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The Malik Report

Red Wings GM Ken Holland explains why the team will wait until July to decide Tomas Holmstrom’s fate

Updated at 1:52 PM: This morning, the Free Press’s Helene St. James reported that the Red Wings have chosen to delay their decision as to whether they will bring Tomas Holmstrom back for one more season until after the team’s explored the free agent marketplace, offering Holmstrom’s side of the story, and this afternoon, MLive’s Ansar Khan shares Wings GM Ken Holland’s reasoning regarding offering an exception to the, “If you haven’t re-signed by July 1st, we’ll move forward without you” rule:

“He wants to make sure he’s got the energy and passion – all the things Nick Lidstrom talked about before he retired,’’ Holland said. “Right now he’s leaning towards playing. We both want to see what goes on in early July.’‘

The Red Wings want to see what transpires over the next three weeks regarding potential trades or free-agent signings on or after July 1 before making a commitment to Holmstrom.

Money is not the issue. The Red Wings have plenty of salary-cap space and Holmstrom likely would return for less than the $1.5 million he earned in 2011-12. The main issue is whether the Red Wings will have a spot for Holmstrom on their 23-man roster after the dust settles from free agency. They have 18 players signed for a salary-cap hit of $44 million, including Brendan Smith and Gustav Nyquist, who the club intends to keep on the NHL roster but who still have minor-league options.

After they sign restricted free agents Kyle Quincey, Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader, they will have 13 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders. That leaves two open spots, one for a defenseman and one for a goal-scoring winger. If the Red Wings bring back Holmstrom, they would need to trim a forward or send Nyquist back to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

“Let’s get another three weeks of information under our belt,’’ Holland said.
...
“He’s getting older, it’s getting tougher, but he feels he’s got the drive and the desire,’’ Holland said. “Right now his thought was, ‘I feel pretty good, I’m thinking of playing.’ Let’s take a little more time.’‘

And if you missed it in the mid-day news thread, Jonkopings Nyheter’s Peter Gustafsson reports that Grand Rapids Griffin and part-time Wing Chris Conner has chosen to decline offers to play for HV71 and Frolunda in the Swedish Eliteserien to continue his professional career in North America instead:

“Chris decided this weekend to play in North America for at least another season. He made the decision with his family,” said [his European agent] Pontus Noren.


Update: Via RedWingsFeed, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness spoke to Holland about the team’s plans, too:

“He wants to make sure he’s got energy and passion,” Holland said. “That’s all the things Nick Lidstrom talked about. Right now he’s leaning towards playing. We both want to see what goes on in early July. He wants to make sure he’s healthy,” Holland continued. “Right now he’s feeling like he’s playing. Let’s wait until early July.”

A lot of the Wings’ decision on if they’ll bring him back for one more season will be based how well free agency goes once it opens on July 1.

Detroit was in a similar situation with Kirk Maltby in 2010. Maltby wound up signing a one-year, two-way deal with the team prior to the start of training camp to compete for a roster spot. Maltby failed to win a spot when camp ended and was placed on waivers. Instead of going to Grand Rapids to play, Maltby decided to retire.

“Let’s get another three weeks of information under our belt,” Holland said. “He’s getting older, it’s getting tougher, but he feels he’s got the drive and the desire. Given what’s happened with unrestricted free agents, we’ll try to do some things here in the next three weeks,” Holland continued. “He feels today he wants to play again. Right now his thought was I feel pretty good, I’m thinking of playing. Let’s take a little more time.”

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Comments

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If the Wings bring back Holmstrom then the UFA season will have been a failure.

Posted by Garth on 06/12/12 at 02:38 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I believe the Wings want and need to put a couple of more forwards on the ice with wheels and constant motors like Parise or Dustin Brown.  Clearly Homer doesn’t fit that mold, heroic as he has been.

Posted by RWBill from Brush Street cruising with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 06/12/12 at 02:52 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If the Wings bring back Holmstrom then the UFA season will have been a failure.

Posted by Garth on 06/12/12 at 01:38 PM ET

Trying to stay away from absolutes this strong, but also struggling to disagree with the thought.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/12/12 at 03:00 PM ET

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Bah.  Having Homer under contract at 800k-1.2 mil has almost no impact whatsoever on Detroit’s ability to change up the roster.  Calling the offseason a failure if he comes back is, at least, hyperbole.

I’d rather Homer on the active roster than Emmerton, but even if Homer is a 13th forward I fail to see the reason to get too worked up over his retention.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/12/12 at 03:03 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Bah.  Having Homer under contract at 800k-1.2 mil has almost no impact whatsoever on Detroit’s ability to change up the roster.

Right.

But the read from this is that the Wings are going to wait and see how much they’ve changed up the roster to decide whether they will need Holmstrom back and that if they do make that decision, it’s an indication that they haven’t changed it up enough.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/12/12 at 03:12 PM ET

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Wings need to move on and stop being loyal to these guys. Homer offers no value except on the PP and its not worth a roster spot to have a guy play 7-8 minutes a night. Holland needs to tell Homer thanks, but no thanks and look elsewhere. The mindset of the organization needs to change.

Posted by Jeremy from Toledo, OH on 06/12/12 at 03:17 PM ET

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But the read from this is that the Wings are going to wait and see how much they’ve changed up the roster to decide whether they will need Holmstrom back and that if they do make that decision, it’s an indication that they haven’t changed it up enough.

I disagree with the premise that the Wings have to change things up so much that who the 12th 13th or 14th forward is really matters.  Did LA uncover some kind of amazing new skill set?  No way.  They had a goalie playing spectacularly well.  Did NJ?  Nope?

Boston last year?  Nope.  Vancouver?  Nope.

I don’t know how I can stress this enough:  The playoffs are now a glorified raffle.  If you get in you have the same shot as everyone else.  If you have a hot goalie your chances are wildly better, if you don’t you have no shot at all.

That’s it, that’s the list.  It’s not like LA has more talent top to bottom, because they don’t.  It’s not like they have some amazing new system, because they don’t.

If Detroit gets a little younger up front, a little younger on the blue line and makes a couple tweaks here and there they’ll be a top 1-6 team in the Conference next year just like they are every year.  At that point they put their ticket in the hat just like everyone else and hope their goalie lights up and they get some noteworthy contributions from their depth players.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/12/12 at 03:28 PM ET

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if this years free agent frenzy goes well for our beloved Red Wings,
not only do Emmerton & Mursak have to worry about a spot but Miller & Eaves could be searching for locker room space as well, let alone Homer.

not questioning his ability or his heart but he just looked slower than usual last season. if kenny holland does bring him back then its for more than his hockey skills.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 06/12/12 at 03:31 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I don’t know how I can stress this enough:  The playoffs are now a glorified raffle.

I think a lot of people making a lot of claims about the state of hockey based on what happened this season are going to find that knee-jerk reactions to short-term issues are just the kind of things that drive teams out of competitiveness.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/12/12 at 03:33 PM ET

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Playoffs are not a raffle. Playoff goaltending is the raffle. The 2 best goalies were quick and brodeur, look at the conference finals and there are the next best goalies in lundqvist and smith.

Im not saying they are ALWAYS better than the Howards, Fleury’s, Luongo and Brzgalovs, but they def were in the playoffs.

Posted by callmedrw on 06/12/12 at 03:49 PM ET

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Bah.  Having Homer under contract at 800k-1.2 mil has almost no impact whatsoever on Detroit’s ability to change up the roster.

That’s not at all what I’m talking about.

He no longer has the wheels to be a top six forward and Detroit already has Cleary, Helm, Abdelkader, Mursak, Emmerton, Miller, Eaves, Bertuzzi and theoretically Nyquist as bottom-six forwards.

The only way they bring him back is if they can’t sign any of their target top-six forwards and have to settle for having him on Datsyuk’s line.

Thus, in my opinion, failure.

It’s not like LA has more talent top to bottom, because they don’t.

One thing that LA had was players playing in their proper roles.  They didn’t have a third or fourth line forward playing on their top line because they didn’t have enough top-six forwards.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/12/12 at 02:33 PM ET

Exactly.  A 6 seed plays an 8 seed once and now everything has changed?

Nevermind that in the previous five years there was one team that made the Finals that wasn’t a top 4 seed in their conference.

Posted by Garth on 06/12/12 at 03:59 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Want to know LA’s secret? They were healthy. When the Wings were healthy, they were the best team in the NHL. Pav’s, TPH, Jimmah and others get hurt. TPH and Jimmah never really recover and neither do the Wings.

It’s a salary cap world now and no team can stockpile depth. Teams will only advance as far as the health of their team will allow.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 06/12/12 at 04:43 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Want to know LA’s secret? They were healthy

How many years has Gramps been tellin’ us… “Injuries & Officiating”?

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 06/12/12 at 05:04 PM ET

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Who said anything about the NHL changing just based on this year?  It seems like Garth and JJ are stretching to claim a statement has been inferred which certainly has not.

The hot goalie has always been the big post-cap deal.  It is now just about impossible to have two teams so wildly disparate in talent that one can overcome the other’s hot goalie, so when one team has one and the other does not… ballgame.

LA this year.  Boston last year.  Pittsburgh in 2009.  Detroit in 2008.  Giguere in 2007.  Ward in 2006.  The only exception was the goaltending atrocity that Philly and Chicago put on in 2010.

Further, the same goalie is very rarely hot in two playoffs in a row, or two out of 5, even.  It’s pretty tough to figure out which goalie will be hot ahead of time, because the overall level of goaltending in the NHL has progressed to such a point that literally any of the top 10-12 guys are good enough to warm up and completely shut down their opponents for weeks at a time.

Also, as the cap has progressed the % difference in total spending between teams has narrowed, as well.  So whatever spending gap may have existed 6 years ago has tightened much further.

All of that aside, back to Homer.  In the playoffs he was used on a scoring line maybe 20% of his time at ES.  In the regular season it was scarcely more.  His top 4 line combos as far as frequency were all depth lines and not scoring lines.  Add in how little he was played overall (less than 10 minutes a game in the playoffs, less than 12 minutes a game in the regular season) and I think it pretty clearly adds up to a guy who maybe gets a couple shifts in the top 6, but is mostly just a plug forward who happens to be a PP specialist.

In other words, considering that he was used primarily as a plug forward who skated the PP last year I think fears that if brought back he’d be used in a larger role than that to be unfounded.

So, if Homer comes back I think it’s pretty obvious he’d be used for 10-12 minutes a night in total.  1-2 on the PP, 6-8 in the bottom 6 and probably the bottom line, and maybe a 8 shifts a night out with a scoring line.  And he probably would only be playing 50 games, anyway.

So, whether Homer’s the guy playing 10-12 minutes a night or it’s Emmerton or Mursak or Miller or whoever else… I just don’t see what real difference is being discussed here as far as actual on-ice contribution goes.  All those guys suck in different ways.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/12/12 at 05:12 PM ET

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I strongly disagree with the “hot goalie” being 100 percent of the equation—I actually think the recent evidence suggests the opposite: that goalies matter even less than they used to.

Brodeur was not among the top goalies in the playoffs this year and his team made the finals. Roberto Luongo had a relatively shaky playoff in 2011, his team allowed many more goals than it scored over the postseason, and still came within a win of the Cup. Antti Niemi (2010) and Marc-Andre Fleury (2009) won Stanley Cups despite rocking worse-than-league-average save percentages; in fact, Fleury’s .908 was second-worst among the 9 playoff goalies who played enough games to qualify.

I agree that the playoffs are a bit of a crapshoot due to league parity, but I think it’s a big mistake to argue that goaltending is the only determining factor. Goaltending is maybe 15-20 percent of a team’s overall probability of success—a big piece, but certainly not what it’s made out to be.

This year, the playoff wheel of parity-based randomness happened to select virtually all of the boring defensive teams over virtually all of the exciting teams. Next year it will probably be different. It happens from time to time. If next season Detroit, Vancouver, Chicago and San Jose make R2 in the West all the “experts” will probably be talking about how teams need skill and offense to compete in today’s NHL, even though that result will be almost as much a product of randomness as this year’s results were.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 06/12/12 at 05:44 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

In other words, considering that he was used primarily as a plug forward who skated the PP last year I think fears that if brought back he’d be used in a larger role than that to be unfounded.

I think you’re misreading the fears here.  It’s not Homer filling the role of a plug forward who skates on the power play that’s the problem… it’s having anybody in that role on the team.

I’d rather the team be plug-free, regardless of who is playing the plug.  That spot would ideally be used by a guy who needs those minutes to grow out of the fourth line and contribute in other ways in the future…. or a rotation of young guys who need the occasional taste of the bigs as a reminder of how hard they need to work to stay there full time.

Having a lineup to where your backup plan is on a 35+ contract and can’t be moved off your roster for anything other than his spot rather than his space and has to clear waivers to do so is not a decision I want the Wings making regarding their 14th forward.

As for HOT goaltenders? That’s a bit of conflation on what I was talking about. Sure a hot goaltender helps, but it’s not the crapshoot you made it out to be (also, Fleury had a higher GAA than three of the four goalies he eliminated in 2009, so there’s that). 

Jonathan Quick, as the hot goaltender, also had a cap hit of $1.8M
The Blackhawks won the cup with a combined cap hit for Toews and Kane at $6.5M
Evgeni Malkin’s Conn Smythe Cap hit? $3.8M

The way teams separate themselves is by getting superstar-level performances out of guys on entry-level salaries.

Tomas Holmstrom on the Red Wings makes it harder to find out whether the $840K Tomas Tatar or the $875K Gustav Nyquist can be one of those overperforming-yet-underpaid guys that cup champion teams need.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/12/12 at 06:00 PM ET

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I’d rather the team be plug-free, regardless of who is playing the plug.

Well sure.  Unfortunately that’s not a terribly realistic expectation given the existence of a salary cap.  The only way to avoid plugs is to also avoid elite players, so you end up paying everyone 2-3 million bucks a year and have 4 2nd or 3rd lines.

As far as your concerns about 35+ contracts go, that’s only for multi year deals… so if the Wings sign Homer to a one-year deal he’s as waivable as the next guy.

The way teams separate themselves is by getting superstar-level performances out of guys on entry-level salaries.

And the only way you do that is by missing the playoffs long enough and badly enough to accumulate a bunch of early picks, or by getting super lucky with a late pick.

Trying to make the case that having Homer or not substantively impedes the ability of the Wings cadre of mediocre prospects from blooming into whatever doesn’t particularly resonate with me because Homer’s just going to be a depth guy anyway.  Keeping Cleary and Bert and Fil and Franzen are things that, to the degree what you’re talking ab out is even feasible, impede the Wings ability to ‘find out what a guy can do.

And there’s always the issue of whether playing kids more just creates the risk that the kids actually aren’t that great and the team ends up stuck with a bad roster.  It’s not like there is some long list of guys the Wings missed on who went on to great careers elsewhere, so I have a hard time buying their method of development significantly retards the growth of their prospects.

The real issue is that the Wings don’t really have any particularly strong prospects right now.  They have a bunch of middle-6ers, and that’s fine, but surely nobody I’m all in a rush to tip the roster over just to see them skate 9 minutes a night as an 11th forward.

That’s why the team is letting Hudler walk.  They think they have a few kids who can walk in and sort of do what he did.  Forcing Homer out just opens up a slot on the fourth line between Abdelkader and Miller.  Wee.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/12/12 at 07:10 PM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

So, whether Homer’s the guy playing 10-12 minutes a night or it’s Emmerton or Mursak or Miller or whoever else… I just don’t see what real difference is being discussed here as far as actual on-ice contribution goes.  All those guys suck in different ways.


When a guy is playing 8 to 12 minutes a night, he’s not being counted on for offense. He’s being counted on to play defense, not give up goals when you’re on the ice, just soak up a few minutes for the rest of the team to catch a breather.

Being able to play defense requires the speed to stay with your man, to go get the puck and move it out of your zone, skills that Holmstrom no longer really has. At even strength, he’s become a liability on the ice no matter which line he plays with…if that weren’t the case, the Wings wouldn’t be making it so obvious that they’d prefer to fill the roster spot with a younger, quicker player.

Homer doesn’t want to come back for one more year only to sit on the bench as the 14th or maybe even 15th forward. If he isn’t going to play, he won’t want to come back, and if they do bring him back, it’ll be to play him. Which I don’t think is in the team’s best interest anymore, as much as I love him for all he’s done. It’s been hard as a Wings fan the last few years, first with McCarty, then Maltby, and Draper too, now Homer…having to say goodbye is difficult, but necessary.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 06/12/12 at 07:51 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

As far as your concerns about 35+ contracts go, that’s only for multi year deals

You’re right. I thought that the $100K in cap relief thing hit regardless, but apparently that’s also only on multi-years.

The thing about the “middling prospects” (which I disagree with) is that using them for 8-10 minutes per night gives us an opportunity to know earlier whether than can bloom into something better and gives us the ability to trade them later if it doesn’t look like they will.  Sure, Bertuzzi and Cleary block that too, but so does Homer.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/12/12 at 08:09 PM ET

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JJ
Thanks for pointing out the contributions of high skill youngsters in recent years. t’s been the young superstars who have made huge differences the past few years. Look at Boston last year. Detroit hasn’t had anyone like that for years. Maybe since Kronwall signed his $3M/yr contract.

This is why they need to let Homer go, and maybe eaves, miller, mursak, emmerton, or abdelkader. They need to bring in some top 6 skill guys they don’t have to pay like top 6 guys. I don’t know la’s roster, but until this year, cup winners have lost good chunks of their teams to free agency because dude who leads their team in playoff scoring comes off EL contact and starts getting paid $5M/yr instead of $900K. I noticed that 3 years ago.

Posted by teldar on 06/12/12 at 09:00 PM ET

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Unfortunately that’s not a terribly realistic expectation given the existence of a salary cap. 

Sure it is.  If you don’t sign Homer as a plug then you don’t have a plug.  Oh wonder of wonders, how difficult is that?

Hell, how many teams other than Detroit had a player playing the plug role?  Nashville, with Hal Gill?  That’s the only one I can think of, and they didn’t even have him in the playoffs.

Have a roster of 14 healthy, able-bodied forwards, 7 healthy, able-bodied defensemen and 2 healthy, able-bodied goalies.

You can’t tell me that there’s a shortage of healthy, able-bodied professional hockey players.

The way teams separate themselves is by getting superstar-level performances out of guys on entry-level salaries.

Yes.

And there’s always the issue of whether playing kids more just creates the risk that the kids actually aren’t that great and the team ends up stuck with a bad roster.

How is that a different risk than keeping someone around who is aging, aching and sharply declining?

At least there’s a reasonable expectation that a young guy is going to get better the more he plays as opposed to with Holmstrom in which the reasonable expectation is for him to continue to decline and the guarantee is that he will be more and more banged up the more he plays.

Forcing Homer out just opens up a slot on the fourth line between Abdelkader and Miller.

Because it’s a bad thing to have couple young forwards who can skate, be physical, kill penalties and who are getting better every year?  Why would anyone want that when we can have a slow old man who is most effective when he is not moving?

Posted by Garth on 06/12/12 at 09:08 PM ET

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When a guy is playing 8 to 12 minutes a night, he’s not being counted on for offense. He’s being counted on to play defense, not give up goals when you’re on the ice, just soak up a few minutes for the rest of the team to catch a breather.

If a guy is playing 8-12 minutes a night, and a couple of those minutes are on the PP, and he’s one of the best PPers… wink

The thing about the “middling prospects” (which I disagree with) is that using them for 8-10 minutes per night gives us an opportunity to know earlier whether than can bloom into something better and gives us the ability to trade them later if it doesn’t look like they will.

Where we apparently disagree is in the ability of organizations to assess talent without seeing it on the NHL ice.  I don’t think a team has to see a guy play in the NHL to know, approximately, what kind of an NHLer he is going to be.  The cases are very rare that a dude who was mediocre at the AHL level goes on to be something beyond mediocre at the NHL level.  In almost every case the only change between what a players role is in the AHL and what it is in the NHL, is downwards.

Sure it is.  If you don’t sign Homer as a plug then you don’t have a plug.  Oh wonder of wonders, how difficult is that?

Don’t be a dick.  The point, obviously, is that if you don’t sign Homer unless you’re planning on spending 2-3 mil on that spot instead (at which point you’re spending yourself out of the ability to sign much elite talent) you’re going to end up with a plug.  800-1 mil players are 800k to 1 mil players.  They all suck in their own special ways.

Hell, how many teams other than Detroit had a player playing the plug role?  Nashville, with Hal Gill?

All of them.  Nashville had 7 guys they either used less than 12 minutes a night or in less than all of their games.  Every team has dudes that play 10ish minutes a night as a forward or 12ish minutes a night as a dman who are just roster fillers, mostly.  Guys who don’t play all the games and who occasionally have specific on ice roles.

How is that a different risk than keeping someone around who is aging, aching and sharply declining?

Who said it was?  I’m merely pointing out that either approach has it’s own pitfalls, not that one is demonstrably superior to the other.  IMO, with regards to Homer specifically, I think his PP utility gives him an edge in a straight roster contest with Mursak or Emmerton.

Besides, that’s what the Hudler spot is for: bringing in a kid.

Because it’s a bad thing to have couple young forwards who can skate, be physical, kill penalties and who are getting better every year?  Why would anyone want that when we can have a slow old man who is most effective when he is not moving?

Who are these young forwards who can skate, be physical, and get better every year, exactly?  If Detroit had these talents I’d be more willing to countenance the idea of running Homer out on a rail. 

Emmerton, Abdelkader, Miller et al most certainly do not fit that description.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/13/12 at 08:39 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Sadly, Homer’s time is over.  I want Nyquist in the line up, and I don’t want him on the 4th line.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 06/13/12 at 08:48 AM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

If a guy is playing 8-12 minutes a night, and a couple of those minutes are on the PP, and he’s one of the best PPers…

Unfortunately, he’s not even all that valuable on the PP anymore. It used to be he could help drive puck possession by retrieving pucks in the corners to help establish possessoin. Now, he can’t even do that anymore. Entering the zone with him on the ice is essentially a 4 on 4 situation now, and all he can do is go to the front of the net. The roster spot just isn’t worth it for someone who is only going to play on the power play and only be marginally helpful there. 9 or 10 power play goals for the year isn’t spectacular.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 06/13/12 at 08:51 AM ET

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Who are these young forwards who can skate, be physical, and get better every year, exactly?

Yeah, I guess Abdelkader and Helm aren’t at all physical.

Miller, Abdelkader and Helm definitely haven’t gotten better with each year.

And none of them can skate better than Homer.

Good point you made.  Thanks.

Nashville had 7 guys they either used less than 12 minutes a night or in less than all of their games.

That’s hardly the same thing as having someone around to just stand in front of the net on the PP.

I don’t think a team has to see a guy play in the NHL to know, approximately, what kind of an NHLer he is going to be.

That is sometimes the case and sometimes not the case.  The Red Wings only gave Howard his chance because he was no longer waiver exempt and the Wings didn’t already have a backup signed, yet a couple short years later he was a legit Vezina contender until he got hurt.

Don’t be a dick.

Don’t pretend that “plug” means “fourth liner” then.  Have an honest conversation.  When Homer was signed last year the intention was to not even play him every game, saving him whenever there were back to back games, just so that they could save his body.  They signed him while acknowledging that they didn’t even think he was capable of playing a full season.  That’s a plug.  Abdelkader is not a plug just because he plays on the fourth line.

Posted by Garth on 06/13/12 at 11:18 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The cases are very rare that a dude who was mediocre at the AHL level goes on to be something beyond mediocre at the NHL level

You keep saying mediocre to mean anybody who isn’t blowing the doors off of something.

Gustav Nyquist put up 58 points in 56 games in the AHL. As far as AHL league leaders, both Nyquist and Tatar put up numbers more comparable to them than comparable to league-average “mediocre” guys.

Brendan Smith’s AHL numbers were disappointing, but a lot of people are ready to put him on Detroit’s 2nd pairing coming into this year… and they’re not the batshit crazy ones either. 

What’s more is that Jakub Kindl was supposed to leap into a third pairing role and be fighting for a 2nd pairing spot by now thanks to what he had shown in the AHL.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/13/12 at 11:38 AM ET

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I hope Homer never reads TMR comments.

Posted by Alex on 06/13/12 at 02:55 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.