, were told he wasn’t sure what he was going to do. Told last night, sign Flyers OS— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 19, 2012
Had Wings been presented with possibility of Weber wanting to come to DET, maybe offer sheet considered. Never came to that.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 19, 2012
#Predators were only considering trading Shea Weber to teams in East. Never would’ve moved him to DET.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 19, 2012
@blazeis8 Like I’ve said, Wings and Weber had talks. Wings and Preds did not.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 19, 2012
So in this case, you can’t fault the Wings for doing due diligence.
Does this also mean that the Wings were considering tossing off an offer sheet, despite how much Holland despises them?
Who knows! But the Wings were certainly interested in what Kevin Epp [edit/update: per TSN’s Darren Dreger, and Jarrett Bousquet /edit] had to say, and that in itself tells you that the team continues to kick every tire and examine each and every free agent and trade possibility out there. That’s what Holland, Nill, Martin and crew do—they turn over every damn rock, and in the words of Mike Babcock, sometimes this hockey trading/signing business is like trying to aid your Cup-winning chances by having a, “We must make the playoffs” bottom line: “If you keep knocking on the door, eventually you’re going to get in.”
Here’s hoping that KH and co. kick it down sooner than later…
And this is where things get a little weird, because the New York Post’s Larry Brooks claims that Weber turned down an offer to come to New York, and the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper claims that Weber actually went on something of a grand tour—and his scouting-out process included visiting Metro Detroit on his own:
Makes you wonder whether Weber really wants the Predators to match the Flyers’ offer, doesn’t it?
As for that Shane Doan guy, he was in Manhattan today to take part in CBA negotiations, and Sportsnet’s Michael Grande offers the following updates on Doan’s status and/or decision-making process:
Shane Doan says he’s still waiting to get more information re: #Coyotes future b4 he makes a call; says all teams have been very patient— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) July 19, 2012
Doan says he one reason he wants to make his mind up soon is his wife needs to get their 4 kids signed up for school; sports etc.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) July 19, 2012
The Detroit Free Press re-posted the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan’s story suggesting that Doan may or may not begin seriously looking at other teams’ offers on Friday…
While the hockey world is waiting on Coyotes captain Shane Doan to pick a team, Doan is waiting on potential buyer Greg Jamison to determine the likelihood his bid to purchase the Coyotes will be completed.
“We’re waiting to see what Mr. Jamison is going to do, now that it seems like the path has cleared to take ownership of the team,” agent Terry Bross said. “It’s been a little quiet from that camp.”
Bross hopes to hear from the Jamison group by Friday to receive some reassurance that a sale is coming. If that doesn’t happen, it’s likely that Doan would begin to examine the list of 16 teams that have expressed interest in the 35-year-old winger.
“I hear tidbits back and forth in some of the NHL circles that it’s going to get done and it’s moving forward,” Bross said. “I just haven’t heard it from them yet, so I hope to hear something like that sometime before the end of the week.”
Doan is in the midst of his third week as an unrestricted free agent, and his patience hasn’t scared away suitors. He has received six official offers. Bross anticipates that Doan will explore his options soon.
“Let’s narrow this list down and take a hard look at a few of the ones that you really feel like there’s a really good fit now that you know who’s interested and be fair to the clubs that you might not have as much interest in and let them know that they should go a different direction,” Bross said of what he plans to tell Doan. “That’s probably the next step, and I’m hopeful that Shane will be open to going down that path by the weekend.”
But in terms of what the Wings and other teams who were in the Weber sweepstakes in one way, shape or form might be considering, again, I’m frustrated as all hell get out to addmit that I’m probably going to annoy ESPN’s Craig Custance because his superb article about the bidders’ options is locked behind a paywall, and this constitutes a significant chunk thereof:
Keith Yandle, Coyotes: The Coyotes aren’t shopping their talented defenseman, but he’s an asset whose trade value increases every time a defenseman is locked up long term. GM Don Maloney was made an offer around the draft that gave him pause, and since then Suter has signed long term and Weber has gotten his monster deal. According to an NHL source, it’s quiet on the Yandle trade talk front, and it’s hard to imagine Phoenix moving him until the Shane Doan situation is settled, but the Coyotes are in a great spot. They have depth on defense, a young franchise defenseman in Oliver Ekman-Larsson and a trade chip in Yandle, who is signed to a reasonable contract. Phoenix would require a good young center in return as part of the package.
Jay Bouwmeester, Flames: He has two seasons left on a deal that comes with a salary cap hit near $7 million that a number teams might be willing to accept because it’s a short-term solution. The Dennis Wideman signing gives GM Jay Feaster the flexibility to trade Bouwmeester and restock a system that could use young talent.
Potential 2013 unrestricted free agents
Alexander Edler, Canucks: Vancouver already has Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard locked up on defense, with Edler due for a big raise from the $3.25 million he’ll earn this season, the final year of his contract. Edler now replaces Weber as the most appealing potential free agent on defense next summer. Despite his playoff struggles, he was Vancouver’s best defenseman this season. A team such as the Red Wings, who were poised to draft Edler on scout Hakan Andersson’s strong recommendation, would likely push hard for Edler if he ever became a free agent. Ballard is another trade option on defense if Vancouver GM Mike Gillis can find a taker for a contract that comes with a $4.2 million cap hit the next three years.
Mark Streit, Islanders: Streit was minus-27 last season but missed the entire previous year with a shoulder injury, so part of that can be blamed on an early-season adjustment period. He was minus-21 before the All-Star break and just a minus-6 after. He’d boost any power play and can be penciled in for nearly 50 points when he’s healthy.
Tobias Enstrom, Jets: Next summer’s free-agent class of defensemen could potentially include veterans such as Lubomir Visnovsky, Sergei Gonchar and Kimmo Timomnen, but a player like Enstrom is more attractive because of his age. At 27 years old, he’s entering his prime and is quietly one of the more productive puck movers around. He’s generously listed at 5-foot-10 but makes up for his lack of size with his offensive creativity and playmaking skills. On the power play, he prefers to pass than shoot but still put up 10 goals in 2010-11.
You’ll have to take this with salt, but the Winnipeg press seems to believe that either the Jets won’t be able to lock up Enstrom before he becomes a UFA, or that the team’s priorities involve players like Byfuglien and Bogosian, making Enstrom more or less expendable down the line. At this time of year, one never knows whether there’s fire where there’s smoke, but the Jets’ press corps has been talking a worried manner about Enstrom’s long-term future in Winnipeg for four months now.
• In the alumni department, part 1: TSN reports that the Red Wings’ Alums will be tangling with two star Leafs now confirmed to participate in the Winter Classic Alumni Games in Tie Domi and Mats Sundin;
• In the alumni department, part 2, from CTV Kitchener’sRandy Steinman:
Waterloo Region’s best local hockey talent was on display at the Hespeler Arena, where the Cambridge Pro’s Foundation hosted its annual charity game in support of the Cambridge Ice Hounds and Kids Can Play.
It was standing-room only in Cambridge for an impressive display of local talent. 21 past, present and future NHL’ers took part, including Jeff Skinner, Kirk Maltby, Tim Brent, Bryan Little, John Mitchell, Todd Harvey, Ryan Ellis, Mark Scheifele and Tanner Pearson.
StanleyCup-champion Kyle Clifford of the Los Angeles Kings was also among the local stars. Clifford will be the centre of attention again in five weeks, when he brings the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Ayr on August 22nd.
The NHL’ers signed autographs while a silent auction took place with proceeds benefitting the two charities. The ceremonial faceoff was handled by Cambridge Corporal Tyron Tavares, who is based in Borden, Ontario.
If you live in Canada, you can watch a video of the event…
• In a different kind of “alumni” department entirely, former Penguin, Canadien, Flyer, Hurricane and Bruin Mark Recchi told ESPN Boston’s James Murphy that he doesn’t believe the NHLPA will allow the CBA negotiations to go the way of a lockout, nor does he believe that the owners are dumb enough to pull the plug;
• And you may also take this for what you will:
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland had several conversations with one of Weber’s agents, Kevin Epp, but the talks did not reach the stage where he was able to tender a formal offer. Weber reportedly visited Detroit, San Jose, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia. He chose to pursue a deal with the Flyers.
Philadelphia, on Wednesday, signed Weber to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet.
Once again, the Red Wings tried to reel in a big fish but were left lamenting the one that got away. Add Weber to the list that includes Suter, Zach Parise and, in all likelihood, Rick Nash, as there appears to be little chance Columbus will trade its franchise player to Detroit. The Red Wings remain in the hunt for power forward Shane Doan, but he’s hoping to re-sign with Phoenix.
Trading for Weber was never a viable option for the Red Wings, contrary to a TSN report. The Predators had no intention of dealing him to their Central Division rival and no trade talks took place.
Detroit’s only options of landing Weber were to sign him to an offer sheet, with the hopes Nashville would not match, taking the compensation instead (up to four first-round draft picks), or hope that Weber signed a one-year deal with the Predators and became unrestricted in 2013.
But, the new collective bargaining agreement could feature a lower salary cap, a limit on the length of contracts and an increased age for unrestricted free agency. So Weber was wise to get his mega deal while he could.
The Red Wings have ample salary cap space (roughly $13 million) but have not yet been able to fill their primary needs – a top-four defenseman and a top-six forward. Options are extremely limited.
The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness also confirms that the Wings had spoken to Weber’s agent(s):
According to a source, the Wings had expressed interest in Weber and had “numerous conversations” with his agent.
The Wings seemed to do everything they could to engage Weber to try and find out what he was looking for in a deal, but never were able to entice his camp into negotiating.
“If you’re not the No. 1 team, it doesn’t matter,” the source said. “We explored, but we could only get to a certain level.”
Had Detroit given Weber an offer sheet it would have been a first under general manager Ken Holland’s watch. The Wings have really never had to because they’ve had rosters with the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull and Chris Chelios.
“Times have changed,” the source said.
Holland said prior to the start of free agency that he would do whatever it took to improve the team in the offseason.
The Wings are still in need of a top six forward and a top four defensemen, which there are none left on the open market and therefore a trade may need to be made in order to fill that void. It’s just another chink in what once was the luster of playing for the Detroit Red Wings.
And the Free Press’s Helene St. James offers more Twitter quips:
@ConorRyan87 Just because Bobby Ryan said he wants to be traded doesn’t mean ANA going to do so. Just added Selanne. In it to compete.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 19, 2012
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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.