The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/14/12 at 01:29 PM ET
Via RedWingsFeed, MLive’s Brendan Savage provides a superb follow-up for those of you who may have wondered aloud whether the Wings really need to re-sign Justin Abdelkader, who the Free Press’s Helene St. James stated the Wings are working toward inking a new contract with, in the overnight report’s comment section.
Savage spoke to Ken Holland about Abdelkader’s importance to the team, and as far as Holland’s concerned, Abdelkader’s just as important to the present-day Wings as Kirk Maltby was to the Grind Line:
“He’s real important to our team,” Holland said. “Like Maltby and [Kris] Draper were in their day. He plays hard, he brings it every day, he provides an ingredient. He’s comfortable dropping his gloves. He can chip in some goals. Mike Babcock was using him on the penalty kill last season. Negotiations are ongoing. We’re going to get it done. We’re going to find something both sides feel good about.”
Abdelakder, 25, is a restricted free agent who made $825,000 last season during his third full campaign in the NHL.
Although he doesn’t put up big numbers – his eight goals, 14 assists and 62 penalty minutes in 81 games last season were all career highs – he brings size and strength to the Red Wings lineup thanks to his 6-foot-1, 219-pound frame. He finished last season playing on the third line with Darren Helm and Drew Miller. They gave the Red Wings several key goals down the regular-season stretch while keeping opposing defenders on their toes by going hard up and down the ice and crashing the net.
“He can play wing and play center, he’s big and strong, he plays hard,” Holland said. “Abby and Helm are really important on our bottom six forwards and for our team going forward, Abby is an important guy. He’s from Michigan. He played high school hockey in Michigan. I know he’s proud to be a Red Wing. He brings ingredients to our team.”
Abdelakder, a Muskegon native who played at Michigan State, also got some international experience this year after the Red Wings season ended in a first-round playoff loss to the Nashville Predators.
He was named to the U.S. team for the World Championships, appearing in all eight games for the Americans. He had one goal, three assists and a plus-4 rating while also being named the U.S. player of the game in a 5-3 victory over Belarus.
“We’re exchanging offers,” Holland said. “(It’s) two years before he becomes unrestricted. If they want to do a short-term (contract), we’ll do short term. If they want to do long term, we’ll talk on longer terms. We’ll get him done.”
Also of brief Red wings-related note this afternoon:
• According to Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy, Pavel Datsyuk and Sidney Crosby are the two highest-rated forwards in EA Sports’ NHL 13;
• And the Wings fired off two Tweets of note:
Update: And yes, I’ve had this on my calendar, and will cover it in the early morning hours on Wednesday as these stories hit at 3 AM EDT:
Update #2: For the record, the Sault Star’s Peter Ruicci believes that Ryan Sproul will be named the Soo Greyounds’ captain this season.
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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.