The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/20/12 at 12:24 PM ET
Updated 4x at 12:37 PM: The Red Wings’ unsuccessful courtship of one Jaromir Jagr definitely turned me off regarding the massive ego and mercurial tendencies of a player who’s turned into something of a diva—even at 40 years of age—but just in case Jagr tests the free agent market and decides to, say, not stay with Philadelphia, or decides not to fulfill a stated dream of playing for the Montreal Canadiens, MLive’s Ansar Khan takes a look at Jagr’s potential “fit” with the Wings this morning:
Strengths: Returning to the NHL after a three-year stint in Russia, this future Hall-of-Famer was productive for the Flyers, despite his age. A big man who protects the puck well, he can set up teammates or finish himself.
Weaknesses: He is not strong defensively. His age might catch up to him in a hurry.
At 6’3” and 240 pounds, Jagr also continually battles hip and groin issues…
Notable: He ranks 11th in goals, 12th in assists and eighth in points on the NHL’s career list.
Why he would interest the Red Wings: The Red Wings made him an offer last summer (one year for $2.25 million) and weren’t willing to budge from it. It appeared he might return to Pittsburgh, but he took a better offer from the Flyers.
How he could fit in with the Red Wings: They need a sniper for one of the top two lines. He would help boost the power play.
What it might take to get him: Offering him slightly more than anyone else, on a one-year deal, might do it.
The Sports Forecaster assesses the game of someone who might as well be called JaroMEr Jagr as follows:
Assets: Possesses two of the strongest legs ever seen on a hockey player. Has incredible instincts. Is equally strong setting up linemates or finishing. He’s amazing along the wall when in control of the puck. Still scoring after all these years.
Flaws: Can at times be a moody teammate, or struggle within the confines of a defensive system. Is not a great defender. Had issues on his way out of Pittsburgh and Washington, so his reputation precedes him to some extent.
Career Potential: All-time great right-winger.
Moody’s a helluva understatement.
The Red Wings could be well-served by a bit of re-tooling and giving some of their youth a fighting chance at a quality role. Though the modus operandi in Hockeytown doesn’t really allow for prospects to see the light of day before they’re overripe, if they should swing and miss at big name free agents such as Zach Parise or Alexander Semin, they may need to pick up the pace on some prospects out of necessity.
Detroit could use a little help on the wing as well, especially down the right side. Tomas Holmstrom is a question mark and whether he returns or not, he doesn’t bring much to the table any more. Under Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula, the Wings are a little thin on either side of center.
In the bottom six, the Wings don’t have as much sandpaper as they use to employ. They also don’t have a history of being a bunch of blood-thirsty brawlers either, but a little size and grit in the bottom-six never hurt anyone – except the opposition, of course.
On the blue line, the Red Wings brass is faced with the impossibility of replacing one of the greatest the game has ever seen in Nicklas Lidstrom. The hope is for Ryan Suter, though Suter remains the hope for 29 other teams in the NHL as well. The entire Detroit blue line will feel the pressure of Lidstrom’s loss and will be counted on to weather those minutes that were once so sure-handedly handled. In the brightest spotlight, may be Ian White, Lidstrom’s partner for much of the 2011-12 season, and how he will handle the defensive side of things without his anchor being by his side.
In goal, the Wings got a lot of quality mileage from Jimmy Howard last season and will look for more of the same this year. Behind him, Joey MacDonald should have the inside track on the backup job but it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if the Wings brought in some competition for the role.
Altenbaugh continues at some length while looking at the Wings’ strengths and weaknesses in terms of their prospect pool, and his article’s worth your time.
Update: Ditto for the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle’s article about players who may fall out of the first round.
Update #2: WZZM posted an interview with Grand Rapids Griffins singing Luke Glendening:
Update #3: From the Detroit Free Press:
What: 21st annual presentation by the Joe Louis Video Memorial Room. Limited space remains.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Downtown DoubleTree Suites, 525 W. Lafayette, Detroit.
Why: To commemorate the 74thanniversary of Joe Louis knocking out Max Schmeling, and to celebrate individuals who have made a positive impact on the life of young people in the community.
Admission: No charge, but if you plan to attend, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
MC: Bernie Smilovitz, WDIV sports anchor, filling in for Andrew Humphrey.
Jacket recipients: Catherine Blackwell, educator and community activist; Dr. Stephen D. Chennault, author, educator and historian; Mike Ilitch, Tigers and Red Wings owner; Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Greg Mathis, TV host and former judge 36th District Court; Juanita Moore, president and CEO Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; and Jim Thrower, businessman and ex-Lion.
Update #3.5: From ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
Offers have been made, talks are ongoing, but Florida Panthers blue-liner Jason Garrison, a pending UFA, remained unsigned Wednesday as July 1 continues to approach.
The Panthers and Garrison’s camp were scheduled to talk again Thursday in Pittsburgh.
“We’ll continue to talk and see if we can get something done,” said Garrison’s agent, Matt Oates.
Garrison had a career-high 16 goals this past season. Once Ryan Suter goes off the board July 1, Garrison could come into demand in a hurry. On the other hand, he’s played all his NHL hockey in Florida and loves it there. Tough call.
Update #4: NHL.com’s Brian Compton penned a Central Division draft preview, and here’s what he had to say about the Wings’ plans:
DETROIT RED WINGS
(No. 49 overall; traded first-round pick to Tampa Bay)
It’s been one disappointment after another in Detroit the past few months. The Red Wings’ season ended prematurely in April when they were eliminated in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Nashville Predators. Then, future Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom decided that he was going to retire after 20 seasons in the NHL. And most recently, Brad Stuart’s rights were traded to the San Jose Sharks in a move that all but meets Stuart’s desire to return to the West Coast.
More changes are likely coming as forwards Jiri Hudler and Tomas Holmstrom are set to become unrestricted free agents. It’s a safe bet that the Red Wings will be major players in the Ryan Suter sweepstakes, but they’ll also need someone to fill the void left by Stuart.
Strengths: Jimmy Howard has emerged as one of the top goaltenders in the League. Detroit’s second-round pick from 2003 has won at least 35 games in each of the last three seasons and posted a career-best 2.12 GAA in 2011-12. While there will be some question marks up front if Hudler and Holmstrom play elsewhere next season, the Wings still possess several weapons including Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.
Weaknesses: It could be filled as early as July 1 should Suter sign with Detroit, but, for now, Lidstrom’s retirement leaves a huge hole on the blue line. Of course, Niklas Kronwall has become one of the better two-way defensemen in the sport, but the Wings will desperately need Suter’s skating and playmaking ability to help fill the void. With Stuart also gone, Detroit will have to depend even more on the likes of Jonathan Ericsson and Ian White.
Biggest need: Wings GM Ken Holland has taken the forward route with his first pick in each of the last three years, but this is supposed to be a defense-heavy draft. While it’s highly unlikely that anyone selected in the second round will be NHL-ready next season, it sure wouldn’t hurt if the Wings could land themselves a solid two-way blueliner at No. 49.
Possible targets: Ludvig Bystrom, D, Modo (Sweden), Troy Bourke, LW, Prince George (WHL), Dane Fox, C, Erie (OHL)
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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.