The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/23/12 at 12:22 AM ET
Updated 2x at 11:48 PM: Aside from whatever the hell is happening between the Penguins and Coyotes that sprouted from Ray Shero’s unsuccessful attempt to pry Ryan Suter’s signing rights from the Predators (Suter’s bound and determined to test free agency on July 1st, so his rights are worthless)—-though the Michalek and Staal trades do mean that the Penguins want to compete for Suter and Zach Parise come July 1st—and the Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor’s gloom and doom about the NHL possibly locking out players over a cap floor-less NHL with a 50-50 revenue sharing split, the Wings’ website did a fantastic job of posting videos and stories from Day 1 of the NHL Entry Draft…
And some news broke toward the end, after the Tampa Bay Lightning drafted a player Kyle Quincey will have to out-play in the 1st round pick surrendered for him, goaltender Andrei Vasilevski.
According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Wings aren’t going to make any moves, but Jiri Hudler will—away from Detroit, to earn a free agent payday:
Wings’ Ken Holland said he had no trade talks of any significance tonight during first round of draft.
Holland talked with Jiri Hudler’s agent and will talk again tomorrow but nothing close to a deal. Still appears he’ll go to free agency.
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan confirms...
Holland and Petr Svoboda, Hudler’s agent, talked but not coming together on a deal….looking like Hudler will be available on July 1.
Strange as it is to fathom, Jiri Hudler could be a $4 or $4.5 million a year player…Yikes.
Otherwise, the man in charge for the Wings this weekend, at least in terms of drafting players, spoke to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose about what the Wings plan on doing with the 49th overall pick, and then picks 80, 110, 140, 170 and 200, starting on Saturday at 10 AM EDT (on the NHL Network and streamed on NHL.com):
“We’ve been through it before, but you’re still working the floor, you’re still making calls,” Wings assistant GM Jim Nill said. “You never know what’s going to happen in the meantime.”
With its first pick not occurring until No. 49, the Wings will likely enter Saturday with a take-the-best-available player mentality.
“Where we pick we’re looking for the best player,” Nill said. “The teams that pick in the top 10 or 15 you can kind of pick for position because you might have three defensemen who are all good, you could have three forwards who are all good, so if you want a forward and a defenseman you have a choice. But where we’re picking it’s hard to say let’s get the best goalie because there aren’t any goalies that you like at that moment. It’s really about the best player.”
Despite the lack of first-round picks over the last decade, Nill and his scouting staff have made splashes with such late-round gems as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom and Jonathan Ericsson.
“It’s about all of the scouts. It’s about all of our local scouts whether it’s Hakan Andersson in Europe, Ari Vouri in Finland, Mark Leach in the Boston area, their main job is to turn over every bush and try to find a player and the draft comes down to those guys who have done the work. They go out and search the woods for the player and bring me or Joe McDonnell in to see what is there, but it’s really those guys who bet down the bushes.”
Regardless of what transpires this weekend, the final grade for the Wings’ draft class of 2012 won’t be decided for a few years, Nill said.
“It’s usually three to five years, and that’s the tough part about the draft,” he said. “If you have a bad draft you may not see it right away but you’ll see it in five years. That’s why you don’t want too many years were you kind of cut the chain because that would catch up to you.”
Nill also spoke to MLive’s Ansar Khan about the team’s last “first” picks in Tomas Jurco, who the Wings will sign when the NHL and Slovakia hammer out a transfer agreement, as well as Riley Sheahan…
“We liked what we saw with his game in Grand Rapids,’’ Nill said. “He’s a big body, has good skills, plays the point on the power play. He sees the ice well. It’s time to go to work in the minor league.’‘
He is strong defensively and more of a playmaker than a finisher. He has more skills than his output at Notre Dame would indicate (20 goals, 44 assists in 114 games over three seasons), but it remains to be seen how much offensive upside Sheahan has. He is projected as third- or fourth-line NHL center.
“College kids are defensive-minded, don’t put up stats,’’ Nill said.
Ferraro, who can play all three forward positions, had nine goals and 20 points in 53 games during his first full season with the Griffins. He is looking for a top-six role this season. He needs to bulk up his 6-foot, 180-pound frame.
“He had a good year in Grand Rapids,’’ Nill said. “He needs to develop, get stronger.’‘
He might have only one more year to prove himself. But, he’ll be competing with Jordan Pearce and the incoming Petr Mrazek, a hot prospect, for two spots.
“He had a strong finish in Grand Rapids; the last 15 games he responded well,’’ Nill said. “It’s a big year for him. He’s at the point of his career where you have to grab your job.’‘
And Brendan Smith:
“It’s a big year for him to show he’s a full-time (NHL) player,’’ Nill said. “He needs a good summer of training. He’s got the skills, he’s got to be consistent.’‘
In very different news, from UpNorthLive’s Giacomo Accardo, here’s more news about the Wings’ plans to honor Bryan Rufenach’s memory in Traverse City:
Update: Ted Kulfan is a fantastic reporter and great gent, but boy, this is Negative Nancy talk:
The idea of the Red Wings getting both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise (maybe even either one) is looking a little more difficult
Look, gang, Parise, Suter, Semin, Wideman, Carle, all the unrestricted free agents will have at least a dozen teams lining up for their services, all with cap space to burn and opportunities to be “the guy.” We can’t keep freaking out every damn time we hear another team is angling for them because….
As lame as Bernie Smilovitz’s interview with Mike Ilitch on the 11 PM news was, Ilitch did tell Smilovitz that the Wings have their “whole day planned out and will be flying all over the country” because there is a mandate from the ownership to out-compete, out-spend, out-sell and really out-fight their opponents to sell the program that is being treated like a king in Detroit, where the standard of excellence will not slip, all while playing for a rabid hockey market that doesn’t receive rabid media coverage while Bernie’s playing bloopers and fans are keeping a respectful Michigander’s distance.
In the interim, we can’t worry too much about what might or might not happen. Or I can’t. I have to get up after maybe four or five hours of sleep tonight and pull a 14-to-16 hour day on Saturday. You worry all you want. I’ve gotta be calm because my anxiety disorder makes me nervous and afraid about everything all the time, so I don’t have the extra energy to freak out more than usual.
“Once you get into the second round everybody’s four, five, six years away,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “You take the player you think is going to be the best player down the road, bank him away and start the development process.’‘
There were only a few trades on Friday; the biggest saw Pittsburgh trade center Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes for center Brandon Sutter, the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft (defenseman Derrick Pouliot) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin.
Holland said he had no discussions with the Penguins about Staal and “nothing of significance’’ as far as other trade talk. The Red Wings, with nearly $20 million projected in salary-cap space, are looking to make a splash in the free-agent market on July 1, with defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Zach Parise as their main targets.
Holland said no teams approached him about acquiring a potential unrestricted free agent’s negotiating rights.
Holland spoke briefly with Petr Svoboda, the agent for forward Jiri Hudler, and they will talk again on Saturday. But they are not close to a deal, and it still appears Hudler will explore the free-agent market.
He also is not close to signing restricted free agents Kyle Quincey and Justin Abdelkader, but those deals are inevitable, as RFA’s rarely move.
To some extent, if there was going to be an RFA offer sheet fired at Detroit to piss off Detroit, it would have been a $3-plus million offer for Helm, so the Wings got him off the market early.
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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.