Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: finding a #2 goaltender is priority #1

Updated with an odd rumor at 8:20 AM: The Detroit Red Wings’ biggest concern at present involves determining the fate of Chris Osgood as the team’s back-up goaltender. The Wings are scouring a picked-over market for another goaltender to spell Jimmy Howard as they remain quite concerned about Osgood’s ability to recover from what turned out to be major surgery to repair and reattach groin muscles as well as repair a sports hernia, as GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...

“The question with Chris Osgood is, can he be healthy?” general manager Ken Holland said.

Osgood maintained in the playoffs he was ready to play if needed. He wasn’t; Howard played every game. Late in the regular season, Osgood practiced but was unable to get into the lineup because of lingering discomfort in the groin. It’s Osgood’s lack of action the last two years — Howard won the starting job in 2009-10 after Osgood struggled early in the season — that has the Wings examining the goaltending market this summer.

“We owe it to ourselves to see what is out there,” said Holland, who will consider bringing Osgood back. “We have money to spend (under the salary the cap). There are players we remain interested in.”

Holland said teams continue to call the Wings about possible trades.

The Wings contacted the agents for several goalies the first day of free agency Friday. But all of the goaltenders decided on finding other teams, knowing the No. 1 job in Detroit was Howard’s.

The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms the latter bit of news while speaking to Holland about the team’s attempts to convince a goaltender to come to Detroit to start 20-30 games…

The Wings are looking for a veteran with some playoff experience to play behind Jimmy Howard. Howard’s youth—he’s only 27—is going to turn off some prospective candidates, because those looking to play more know that’s more likely to happen behind a starter in his 30s.

“Some of the goalies we talked to didn’t want to be a backup,” general manager Ken Holland said. “They want to go to other teams and have a shot at being No. 1 or at playing a lot more games.”

There are still a few players on the market, such as Patrick Lalime, and former Wings Ty Conklin and Joey MacDonald. There’s also the possibility of trading for someone.

“We’ll continue to look at goalies,” Holland said. “We know we’ve got Chris Osgood if we want.”

Osgood, 38, would be a slam-dunk signing were it not for what transpired the second half of the season. In early January he underwent surgery for a sports hernia and other groin-related problems, after which came an extended rehabilitation period. The front office got frustrated, however, when Osgood told them in late February he’d be able to play again that season only to repeatedly back away from such attempts. He assured management prior to the trade deadline that he was nearly ready, which kept the Wings from trading for a replacement.

Osgood wasn’t able to suit up, though, and when the playoffs began the Wings had to rely on MacDonald, a minor leaguer with no NHL playoff experience, as a safety net.

The bottom line regarding Osgood is pretty simple—there’s nobody on the market that possesses Osgood’s resume, but the Wings are also incredibly concerned that, at some point, he’d suffer some sort of setback as par for the recovery course during training camp or the exhibition season, leaving the Wings scrambling to find a back-up.

It’s important to note that Holland and Jim Nill are now in charge of building the Grand Rapids Griffins’ roster as well, and they may or may not want to bring in an AHL’er to mentor Jordan Pearce and Thomas McCollum. It’s an important year for both netminders as they battle to establish a pecking order as Howard’s back-up-in-waiting, but it’s hard to believe that the Wings would be comfortable with the concept of simply bringing one of those goalies up to spell Howard should Osgood re-injure his groin.

As Joey MacDonald’s chosen to explore the market himself in the hopes of finding a full-time job as either an NHL back-up or starter in Europe, the team’s in a bit of a pickle as Marty Turco and Ray Emery probably want to compete for a starter’s job and Conklin and Lalime highlight a very thin marketplace, so as Holland suggested to the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness, it might be “Conklin or bust”:

“There’s nothing new to report,” Holland told The Macomb Daily on Monday. “Obviously that’s our top priority over the next few days.”
...
A source told The Macomb Daily on Saturday that the Wings have been talking with Conklin. Conklin played one season with Detroit (2008-09) and recorded a career-high 25 wins, going 25-11-2 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
...
“Osgood is interested in playing,” Holland said earlier in the week. “In goal we explored three or four guys. They all signed elsewhere and they all went for opportunity. They went where they went because they think there is opportunity to be a No. 1 or be a No. 1 in a year or two.”

Osgood had sports hernia surgery last year and suffered a few setbacks along his recover. He last played on Jan. 4.

“We’ve got (Jimmy Howard) who’s in the prime of his career and we think he’s going to be a good goaltender in this league,” Holland said. “He was a better goaltender last season compared to the year before and he’s going to be better this year.”

Holland said he’ll talk to Osgood when he returns from a golf trip the team gave him for winning his 400th career game last season.

In terms of the trade market, the Wings’ options are equally thin. Unless they’re looking to take on Michael Leighton’s $1.55 million cap hit, most teams are set in the net, leaving Turco, Emery, Conklin and Lalime playing musical chairs, and the reason Evgeni Nabokov wants to report to the Islanders’ training camp in the fall is because he wants to reestablish himself as a goaltender who can win at the NHL level and perhaps be traded to a playoff contender at the trade deadline, and he’s not going to get the kind of starts that he wants in Detroit.

In any case, Holland told the AP’s Larry Lage that the team plans on making a move sooner than later...

“The market for goalies is pretty picked over,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We’re comfortable with Chris Osgood if we have to do it.”

Osgood has won three Stanley Cups, two as a No. 1 goalie, and 401 games, mostly with Detroit. But he played in only 11 games last season, recovering from sports hernia surgery in January. Holland might re-sign Osgood, bring back Ty Conklin, who won a career-high 25 games for the Red Wings during the 2008-09 season, or trade for someone to spell Jimmy Howard.

“I have gotten calls from teams, looking to trade a goaltender,” Holland said. “I need to do something and I probably will this week.”

And again, he’s continued to allude to making some sort of trade:

“We like our team, but we’re ready to make another move or two — whether it’s a signing or a trade — to make our team better this summer,” Holland said.

As for Kris Draper, his future in Detroit looks even less likely to return than Osgood as Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller have returned and both Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton are no longer waiver-exempt, but if the Wings do make some sort of trade and subtract a forward to acquire a goaltender, Draper could return. I don’t think we’ll know whether he’s coming back for a few more weeks.


Whether the Wings improved their blueline or took a step back without Rafalski depends on your point of view. The Toronto Star’s Mark Zwolinski argues that the Wings’ defensive corps has no chance of standing up to the rigors of an NHL season because they’re “old”...

Detroit Red Wings

Signed Ian White after Brian Rafalski’s retirement, though there’s talk of interest in Tomas Kaberle. Still solid, but this team isn’t getting any younger and age will catch up with them at some point.

For the record, the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran claims that the Wings were somewhat interested in Kaberle but went in another direction by signing White…

And the Vancouver Province’s Mike Halford and Jason Brough suggest that Rafalski’s retirement signifies nothing less than the beginning of the end of Detroit’s status as a playoff contender…

[Y]ou have to wonder how much longer Detroit will remain in serious contention. The biggest question mark for the Red Wings is their defence, which just lost Brian Rafalski to retirement and won’t have Nicklas Lidstrom, 41, forever. There are always prospects in the Detroit organization, but it’s unrealistic to expect those two to be replaced anytime soon, if ever.

Sportsnet’s Mike Brophy believes that the Wings may have made the best signing of any team by bringing White into the fold...

Ian White, Defence, Detroit Red Wings: The much-traveled White is a solid replacement for the retired Brian Rafalski. Although he is not as good in his own zone as Rafalski, White skates well and can chip in on offence. Playing in Detroit’s puck-possession system that features defence-conscience forwards, White may finally have found a home. He played in Calgary, Carolina and San Jose this past season scoring a total of four goals and 26 points in 78 games. His nine points in 17 games with San Jose were quite impressive. At $5.75 million over two years, White could prove to be a bargain.

And the Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo (who engaged in a pretty lengthy chat about the Wings and other topics on Monday afternoon) believes that Holland did the best he could to keep pace with other teams in terms of both their defense and their depth up front, suggesting that retaining Jonathan Ericsson at a slightly excessive rate included:

It wasn’t so much that Ericsson wasn’t worth re-signing, but the amount that stunned people. He is a fifth or sixth defensemen in the eyes of Red Wings’ fans. He’s been a source of their frustration because of a tendency to turn the puck over in his own end. Ericsson is big and strong, but he rarely fights — another thing the Red Wings don’t necessarily like about him. The perception he is a young player is not necessarily the right one, either. He will be 28 during next spring’s playoffs.

But what other choices did the Red Wings have? Ericsson is good enough to play for them. The options weren’t any better. Certainly they weren’t any cheaper.

In the process, general manager Ken Holland did an excellent job of filling in the blanks. Mike Commodore is a big, physical defenseman. Perhaps the peer pressure of the Red Wings’ dressing room, which is significant, will keep him in line. If it does, he will be a bargain for a cool million.

Ian White is 27. He played very well for San Jose in the postseason. He is small, but a right-handed shot and skilled at moving the puck. He is solid enough defensively. White has spent most of his NHL career with Toronto, where his value didn’t really show in the center of the Maple Leafs’ malaise. What was impressive, when the stakes were higher and the skill around him better in San Jose this past spring, he moved up to that level. The Red Wings acquired him at a reasonable price: Two years, $5.75 million.

It all leaves the Red Wings with enough depth at the blue line given their two best prospects are defensemen, Jakub Kindl, who played in Detroit last season for 48 games, and Brendan Smith, who was very good at Grand Rapids. Both are former first-round draft choices who need to grow in the NHL. Don’t see much else they are going to learn in the AHL.

Kindl can’t be sent down to the Griffins without clearing waivers—which wouldn’t happen—and he’s definitely going to battle with Commodore for the #6 spot on the blueline. Kindl had an up-and-down rookie season and doesn’t exactly impress people on ice because he’s not physical by any stretch of the imagination, but he skates well, has a superb outlet pass and has a very savvy playmaking sense.

Overall, especially given the amounts of money Christian Ehrhoff, James Wisniewski and even Ed Jovanovski received, Caputo believes that the Wings showed tremendous restraint:

Holland has a way of finding players that fit the puzzle. Undoubtedly, the Red Wings aren’t totally done this offseason. There will be more tweaking and tinkering.

That the Red Wings didn’t buy in the feeding frenzy of the free agent signing period this summer was a wise decision. After all, Stanley Cup championships are won in June. Not July.

The Wings will also have a decent chunk of cap space remaining to improve the team during the season if they’re still concerned about their blueline, but in the interim, the team believes that improvement from within, and especially from Ericsson, should help White, Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart to fill Rafalski’s void.

Ericsson faces significant pressure to live up to his 3-year, $9.75 million contract, as Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested to the Macomb Daily’s Pleiness...

“We need him to take a bigger role on the team,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s been rewarded with a real good contract, which tells him how important he is.”

Ericsson is entering his fourth season in the league.

“We expect him to take the next step in his career,” Babcock said.

And White, who welcomes a little stability via his 2-year, $5.75 million contract given that he has a two-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son, believes that he’s going to prosper playing in Detroit:

“Hopefully I’m a perfect fit for that spot,” White said. “It really fits my style of game. I’ve played against them for six years,” White continued. “It’s just a real special team to play against. It’s great to get an opportunity to play with those guys – the puck movement, the puck possession, so many talented players.’‘

As for James Wisniewski’s comment regarding the Wings not paying “market value” for defensemen, Holland told Pleiness that he took Wisniewski’s comment as something of a compliment:

Wisniewski told NHL Live, “For me, knowing Detroit’s history they don’t really pay the market value for a defenseman or any player. So I didn’t think that was going to be a fit for myself.”

Wings general manager Ken Holland said he didn’t see the quote and then added, “I take that as a real compliment. That’s a tremendous compliment. For us to accomplish what we we’ve accomplished and we don’t pay market value that’s a compliment.”


Wings goalie Jimmy Howard also received a bit of a compliment from Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien, who believes that Howard is at least the third or fourth-best American goaltender playing in a strong class of peers…

Jimmy Howard: This class of American goalies runs deep. Howard might not roll of your tongue when you’re naming the NHL’s elite, but he’s the present and future of Detroit’s goaltending. The past has been pretty sweet, too; he’s currently riding two consecutive 37-win seasons. After his stats slipped a bit from the 09-10 to 10-11 regular season, Howard responded with a .923 save percentage in the 2011 playoffs.


In alumni department, and in the “news from across the pond” territory, Expressen’s Mattias Ek notes that Dominik Hasek told Sovetsky Sport’s Dmitry Nesterov that he’s willing to consider playing anywhere in Europe—but only after Hasek takes this season off before attempting another comeback;

• Former Wings assistant Brad McCrimmon also gave an interview to Sport-Express’s Mikhail Zislis about his decision to coach Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, where he’s starting to meet with management to prepare to get to work as a head coach in the KHL, and here’s a roughly-translated portion of its “teaser”:

Question: Rumors had you going to coach Minnesota and Dallas, but you decided to choose coaching in Russia. Why?

Brad McCrimmon: I knew that I was in third or fourth place in the lists of people applying. It wasn’t for me. And Lokomotiv president Yuri Yakolev told me the team was good. I thought about it for a couple of days and agreed [to sign on].

Question: Do you know how, for Lokomotiv, there’s lots of pressure on coaches—in Yaroslavl only a championship rescues you from resigning?

McCrimmon: Listen, I worked for a few years with Detroit. There there’s no other purpose than winning the Stanley Cup. The management of Lokomotiv is also constantly aiming to win a championship, which I really like. I’m ready to deal with any difficulties. And the pressure.

Question: What are your opinions about Russian players?

McCrimmon: Since I was a teenager watching the Super Series in 1972, I’ve only been able to speak about them enthusiastically. And I played with many of them. I’ll be happy to see Sergei Makarov, who played with me in Calgary. And still, Sergei Fedorov and Slava Kozlov, who were teammates in Detroit. And by the way, when I met with Vladimir Yurzinov. In general I’ve appreciated Russians. And then there are Kovalchuk and Datsyuk—I worked with them in Atlanta and Detroit, respectively, and in terms of Lokomotiv, I already know at least half of the team’s players.


Back over on this side of the Atlantic, Mike Modano will hold a charity baseball game in Frisco, Texas this Saturday, July 9th;]

• In Edmonton, Alberta, the Edmonton Journal’s Nick Frost and the Edmonton Sun’s John Short report that Todd Bertuzzi’s coaching the Michigan entry in the famous Brick Super Novice (i.e. 7-to-8-year-olds are participating) hockey tournament, but the Detroit Junior Red Wings didn’t get off to a fantastic start:

Perhaps the most impressive performance came from the Connecticut Yankees, coached by former Edmonton Oilers captain Doug Weight. They had an easy team in a 6-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, coached by current NHL Wing Todd Bertuzzi.

• And he wasn’t anything more than a prospect, but the Windsor Star’s Jim Parker reports that Stephen Johnson’s going to continue his hockey career with the Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia;

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson fielded a superb reader question about a current member of the Red Wings’ organization…

Q: Why can’t defencemen win the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP? Since 1972 and Bobby Orr, only Chris Pronger has done it. Otherwise, there’s been 34 forwards and three goalies. Has Nicklas Lidstrom really never been a Hart winner?

Jacob O’Brien

A: It makes no sense to me, either. Lidstrom, who is one of the four best defencemen of all-time along with Orr, Doug Harvey and Ray Bourque, hasn’t even finished second. It’s a huge oversight. Bourque never won it either. He was second twice, to the Edmonton Oilers’ Mark Messier in 1990 and Wayne Gretzky in 1988. The Washington Capitals’ Rod Langway was runner-up to Gretzky in ’84 and Denis Potvin, captain of the great New York Islanders teams, lost out to Bobby Clarke in 1976. The voters believe defencemen have their own award, the Norris Trophy. I totally disagree with that thinking. But it’s much the same in baseball with the Cy Young Award for pitchers.

And finally, my availability will be somewhat limited over the next two days as I’ll be preparing for Wednesday’s trip up to the Red Wings’ summer “strength and conditioning” prospect camp in Traverse City. The camp starts on Thursday the 7th and will continue until Wednesday, July 14th, and is open to the public, and the details thereof can be found here.

Update: there is a rumor around the Twitterverse that the Wings have signed Garnet Exelby to a one-year, 2-way deal, but NHLSourcesSay and the rest of the rumor-makers who are suggesting that the deal happened, well…

I can’t vouch for their veracity, and a Twitter rumor is just that—a Twitter rumor. Could it be true? Sure, but I don’t like to tread in rumors from people that are just tossing stuff around without citing their sources publicly.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

 1 2 >       Next »

monkey's avatar

and the details thereof can be found here.

There is something wrong with that link.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 07/05/11 at 10:17 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Fixed it, thank you.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/05/11 at 10:22 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

the Wings were somewhat interested in Kaberle but went in another direction by signing White…

Wow, how did THAT line of thought go?  “We were thinking of sucking, but then decided to go in another direction…”

Didn’t Exelby play in the AHL last season?  This might just be a depth signing.  He’s a big, hard hitter, but there’s not really much else to his game, so I can’t see him on the NHL roster unless injuries strike.

Or the rumor may just be false…

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 10:38 AM ET

monkey's avatar

The Hart Trophy is almost always a MVF award.  Come to think of it, I think the league is missing a trophy.

The Gordie Howe Trophy: Awarded to the forward who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 07/05/11 at 10:49 AM ET

Avatar

The Wings are actually younger today than they were a month ago. Rafi was what 37 replaced with a 27 year old and Rusty has been replaced with a 31 year old. Modano off the roster, Drapes and Ozzie in limbo and I don’t see them back so they just got a huge chunk of their old guys off the roster.

That comment by Wiz still bugs me too. Sorry James they win. Guys take less to come here to play for a team that isn’t on the short list for relocation. They want to win . You go to Columbus to start your vacation early.

Posted by tmoore4075 on 07/05/11 at 10:55 AM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

That comment by Wiz still bugs me too. Sorry James they win. Guys take less to come here to play for a team that isn’t on the short list for relocation. They want to win . You go to Columbus to start your vacation early.
Posted by tmoore4075 on 07/05/11 at 08:55 AM ET

I get the feeling there’s more to this story than we’re being led to believe by either party.  Wiz’s agent is also Rafalski’s agent, and there’s obviously been a relationship between that party and the Wings for some time now.  Hell, Wisniewski was hanging out at the JLA all last summer skating with Horcoff, Booth and the WIngs that were in town.

The Ericsson signing late Thursday night was certainly the death of the possiblity of Wisniewski coming to town, if I were a betting man I would guess that the Wings left the bride standing at the alter at the 11th hour.  He likely takes a higher road if there was never an expectation that he’d be signed.

I still wonder what exactly Holland was thinking on Thursday when the BigE contract was finalized seeing how the market played out over the weekend, he is arguably the most overpaid (by % increase) player of this entire FA period.  Ironic that Holland got his saddle out to hop on Wiz’s statement?  Nope.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/05/11 at 11:03 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Leo, I’m not a cap (or a math) whiz, but I don’t see how Ericsson is the most overpaid, given what Ehrhoff and some others got - especially if you look at the front loading.  Maybe you could explain, because I’d like to understand that comment you made. 

And given Babcock’s comments about Ericsson, and how he’d better step it up this season, there’s always the possibility of Suter being on the market before the trade deadline and Big E ending up someplace else if he doesn’t perform.  I still think Holland paid what he thought he had to, given the market and the unavailability of really good defensemen in the free agent pool.  And it’s a relatively short-term deal at 3 years compared to what some of the others got - maybe that also makes a trade easier should that need arise.

Will be interested to see how the back-up goaltender issue is resolved, because I don’t think for an instant that the Wings really intend to rely on Ozzie.

George, have a safe and wonderful trip.  Look forward very much to your reports!

cool smile

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/05/11 at 11:19 AM ET

Avatar

Re: the Wings age. Seems to me that Toronto writers have been saying the wings are too old for about two decades. We’ve seen how that’s worked out for the Wings. I think it’s just sour grapes on the party of a toronto organization that has supplied some of the Wings “too old” parts who have won cups with the Wings but not with the leafs.

Posted by teldar on 07/05/11 at 11:23 AM ET

Avatar

Wings still have $7mil in cap space they could have signed him with no problem. $2.7mil more per year is what Wiz is making. They could have signed him and still had cap space. I don’t think the Wings wanted to sign to $5.5 mil per for 6 years or whatever. That long of a deal needs lower cap # for the Wings. He wanted more which I can’t blame him. He had his rights with a team that needed to make splash and he knew it. I thought the Wings did a great job. Got their forward core and their goalie signed for next season for the lockout. They have nothing that hurting them if salaries get rolled back. They were going to get handcuffed by a guy who has only broken 40 points once in his career. I’d rather have White and Commie and a crap load of cap space. The backup goalie won’t cost more than a mil. They are going to have space to improve during the season/deadline. They can make a trade that some of these teams that threw big money at guys won’t be able to do.

Posted by tmoore4075 on 07/05/11 at 11:26 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Leo, I’m not a cap (or a math) whiz, but I don’t see how Ericsson is the most overpaid, given what Ehrhoff and some others got

He mentioned it in percentage terms—I think he meant to say that of the potential UFA defensmen, Ericsson got the largest pay increase by percentage, not real dollars.  I haven’t looked up the full numbers, but certainly a 361% increase in cap hit certainly seems like one of the higher raises handed out this summer.  When was the last time any of us got their salary more than tripled in a year?

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 11:33 AM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

He mentioned it in percentage terms—I think he meant to say that of the potential UFA defensmen, Ericsson got the largest pay increase by percentage, not real dollars.  I haven’t looked up the full numbers, but certainly a 361% increase in cap hit certainly seems like one of the higher raises handed out this summer.  When was the last time any of us got their salary more than tripled in a year?
Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 09:33 AM ET

Thanks Andrew, that’s exactly where I have been with this.

I have no problem in the Wings believing that Ericsson has a future here, lord knows they have far more insight as to what he can offer and what his role will become than I do.

The fact is, it is naive to cast the signing of a player that has never logged more than 15 mins of ice time per game in his career as a “market adjustment” in light of what transgressed between Thursday night and this morning.  The Wings grossly overpaid for this particular player, which I can only conclude as being poor judgement on their part. 

Ian White is a perfect illustration of the problem with Ericsson’s contract.  Any person who follows hockey will tell you that White (who is a year younger) has been asked to do far more than Ericsson has throughout his career.  The same applies to a player like Anton Babchuk (who was signed at < $3m), and the majority of the other 20 defensemen that were signed over the past few days to play on the 2nd and 3rd pairings for their respective teams.. 

I can only conclude that I wish that the Wings were more patient with this particular contract, now I can only hope that the situation manifests itself so that BigE will justify (sure seems odd to think how that will happen given their depth chart right now) the incredible increase that he received.  Otherwise, it just goes to set a terrible presedence in your lockerroom.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/05/11 at 11:44 AM ET

Avatar

While Big E’s salary was a surprise it’s not bad in term. If he works out…its a great deal. Remember when Kronwall was signed to $3mil a year when he had never played for a full year in 07? I was like wtf are you serious? And he’ll get paid 9.75 over 3 years while Wiz will get paid (actually paid not cap hit) $20mil and Ehrhoff will get $22mil. While they are probably better than him are they $11-13mil better? No.

Posted by tmoore4075 on 07/05/11 at 11:46 AM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

While Big E’s salary was a surprise it’s not bad in term. If he works out…its a great deal. Remember when Kronwall was signed to $3mil a year when he had never played for a full year in 07?
Posted by tmoore4075 on 07/05/11 at 09:46 AM ET

You bring up a good point and something that further illustrates the issue here.

When you looked at the Wings depth chart in 07, it was very obvious that Kronners was going to be a second line guy (he was already playing second line minutes) for the future.

When you look at the depth chart right now, you don’t see the space for Ericsson to get promoted.  Something has to give to justify this, hope that’s a good thing.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/05/11 at 12:25 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

So Kenny is running into a brick wall seeking a goaltender because those wanting a shot at #1 will not even consider playing in Howard’s shadow.
That would indicate a tremendous league wide respect for his skills, especially among his peers.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 07/05/11 at 12:30 PM ET

Avatar

I think it’s Conklin, he’s the best option probably anyways. He’s the perfect backup. I don’t trust Ozzie’s health. He played pretty well early last year, better than the year before. 5 wins out of 11 is better than 7 out of 23. Emery would be ok I just don’t trust him not to be a distraction. He wants to be the starter.

Posted by tmoore4075 on 07/05/11 at 12:37 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Thanks, all of you for the continued discussion about Ericsson’s contract vis-a-vis Wiz and Ehrhoff.  I think the term and overall dollars with Big E were significant, and if there’s a cap reduction next year, guess who won’t be choking - Ken Holland.

Anyway, I also wanted to say that it is really nice to be able to disagree like grown ups here.  That has not always been my experience on other sites.  I enjoy everyone’s insights and also appreciate not being dissed because I happen to be of the female gender.

And I think, and hope, it will be Ty Conklin.  He seems to be fine with being a back up and though he didn’t have great numbers last season, look at the team he had in front of him.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/05/11 at 12:45 PM ET

Avatar

Larsson has an out clause.  Maybe KH is trying to bring him over.  He was better than Jimmy his last year in GR.  If not, he better be here in 2012-13 b/c McCollum looks like a horrible pick. Pearce probably beats him out this year.

Posted by jkm2011 on 07/05/11 at 12:52 PM ET

Avatar

While Big E’s salary was a surprise it’s not bad in term. If he works out…its a great deal. And he’ll get paid 9.75 over 3 years while Wiz will get paid (actually paid not cap hit) $20mil and Ehrhoff will get $22mil. While they are probably better than him are they $11-13mil better? No.

Posted by tmoore4075 on 07/05/11 at 09:46 AM ET

I don’t get why the front loading of those contracts matters all that much?  Who (aside from the team’s owner) cares what they are actually paid?  I always figured that what matters (in a spent-to-the-cap team) is the cap hit.  Also, Kronwall at least showed 2nd pairing potential before his contract, he was just injured a lot.  Ericsson actually got worse during his contract year than he was when he started.  He’s shown nothing on the ice that leads me to believe he’s second pairing material, but they still signed him to a contract that’s fit for a 3-4 d-man. 

I would love nothing more than to eat my words in 2 years and think it was a bargain (or even just a decent deal), but its just simply a bad contract.  I doubt anyone else would have paid him that money on the open market, and he said a LOT of times that he really wanted to stay in Detroit.  Kenny and Babs have always seen more in Ericsson than anyone else seems to, so I don’t get why they were so worried that someone else was going to snatch him up for such a huge sum of money.  At least its only a 3 year deal, but look how worried everyone is about getting rid Hudler and he only had a 2 year deal.  If Ericsson doesn’t live up to this contract, he won’t be tradeable either.

Posted by Nick on 07/05/11 at 01:02 PM ET

11B4PF7 in MN's avatar

So I was watching Sesame Street with my twenty month old son this morning while I was reading this blog.  The segment that made me laugh was,’ One of these things is not like the others’.  So based on George’s writing and some of the comments posted, I pose this conundrum: which of the following salaries is not like the others compared to the player’s role?

Lidstrom $6.2
Kronwall $3.
Stuart $3.750
White $2.875
Ericsson $3.250
Kindl $883k
Commodore $1.

Posted by 11B4PF7 in MN on 07/05/11 at 01:02 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

If he works out…its a great deal.

Again, there’s the rub.  We’re paying (overpaying this year) for potential, like other contracts (Kronner’s being the obvious one that keeps getting brought up).  Ideally, he’d be adequately paid the first year, then underpaid the second two.  Realistically, the management is probably expecting he’ll be overpaid the first, adequately-paid the second, and underpaid the third.  From my point of view, however, he’s shown very little promise of living up to his supposedly vast potential, and so I expect he’ll remain overpaid over the life of the contract.  Besides this, the whole situation has more than a little stink of a panic-signing about it.  Kenny overestimated how grossly inflated the market for UFA defensemen would be, based on the signs available to him at that time, and hence overpaid a potential UFA defenseman.  Any of us might have done the same thing in his place.  It’s a mistake, but a rare one from a man who doesn’t make many.  Yes Virginia, Ken Holland is human after all.

also appreciate not being dissed because I happen to be of the female gender.

Ha-ha!  You have breasts and are full of estrogen! tongue wink

I’m with everyone about Conklin—he’s never been more than a backup, so doesn’t have the aim of trying to wrest the starter’s job from Jimmy.  Turco, Emery, and Nabokov would not come to camp satisfied with their positions, and that might cause strife—and we don’t need a distracted starting goalie.  The only question is whether we can land him.  If there’s one player we could justify overpaying, however, it’s a good, healthy, backup.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 01:05 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Posted by 11B3PF7 in MN on 07/05/11 at 11:02 AM ET

I never realized how much we overpaid that Lindstrom guy. What a dick.

Posted by SK77 on 07/05/11 at 01:06 PM ET

Avatar
I don’t get why the front loading of those contracts matters all that much?  Who (aside from the team’s ownercares what they are actually paid?  I always figured that what matters (in a spent-to-the-cap teamis the cap hit.  AlsoKronwall at least showed 2nd pairing potential before his contracthe was just injured a lot.  Ericsson actually got worse during his contract year than he was when he started.  He’s shown nothing on the ice that leads me to believe he’s second pairing materialbut they still signed him to a contract that’s fit for a 3-4 d-man. 

I would love nothing more than to eat my words in 2 years 
and think it was a bargain (or even just a decent deal), but its just simply a bad contract.  I doubt anyone else would have paid him that money on the open market, and he said a LOT of times that he really wanted to stay in Detroit.  Kenny and Babs have always seen more in Ericsson than anyone else seems toso I don’t get why they were so worried that someone else was going to snatch him up for such a huge sum of money.  At least its only a 3 year dealbut look how worried everyone is about getting rid Hudler and he only had a 2 year deal.  If Ericsson doesn’t live up to this contracthe won’t be tradeable either

I’m just showing the out of pocket expense difference. If Wiz fails to live up to his contract he’s going to get $20mil over 3 years and still be under contract. Same with Ehrhoff but he’ll have 7 more years under contract. He got a lifetime deal that guys like Hank and Kovy got and he’s never done anything like those players have. If Big E doesn’t work out over 3 years he’s gone. Those guys aren’t. Of the two I think Wiz will be the flop. It’s got Marty Lapointe written all over it.

And I’m not saying E is worth the money. I don’t like it. And yeah Kronwall showed potential but it was still a big risk with his health. Potential means nothing if you’re not playing. Same goes for E too.  This is a big risk in it not working out. We’ll see what happens. They have the cap space to work with still, and if the cap goes down they won’t be holding onto a contract for too long like the other guys.

Did the Wings get scared? Yeah I think so. Montodor had done what to deserve a 4 year deal at 2.75mil per? If he was getting that I think they were worried someone else would see the potential in E that they do and give him a big deal and they thought he was worth the risk rather than finding someone else.

Posted by tmoore4075 on 07/05/11 at 01:12 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

but look how worried everyone is about getting rid Hudler and he only had a 2 year deal.

My take on Hudler is a bit brighter than that on Ericsson, and with all the hubbub about him, here’s a couple of possibilities:

-He gets traded for something, and flourishes with a change of scenery—he’s always been cut from Eastern Conference material anyway.  We get cap relief for an overpaid player and a return of some sort, hopefully decent, and we go out and get another player, hopefully a bonafide top-six forward.  Everybody shuts up about Hudler and stops calling each other diaper babies because they disagree about him.

-He stays because we can’t trade him.  The deuce he dropped on the ice last season and the whispers of trading him that have certainly reached his ears, plus the fact that he always seems to be in Uncle Mike’s doghouse, fire him up.  He feels he has something to prove, and in a contract year he wants to show that he’s worth re-signing at more than his current salary, either in Detroit or elsewhere.  He plays like a man possessed and we get good value out of him for this year.

Possible?  Either one?  Yes.  It’s also possible that he plays like a tree sloth that’s lost the will to live, like last season.  But I think that’s less likely than Ericsson never living up to his fat contract.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 01:14 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

The much-traveled White is a solid replacement for the retired Brian Rafalski. Although he is not as good in his own zone as Rafalski,

Brophy obviously didn’t watch Raffy in the D-zone this last season. He was absolutely dreadful…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 07/05/11 at 01:17 PM ET

11B4PF7 in MN's avatar

Posted by tmoore4075 on 07/05/11 at 08:55 AM ET

Tmoore4057 already touched upon this but yeah, the Wings are getting older???  Hmmm, let’s look at what they have done so far this summer…

Rafalski 38 replaced by White 27
Salei 36 replaced by Commadore 31
Madano 41 replaced by Mursak 23
Draper 40 replaced by Emmerton 23
Osgood 38 replaced by ?????

I am wondering what some of those “trade proposals” that Holland received to help replace Osgood involved?  Think the Oilers were calling with a hail-mary proposal that the Wings take Khabibulin off of their hands?  Hahahaha, while Heatley and Campbell had horrible contracts, at least those players can bring many tangibles to the table.  Khabibulin’s over 35yrold contract is a truly unmovable object.

Posted by 11B4PF7 in MN on 07/05/11 at 01:30 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

I don’t have a problem with the Big E, or his contract.  He played great in the playoffs when we won the cup.  Showed his potential…and then along came McCrimmon.  The entire team has been spiraling downhill ever since, not just Ericsson.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 07/05/11 at 01:35 PM ET

11B4PF7 in MN's avatar

I never realized how much we overpaid that Lindstrom guy. What a dick.

Posted by some kid on 07/05/11 at 11:06 AM ET

I am assuming that you are joking; however, I know a few weeks back someone was actually making that argument.  I hope that argument is NOT revisited.

Posted by 11B4PF7 in MN on 07/05/11 at 01:36 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Showed his potential…and then along came McCrimmon.

Dammit Gramps, every time I get down about Ericsson never living up to his potential or his contract, you come along and hit me with a big dose of reality.

I forget about the McCrimmon factor.  Whomever replaces him behind the bench this summer will go a long way toward determining whether Ericsson is worth his pay or not.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 01:56 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

I hope that argument is NOT revisited.

No, he’s right—Lindstrom is a dick for not taking five bucks and a bag of cheese goldfish in pay thie year in gratitude for being privileged enough to put his 41 year-old body on the line for the Wings again.  If he had taken that reasonable and slight haircut, why, then we might not be right up agains the cap and have the vast space to sign…oh…wait…

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 02:01 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Besides, who does he think he is, anyway—the reigning Norris Trophy winner?  With his attitude, you’d think he’d won it seven times or something.

Dick.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 02:03 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Ha-ha!  You have breasts

Don’t you?  wink

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/05/11 at 02:09 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Don’t you?

Nope.  Smooth, like a Ken doll.  And just as chiseled and plastic, too.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 02:15 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

And the Vancouver Province’s Mike Halford and Jason Brough suggest that Rafalski’s retirement signifies nothing less than the beginning of the end of Detroit’s status as a playoff contender…

Yeah, well, I’m sure Mike and Jason had the Cup parade route already planned out by this past February, so I’ll take what they have to say with a grain of salt. And a shot of tequila.

And, let’s face it, for at least half the season it was like the Wings were already playing as a team with no Rafalski. He missed 19(!) games last year with either a bad back or knee problems. And when he did play he was terrible in his own zone many times. Would it be a stretch to say he was mediocre-at-best / bad-at-worst for about half of the games he did play (31/63)?

If not, then the Wings played Rafalski-less hockey for 2/3 of last season.

The loss of Rafalski will not be felt nearly as much as some Eyores are predicting.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 07/05/11 at 02:16 PM ET

Avatar

I say we ship BigE over to Washington for that Braden Holtby fella.  Done and done.

Posted by Alvin on 07/05/11 at 02:26 PM ET

SK77's avatar

I am assuming that you are joking; however, I know a few weeks back someone was actually making that argument.  I hope that argument is NOT revisited.

Posted by 11B3PF7 in MN on 07/05/11 at 11:36 AM ET

You assume correctly, sir. Lids can have $8 mil. for all I care—he’s earned it.

Posted by SK77 on 07/05/11 at 02:48 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Nope.  Smooth, like a Ken doll.  And just as chiseled and plastic, too.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/05/11 at 12:15 PM ET

cool smile

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/05/11 at 03:04 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

So Rusty goes to Russia…

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/05/11 at 03:04 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Toronto Star’s Mark Zwolinski argues that the Wings’ defensive corps has no chance of standing up to the rigors of an NHL season because they’re “old”...

Detroit Red Wings

Signed Ian White after Brian Rafalski’s retirement, though there’s talk of interest in Tomas Kaberle. Still solid, but this team isn’t getting any younger and age will catch up with them at some point.

Well, shit, Mark, you’ve just earned your fauxing Master’s Degree in Fake Journalism.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 07/05/11 at 03:06 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

I don’t have a problem with the Big E, or his contract.  He played great in the playoffs when we won the cup.  Showed his potential…and then along came McCrimmon.  The entire team has been spiraling downhill ever since, not just Ericsson.
Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 07/05/11 at 11:35 AM ET

Todd, I had to go back and look this one up (recall you mentioning it a few days back) because I don’t remember BigE playing much in the cup finals of 2008.  Sure enough, he didn’t play at all:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20083DETSASAll&sort=player.position.positionCode&viewName=timeOnIce

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/05/11 at 03:07 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Re: the Wings age. Seems to me that Toronto writers have been saying the wings are too old for about two decades.
Posted by teldar on 07/05/11 at 09:23 AM ET

Reminds me of what I heard / saw on the 4-letter network about 1993.  “the window for the Red Wings is closing”.

18 years later has any team done better? ......

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/05/11 at 03:19 PM ET

 1 2 >       Next »

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

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.