The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/29/12 at 10:36 PM ET
The Red Wings kicked off their work week with a bit of a bang by signing potential 20-goal-scorer Teemu Pulkkinen to a 3-year, entry-level contract, and while most of the Wings’ brass is at the NHL’s draft combine, we know that they’re going to ink perhaps their most NHL-ready prospect (despite the fact that he’ll remain with his Swedish team, Brynas IF) in Calle Jarnkrok and perhaps their most skilled stickhandler in Tomas Jurco to entry-level deals over the next few days.
The Wings surrendered quite the pick by their standards—the 19th pick—to acquire Kyle Quincey, but the Detroit News’s Jim Nill told the Free Press’s George Sipple that he believes the Wings can snag a decent player when they draft around 50th (depending on those pesky compensatory picks, and whether the Devils will surrender their pick to the league as part of the penalty they have to pay for signing Ilya Kovalchuk)...
And as RedWingsCentral’s Matthew Wuest notes, while revealing his Top 25 Wings prospect list for the spring/summer, the Wings have perhaps prepared for the supposed “aging” of their superstars pretty damn well given the number of prospects in the pipeline with genuine NHL “upside”:
At least two members of Red Wings Central’s end-of-season prospect ranking, and maybe more, are expected to graduate to the Detroit Red Wings next fall.
Top-ranked defenseman Brendan Smith and second-ranked left-winger Gustav Nyquist are both poised to crack the big club full-time next fall. Forwards Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson have paid their dues on the farm and are at least ready for part-time roles. Throw in a fifth wildcard — center/winger Riley Sheahan — and the Red Wings have excellent depth to draw from depending on injuries and how aggressively they dive into the unrestricted free agent market.
Not to be outdone, forwards Calle Jarnkrok, Tomas Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen, defensemen Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet and goaltender Petr Mrazek all continued to emerge with excellent seasons and give the Red Wings 11 prospects with solid NHL potential.
There are also intriguing prospects outside the competitive top 11, but there is a dividing line as far as upside and NHL readiness.
The, “Continue reading” tag applies, especially given how far Thomas McCollum has fallen…
21. Thomas McCollum (-2), G, Grand Rapids (AHL), 11-16-0, 3.49 GAA, .891 Sv%.
After three underwhelming seasons, McCollum has flopped as a first-round pick. With Petr Mrazek turning pro and Joey MacDonald under NHL contract, he’ll need a huge performance at training camp to avoid being squeezed out of an AHL job in Grand Rapids.
If you missed it in the Pulkkinen post, here’s what Nill had to say to MLive’s Ansar Khan about Pulkkinen:
“He’s a shooter, kind of unique for a European because Europeans are always known for over-passing,’’ Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “You don’t like to make comparisons, but his game is a lot like Brett Hull’s. He’s got a quick release, he’s a pure goal-scorer.’‘
Like most 20-year-olds, Pulkkinen needs to gain more strength and play more of a two-way game, but Nill said, “That stuff can be taught.’‘
Pulkkinen had 16 goals and 37 points in 2011-12, his second season with Jokerit Helsinki of SM Liiga, the highest league in Finland. He has 25 goals and 59 assists in 126 games overall. The Red Wings were fortunate to have Pulkkinen slide down to them in the fourth round. Many analysts expected him to be taken much higher heading into his draft year.
“He had a tough year, a lot of injuries, didn’t have a good year because of that,’’ Nill said. “He bounced back the following year. We’re excited about him.’‘
In free agent news, this ain’t much, but it’s worth puttin’ on the pile of people with nothing really to gain by saying that Zach Parise and/or Ryan Suter might be bound for Detroit continuing to hint as much. This time, the NHL’s version of Grandpa Simpson, one Stan Fischler, tosses it off while talking about the trade market for Rick Nash:
New Jersey’s Zach Parise and Nashville’s Ryan Suter are the big-ticket unrestricted free agents, with Detroit the likely destination for one (or both). Some of the clubs that miss out on those two could turn their eyes toward Nash, a perennial 30-goal scorer in the prime of his career.
And as mentioned in the comments section of the overnight report, Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk and the Russian national team were feted for their World Championship victory in Moscow today, with, according to Sovetsky Sport, about 4,000 fans watching the Russian team parade through Moscow on a double-decker bus before meeting with Vladimir Putin, who received an honorary gold medal
And while there are several photo galleries of the event from Sportbox, Championat and RSport, a nice photo of Pavel waving to fans from Yahoo Sports and confirmation that Datsyuk and his teammates will receive World Championship rings…
Sport-Express’s Andrei Kuznetsov notes that one event took the cake (and this is roughly translated) from an “aww” perspective…
As soon as the hockey players approached the walls of the Kremlin, the son shone over Manege Square. The heroes of the day took their time on stage. At the center was Pavel Datsyuk, who took his adorable daughter, Elizabeth, to the parade with him. In the first interview of her life, she admitted that she is very proud of her dad and his team.
Via RedWingsFeed, Red Wings Grinder’s Alexey Kovalevich posted a video of the rally, and while it’s in Russian, we are all required (Prime Minister Botox says so!) to say, “Awwww!” at the 49:30 mark. Little “Lisa” isn’t exactly like dad—she almost trips over herself gushing about dad winning, and it’s absolutely adorable:
Also: Sergei Fedorov didn’t exactly say anything earth-shattering during his first extended interview as CSKA Moscow’s general manager, which was conducted by VIP74.ru, but something tells me that some ladies out there might appreciate seeing the 42-year-old in a suit. He looks pretty sharp for 42-and-a-half, but there appears to be a wedding ring on that right ring finger, gals.
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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.