The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/22/12 at 02:29 PM ET
Updated 2x at 2:55 PM: Amongst this afternoon’s relatively sparse crop of Red Wings news:
• First and foremost, I dig the probable signing of Damien Brunner. Yes, he’s an undersized 26-year-old who’s been playing in Switzerland, but the Swiss league has become one of Europe’s best over the past couple of seasons, and this is an ultimate no-risk deal for a classically undersized but speedy sniper (if it happens, which it probably will); the player wants to come to Detroit, and if he shows his stuff in training camp, awesome, and if not, he heads to Grand Rapids to adjust to the North American game, hopefully earning a call-up at some point. If he can’t adapt, he goes back to Switzerland with that, “Well, I tried to make it happen in North America” feather in his cap.
• In more serious news, via RedWingsFeed, the Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau reports that the Red Wings will pay tribute to fallen prospect Bryan Rufenach at this summer’s prospect camp in Traverse City:
Bryan Rufenach’s tragic death hit the hockey world hard. When news surfaced about his accidental death while traveling Europe, his teammates, friends and fans throughout the Red Wings organization offered help and support to his grieving family. The 23 year-old was selected by Detroit in 2007 and signed a contract last season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Rufenach spent most of the season with Toledo of the ECHL where he notched 13 goals and 33 points in 54 games.
Prior to turning pro, the offensive defenseman spent four season with Clarkson University where he piled up 21 goals and 55 points over four seasons. Rufenach also attended the 2011 Detroit development cams in Traverse City, MI and also participated in the 2011 NHL prospects tournament and Red Wings training camp.
To honor the Lindsay, Ontario native’s memory, organizers of the development camp in conjunction with the Detroit Red Wings, Grand Rapids Griffins, and Toledo Walleye have designated July 10th as Bryan Rufenach day. The days events will kick off at 4 pm with food, beverages, and entertainment outside Centre I.C.E. Arena. The puck will drop on an intrasquad scrimmage at 7 pm at Centre I.C.E. A brief ceremony to honor Bryan’s memory will be held prior to the start of the scrimmage.
Tickets for the July 10th match-up will be available at the door for $5. A portion of all proceeds from ticket sales, merchandise, and concessions will benefit the memorial fund set up to help fund the operation of the Bryan Rufenach Memorial Skills Camp. Additionally donation cans will be available throughout the arena for fans who would like to make direct contributions to the fund and a raffle for Red Wings related prizes will also benefit the fund. For the complete schedule of development camps events click here.
• In prospect news of a different sort, the Grand Rapids Griffins’ YouTube channel posted an extensive interview with new Griffins signing and East Grand Rapids native Luke Glendening:
• In charitable news, the Courier Post’s Randy Miller reports that if you find yourself in Philadelphia next Tuesday, you can take part in a charity golf tournament whose roster is heavily laden with Flyers alums, including Wings director of pro scouting Mark Howe;
• Also in the scouting news category, Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski spoke to draft guru Kyle Woodlief, and here’s what Woodlief had to say about the best amateur scouts in the game:
Question: Finally: Which team’s scouting operation impresses you the most?
Kyle Woodlief: I’ve always admired Gord Clark, who is now working for the Rangers. If you look at the drafts he orchestrated with the Islanders, that would have been a great team — if it hadn’t been for Mike Milbury.
Detroit’s machine … they’re all on the same page, and that’s the key with Detroit. They don’t always have a first-round pick, but they always know what they’re looking for and they don’t waste any time on squabbling.
Montreal has a done a good job, too, in the time Trevor Timmins has been there.
• And finally, MLive’s Ansar Khan points his “Free Agent Focus” toward 28-year-old New York Rangers winger Brandon Prust, whose asking price might be too high for the Wings to accommodate:
2011-12 stats: 82 games, five goals, 12 assists, 17 points, minus-1 rating, 156 penalty minutes, averaged 11:56 in ice time.
Career stats: 279 games, 24 goals, 39 assists, 63 points, plus-3 rating, 612 penalty minutes.
2011-2012 salary: $800,000.
Strengths: A fiery, energetic team player who gets under opponents’ skin and doesn’t back down from anyone, despite his average size. He had 20 fighting majors last season. He’s a solid penalty killer. He didn’t miss a game the past two seasons, despite his rugged style.
Weaknesses: He’s not very skilled and won’t provide much offense, though he did have 13 goals and 29 points in 2010-11.
Notable: He has averaged 20 fighting majors a season over the past four years, according to hockeyfights.com.
Why he would interest the Red Wings: They need to be harder to play against, particularly in the playoffs. They could use an agitator who riles up opponents, as long as he doesn’t take bad penalties. And having a fighter would take that burden off Todd Bertuzzi and Justin Abdelkader.
How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He would play on the fourth line and the penalty kill.
What it might take to get him: A three-year deal in the range of $1.75 million per season.
Something in me fears that Prust could get $3 million-plus on the open market. He’d be a fantastic depth signing as that big, heavy and mean fourth line forward the Wings covet, but he might be too expensive to sign, especially given the dearth of instigators without defensive flaws on the market:
Here’s the Sports Forecaster’s assessment of the 6’0,” 192-pound forward’s pluses and minuses:
Assets: Works hard and loves to get in the face of his opponents. Has solid defensive instincts, is an aggressive forechecker and excellent penalty killer. An outstanding team guy that leads by example, he’ll rumble with anyone.
Flaws: Won’t score a lot of points at the National Hockey League level, since he lacks above-average speed and overall natural skill. Takes on all comers, so he tends to play hurt a lot.
Career Potential: Physical agitating defensive winger.
Update #2: Interesting, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
Suddenly, this is a market with defensemen available. The Chicago Blackhawks are shopping Niklas Hjalmarsson, and there was chatter Friday that the Flames were listening on Jay Bouwmeester.
Add the fact that Matt Carle of the Flyers and Jason Garrison of the Florida Panthers are unsigned and are UFA July 1, and you’ve got five notable top-tier blueliners on the market.
“We continue to talk to the Flyers,” Carle’s agent Kurt Overhardt told ESPN.com Friday. “We’ll see what happens.’’
Garrison’s agent, Matt Oates, was slated to meet with Panthers GM Dale Tallon on Friday. If the sides can’t close the gap in contract talks, don’t be surprised if the Panthers trade Garrison’s rights this weekend.
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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.