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Red Wings overnight report: Almqvist to sign entry-level deal; a bit about Tatar, assistant coaches

On Saturday, Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill told the Free Press’s George Sipple that the Wings are in the process of attempting to sign both power forward Andrej Nestrasil and slight-but-savvy defenseman Adam Almqvist to entry-level contracts before the team loses their rights on June 1st, and this morning, Jnytt.se’s Daniel Hultqvist reports that the Red Wings are highly likely to sign Almqvist to a thee-year, entry-level contract.

As the article’s roughly translated, it’ll begin after the jump:

HV71’s talented defenseman Adam Almqvist, 20, is about to sign with the Detroit Red Wings.

“It’s awesome, it’s a childhood dream,” says Almqvist.

HV71’s Adam Almqvist took the first step toward his NHL dream two years ago, when he was drafted in the seventh round by the Detroit Red Wings.

Now he’s about to sign a contract with the Red Wings, because on June 1st, the Red Wings’ rights to Almqvist will expire.

“We’re interested in a long contract, and we’ve already offered a contract proposal that Adam declined. We’re continuing to negotiate,” says Hakan Andersson, Detroit’s successful European scout.

“He’s an extremely smart hockey player”

“The fact that Adam’s declined is just one step in the process. We think very highly of him. However, there aren’t any serious issues dealing with HV going forward. He’s an extremely smart hockey player who just needs to train a bit harder.”

“Yes, it’s true that I turned down the initial offer,” confirms Almqvist. “But it’s my agent who’s handling that [stuff]. He didn’t think that I’d say yes to it, and I trust him. But we’re continuing to negotiate.”

Do you think you’re going to agree?

“Yes, we’ve been at it for a while and as it stands now, we’ll do it. Everything looks excellent.”

Dream come true

For Almqvist, who played his second Eliteserien season this last year, and won a championship with HV71 in 2010, he’s fulfilling a dream.

“Absolutely, it’s awesome, it’s definitely a childhood dream.”

According to Hakan Andersson, it’s a three-year contract that’s being discussed.

“I know that the NHL stipulates a three-year contract for entry-level deals. Those are the rules.”

But even if Adam Almqvist signs an NHL contract, he’ll remain with HV71 for the upcoming season.

“I want at least one more year in the Eliteserien”

“Yes, we’ll get it done. I want to play at least another year in the Eliteserien so I can continue to grow. I must get stronger, so I’m going to try to gain a few kilograms and I’m training hard now to do so. It’s both their desire and mine for me to remain here so that I can continue to develop. Then I’ll see whether I’m ready to take the next step,” says Adam Almqvist.

• The Wings have another prospect who’s undersized—albeit not as small as Almqvist, who’s very generously listed as 5’11” and 170 pounds, which is an exaggeration on the latter front by at least 10-15 pounds (he and Calle Jarnkrok weigh about 155-160 pounds)—in Tomas Tatar. Tatar posted very solid numbers with the Griffins this season (24 goals and 57 points over the course of 70 games) and few cups of coffee with the Wings, but it’s the Griffins’ inability to crack the AHL’s playoff pack that’s driving Tatar to improve this summer, as he told the Free Press’s Sipple:

“That was a little sad thing for me,” Tatar said. “We had a real good team, and I liked those guys. They really helped me.”

Tatar, 19, said he didn’t always feel he was strong enough to play in the AHL as a rookie in 2009-10, when he had 16 goals and 16 assists in 58 games. Tatar (5-feet-11, 176 pounds) said there was a big difference in how strong he is now compared to his rookie season.

“Before, I did almost about 95 (kilos), and now I did almost 120,” Tatar said. “I have no idea how many pounds that is.”

The 95 kilograms Tatar benched last season is equal to 209.2 pounds, and 120 is equal to 264.5 pounds. Tatar said he would take two weeks off before beginning off-season workouts.

Tatar’s not particularly big in terms of his height, but he’s gone from skinny to practically rippling with muscles, and he’s got those classic Gordie Howe-sloped shoulders. He’s driven as driven can be to join the team he cheered for as a youngster at some point in the future, and I fully believe he’ll both do so and succeed.

• In terms of comings and goings behind the bench, former Wings assistant coach Brad McCrimmon hopes to land a head coaching job after having mutually agreed to part ways with Detroit last week, but that hasn’t stopped rumors regarding the Wings’ other assistant coach from persisting. The Pioneer Press’s Tom Powers believes that the Minnesota Wild may want to interview Paul MacLean, who’s been with Mike Babcock since 2003 (though he was interviewed for the Blue Jackets’ coaching position last spring):

With the AHL playoffs and draft preparation, [Wilid general manager Chuck] Fletcher might be a bit behind on his coaching search. Yet he insists the new man will be in place within a month or so. There are still, he said, people with whom he wants to chat.

“Current assistants, American League coaches, former NHL coaches…I’m not going to box myself in,” he said. “There’s a lot of people to speak to in the next two weeks. I’ve spoken to some, I’ll speak to some more. I’m completely open-minded.”

I’m sure he’ll at least give an interview to Houston coach Mike Yeo, who has done a terrific job with the team’s primary affiliate. I’d also guess, and this is pure speculation, that Paul MacLean of the Red Wings and Mike Haviland of the Blackhawks represent the type of successful NHL assistant coaches that merit a conversation.

But Fletcher is being very tight-lipped. The best I could get from him was this: After telling him that a couple of names being tossed around were making my stomach hurt because I thought they would be terrible choices, he asked which ones were making me queasy. I spat out the names and he nodded and said: “Don’t worry about it.”

At present, the media seems to believe that the Wings want to convince Bob Boughner, who left the Columbus Blue Jackets to spend more time with his family and his Windsor Spitfires, to step behind the bench while remaining at least closer to home, but should Boughner turn the Wings down, RedWingsCentral’s Sarah Lindenau, writing on her Left Wing Lock blog, offers alternate candidates for the position:

Dave Cameron: With just 168 games in the NHL, Dave Cameron never made an impact as a player, but his coaching ability has never been in question. Cameron has coached at the AHL and OHL levels and is currently the Head Coach of the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. He also coached Canada t0 a silver medal at the 2011 World Championships. The rumors around Cameron are that he may likely be the next coach of the Ottawa Senators, however.

Kevin Dineen – Dineen has spent the last six years as coach of the Portland Pirates of the AHL. In that span he’s lead his team to two division titles and made two conference finals appearances. He has also one the AHL coach of the year and is recognized as a coach who can develop players. He’ll likely be considered for each of the five head coaching positions and he may not want to settle for an assistant coaching job.

Gerald Gallant – Gallant may get a long look from the Red Wings given his past ties to the club (615 NHL games) as a player and his experience both as an assistant coach at the NHL level for the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders as well as his current role as head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. Gallant may not be interested in a return to the NHL, but if he is the Wings may take a long look at him.

Claude Noel – Currently coaching the Manitoba Moose of the AHL, Noel isn’t getting a lot of mentions in the coaching rumor mill. That being said, he may get consideration as a one-time rising star in the coaching world. Noel is a coach who has bad his dues at almost every level of hockey and even served as the interim coach for the Blue Jackets last year after Ken Hitchcock was fired. The permanent position eventually went to Scott Arniel at the end of the season. The Wings may be somewhat familiar with Noel after he coached their ECHL affiliate the Toledo Storm back in 2002-2003 and was eventually named the ECHL coach of the year that same year.

Bob Rouse – Fans may remember Rouse as a deadline acquisition for the Red Wings during the cup runs in the 1990′a. The former defensemen has been out of coaching for a year, but previously served as the Chilliwack Bruins assistant coach and general manager for three years. If he wants to return to coaching, he would be an outside candidate but the Wings may consider him given his past roles as a coach and player.

Cameron may indeed step behind an NHL bench, and Dineen was in the running for the Blue Jackets’ job prior to Scott Arniel’s hiring.

Coaching the Saint John (New Brunswick) Sea Dogs leaves Gallant about a hundred and eighty miles southwest of his home province, Prince Edward Island, while coaching Saint John, but it’ll be interesting to see whether the Wings and the NHL can lure him back from behind the Sea Dogs’ bench. Noel’s also an intriguing candidate as the Moose remain an elite NHL team and something of a coaching factory (see: Randy Carlyle, Alain Vigneault, Arniel)...

But I’ve got a soft spot for Bob Rouse. The one-time Wings nemesis with Toronto was Brad Stuart before we had Brad Stuart, playing a rock-solid game as a Swiss Army Knife defenseman, and he’s a classic “take no guff” kinda guy. I’d love to see the Wings snag him, but again, that’s just the Wings fan in me talking.

• The Red Wings’ website posted two remembrances of the Wings’ 2010-2011 season on Sunday, first via Wings social media coordinator Jake Duhaime, whose eighth-best Wings game from the 10-11 season involves a late-season comeback…

April 2, 2011
Red Wings 4, Predators 3 (OT)

Nashville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in front of their home crowd on goals by Ryan Suter, Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn. That may have rattled some clubs, but these Red Wings turned the comeback into an art form.

Justin Abdelkader scored a pair of goals, including the game-tying goal 3:59 into the third period. And Danny Cleary scored the game-winner in overtime, his 25th of the season, to send the Red Wings to the playoffs for a 20th straight season.

And the Wings’ Dave Burke looked at significant figures from Mike Modano’s injury-marred season with the Wings:

1st: Made his Wings’ debut and scored his first NHL goal for a team not named the Minnesota North Stars or Dallas Stars. His first-period goal, set-up by Danny Cleary and Brad Stuart, gave the Wings a 2-0 lead in what was eventually a 4-0 season-opening win over Anaheim.
7: Total shots fired upon goalie Brent Johnson in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 21. He finished the game with a power-play goal and was minus-2. It was his highest SOG total since he recorded eight vs. Detroit on Dec. 9, 2009.
5: A season-high point streak when he compiled a goal and four assists between Nov. 3-11. The Red Wings posted a 4-1-0 record during that stretch with wins over Calgary, Phoenix and two over Edmonton.

If he still had the motivation to play on an every-day basis, I think the Wings would welcome him back in a heartbeat, but Modano’s admitted that his desire is lacking, and even if he wishes to continue to play, I don’t think the Wings would be interested in bringing back someone who might play out the string till April. That’s not an indictment of Modano—he worked his butt off, and as Mike Babcock said, Modano handled himself with tremendous class when he was scratched in the playoffs, but I think Modano’s ready to move on, whether he’s willing to admit it or not.

• And finally, the Los Angeles Times’ Diane Pucin reports that former Dancing with the Stars candidate Evan Lysacek hopes that a certain special assistant to the Wings’ general manager will join the series as its athlete of note:

Lysacek and [Kristi] Yamaguchi have suggestions about which athletes should be invited to compete on the show. And they prefer the same sport: hockey. Yamaguchi would like to see Mark Messier. Lysacek said Chris Chelios would be a good get.

“Chris has a great personality,” Lysacek said.

The only way Chelios would join Dancing with the Stars is if they let him do a disco number from his bike in the Wings’ sauna.

Also: I’m sorry about the lack of Wings grades and prospect talk of late. I was planning on doing more but I’ve obviously been kinda busy manning KK over the past three days—we’ll clarify what’s been up sooner than later—so I haven’t had the time to breathe, much less cobble together grades or try to send out some email requests for interviews.

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Slumpy's avatar

Gallant coaching the best team in the Canadian Hockey League right now. Him or Rouse taking a coaching job here would be cool to see.
To many small forward prospects. Holland better draft a big winger in the June’s draft.

Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 05/23/11 at 11:47 AM ET

Norskirama's avatar

I left a comment for Sarah over at Left Wing Lock….His name is Gerard Gallant, not Gerald.

Posted by Norskirama from Lincoln, Nebraska on 05/23/11 at 12:53 PM ET

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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.


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