The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/19/12 at 07:57 PM ET
Updated at 7:28 PM: Amongst this evening’s Red Wings-related news:
• First and foremost, no. Just no. Bobby Ryan would be too expensive and the Wings are worried about adding via free agency, not surrendering assets in a trade.
• The most interesting scuttlebutt of directly Red Wings-related note comes from the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff’s Twitter account...
#redwings Holland on neg. with RFA Abdelkader, Quincey: “Met with both agents, let them know what I’m thinking. We’re in initial stages.’
Holland on looming UFA Hudler: “It’s his first opportunity to be an unrestricted free agent. There’s a number we think would work for us.’‘
#redwings Holland on Datsyuk for Selke: “Pavel in the last 20-30 years is one of the best defensive forwards in the game for a long time.”
•The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness isn’t so sure about Hudler having a chance in hell of staying, however, and that’s based upon Holland’s comments…
“Obviously, he’s still our guy,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Not much has changed. We kind of both have different thoughts and ideas on what the market is. Jiri played very good for us. He played hard. He scored 25 goals and that’s a lot of goals today in the National Hockey League. He got to play with two pretty good players in (Valtteri) Filppula and (Henrik) Zetterberg.”
The Wings probably won’t pay much more than $3.2 million a season to keep Hudler. And the deal Colorado gave David Jones (four years at $4 million per) could sway Hudler to test the open market. Jones scored 20 goals and had 17 assists last year.
“Ideally we’d like to keep him, but he’s certainly got that unrestricted free agency and coming off the kind of year he had I’m sure he wants to explore all his options and make a decision on whether he wants to hit the market or stay in Detroit,” Holland said. “I know he likes it in Detroit. If there’s a number there that works we’d like to make it work. He’s in a very good situation.”
The Wings have 19 players signed, including rookies Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith, with a salary-cap hit of just over $46 million, leaving them just over $24 million under the cap.
And here’s Pleiness’s take on Abelkader and Quincey’s respective statuses:
The Wings have made qualifying offers to their other two restricted free agents – Justin Abdelkader and Kyle Quincey – but both aren’t close to signing.
“I’ve talked to both agents last week and I’ll probably see them in Pittsburgh (at the draft),” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We’re going to retain their rights. They’ve got arbitration rights. We’ll find a solution, but right now we continue to talk.”
The Wings would like to get Abdelkader to sign a four-year deal at just under $2 million a season. Quincey could be more difficult to sign at the number the Wings want since he made $3.25 million a year ago. They’re hoping to get him at a modest raise.
• It wouldn’t be a June day without a Ryan Suter or Zach Parise update, with ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun providing the former...
If Ryan Suter re-signs with the Nashville Predators, it’s only going to be after he’s had the chance to explore his options with other teams. Predators GM David Poile understands that and is ready to be patient, which includes not trading away the rights to the UFA-to-be and, in the meantime, keeping the lines open with Suter’s agent, Neil Sheehy.
“It appears that Suter is going to go to July 1,” Poile told ESPN.com Tuesday afternoon from Las Vegas. “I’m going to meet with Neil on Friday and we’re going to talk again next week to see where we are. But it appears that’s where he’s heading. I’m keeping the faith. I don’t think I’m going to trade his rights. It’s all based on the fact that there’s no indication to me that Ryan doesn’t think Nashville is the right fit for him.”
In the past, Poile has moved the rights to potential UFAs at this time of year, like Dan Hamhuis two years ago, and Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell in June 2007. But in those cases, Poile said it was clear from a financial point of view that the Predators could not re-sign those payers. This time around, he’s got the financial wherewithal to sign Suter, so he doesn’t want to cut bait at this point.
“I don’t know how it’s going to pan out, but we’re going to do the best we can to keep talking and keep believing that we’re the right choice,” said Poile. “Hopefully when he compares it to other teams July 1 and compares it to Nashville, what’s important to him in his life and for his family, I think we’re a real good fit on and off the ice. I don’t see where the grass is any greener.”
And while it’s truncated, here’s your Zach Parise update…
The Rick Nash trade saga, Part Deux, is underway and will only heat up with Friday’s night’s first round of the draft on tap in Pittsburgh. Most of the willing trade partners reaching out to Columbus will want to include their first-round pick in Friday’s draft as part of any deal for the star winger. But it’s not necessarily a done deal that Nash moves this week. If the Blue Jackets don’t get their multi-asset price met this week in Pittsburgh, they’re content waiting it out until Zach Parise decides his future the first week of July and perhaps capitalizing on teams that struck out on the New Jersey Devils captain and UFA to be.
And LeBrun’s take on Brad Stuart signing with the Sharks:
The Sharks would like to strengthen themselves on the wing. With a blue line comprising of Stuart, Dan Boyle, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Douglas Murray, Justin Braun and Jason Demers, plus other top prospects ready to push from below within the organization, it makes sense that a player like Demers, for example, could be dangled in a possible deal for a winger.
Stuart on Monday agreed to a three-year deal worth $3.6 million a season with the Sharks, which is a bit less than what Detroit offered him in the Red Wings’ last-ditch effort to re-sign him. A source told ESPN.com that the Wings offered three-year and four-year deals both worth just north of $3.6 million. Stuart returned to San Jose for family reasons.
• Shifting gears, according to the Wings’ Twitter account, Pavel Datsyuk is indeed in Las Vegas for the NHL Awards (and Alyonka Larionov posted a picture of Datsyuk fielding questions from the media), and while Datsyuk won’t win the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward because he missed a month recovering from knee surgery, RedWingsFeed sends us toward what I suppose is an intriguing “reason to watch the NHL Awards” from Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski:
5. Pavel Datsyuk Guns For Gainey: Datsyuk has been voted a Selke finalist for the fifth consecutive year, matching the streaks of Montreal’s Guy Carbonneau (1986 through 1990) and Bob Gainey (1978 through 1982). He can match Gainey in another way if he bounces back to capture the Selke this season, after having his run of three trophies end last season: His fourth Selke will tie Gainey for the most in NHL history.
Not gonna happen. The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan has David Backes winning in a blog entry attempting to handicap award winners, and I think he’s right. If Datsyuk had been healthy for the whole year, we’d be talking about something completely different.
USA Today’s Kevin Allen isn’t so sure, however:
Selke Trophy (top defensive forward): David Backes (St. Louis), Patrice Bergeron (Boston) and Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit)
Debate: Big, strong, gritty Backes seemed like the trendy pick as the leader of the feisty Blues. Bergeron is an exceptional faceoff guy, and he’s always where he should be. Datsyuk has won this award three of the last four seasons. He missed 12 games and was still third in the NHL in takeaways.
Prediction: Seems too close to call, but Datsyuk could win another.
Datsyuk will be heading right back to Russia after the awards as he’s slated to bring the World Championship trophy to Yekaterinburg on June 26th, so I will at least say that it is intriguing that he happens to be in Las Vegas.
• While I know that many of you are interested in the whole, “Who should be the next captain?” debate given FSD’s Art Regner’s insistence that Zetterberg was picked as the man who would succeed Nicklas Lidstrom long ago…
• And you might be interested in the Free Press’s Jamie Samuelssen’s pondering about which Detroit athletes are the best to “build a franchise around”...
• In concrete terms, the Wings’ decision to sign Darren Helm to a 4-year, $8.5 million contract was by far the team’s most intriguing move, and both Helm and Holland spoke to the Free Press’s Helene St. James...
“It’s definitely nice that they see me as a player that deserves that,” Helm told the Free Press. “I’m very happy with this. It’s nice to know where I’m going to be the next four years.”
Helm, 25, was a pending restricted free agent, and there never was any doubt the Wings would keep him. Over the past three seasons he’s become a key part of the penalty killing, while at even strength he brings speed and tenacious forechecking. Coach Mike Babcock decried the decreased functionality of the entire bottom six group after Helm was lost in mid-March to a knee injury, and again after he was lost in Game 1 of the playoffs because of a cut to his forearm.
“It was a huge loss for us when he went out,” general manager Ken Holland said. “We think he’s an elite third-line center. This deal takes him two years into unrestricted free agency. He’s a big part of our transition - we’ve been an older team, and we want to stay competitive and part of that is relying more on younger players. Darren is part of that.”
In addition to his staunch play in his own zone, Helm has shown himself capable of contributing offensively, topping 10 goals in two of the past three seasons, and reaching nine goals in 68 games this past season.
His signing brings the Wings to 12 forwards under contract for ‘12-13. Holland is working on the last two pending restricted free agents, forward Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Kyle Quincey, signed to new deals, and has had talks with pending unrestricted free agent forward Jiri Hudler. In all likelihood, though, Hudler will test the market. Allotting around $5 million a year towards Abdelkader and Quincey combined, the Wings will have a little under $20 million available when free agency begins on July 1.
They will pursue adding a top-end forward, like Zach Parise, as well as targeting elite defenseman Ryan Suter. And though the price would be high for the Wings to get involved, they are very interested in what happens in Columbus with superstar Rick Nash, who probably will be traded this weekend at the NHL entry draft in Pittsburgh.
The Windsor Star’s Bob Duff...
Darren Helm figures the injured tendons in his left wrist are a few weeks away from being completely healed, but that didn’t prevent him from signing a new contract with the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday.
“I’m getting full flexibility and movement,” Helm said of the injury he suffered in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Nashville Predators. “The doctor told me I might lose some of that muscle memory. Now I can do that, get the feel back. Lower-body, I can do pretty much anything I would do. There’s not a lot I can do upper body. It’s still sore when I try to flex or grab something. I’m still trying to get over the hump.”
A restricted free agent, the centre signed a four-year deal worth a reported US $8.5 million. “I’m really excited, really happy with how things ended up, being able to stick around Detroit for four more years, getting some security there,” Helm said. “It was nice to get it done fairly quickly.”
Helm was already making plans for next season. “I think I’ll start wearing Kevlar sleeves,” he said. “The chances of that happening again are slim, but I don’t want to take chances. It’s so close to being career-ending.”
Wings general manager Ken Holland was also pleased to get the deal done quickly with Helm. “Helm has developed into a real important player for our team,” Holland said. “He’s right there in our league as one of the premier third-line centers in the NHL. He could play up (a line) if we needed him to.
“He brings speed, passion. He’s evolving into a quiet leader for our team, just starting to come into his prime years. Helmer’s 25, he’s really coming into his prime. He’s a valuable guy because he’s got tremendous speed, plays hard, plays physical, goes to the hard areas of the ice. He’s going to get better. They negotiated away two years of unrestricted free agency. It’s good for the team, good for the player. We’re happy we got some term. He likes it in Detroit.”
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...
“There’s no other place I’d rather play,” Helm said. “The ownership, teammates, the organization, coaching staff — everything about it is first class. It’s a great place to play hockey and I’m glad we were able to get something done.”
Helm expects to go on the ice and do some stick-handling in July.
“It’s still a little early for me to go on the ice but it’s definitely getting better,” Helm said.
General manager Ken Holland was pleased to get one of his young players secured for the future.
“He’s a building block going forward,” Holland said. “He’s one of the best third-line centers in the league with his speed, physical play, and the ability to chip in with offense. He’s a strong. He’s not a natural scorer but we think with experience, and with the game slowing down for him, we’re hoping he’s going to produce even more offense.”
Helm agrees with that assessment. The third line Helm centered with Drew Miller and Danny Cleary was among the league’s best during the middle of the season and was a big reason for the Wings’ success, said coach Mike Babcock. Helm is confident there will be more offense in his future.
“Definitely I believe there’s offensive upside in me,” Helm said. “I was happy with the way things were going last season until that knee injury. The potential is there.”
The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness...
“Time heals pretty much everything,” said Helm, who earned $1 million last season. “It’s still frustrating to know what happened and we lost in the playoffs that quick. Now we can move ahead and start looking towards a new season and another four years spending it in Detroit. I want to stick around Detroit for as long as I can,” Helm added. “Having that security now with those four years, I’m really happy.”
“I think it’s a good deal for Darren and it’s a good deal for us,” Holland said. “We’re happy to have him tied up for four years. We really feel he’s a guy that can really anchor our bottom six. We think going forward if we wanted to play him a little bit in the top six we can, but ultimately his role on our team is to be our third line center. I think we have as good a third line center as there is in the National Hockey League.”
“Defensively, I always want to be strong in that area,” Helm said. “The areas I’m supposed to be good in I want to be great in. I just want to be overall better. Maybe help out more on the score sheet. There’s always ways to improve in every area so that’s what I want to do.”
“He’s developing confidence with the puck,” Holland said. “I think there’s a little more offense there. He gets chances with his speed. He’s not a natural scorer, but if you go to the net and get enough chances, he can become a 12-15 goal scorer. But it’s more than goals and assists, he plays hard. I don’t think he’s going to get 60-70 points, but he doesn’t have to because he brings different elements.”
Helm, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was originally a fifth-round selection (132nd overall) of the Wings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Holland and Helm both agree that veterans Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby helped his acclimation to the NHL.
“I look at Draper in his prime and I think Helmer could develop into a lot like what Draper was,” Holland said. “A real versatile guy that can bring speed, bring energy. When you’re 25 years of age and you’re not a star player on the team, it’s hard to be a real leader. You’re going to grow into that role. I think Darren Helm has grown into that role. I think he leads by example. He’s not going to stand up in the room. He’s a quiet kid.”
“Those guys were really huge impacts on my life and my hockey game,” Helm said. “They were with me every step coming in. They were great guys in the locker room and on the ice. They were always giving me little tips on how I had to play and be a professional on and off the ice. Those were two great guys to have as mentors as I came into the NHL.”
And MLive’s Ansar Khan about their agreement:
“He’s one of the premier third-line centers in the NHL,’’ Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s got tremendous speed, plays hard, plays physical, goes to the hard areas of the ice, kills penalties. He’s going to get better.’‘
Helm had nine goals and 26 points in 68 games. He has 32 goals and 83 points in 248 career regular season games over parts of five seasons. He creates a lot of scoring chances with his speed and forechecking but hasn’t developed a finishing touch. The club believes he has more offense in him.
“He’ developing confidence with the puck. I think there’s a little more offense there,’’ Holland said. “He’s not a natural scorer, but if you go to the net and get enough chances, he can become a 12-15 goal scorer. But it’s more than goals and assists, he plays hard, he brings different elements.’‘
Helm would like to put up more points, but not at the expense of other areas of his game, which continue to evolve.
“The areas I’m supposed to be good in, I want to be great in those areas – defensively, penalty killing, faceoffs,’’ Helm said. “I was kind of up and down in those areas all season.’‘
Khan offered updates on Hudler—and let’s all be surprised that Petr Svoboda’s giving Holland the silent treatment…
Holland hasn’t spoken with the agent for forward Jiri Hudler in two weeks. It appears Hudler will explore the market, where he is certain to get a better offer than what the Red Wings are willing to pay (not much more than $3.2 million).
And Abdelkader and Quincey as well:
“They’ve got arbitration rights,’’ Holland said. “It’s a process. We’ll eventually find a solution. But right now we continue to talk.’‘
The club and Abdelkader have discussed a four-year deal. It likely will be worth slightly less than $2 million per season. Quincey is sure to get a raise from his $3.25 million salary.
• And finally, at least until, again via RWF, we hear from NHL.com’s Dan Rosen regarding Shea Weber lobbying his buddy Ryan Suter to remain with Nashville, the Wings essentially made a no-risk free agent signing in inking outgoing University of Michigan captain Luke Glendening to an AHL-only contract. Glendening will turn pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and like Francis Pare before him, he’ll try to earn a contract with the Red Wings by playing well for the Griffins.
MLive’s Cory Olsen reports that the Griffins actually held a press conference to announce the 5’11,” 193-lb forward and 23-year-old happens to be the first native of Grand Rapids to ever sign with the Griffins:
The Griffins on Tuesday signed forward and East Grand Rapids native Luke Glendening to a one-year contract. Glendening becomes the first player from Greater Grand Rapids to ever sign with the club.
“It’s always been a dream. I grew up watching these guys, it was something that I did with my family. It’s something I’ve always thought about and I’m happy to be here. It’s a great opportunity. I don’t know where my talent will take me, but the Red Wings organization and the Griffins organization is tried and true through the years and it’s a great place to be as a player.”
Glendening, who capped off a successful collegiate career at the University of Michigan by tying a career-high with 21 points (10-11—21) in 41 games. He signed an amateur tryout with the Providence Bruins at the conclusion of his senior year, skating in three AHL contests to close out the 2011-12 season.
As a senior, Glendening captured the CCHA Best Defensive Forward award, beating out Notre Dame’s Riley Sheahan, who appeared in seven late-season contests with Grand Rapids in 2011-12. He also received the team’s Howard Colby Award for sportsmanship in his junior and senior seasons.
A 2007 graduate of East Grand Rapids High School, Glendening played hockey, baseball and football for the Pioneers, helping the school win the first of five straight Division 3 football state championships in 2006.
Although the ultimate goal for players in the AHL is to head up to the NHL, Glendening is focused on the now.
“I’m going to do my best, continue to get stronger and work hard,” Glendening said. “I’m just going to work as hard as I can for this team and play any role that they want me to.”
Update #0.5: The Windsor Star’s non-blog version of Bob Duff’s story contains the same content as his blog entry.
Update #1: Sportsnet’s Patrick Hoffman penned a column on “Diamonds in the Rough,” including the following:
Henrik Zetterberg, seventh round in 1998, 210th overall, Detroit Red Wings: As everyone knows, the Detroit Red Wings are terrific at finding hidden gems in the NHL Entry Draft.
In 1998, the Red Wings found just that in the 7th round with the 210th overall pick, Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg not only plays like a first-round pick, but he is one of the best players in the NHL.
In nine seasons in Motown, Zetterberg has 252 goals and 372 assists for 624 points in 668 games. Not only has he produced, but he has also won a Stanley Cup in 2008 and a gold medal with Sweden in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino.
At just 31 years of age, fans will be seeing plenty of Zetterberg dangles for what will hopefully be plenty of more seasons.
Pavel Datsyuk, sixth round in 1998, 171st overall, Detroit Red Wings: One cannot mention Zetterberg without bringing up his sidekick Pavel Datsyuk.
Datsyuk has dazzled the Red Wings, and the rest of the NHL, with his unbelievably high offensive talent and his ability to make plays on the backend for 10 seasons. Datsyuk has racked up 240 goals and 478 assists for 718 points in 732 career games.
Datsyuk, 33, has won two Stanley Cups, (2002, ‘08), four Lady Byng Trophies (2006, ‘07, ‘08, ‘09), three Frank J. Selke Awards (2008, ‘09, ‘10) and has been an NHL All-Star four times (2004, ‘08, ‘09, ‘12).
When it comes to watching Datysuk make unbelievable fans, hockey fans cannot get enough of him.
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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.