The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/21/12 at 06:09 AM ET
We know that the NHL schedule will be released later this morning, usually sometime between 11 AM and 12 PM EDT, and we know that the Red Wings will open their 2012-2013 schedule, CBA negotiation gods willing, against the Nashville Predators, at Joe Louis Arena. We don’t know whether current and former members of, let’s say the Wings’ opposition, might be cheered or booed (well, we know that Shea Weber’s going to receive a head-smashing welcome). The schedule’s gaps will be filled in shortly, but the roster’s TBD (to be determined) over the next couple of weeks.
In the interim, depending on your tolerance for bad jokes and “hosts” in various states of sobriety, the NHL Awards were either mildly amusing or a complete disaster, and thanks to the travesty that is Nicklas Lidstrom having been named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy once (last year) and never having captured it (if I may be so polite, WTF? Seriously?), the Red Wings had exactly one representative not named Ken Holland in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.
Pavel Datsyuk came to the NHL Awards, he saw…But he didn’t conquer.
Instead, Datsyuk entertained questions about the Wings’ future from Adrian Dater, he rather eloquently summarized the negative impact of a lockout upon those who are truly the most powerful and influential stakeholders in the game, and his mysterious choice as his guest for the awards had tongues wagging, including my own, until Getty Images clarified things in the best possible way: Pavel and Svetlana left their daughter Elizabeth at home…
And that’s exactly where Datsyuk’s heading as he’ll host the World Championship trophy in Yekaterinburg on June 29th.
He will not, however, be bringing home another Selke Trophy, as DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose noted:
The Red Wings’ streak of winning at least one NHL award from 2000-11 – which is an a league record – ended Wednesday night when Boston center Patrice Bergeron beat out the Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk for the 2012 Selke Trophy.
Datsyuk was seeking his fourth Selke, an award given annually to the game’s best defensive forward. He has been a Selke finalist for the past five seasons, winning the trophy three times from 2008-10. A fourth Selke Trophy would have tied the Wings’ Russian center with Hall of Famer Bob Gainey for the most times capturing the award. Gainey won the Selke from 1978-81 in the first four years of the award’s inception.
With his three Selke wins, Datsyuk joins fellow Russian Sergei Fedorov (1994, 1996) as the only Wings’ forwards to win the Selke more than once. Steve Yzerman (2000) and Kris Draper (2004) also received the award.
During the Wings’ record-setting streak, Datsyuk also won the Lady Byng Trophy four straight times from 2006-09.
A knee injury requiring surgery in February kept Datsyuk out of Detroit’s lineup for 11 games. But he returned to finish the season second on the team, finishing with 67 points. It marked the seventh time in the last eight seasons that he produced at least 65 points. The two-time Stanley Cup champion also finished first in assists (48) and returned to the NHL’s top 10 in faceoff proficiency after winning 56.2 percent. It was the eighth consecutive season he finished above 53 percent. In the league, Datsyuk finished first with 1.38 takeaways per game and third with 97 steals.
Selke votes in “points”: Bergeron 1,312 Backes 698 Datsyuk 553 Callahan 326 Kesler 152 Toews 117 Fisher 72 Staal 67 Kopitar 62 Sharp 52.
Wings mentions in awards thus far: [Ken] Holland got 8 points in GM’s award, [Mike Babcock] got 1 3rd place vote for [Jack] Adams.. Nick 132 points & 5th in Norris [Trophy voting]
Nicklas Lidstrom finished 6th in Lady Byng balloting with 247 points, and Datsyuk finished 9th with 137.
Daylife’s Wings gallery has a fantastic slate of Datsyuk posing with the Mrs. (he had us worried for a while there), posing with Evgeni Malkin and showing off his suit, and there are a few images of a certain Ted Lindsay as well (as I said on Twitter, Chris Chelios + Ted Lindsay + Las Vegas = a real “Rat Pack” trip), and if you’re willing to deal with intrusive watermarks, Getty Images’ website has even more pictures…
But what else is going on this morning? Very little.
You may or may not know this, but I try to keep the BS meter pretty low in terms of content, and this was a borderline novernight report night. If you are of a tabloid-friendly persuasion, the Detroit News’s Eric Lacy and the Detroit Free Press’s Gina Damron offer news regarding Darren McCarty’s PPO’s against former friends…
Via Expressen’s Erik Terenborn, Varmlands Folkblad’s Johan Erikson and Sophie Gustafsson are reporting that estranged Wings prospect Dick Axelsson has chosen to decline a contract offer from a previous employer in Farjestads BK, and will instead sign with the Frolunda (Gothenburg) Indians…
Is there news about one of the Wings’ free agent targets? Kinda. The Pioneer Press’s Bruce Brothers offers an article penned about a charity event which one Zach Parise attended, and let’s all be surprised that he’s not tipping his hand regarding potential free agency plans…
Zach Parise has been pretty good at dodging big defensemen through his hockey career at Shattuck- St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minn., the University of North Dakota and the New Jersey Devils. He’s also pretty good at dodging questions about his current contract negotiations with the Devils.
That information is private and will remain so, he said during a fundraiser for the Defending the Blue Line charity on Wednesday, June 20, at Ridder Arena.
Parise, who scored 31 goals during the regular season and eight more in 24 playoff games for New Jersey this past season, showed plenty of courage by showing up in Minneapolis knowing many questions would be about his future and the likelihood he might end up joining the Wild.
“I’ve gotten that question a few times,” he said with a laugh.
The shifty 5-foot-11 forward, who was born in Minneapolis and grew up in Bloomington, admitted his current situation is a bit stressful but recognizes there will be a massive payday at the end of it all because if he does not re-sign with the Devils by July 1, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
“It’s a good problem to have,” he said.
Over and over through the evening, Parise deflected questions about the possibility he’d end up playing in Minnesota until Richard Kuss of St. Francis leaned over from 10 feet away and hollered, “Hey, you’re coming to the Wild, aren’t you?” With members of the print and broadcast media nearby, Parise couldn’t resist. Without missing a beat, he grinned and shot back, “Yes.”
Everyone within earshot laughed.
In terms of events leading up to tomorrow and Saturday’s Draft in Pittsburgh, despite the Wings having drafted what seems like a treasure trove worth of prospects over the past four or five years, the Vancouver Province’s Iain MacIntyre chose to remind us that the road to the NHL is long and difficult for those prospects while discussing the Canucks’ middling draft results of late, and this might be a point worth pausing upon:
The Detroit Red Wings similarly have no draft picks from the last four years in their lineup and scouting director Hakan Andersson is hailed annually as a genius.
Okay, yes, first and foremost, Andersson is the team’s director of European scouting. Joe McDonnell is the Wings’ director of amateur scouting.
Second, the Wings did draft Gustav Nyquist in 2008, as well as prospects Thomas McCollum and Max Nicastro.
Of the 2009 class, Tomas Tatar has already played in a handful of games with the Wings, and of their seven picks, the team’s signed everyone but Nick Jensen, who’s still playing college hockey (Landon Ferraro, Andrej Nestrasil, Gleason Fournier, Mitchell Callahan and Adam Almqvist are all in the system one way or another).
Similarly, of the 2010 draft class, Riley Sheahan played his first pro game with the Wings this past season, and while the team didn’t sign Brooks Macek, everybody else is either signed (Calle Jarnkrok, Teemu Pulkkinen, Louis-Marc Aubry, Petr Mrazek) or still playing college (Brooks Macek)...
And while Tomas Jurco hasn’t officially been signed yet due to transfer agreement issues, he, Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet are all officially in the Wings’ plans, with the juries still out on six other players drafted in 2011.
Nonetheless, the “cautionary tale” here doesn’t just involve the honest fact that over half of the Wings’ “top prospects” tend not to pan out: realistically speaking, the players the Wings end up drafting on Saturday (the Wings won’t have a 1st round pick barring a trade as the 19th overall pick now belongs to Tampa Bay) won’t even start to develop into professional players for two to three seasons, and the one or two who do develop into solid NHL prospects will face a five-to-eight-year developmental timeline.
So while the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan penned profiles of potential 2012 picks with Michigan ties, including University of Michigan recruit Jacob Trouba, it might be more appropriate to look at DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose’s look at the Wings’ draft record from 1993 to 2002, which started off terrible (Curtis Bowen, Yan Golubovsky and Maxim Kuznetsov are not household names) and ended very, very strongly.
Playoff success in the mid to late 1990s began to cost the Red Wings at the draft. As they only had two first-round selections from 1997 to 2004. While the first-rounds that they plucked from Europe – defensemen Jiri Fischer and Niklas Kronwall – were outstanding choices, the tireless work of the organizations amateur scouting staff really showed off their analyzing skills.
The Wings found a pair of late-round diamonds when they grabbed Russian center Pavel Datsyuk in the sixth round in 1998, and a year later they dipped into the seventh round to secure Swedish center Henrik Zetterberg. The team also got notable late-rounders in Tomas Holmstrom (10th round, 1994) and Jonathan Ericsson, who was the very last player taken in 2002.
In all, the Red Wings selected 94 prospects in the 10 drafts between 1993 and 2002 with just 27 having played in at least one NHL game. Together, the 27 players have played a total of 7,334 games.
Given that his days with the organization may be numbered, I think the 257th overall pick in the 1994 draft deserves top billing over three potential captains in Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall—and yes, to some extent, it will take 10-12 years before we can truly “assess” Saturday’s theoretical haul of six players with any realistic perspective:
• 1,026 Games
• 243 Goals, 530 Points
• Four-time Stanley Cup champion
Holmstrom has said that he would give hockey in North America a shot, but he was ready to return to Sweden if things didn’t work out as he hoped. Around Christmas 1996, he was sent to Adirondack, where he played in his only minor league games of his career. He was ready to return home then, but good thing he took the assignment with a positive view and decided to stay a little longer. Four Stanley Cup championships later and Holmstrom is considering whether to retire after 15 NHL seasons or to return to the Wings next fall. Either way, the Swedish forward has been one of the most successful net-front players in NHL history.
Called the Demolition Man for a reason, Holmstrom has made a career out of playing on the power play and parking himself in front of opposing goaltenders, where he’s managed to maintain an his incredible hand-eye reflexes used to redirect shots into the net.
The Wings hope that they can find a Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, or, if you will, Calle Jarnkrok or Teemu Pulkkinen in every draft class, but the team realistically believes that 1-2 of their six or seven picks may develop into serviceable NHL’ers down the line, and some years you get a “once-a-generation” player, but oftentimes, if you get someone with Holmstrom’s heart, grit and determination, you’re more than happy.
We know that the Wings will probably draft a player or two that’s been heavily sought-after but has dropped in terms of stock in the 2nd and 3rd round, and then after that, they’ll draft some players who are at least known to the world and several more who nobody knows about, attempting to add a little more size to the mix while probably sticking to their usual mix of NCAA-bound players, Major Junior hockey players and Europeans, and we also know that the team rather desperately needs to add a goalie or two to the mix, but after that?
Well, first, ask me after I put in a 16-hour day on Saturday, and ask again after the MSM and prospect gurus like RedWingsCentral’s Matthew Wuest weigh in over the course of the next week.
Then ask me for real after I come back from Traverse City, assuming that funds keep accumulating for hotel reservations
As a sort of tangential storyline, it appears that players like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter’s rights will remain with their current rights-holders, and the same can be said for Matt Carle, but it is possible that Ken Holland could toss Jiri Hudler’s rights elsewhere if Petr Svoboda (he represents Jaromir Jagr as well) tells Holland that Hudler will test the market on Friday, and it is possible that the rights of players who have made similar decisions, like Alex Semin, might be on the Wings’ radar Friday or Saturday.
It is unlikely, however, that any of the players the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan mentions in his draft trade primer in Rick Nash (imagine the asking price a GM who’s already asking for the sun, moon and stars would require to send his team’s poster boy to his self-styled “arch-rival”), Jordan Staal, Roberto Luongo, Tim Thomas or Bobby Ryan, but this part of Kulfan’s column matters quite a bit:
The Bruins, Blackhawks, Penguins, and Flyers are usually active beginning July 1. But they could be hamstrung by their cap space available.
According to capgeek.com, the Bruins ($3.8 million), Blackhawks ($8.2 million), Penguins ($8.7 million) and Flyers $9 million) don’t have much money and little roster space left.
On the opposite spectrum, the Avalanche ($40 million, 12 players signed) and Predators ($37.3 million, 15 players signed) have plenty of cap space available.
The sagas involving defenseman Ryan Suter (Nashville) and forward Zach Parise (New Jersey) continue. But defenseman Barret Jackman (St. Louis), goaltender Josh Harding (Minnesota) and forward David Jones (Colorado) decided to stay where they are, weakening the free-agent class.
If you believe the Flyers’ media, somehow the team will manage to retain Jagr, retain Carle, and sign Parise and Suter, and if you believe the Hawks’ media, they’re the to-go destination for both players, but that’s the way the rumor mill’s turning these days. Everybody thinks they have a chance.
The Wings, according to Capgeek, have $24.132 million in cap space remaining under the temporary “upper limit,” and with the probable re-signings of Justin Abdelkader and Kyle Quincey taking up that $4.132 million, the Wings will have about $20 million in cap space to play with.
Yes, teams like the Wild and Kings are in similar player-recruitment straits, with one having playoff results to offer and the other, um, money, but if we are to believe Jimmy Howard, the Wings have a unique combination of sustained excellence, a player-friendly environment and a reputation of spending as necessary to keep the good times rolling that Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement won’t deter the Suters, Parises, Semins, Carles, Widemans, Parenteaus and other free agents away from Detroit. And the Jagrs and Whitneys, too.
Also of Red Wings-related note this morning:
• As a reminder, the Bob Probert memorial motorcycle ride takes place this Friday in Detroit and Windsor, and will raise funds for the angioplasty unit at Windsor’s Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital;
• The Detroit Free Press continues their series of chats on Friday with George Sipple discussing the Wings, the draft and free agency on Friday at 11 AM, and Helene St. James will wrap up the draft on Monday at 11 AM;
• Also from the Free Press, via RedWingsFeed: the Free Press’s Kirkland Crawford noted that ESPN chose to rank the “top 25 post-season performances” in the NFL, NBA, major league baseball and the NHL, and the Red Wings earned one lone mention:
8. Red Wings G Normie Smith vs. the Maroons
1936 Stanley Cup semifinals, Game 1
Game result: Red Wings 1, Maroons 0 (6 OT)
Series: Red Wings win in 3
Stat highlight: 92 saves
In the longest game in NHL history, goaltender Normie Smith stood tall against the defending Stanley Cup champion Montreal Maroons, shutting the door over 176 minutes. The Wings would eventually go on to win their first Stanley Cup.
• In sad news, Toledo Walleye coach Nick Vitucci spoke to the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe about wanting to add more grit to the Wings ECHL affiliate’s lineup, and he also stated that a significant number of Walleye players attended Bryan Rufenach’s funeral last Saturday;
• Doing a 180, via WZZM 13, Kris Draper shared his 5 “most memorable Red Wings moments” with Brent Ashcroft:
• And finally, here’s the button. As you know, I’m trying to raise funds to defer the cost of going to Traverse City to cover the Wings’ summer prospect camp from July 7-14. Any contribution at all is greatly appreciated as I’m halfway there and literally 15 days from embarking on my trip north:
You’ll have to use my personal email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, to donate, and if you want to aid the cause by some other manner or means, fire me an email at that address or at georgemalik at kuklaskorner dot com.
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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.