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Red Wings overnight report: And Draper, too

Biggy update at 8:07 AM: MLive’s Ansar Khan spoke to Draper yesterday, too, and that follow St. James’ report: As we’ve waited for Red Wings GM Ken Holland and goaltender Chris Osgood to sit down and discuss #30’s future in Detroit, we haven’t heard much regarding Kris Draper’s status, but the Free Press’s Helene St. James suggests that in Draper’s case, there very literally isn’t a spot for him on the roster:

“No doubt he wants to play ... and play in Detroit,” Holland said. “We don’t have any cap issues, but we have to sort out what we’re doing with our 14 forwards.”

Draper, 40, showed last season that he still has something left in the tank. His primary role was as a defensive role player, but he also contributed six goals and 11 points in 47 games, and didn’t complain when made a healthy scratch. He has tremendous value in the locker room, where he sets a great example for younger guys with a relentless training program.

The Wings certainly can fit Draper in financially; they have about $6.5 million in salary-cap space. Roster-wise, however, it’s a hard fit. Thirteen forwards already are under one-way contracts for 2011-12. Cory Emmerton, a second-round pick from ‘06, is on a two-day deal, but he’d have to be exposed on waivers to be sent to the minors, and the Wings won’t risk that.

It’s possible the Wings make a trade—they have forwards and defensemen to spare—but even so, there will be very tough competition right down to the fourth line.

It’s doubtful Draper would go the route that Kirk Maltby tried last season, when he signed a two-way deal and tried to make the team during camp. When he wasn’t able to do so, Maltby retired and took a job in the organization as a scout.

Draper has been with Detroit since 1993, helped win four Stanley Cups, topped 1,000 games as a Wing and served as an alternate captain since ‘06-07. Should he, as expected, not be offered another contract as a player, Holland will discuss finding a different job for Draper within the organization, following a path also taken by Steve Yzerman and Chris Chelios.

Draper will probably become the team’s first strength and conditioning coach if he declines to engage in a Maltby-style tryout, which he indicated he wasn’t too keen on the concept when he spoke with the media at an informal Detroit Lions workout about a month ago.

Biggy update: Here’s what Kris Draper had to say to MLive’s Ansar Khan:

Kris Draper was back in the gym on Monday, a day after returning home from what he described as a fantastic golf trip to Scotland and Ireland. Whether he is training for another hockey season or just trying to stay in shape remains to be seen. Draper would like to return to the Detroit Red Wings, but they might not have a spot for him. He expects to hear from general manager Ken Holland this week.

“I’m not going to assume anything, just go about my day-to-day training,” Draper said on Wednesday. “Just waiting to see which way it’s going to go.”

The Red Wings have 13 forwards signed to one-way contracts and another, rookie Cory Emmerton, has a two-way deal but must clear waivers to be sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Holland has said he likely will carry 14 forwards. Draper played in 47 games last season, his 17th in Detroit. He reiterated that he will not accept a two-way contract and compete for a spot in training camp like Kirk Maltby, his longtime linemate, did last year (Maltby retired on Oct. 12).

“I don’t want to go to camp on a tryout or anything like that,” Draper said.

If the Red Wings don’t re-sign him, he doesn’t appear inclined to seek a contract from another team.

“I played through all kinds of different scenarios,” Draper said. “I want to do what’s best for my family. I’m just going to listen to Kenny, then I’ll talk to my family and go from there.”


The Red Wings have a few more off-season questions—such as Wings coach Mike Babcock’s desire to add a top-six forward—but the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan believes that the Wings won’t make any more moves after resolving their back-up goaltending situation, as he suggested via a mailbag blog post:

Answering some mail: 1) eggleston.j - No, I don’t see the Red Wings making any more additions other than goalie if they don’t bring back Chris Osgood. But the way things are going, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Chris Osgood.

2) Lloyd- I like what the Chicago did, it added some character to its roster. Washington helped itself considerably getting Vokoun, he’ll stabilize the goaltending. Here’s an underrated signing: Pittsburgh getting Steve Sullivan. That could turn out to be a great move the Pens. He may fit better than Jagr, and with considerably less drama.

3) John3737 - They’ll lock up Kronwall during the course of next season. And it won’t be cheap. Neither will Brad Stuart.

4) steviep - There are so many rumors about realignment and where the Wings will land. I haven’t seen or heard anything definite from anyone. I go by what Jimmy Devellano said, about this being a long process. We’ll keep hearing things all season. If I were a betting man, suddenly it looks like there’s a chance the Wings will be placed in the East. Let’s hope.


The Red Wings’ prospects wrap up the on-ice portion of their summer development camp in Traverse City with a scrimmage from 8:30-10:30 AM, and I’d asked Petr Mrazek about the article in which he spoke to Hockej.cz’s Vaclav Jachim about more than a few topics, and Mrazek stated that the thrust of the article regarded the fact that he’s still “blacklisted” from the Czech World Junior and national teams because he refuses to leave the Ottawa 67’s and rejoin the Czech Extraliga club which holds his rights, HC Vitkovice;

• The Traverse City Record-Eagle’s Mike Eckert spoke to another Wings prospect in transition in Gustav Nyquist and Wings assistant GM Jim Nill (sorry, the article’s one of those “subscriber-only” classics [edit/update: here’s the teaser link), about the sniper’s decision to turn pro and join the Grand Rapids Griffins:

“He’s played well,” Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “He’s a high-skilled player and he has great hockey sense. This is a good chance for him. He’s turning pro this year and this is a good chance for him to jump-start his summer to get ready for training camp.”

Nyquist’s path to the Red Wings was different from his fellow countrymen already playing in Detroit. Instead of joining the Red Wings out of Sweden, Nyquist played three years at the University of Maine.

It helped him get used to the North American style ofthe game,” Nill said. “Plus, he got a great education and high level coaching. And, he was playing against older players. He was playing against some guys that were 24-25 years of age. It’s probably a closer step to pro hockey.”

At Maine, Nyquist racked up a laundry list of accolades. As a sophomore in 2010, he was the NCAA scoring champion with 19 goals and 42 assists and was one of the three finalists for the Hobey Baker award. Last winter, he tallied 51 points and was a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker. Now, Nyquist is making the transition to the pro game. He’s taking the same path as current Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who played at Maine for three seasons before joining Detroit’s organization.

“It’s going to be a new challenge,” he said. “Pro hockey plays 82 games instead of 40 like you do in college. It’s twice the amount of games, but that’s also the fun part. To play games, that’s why you play hockey. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s going to be fun.”

At the end of last year, Nyquist got a sampling of the next level. He joined the Grand Rapids Griffins for the final eight games and scored a goal with three assists.

“It helped a lot,” Nyquist said. “I know what’s coming now. It was a good experience for me.”

• And while I was speaking to Marek Tvrdon about his blistered feet, Nick Barnowski took note of the Wings’ prospects’ final “drill” on Wednesday, a light-hearted shootout

At the end of practice, Chelios called for a shootout competition, to which I asked Jiri Fischer when he walked by in the hallway if he approved of, and he said “I’m not sure, it’s been a long practice,” but I couldn’t tell what his tone was like. (He also kindly asked how I was doing when he walked by the mezzanine section where I was doing. That was kind of cool.) Nothing too fancy was brought out, even by Jurco, and eventually it was the goalies who ended up winning, as both Mosher and Teichmann stopped Mitch Callahan and Brooks Macek in the final round. Callahan worked his way to the finals via the slap shot, and when I told him good job on Twitter, this is what he replied with:

@Nickbarnowski: Haha ice was pretty bad so it was my best option. thanks.

It’s great to have a second pair of eyes up here with me…If Nick posts a recap I’ll share it as it sounds like he’s going to tackle the narrative version of events.


Shifting gears in a big way, the Tennessean’s John Glennon spoke to Nashville Predators GM David Poile about the hot topic that is possible franchise realignment after this upcoming season, and as far as Poile is concerned, the Predators’ desire to either remain in the Western Conference or move East is all about what happens to the Red Wings:

Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold was recently quoted as saying the NHL probably would switch from six to four divisions in 2012-13, with the Predators playing in a division that would include Winnipeg, Minnesota, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas and either Columbus or Detroit. That plan probably isn’t set in stone yet, but Poile could see it happening.

“When you look at the map, it probably fits pretty good,” he said. “That’s one man’s opinion, but it actually could be fairly accurate.”

If Detroit did move to the Eastern Conference, it would mean fewer games for the Predators against the Wings, games that have traditionally been big money-makers in Nashville.

“If Detroit goes east, then that supports what I’m saying about needing a more balanced schedule,” Poile said. “If they go east, I don’t want to never play them. I’d still want to play them and maybe there would be a compromise that makes it work for more teams.”

Predators defenseman Ryan Suter hasn’t spent much time thinking about the possibilities, but he said he’d like to see Nashville continue to play a number of games against Detroit. The Red Wings have always served as a litmus test for the Predators.

“It would be different just because over the years, we’ve played them eight times and six times (per year), so we’ve really started to build a rivalry,” Suter said. “The fans here don’t like Detroit. So it would kind of (stink) in a way (if there were less games against Detroit) just because we’re finally starting to play them good and the games are exciting.”


Also of Red Wings-related note: The CBC just happened to mention that it has a gigantic video and audio vault’s worth of features about one Gordie Howe;

• The Hockey News’s Ryan Dixon reveals a not-so-surprising secret in that NHL players tend to speak to other players about the reputations of potential free agency destinations, and they tend to lean toward joining franchises which are regarded positively (see: Detroit);

• And, well…According to the Detroit News’s Jaclyn Trop, Denise Ilitch has gotten into the fashion business. Go figure.

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Comments

Rdwings28's avatar

Good Morning, George

Posted by Rdwings28 on 07/14/11 at 08:39 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

GRUMBLE! raspberry

I have adored being here, but I will not miss the 6 AM wake-up call and being at the rink till 5. i am a night owl I’m just gonna admit this right here—I am so f’ing burnt out today. I promise I’ll do my best to give you all I can but it’s been a long haul and I’m gonna take ‘er slow.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/14/11 at 08:52 AM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

morning, George.

and, again (it really can’t be said enough), Thanks! for being our eyes & ears in TC.

(what, about 8 weeks to training camp? cool grin  )

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 07/14/11 at 08:57 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Got 14 minutes with Jim Nill smile

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/14/11 at 09:29 AM ET

red_wings_49's avatar

Either way, you’ve done some great work George.  I’m glad you were able to get up there this year as well.  Glad to be able to follow you again… still miss the coverage on Mlive.. but.. this isn’t that bad.  A lot more opinions to sort through here as well. smile

Drive safely back!

Posted by red_wings_49 from Mad Heights, MI on 07/14/11 at 09:54 AM ET

Avatar

14 minutes with Jim Nill is definitely worth the long haul. I love watching/listening to interviews with him as he knows a hell of a lot about the game. So congrats on that, George.

Kinda bummed to hear that the speedy Draper won’t be back but the Wings will move forward and be competitive regardless. I just wish my team had built itself better to be in the same spot!

Posted by Iggy Rules on 07/14/11 at 09:55 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

I’d be ok with a Hudler-for-Leighton deal, which essentially would be Hudler-for-Leighton-and-Draper.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 07/14/11 at 10:13 AM ET

Number9Loyalist's avatar

Thanks for all you hard work and especially for the quality as well as the volume of your coverage.  No one can accuse you of not working your can off.  And I loved the CBC link to the Gordie Howe video archives.  I could watch those all day - to watch Barkley and Pronovost and Ulman and Sawchuck and the Leafs is to drift back to watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night and Foster Hewitt.  Great stuff!

Thanks George!!

Posted by Number9Loyalist on 07/14/11 at 11:28 AM ET

Avatar

which essentially would be Hudler-for-Leighton-and-Draper.

Would it?  I would think that, especially if they’re moving Hudler, Detroit would want a top-six forward, which Draper sadly is not.

And I don’t know that Philly could afford Hudler…

Posted by Garth on 07/14/11 at 11:46 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

George, amazing stuff.  I don’t know how you have managed.  Thanks and be careful driving home.

cool smile

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/14/11 at 01:13 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Got 14 minutes with Jim Nill smile

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/14/11 at 08:29 AM ET

Awesome, I’m looking forward to that.

George, you have done an incredible job, and I am so glad you were able to make this trip.  I just hope you didn’t drain yourself like you did last year at training camp.  Have a safe journey home.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 07/14/11 at 01:34 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

Posted by Garth on 07/14/11 at 10:46 AM ET

Good point. Philly is up against it with the cap; since capgeek is blocked I can’t say for sure, but I think Hudler would temporarily put them over.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 07/14/11 at 02:54 PM ET

Avatar

According to capgeek philly would need to clear about 1.3m more to take on Hudler.

Posted by Iggy Rules on 07/14/11 at 03:31 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.