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Red Wings GM Ken Holland tells Pleiness that he’s happy with his team…but plans on making moves

Red Wings GM Ken Holland was bound to say something more than he offered the Free Press’s Helene St. James regarding what was all but certainly a better offer for Rick Nash than what the New York Rangers ended up giving Columbus, which declined doing business with Detroit…

And he did just that while speaking to the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness, albeit while keeping what I can best describe as that strangely dichotomous party line going—cue the “happy with our team” versus the team will move aggressively to improve itself spiel. First, Pleiness confirms that the Wings offered the Blue Jackets More than the Rangers did….

Detroit’s offer generated zero conversation. It’s not known what the Wings offered, but the source said it was “four pieces.”

Howson was looking for at least two proven NHL forwards in return for the six-time 30-goal scorer. That’s a pretty steep asking price for any team, including the Wings, who would more than likely have to part with proven talent like Johan Franzen or Valtteri Filppula and perhaps even throw in an up-and-coming star like Darren Helm or Gustav Nyquist.

But Holland says he has no regrets regarding pursuing Ryan Suter or any other free agent in vain while adding Damien Brunner, Jonas Gustavsson, Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo instead, being turned down by the Blue Jackets and being turned down by Shea Weber’s party when inquiring as to whether Weber would sign a massively front-loaded offer sheet from another “arch-rival” team…

“I feel fine with how free agency has gone,” Holland said. “We went in with a game plan. We’re very happy with what happened on July 1.”

And while Pleiness couldn’t confirm Shane Doan’s agent, Terry Bross’s interest in perhaps bringing Shane Doan’s grand tour to Detroit, where Holland told MLive’s Ansar Khan he’d be quite happy to meet with Doan and show him around the rink and the Metro Area, he did get Holland to, well, do the single-person good cop/bad cop routine:

“As I look at our team today, we’re real excited about our goaltending. We’ve got a 27-year-old guy in Jimmy Howard, who has three years of NHL experience under his belt. We have a 28-year-old guy in Gustavsson that’s got a couple of years in Toronto in him. I believe as a goaltender your best years are probably from 27 and 28 years of age all the way up to 34, that’s when you’ve got your combination of skill and experience. As I look at our team upfront we’re happy with the addition of Tootoo and Samuelsson,” Holland added. “If (Gustav) Nyquist was on any other NHL team in the league they’d give him a chance. We’re going to give him a chance.”

Yeah, but…

“We made a decision to target some high profile players, we pursued them and unfortunately we weren’t able to make it happen,” Holland said. “There were circumstances involved. We’re going to continue going forward drafting, developing and expecting to be a playoff team. We’ve got to give some young kids an opportunity.

“We’re going to explore, either through trade or free agency, making a move or two between now and training camp,” Holland continued. “We’re going to see over the next six weeks if we can make something else happen.”

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I know this isn’t a terribly popular opinion in the land of the Holland-bashing zombies, but I’m not really disappointed with how things have turned out.

Granted, I could have done without Tootoo.  Hate that guy.

Still, considering all sorts of shenanigans could be going on with the CBA over the next few years, and specifically recalling how those shenanigans hammered the Wings int he first two years coming into the cap, sitting somewhere at the league midpoint cap-space wise has some upside.

I would have been happier in the short term had the Wings landed Suter and Parise, of course, but their current position is rather better in the longer term than it would be had the club locked up both of those guys.

And you never know.  If the Wings get lucky with Brunner or Nyquist and/or hit a good trade by the deadline, this offseason will be largely forgotten and forgiven even from the most committed anti-Hollanders.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/23/12 at 11:23 PM ET


Minus Semin, Doan and trade… Uhh whats the guy waiting for?  He made the best offers he could.. Maybe he knows something we don’t. Maybe there are extra FAs that we don’t know about but that FA pool is puddle-sized now and the suns baking it everyday.. So.. Yeah. Doan to Phoenix or NYR and Semin to Pens.. Who else is there.. Knuble?

Posted by That guy from OveR there on 07/23/12 at 11:33 PM ET


yep, we are happy with our team!

Posted by RocketSurgeon from Canton, MI on 07/23/12 at 11:36 PM ET


Lebda and Commodore are still available, They’d be right up Holland’s criteria. He could talk to Philly and offer another first round draft choce in trade for Lilja. Where’s Anders Ericcson palying these days?

Posted by RocketSurgeon from Canton, MI on 07/23/12 at 11:43 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The market is quiet. It is quiet because Doan is the next domino to fall, and then Semin, and after that, free agents are still asking July 1st prices when the reality of the situation is that there are serviceable players out there—think Petr Sykora, Knuble, Jason Arnott, Jochen Hecht, Andrei Kostitsyn and a reclamation project named Eric Fehr up front (link goes to Capgeek’s list of forward free agents), and Scott Hannan, Pavel Kubina, Carlo Colaiacovo, Milan Jurcina, Cam Barker, Jaroslav Spacek and Matt Gilroy on defense—but those players simply aren’t second-tier guys, they’re the third-tier, mid-August bargain bin types, and it’s going to take until at least August 1st before those players and their agents crank down their asking prices to more reasonable levels.

There are serviceable players out there, but it’s going to take time for them to think they’re not the next best thing after Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Rick Nash and Shea Weber, because there is no next best thing, just the leftovers, and that means that Wings fans like you and me will have to wait to see how things shake out.

And we’re terrible at waiting.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/23/12 at 11:49 PM ET


Why not make a serious offer for Bobby Ryam????

Posted by Joe on 07/23/12 at 11:59 PM ET


Why not make a serious offer for Bobby Ryam????

Posted by Joe on 07/23/12 at 11:59 PM ET


Why not make a serious offer for Bobby Ryam????

Posted by Joe on 07/24/12 at 12:00 AM ET

SYF's avatar

We’ve got to give some young kids an opportunity.

Quite a few of us have been wanting for this to happen and I think we now have the coaches to do it.  Renney’s a great communicator with the kids and Peters is only a year removed from the WHL (I think).  Really need to start throwing the kids into the fire…and early.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 07/24/12 at 12:20 AM ET


so HockeyinHD ... ya hate Tootoo do ya ??  All the more reason to have him on our team.  Same sentiments were tossed around when we signed Chelios and look how that turned out.  Nobody gave Bertuzzi much of a chance and he’s worked out pretty good considering he’s 35+, has a wonky back, and a law suit hanging over his head like a 3 ton elephant.  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer ... a damn good philosophy.

George brought up a real good point earlier this afternoon about taking into consideration next years UFAs & RFAs when thinking about this years salary cap numbers.  It all involves a lot of “fuzzy math” and an optimistic outlook as far as how the players perform and a new CBA being worked out on time.

If you’re anticipating the players having to give back 7% (bring revenues to a 50/50 split) in order to avoid a lockout, that will drop the current $70.2 mil. salary cap to $65.3 mil.

Optimistically, everybody has a good season and we make it to the Western Conference Finals.  If that’s the case, here’s a list of wild guesses as to what the raises for 2013 UFAs & RFAs could be (including the yet to be signed Abdelkader):

Abdelkader +$862.5K [current RFA]
Filppula +$3 mil.  [UFA]
Cleary -$900K [UFA] <—knee trashed ??
White +$1.125 mil.  [UFA]
Howard +$2.75 mil.  [UFA]
Miller +$112.5K [UFA]
Mursak +$1.5 mil [UFA]
Brunner +$400K [RFA]
Kindl +$616K [RFA]
Total Raises—-> $9,466,000.00

Currently we have 23 players signed at a cap hit of $54,017,044
Add in the above raises and we’re at $63,483,044 or about $1.8 mil. under the theoretical “new” cap after a new CBA is signed.

If Parise or Suter or any of the other players we “missed out on” actually signed with us, things would have gotten ugly next summer. And for those that thought Nash would be traded to a western conference team (let alone Detroit), they need to schedule an MRI A.S.A.P. to thoroughly examine the contents of their head.

If/when Holland does make a trade for a top 4 defenceman, its going to have to be almost even salary so we don’t lose anyone next summer.

The only way we make a bigger splash is if Cleary’s knee is trashed to the point that it forces him to retire.

Before anybody criticizes Hollands actions so far, it helps to do a little fuzzy math first.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 07/24/12 at 12:22 AM ET


We’re very happy with what happened on July 1.

No you’re not.

Posted by Garth on 07/24/12 at 12:23 AM ET


Optimistically, everybody has a good season and we make it to the Western Conference Finals.

Wow, you’re certainly out of your mind.

Quite a few of us have been wanting for this to happen

That’s curious, you’ve been waiting for the Wings to lose some of their best players and insert a number of complete question marks?


Posted by Garth on 07/24/12 at 12:29 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Wings have gone as far as they can with Smith and a few other NHL-ready kids.  Wings still have a really good core of veterans to keep the kids steady while they make mistakes.  Smith is over-riped per M.O.  If we want him to be the next great Detroit defenseman, he’ll need the 12-14 minutes of quality NHL ice time to grow.

It isn’t the most ideal time with Lidstrom and Stuart gone.  It’s time for the kids to be men.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 07/24/12 at 12:55 AM ET

awould's avatar

I’m not thrilled with the FA period to date. I really think Holland should have signed Carle with or without Suter. Saying he’s happy with the effort is like Babe Ruth saying he’s ok he struck out because he was swinging. Don’t be satisfied with striking out, period.

But I’m optimistic for the season and believe that they’ll be a playoff team. The youth should inject some spirit into the team and a guy like Tootoo should inject some sharp elbows into the game. I’m excited to see Nyquist and Smith in the line-up full time, and Helm back as well.

I will be really excited if they can get Doan or Semin. I’d be doing backflips if they can make a good trade for Yandle. But I doubt any of that will happen.

Posted by awould on 07/24/12 at 01:02 AM ET


Holland!!! Holland!!!!! Holland!!!! You always like your team,,,even if you didn’t sign
anyone, you would of still liked the team!!! I do think we have to let the young kids have a chance, and see what they have,,,AFTER we sign Bobby Ryan & one more
Vetern D, so get er done Holland!!! before thats too late to!!!!!!

Posted by Mark from Redford on 07/24/12 at 01:09 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Hey, I’ve got a novel idea. I mean, this one might not go over so well with some people, but…I’m just sayin’... Why not make a serious offer for Bobby Ryan?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/24/12 at 01:19 AM ET


Any other Wings fans tired of being fed complete BS by Kenny yet?

If he believes the crap that comes out of his mouth he should be fired.

If he doesn’t and its spin, I wish he’d stop insulting us.

Either way its nauseating.

Posted by deanwerner on 07/24/12 at 01:25 AM ET

BrendonTO's avatar

As has been noted by the 19 many times, Kenny is not going to say how desperate he is to make a move for a significant player to the press. 

Seriously you people, what exactly do you expect him to say??  We know concretely he went after Parise, Suter, Weber and Nash, and that back when the Yandle talk was happening around the draft that he was trying there too.  Almost every team with a good player to trade sees the Wings as their main ‘rival’, including Anaheim, and so getting their star players (in particular when playing in the same division) was a huge long shot to begin with.  Out of all the teams bidding for Suter, we were the top non-family-reasons team and one of only two to take their pitch to his home in person.

Does Kenny need to somehow magically un-retire Lidas and make Stevie Y young again and bring him back for everyone to be happy?  Guy knows what he’s doing, and knows waaay more about the likely CBA landscape in the League’s future than any of us or the hockey media.

Posted by BrendonTO on 07/24/12 at 01:40 AM ET

BrendonTO's avatar

Just an added thought…..I’ve always hoped that KH might try trading for a high first round pick, say in the top 5, by making an early season trade with a team likely to end up in the lottery.  Next year’s draft class is supposed to be excellent but Howson has 3 firsts now.  If not their captain, would he be willing to trade their pick within the division for some goal-scoring (since they have zero now)?

Posted by BrendonTO on 07/24/12 at 01:48 AM ET


Been saying it for a while if not Nash then Ryan and Ryan actually has bigger upside. On d we could use some help, indeed. But maybe waiting for a stronger player out there would be better. Not a big kubina fan, would he make us better than waiting? I would have rather had Holland et al not spend so much on praise and his BFF and gone fornbeefin us up for a little less.
Once again Holland is happy…. And with that…... Come on get something going!!!!!!!! Already

Posted by Wbclimb from Az on 07/24/12 at 01:57 AM ET

awould's avatar

I would have rather had Holland et al not spend so much on praise and his BFF and gone fornbeefin us up for a little less.

Very often you get what you pay for. Everyone acting like Suter was somehow overpaid is high. He was paid what the market bore. You think Holland is somehow gonna be the only guy in line for the next big FA and he’ll get a deal? So wait until 2013 and snag Edler for a song? It doesn’t work like that, which is why most of us bemoaned overpaying Ericsson.

So then beef up for less with who and what? A bunch of role players cobbled together? That would make Detroit more like Columbus or Nashville circa 2013. They had the money but missed the opportunities.

Posted by awould on 07/24/12 at 02:08 AM ET


Is Ryan even available? I know it was put out there, but theres been nothing on that front for a long time and they are bringing back Temmu. I’m sure he didn’t come back just to earn a paycheck. I kinda doubt that Ryan even gets moved.

Holland really has kicked every tire. Suter and Parise wanted to be closer to home. He made an offer for Nash, which was apparently better then what the Rangers gave up, and he kicked the Weber tires. Weber didn’t want to come here. Plus with his salary, and the uncertainty with the next CBA, the Flyers, if Nashville doesn’t match, could be handcuffed. We’ve been there and done that junk. Carle would have been nice, but thats really the only thing you could say he whiffed on right now.  As for Doan and Semin, I like em both. There are a lot more questions with Semin, but more of an upside.  With Doan you know what your getting. He’s a great leader with a lot of passion who wants to win because he hasn’t. But his mind is stuck in PHX right now. I’d be happy with either one, and waiting for Doan to decide is probably the right decision. Nobody else is lining up for Semin, so that should tell you a lot about the dude. Step off the ledge. It could be worse. There could be no season next year.

Posted by T on 07/24/12 at 03:01 AM ET

Lucce's avatar

Im happy with the team. Im missing two pieces, one big forward and one top 4 D-man.

Posted by Lucce from Kingdom of Zweden on 07/24/12 at 03:31 AM ET


The holland apologists here are driving me insane. He whiffed on parise and suter. Why is everyone forgetting that the wild payed those guys more money than the red wings offered. Everyone says “oh they wanted to play closer to home, can’t fault holland there!” no, the wild simply offered more money than the red wings. He fell asleep at the wheel with weber, with his “I don’t take advantage of the RFA rules because it’s mean” routine. I’m glad holland likes his team because someone’s got to.

Posted by NHLrick on 07/24/12 at 04:18 AM ET


All the more reason to have him on our team.  Same sentiments were tossed around when we signed Chelios and look how that turned out.

Did you seriously just compare Chelios to Jordin freaking Tootoo?

The holland apologists here are driving me insane. He whiffed on parise and suter. Why is everyone forgetting that the wild payed those guys more money than the red wings offered.

Enh.  Holland made an equivalent offer on Suter, he just decided to go play with Parise in Minny.  Que sa’ra.

Again, of course I would have been happier in the short term had Holland signed either or both of those guys, or if he had given up the farm and then made a huge offer to Weber, or if or if or if.

The thing is, I also am able to look at the longer-term ramifications of those deals so I am able to see that while there are positives to making them, there are also many negatives.

If I had to make a guess, I’d imagine the people howling now about Holland not locking up player A B or C to a huge deal are the same ones who howled about Holland not locking up Hossa to a huge deal… and how’s that working out for the Hawks?

Detroit is right there in the mix.  Nowadays that’s about all you really need to do… just ask LA.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/24/12 at 07:34 AM ET


And you’re referring to Hudler being one of our best players like it’s a good thing.

I did no such thing.  I was as happy as anyone to see him leave.  I was referring specifically to losing two of the top three defensemen on the team.

You remind me though that part of the plan going into July 1st was to bring in a top-six scoring winger, and Holland couldn’t do that either.  So yeah, happy with how July 1st because you replaced Hudler and added the teams 22nd bottom-six forward?  Sure…

Kenny is not going to say how desperate he is to make a move for a significant player to the press.

Here’s the thing though.  By saying he’s happy with how July 1st went he is betraying how desperate he is.  If he just kept on with “we know what we need, we’re looking for blah blah blah” that’s one thing, but you don’t lose the best defenseman of his generation and a stalwart defensive defenseman without replacing them, after an extremely disappointing year, and try to convince people that you’re happy.

Scott Howson had been saying he was going to make a deal on his terms, and we all believe that the deal he made is the one he set out to make, right?

just ask LA.

Yeah, and if Holland figures out a way to add Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty, you might have a point.

Posted by Garth on 07/24/12 at 09:07 AM ET


The amount of inane irrational hissy fits going on is impressive.

I like George’s point about signing someone to insane money now might mean losing a fan favorite next year with a lower cap. There aren’t a whole lot of people who are willing to acknowledge that around here.

Also what nobody wants to see is that Detroit is EVERYBODY’s “arch-rival”. Seriously. What’s Holland supposed to do? He could have offered Howson half the team and Howson probably wouldn’t have even answered. Lets not forget that Howson was offered 7 picks from someone wanting to move up 2 picks in the draft then proceeded to pick the guy a lot of people felt was the 5th best available. Jesus, Howson’s an idiot. I could do a better job as a GM than Howson does. At least I’d be willing to throw buckets of money at other teams’ scouts…

And the fact Holland’s not trying to sign 39 y.o. forwards while waiting for THE PREMIER forward left in free agency? I mean Doan, here, NOT Semin. Regardless of the fact that every other team in the league who may have interest in another forward is doing the same thing? That Holland’s just a buffoon.

And the last point that really needs to be stressed. “I’m happy with my team” is a way of saying “I’m not going to give Semin $8M/yr and I’m not going to sign some guy off the scrap heap for anywhere near as much as I’m willing to pay to get Doan.” If people can’t see that, I don’t know what to say. It doesn’t mean he’s happy with the team, it just means he isn’t going to bankrupt the Wings or make it so they can’t sign their own players in the future just to get some guy they don’t really need.

Posted by teldar on 07/24/12 at 09:22 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

and how’s that working out for the Hawks?

They won a cup and Hossa continues to be pretty close to a ppg player.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 07/24/12 at 10:17 AM ET


No I am not saying piece some crap together. I would have like suter but while I think without parise he would have come to the wings we needed a garrison type and a Ryan/Nash type of players. We got Samuelson and toto. One or the other, yeah. Both at the same time, no.  Suter’s price is mute as you state because that is what the market bore. If someone is going to pay me that I doubt I’ll say no. 
No holland won’t be the only GM looking at the FA. He wasn’t this go around either but our draw wasn’t to strong was it? Hockey is a team sport, no one individual can carry the team it needs points and counterpoints. Does that mean you need the biggest name. No! Holland is right to go after key pieces but I think we missed and we missed some good parts while going after praise, suter and Doan. Columbus’s stupid but wasn’t about to trade to us so nix Nash. Praise wasn’t about to come to us. Will the ducks deal?  Now you almost have to wait because just to buy now would not do this team any good. So the only option is trading, if available.

Sorry written on the fly from my iPad..

Posted by Wbclimb from Az on 07/24/12 at 12:18 PM ET



You guessed spot on! I wanted to send that lazy, flash in the pan mule packing, and lock up Hossa for the rest of his career. How’s that working for the hawks? Let’s check! 78 goals, 107 helpers, in 203 games. yeah you’re right Kenny was spot on with that one.

Posted by NHLrick on 07/24/12 at 02:06 PM ET


Oh and you either don’t know that the wild in fact offered more money than we did for suter, or you’re pretending you don’t know for arguments sake. Either way your facts aren’t straight. the wild outbid us plain and simple. So no the offers werent “equivalent”.

Posted by NHLrick on 07/24/12 at 02:37 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.