Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings mid-day news: More Jagr talk, a curious ‘roster report’ and Ken Kal outtakes

Updated 5x at 4:28 with St. James confirming Jagr interest: The scuttlebutt regarding the Red Wings’ possible interest in signing free agent-to-be Jaromir Jagr boil down to two issues—fit and finances. On the latter front, Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner reports that Jagr might not fit the Wings’ plans:

It’s being reported that Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, has contacted four clubs — Detroit, Pittsburgh, Montreal and the Rangers — about the services of his client. Jagr has played for three teams during his NHL career: the Penguins, Capitals, and Rangers.

Detroit appears to have the inside track because Jagr is salivating at the opportunity to play with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. But reports also suggest that Jagr also is seeking a major payday. If that’s the case, don’t expect Detroit to sign him. The Wings are smarting from the Mike Modano experiment. They’re apprehensive about signing aging veterans who are susceptible to injury and a diminishing skill set.

And on the former front, as Regner suggests, the Wings obviously want to spend most of their capped dollars bolstering their puck-moving blueline:

Also, Wings general manager Ken Holland has repeatedly said that he is fine with his forward corps, that his main focus is retooling his defense. (Holland has always sunk money into his blue-liners.)

At the right price, the Wings would take a chance on Jagr. They would be foolish not to. But the Wings ranked second in the NHL in goal-scoring last season, averaging 3.13 goals a game. They ranked 23rd in goals-against, giving up 2.89 goals a game. The seven teams that gave up more goals a game than Detroit didn’t make the playoffs.

As much as Jagr could add to the Wings, putting the puck into the net doesn’t appear to be their problem. It’s keeping the puck out of their net that needs to be addressed.

This is where I start scratching my bald head, because WXYT’s “roster report,” via the Sports Xchange, suggests that the Red Wings don’t need to follow their blueline blueprint and sign a free agent that will help the team play defense by carrying the puck up ice in order to play defense by grinding down the opposition 200 feet away from the Wings’ goal…

BIGGEST NEEDS

They need to upgrade their defense, even if Nicklas Lidstrom returns. They could use a top-four, stay-at-home defenseman who has the ability to shut down opponents’ top offensive players, preferably someone with size and a physical edge. They also need to shore up their backup goaltending position — someone whom they can rely on to play 20 games and spell starter Jimmy Howard.

That’s a wish list that only a perfect free agent market could fulfill. The Wings will probably target James Wisniewski, Joni Pitkanen and, barring a terrible medical report regarding his injured shoulder, Christian Ehrhoff on July 1st.

And finally, for the moment, anyway, Red Wings TV posted the final clip of out-takes from Ken Kal’s “game-day” features:

Update: Per Kukla’s Korner’s David Lee, the Hurricanes’ website’s Paul Branecky reports that the Canes may trade Pitkanen’s rights, and ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun says that the Canucks will obviously try to keep Bieksa first and foremost, but do hope to re-sign Ehrhoff.

It is 100% certain that James Wisniewski will hit the market.

• I would prefer to not comment on this “top playoff moment” noted by LeBrun:

Western Conference semifinals: Games 6 and 7, Red Wings-Sharks

LeBrun: I won’t soon forget covering this series, especially the last two games when Detroit and San Jose played Stanley Cup finals-worthy hockey. Two heavyweights going the distance. The Wings’ victory in Game 6 with the Joe Louis crowd going crazy is a memory for life, Detroit coming back from down 3-0 in the series to force Game 7. But the Sharks, with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau leading the way at HP Pavilion, avoided a total meltdown with a thrilling Game 7 victory. I remember leaving the rink that night wondering, “Was this the last time we saw Nicklas Lidstrom play?”

• For the record, yes, Dick Axelsson will play for Sweden at the Inline Hockey World Championships;

• And Hockey’s Future’s Brad Gardner posted a Red Wings draft preview.

Update #2: Via RedWingsFeed on Twitter, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan confirms the Jagr news:

Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, has contacted the Red Wings — along with Pittsburgh, Montreal and the Rangers — about the possibility of Jagr signing July 1 when unrestricted free agency begins. Jagr, 39, has spent the last three seasons in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League but would like to close out his career in the NHL.

The Wings might be interested in the power forward if the price is right. Both sides would be looking for a one-year deal, but the Wings won’t want to overspend as they feel secure with their current top nine forwards.

With Avangard Omsk last season, Jagr (6-foot-3, 242 pounds) had 50 points (19 goals, 31 assists) in 49 games. Jagr has scored 1,599 points (646 goals) in 1,273 career NHL games with Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers.

Jagr is intrigued by the Wings because of the possibility of playing with talented centers Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, and the team’s chances of winning the Stanley Cup.

Update #2.5: As the Detroit News’s sports staff notes, Wings owner Mike Ilitch was named the best owner in sports by ESPN:

In ESPN The Magazine’s annual “Best of Sports” rankings, unveiled this week, Ilitch is named the No. 1 owner in all of professional sports when it comes to honesty, commitment to the community and loyalty to core players.

The Red Wings also tied for first, with the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Penguins, in terms of championships won or expected to win in the lifetime of current fans.

Ilitch’s hockey team, meanwhile, finished 17th in “The Ultimate Standings,” a 1-122 ranking of all teams.

It was the best finish by a Detroit team. The Packers, Steve Yzerman’s Tampa Bay Lightning (up from 70th), New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Angels and San Antonio Spurs were top five.

The rankings take into account “Bang for the Buck,” players, fan relations, affordability, stadium experience, ownership, title track and coaching.

The other three Detroit teams came in at 52nd (Tigers), 94th (Lions) and 113th (Pistons).

Update #3: For the record, Dominik Hasek’s suggested to Denik Sport’s Miroslav Horak that Jagr would fit in very well with the Red Wings.

Update #4: Check out Scott Cullen’s off-season game plan for the Wings; we’ll talk about it later.

Update #5: The Detroit Free Press’s Helene St. James also confirms the Jagr storyline:

The agent for Jaromir Jagr has reached out to the Detroit Red Wings about signing the former NHL great. It’s a prospect the Wings are considering, with reservations. Jagr is 39 and hasn’t played in the NHL since 2007-08, having spent the past three seasons in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. The last player the Wings embraced from the KHL was Jiri Hudler, who looked like he regressed during his time overseas.

But Hudler isn’t as skilled as Jagr was in his prime, and Jagr has put up good numbers with Avangard Omsk, most recently producing 19 goals and 50 points in 49 games last season. He had 42 points in 51 games in 2009-10 and 53 points (including 25 goals) in 55 games in ’08-09. He was one of the best players in the NHL in the 1990s. He won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins and got the Hart Trophy as league MVP in ’99 (he was a finalist in ’95, ’98, 2000, ’01 and ’06).

The Wings are intrigued by the thought of what Jagr might be able to do but noted that there are reservations. Any deal that materializes would be for one year only, and at a sensible price (around $1 million base, with incentives).

The Wings are looking for a top-six forward, and a motivated Jagr could be lethal on the right side of center Pavel Datsyuk and help out on the power play. For the Wings, it comes down to deciding whether Jagr is the best value for their money as they seek to improve a team that has lost in the second round of the playoffs two years running.

Jagr also has approached two of his former teams, Washington and the New York Rangers, about signing with them.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

I am praying they do not sign Jagr. That is the last thing this team needs - another “past his prime” vet who will be here one year, do a whole lot of nothing, then bolt.

I would however love to see Kevin Bieksa in a Wings uniform. I know this is a longshot but I just love how he play and think it’s exactly what Detroit needs more of on the backend.

Posted by Mike from Chicago on 06/16/11 at 04:52 PM ET

Avatar

Man you guys give Modano a hard time. I think it woulda worked out if he hadn’t been injured. And it wasn’t like it was a re-occuring injury that he’s had. It was a freak accident that lacerated his wrist and he was out a long period of time. I am not a big fan of Jagr, but I believe there is enough there that he could do some good on this team. Especially if Hudler stays around. Maybe Jagr can get him going or something. Obviously don’t go out and over spend on the guy, but if he’s affordable why not?

Posted by Outta the Soo on 06/16/11 at 05:37 PM ET

awould's avatar

The Wings are smarting from the Mike Modano experiment. They’re apprehensive about signing aging veterans who are susceptible to injury and a diminishing skill set.

The diminishing skill set is true of Modano, though I think he would’ve worked out just fine. But “susceptible to injury”? I think anyone is susceptible to having your wrist sliced open if a blade cuts across it.

I don’t think the “Modano experiment” taught the Wings any lessons at all, either way. Grade it an incomplete.

Posted by awould on 06/16/11 at 06:08 PM ET

Neznarf's avatar

I don’t think it’s fair to compare Jagr and Modano.  Does anyone really feel as though Modano was in better shape at the start of last year then Jagr is now?

Posted by Neznarf on 06/16/11 at 06:11 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I can’t agree with you more. So the Modano experiment didn’t work out (and yes, due to a total freak accident), that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth a try. We gave up NO assets for him and we would give up NO assets for Jagr. Same reason we went after Nabokov last year… nothing to lose. why not?

with Jagr though it comes down to price and it comes down to available roster spots. while it seems obvious to me that you would never resign Draper for one more year no matter how well he’s playing, simply to let another homegrown prospect in Cory Emmerton get swooped on waivers, with Jagr it’s a little hazier because even at 39, he’s certainly still a top 6 forward - especially with someone like Datsyuk feeding him. But again, we’re talking about one season here, perhaps two. It does not seem worth losing a prospect over. But, if we do in fact resign both Miller and Eaves, maybe we package Hudler for a d-man and give Jagr his spot. I don’t know. I’m sure Holland will kick every tire. I think the fact that Jagr wants to come to Detroit first and foremost is a GREAT thing because it gives Kenny all the leverage. No matter what kind of “payday” Jagr his hoping to get, it’s almost a guarantee that he would take the least to play on the Wings. That’s a pretty great position to be in when you’re talking about adding another Hall of Famer to the roster.

And while Modano was a prolific scorer at one point, he was playing the fourth line in Dallas his last couple years and had pretty clearly lost some passion for the game (it took some arm wrestling to even get him to Detroit… whereas Jagr is calling THEM). Meanwhile, Jagr continues to rack up a point per game, granted in the KHL, but his hands are still there. I thought he looked great in the Olympics playing against NHL talent. If the price is right (meaning we still can sign the D-Man we need) and we don’t lose Emmerton, I would take Jagr in a second. The risk is negligible compared to the reward. Even if he goes down for the season in the first week, we’ve lost nothing and we plug the spot with Tatar or something. Not that big of a gamble IMO… unless of course he wants $5+ million or something. then he can piss off. sounds like he’d be perfect for the Rangers at that point.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 06/16/11 at 06:17 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Don’t forget that Modano missed time after coming back from the wrist injury with a sore groin.

Or that there were several quotes about how he wasn’t used to working as hard as the Wings required.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/16/11 at 06:20 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

There’s no way Jagr would sign with us for the amount of money we would be willing to pay him.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 06/16/11 at 07:09 PM ET

MarkK's avatar

Ballsy and I love it.  If we can sign him on the cheap, then I’m all for it. We do have some Raffy cash to spend.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 06/16/11 at 08:15 PM ET

Avatar

Stylistically, Jagr would be a terrible fit on the Red Wings.

There aren’t enough pucks on the ice for him to play with Datsyuk (Jagr doesn’t really pass unless he’s trying to work a give-and-go or he thinks the receiving player has a tap-in; this was true as recently as his Ranger days) and Zetterberg strikes me as the sort of guy who would flip his $@#% and explode the umpteenth time Jagr didn’t backcheck, took too long to make a linechange, left the game early because he had an appointment with his stockbroker (Jagr actually did this in Washington), etc. Since his coach in the KHL physically attacked him at an intermission last year, it’s a good bet he’s still doing this crap.

Leonsis hates Jagr and has blogged about his lack of character, so forget Wash.

Pitt probably doesn’t have the cap-space, unless Jagr signs for next to nothing, which I doubt he would.

I think he’d have instant chemistry with Gaborik, but there would be massive fireworks with Tortorella.

Montreal makes the most sense to me, since they could use a skill forward with size and Jagr’s always been happier and better-behaved when he has buddies on the team (Hamrlik’s been friends with him for years, iirc).

Posted by steviesteve on 06/16/11 at 08:19 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...Jagr is salivating at the opportunity to play with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. But reports also suggest that Jagr also is seeking a major payday.

Well, if he wants a major payday, he can play in Montreal (assuming they’re dumb enough to give him major money). If he really does want to play with Pavel or Hank and take one last shot at winning a ring, then he can take $1.5M (maybe $2M) and like it.

I would however love to see Kevin Bieksa in a Wings uniform. I know this is a longshot but I just love how he play…

Um, you did watch the playoffs, right? I didn’t see anything I liked about how he played under pressure. And that goes for Ehrhoff too (who was a -13 in 23 games).

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/16/11 at 08:28 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I don’t know why the media keeps referring to the hooligans in Vancouver as “Canucks fans”.  There is absolutely no evidence they had any allegiance to the Canucks team at all.
___________________________________________

VANCOUVER - Tamara Kryschuk (C), Chantelle McCulloch (L) and Ravi Basi (R), along with more than 100,000 fellow Vancouver Canucks fans, react to a goal by the Boston Bruins while watching Game-7, the final and deciding game, of the Stanley Cup NHL Playoffs, on a jumbotron television in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia June 15, 2011.

___________________________________________

So, during the game the streets were filled with more than 100,000 Canucks fans, yet magically after the game when the rioting and looting started, they were no longer Canucks fans, merely hooligans coincidentally in downtown Vancouver.
Right.



.
.

red handed with the looting in your arm, trying to cover your face

.
.

.
.

.
.

.
.

.
.

.
.

.
.

.
.

.
.

.
.

.
.
.
Nope, no Canucks fans at all.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 06/16/11 at 08:52 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

and Zetterberg strikes me as the sort of guy who would flip his $@#% and explode the umpteenth time Jagr didn’t backcheck, took too long to make a linechange, left the game early because he had an appointment with his stockbroker (Jagr actually did this in Washington), etc.

Sometimes I’d hope Z had that sort of personality, but I highly doubt it. He does strike me as the “I know who you are, but this is who we are and what we do. Whats your problem?” in a voice so quiet Jagr would barely hear him.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 06/16/11 at 09:10 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Posted by RWBill from Imported from Detroit, Land of Todd-Ber-Tuz-zi !! on 06/16/11 at 06:52 PM ET

Ouch.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 06/16/11 at 10:00 PM ET

Avatar

sometimes I’d hope Z had that sort of personality, but I highly doubt it. He does strike me as the “I know who you are, but this is who we are and what we do. Whats your problem?” in a voice so quiet Jagr would barely hear him.

Might take 80 games, but I think he’d get there. Marc Bergevin tolerated Jagr’s BS for about 140 before smashing the latter’s phone and ejecting him from the Civic Arena in a fit of rage. Before doing that, Bergevin was best known as the guy who told lots of jokes, bought lots of drinks and missed lots of assignments.

Posted by steviesteve on 06/16/11 at 10:14 PM ET

Avatar

But Hudler isn’t as skilled as Jagr was in his prime

Right, and neither is a 39 year-old Jagr.

Posted by Garth on 06/17/11 at 01:03 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

• And Hockey’s Future’s Brad Gardner posted a Red Wings draft preview.

Saw that the other day.  I’d be overjoyed if some scouts overestimated Oleksiak’s potential because of his size, Hamliton’s defense because of his skating, or Jensen’s overall game because of his hustle, and somehow Klefbom fell to us at #24, but I just don’t think every scout out there is a total moron who doesn’t know how to use his eyes.  And so I have to surmise that, like so many other times before (Justin Pogge will be a dominant NHL goalie, Angelo Esposito is a can’t-miss prospect, Darren Helm is too undersized to stick in the NHL), HF’s staff have fallen off the wagon again and are back on the sauce.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 06/17/11 at 08:59 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

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.