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Red Wings overnight report: talking about Parise and Schultz a week from the organizational powwow

In a week, things get interesting, at least behind closed doors. The Red Wings’ amateur scouts, and at least a good chunk of the team’s brass, will head to Toronto on Monday to take in the six-day meet, greet, and make-em-puke that is the NHL Draft combine, and then it’s back to Detroit for the team’s organizational meetings from June 2nd to 5th. With their draft list’s i’s dotted and t’s slashed, the front office—as in the whole front office—will gather at the Joe and decide whether the team plans on attempting to re-sign Jiri Hudler, whether they’ll invite Tomas Holmstrom back for one more season, or whether they’ll move on, whether they’ll make one more attempt to convince Brad Stuart to stay, whether they plan on going with Joey MacDonald or perhaps a free agent as Jimmy Howard’s back-up, and of course, who the team will target on July 1st, regardless of whether Nicklas Lidstrom chooses to continue playing.

The Free Press’s Helene St. James found that Wings GM Ken Holland made no bones about the gravity of next weekend’s festivities…

General manager Ken Holland, assistant general manager Jim Nill, senior vice president Jimmy Devellano, salary cap-ologist Ryan Martin, head coach Mike Babcock, scouts, including Mark Howe and former players-turned-advisers like Chris Chelios and Kris Draper all will gather to “have a conversation about our team,” as Holland put it. “We’re going to rate our players, we’re going to discuss our young players, we’re going to look at options.”

And while the “young players” happen to involve three people who are already property of the team…

Also on the table: Determining the value for the restricted free agents—forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Kyle Quincey—whom the Wings would like to re-sign. Forward Jiri Hudler, an unrestricted free agent, is likely to get more money elsewhere.

Like every other team, the Wings will peg salaries knowing things could change pending a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players Association.

“We have to discuss what we want to pay people,” Holland said. “We’ll have an internal salary cap number that we think will give us the best options. If that goes higher or lower, we’ll adjust.”

Once that’s established, it’s time to sit back and wait for fireworks, at least after putting out some informal feelers:

First and foremost, the Wings are after elite defenseman Ryan Suter, who isn’t likely to re-sign with Nashville. Zach Parise is far and away the top forward who could be available, but the Devils may well find a way to re-sign their captain, especially after reaching the Stanley Cup finals.

Other forwards expected to be available include: P.A. Parenteau, David Jones, Alexander Semin, Jarret Stoll, Shane Doan and Ryan Smyth. On defense, options include Dennis Wideman, Filip Kuba, Matt Carle and Barret Jackman.

“We’re going to discuss our players and go over all the names we think will be available on July 1,” Holland said. “We feel we have a lot of good pieces in place—we’ve got a No. 1 goalie. We’ve got Pavel Datsyuk, we’ve got Henrik Zetterberg, Helm and Abby—we’ve got depth down the middle. We’ve got some kids that are knocking. We’re going to meet, discuss everything, and have a plan ready.”

As the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson suggests—and it should be noted that even Matheson, at his pre-free-agency rumor-depositing best, suggests that we pay no heed to the Dominik Hasek return rumors, especially given the number of free agent back-ups available on the open market—the Wings probably won’t choose to allot a significant chunk of capped change to retaining Hudler…

With a shallow free-agent pool, winger Jiri Hudler will likely get his $4 million a season from somebody on July 1. There’s no way the Detroit Red Wings want to give him Johan Franzen money — $3.95 million. And the Red Wings don’t consider Hudler, even if he could score 30 goals, as good as Val Filppula, who makes $3 million and is a better all-around player. Hudler is a smaller player and has to go to a team that has bigger forwards. I could see Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Lightning taking a run at him, and the Ottawa Senators because head coach Paul MacLean is a former Wings assistant coach.

But Matheson does believe that the Wings have a pretty damn good chance of a player who the New Jersey Devils don’t have much cap room (and, if you believe the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, the same financial wherewithal that the Nashville Predators possess while attempting to retain Shea Weber’s services as well as that Suter guy and the dozen-plus other free agents they have on the table) to retain a certain player who’s captaining a Stanley Cup finalist this spring:

The Devils have no wiggle room [for Zach Parise] because Elias ($6 million) and Dainius Zubrus ($3.4 million) aren’t unrestricted free agents until July 2013, the same with Marek Zidlicky on defence.

There are four scenarios: Parise stays in New Jersey; he goes to Detroit, where the Red Wings will sell him on playing with Pavel Datsyuk, he slides over to the New York Rangers; or Parise, who turns 28 in July, goes home to suit up for the Minnesota Wild.

The Rangers know going after Parise is a better deal than trading for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash and his $7.8-million salary in exchange for some young assets such as Chris Kreider, Tim Erixon, Derek Stepan or J.T. Miller, a 2011 first-round pick.

If I was handicapping, I’d say Parise winds up with the Red Wings, who have had pro scout Mark Howe watching him all season, with the Rangers No. 2, the Devils No. 3 and the Wild No. 4.

The Rangers have gone after two other Devils in free agency — Bobby Holik and Scott Gomez. But Parise is a different kettle of fish. He’s as good as Nash, not as big, but he does more things. If the Rangers signed him, and cleared Brandon Dubinsky’s $4.2 million for the next three years, they could afford him, and not have to give up any of their young players.

In Minnesota, the citizenry are awash with expectations that Parise might want to come home. His dad, J.P., runs the hockey program at the exclusive Shattuck St. Mary’s prep school and Parise’s girlfriend is from North Dakota and one of J.P.’s best friends is former North Stars GM Lou Nanne, who holds significant sway in that area. But then again, plenty of NHLers don’t want the pressure of playing before friends and family.

In theory, the Wings represent a happy medium…In theory. We’ll find out more about their plans…A little over a week from now.

I’m not quite as sold on this suggestion from the Detroit News’s Ted Kuflan, however:

Add one more name to the list of free agents the Red Wings could be pursuing. Defenseman Justin Schultz.

Who? Schultz is a 2008 2nd-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks who has been unable to come to terms with the Ducks.

Schultz “de-registered” from the University of Wisconsin earlier this week which begins the process of him becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Ducks have a 30-day exclusive negotiating window with Schultz, but there appears to be little chance of the two sides coming to terms. It’s likely Schultz will become an unrestricted free agent right around June 21 and he’ll be able to officially sign a contract July 1.

Schultz, 22, finished his junior season with the Badgers and was one of the best players in the NCAA, scoring 44 points (16 goals) in 37 games. At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, he could still use some bulk, but no one doubts his offensive prowess.

Schultz is a native of British Columbia, and the Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are known to covet Schultz. But the Wings have interest, too. He’d be a real good, under the radar addition.

That’s very true, but TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who broke the story, put Schultz’s situation this way...

Next to New Jersey’s Zach Parise and Nashville’s Ryan Suter, the soon-to-be 22-year-old from West Kelowna, B.C., may be the most sought after NHL free agent.

And the Wings can’t and won’t offer Schultz the kinds of promises that other teams can give him. The Wings won’t want to give a 22-year-old a “rookie max” salary with enough bonuses to bulge his cap hit north of $3.8 million, nor will they guarantee anyone who isn’t already an established NHL player a spot on the roster. The teams that Schultz has been linked to in Vancouver and especially Edmonton have both the money to burn and the kind of philosophy to promise this year’s Fabian Brunnstrom/Mats Zuccarello/Ville Leino playing time given that…

Well, Brunnstrom himself readily admitted to his hometown newspaper that he’s going to have to take an AHL deal once again to earn the opportunity to play for the Wings, and while Leino’s cashed in, he’s been more risk than reward overall. There’s just no point in giving an inordinate amount of money and promises of playing time to a Schultz when you can chase Suter, Matt Carle or Dennis “Sorry I had a bad playoff run! Do I still count as an elite free agent? In this class? Yes? Good!” Wideman.

 

Also of Red Wings-related note this morning:

• It’s a top-heavy kind of morning in terms of Wings-related stuff, so we head directly into the “punny” category via the Free Press’s Steve Schrader’s “News Quiz”...

Who hopes to make a comeback, before it’s too late?

A) 47-year-old Dominik Hasek.

B) 147-year-old Chris Chelios.

C) Facebook stock prices.

D) The Tigers.
...
Why is a bill passing through the state Legislature to allow liquor sales in the Big House for the Winter Classic?

A) The NHL said no alcohol, no game.

B) So Ann Arbor fans can yell, “Go Labatt Blue!” (Sorry, Molson.)

C) To honor Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner I’ll Have Another.

D) You think they could get 100,000 sober people to sit outside Jan. 1 and watch a hockey game?

• And my eyebrow rose half a foot when I read that the Free Press’s Tom Walsh, their business columnist, just happened to write about having lunch with Olympia Entertainment CEO Tom Wilson. Wilson just happens to be in charge of building that top-secret rink that totally doesn’t have an architect lined up to design it. Interesting…

Update: From Kitchener, Ontario’s 570 News:

There’s a chance to meet a hockey legend in Kitchener this afternoon.

Mr. Hockey and Detroit Red Wings great Gordie Howe will be at the Keller Williams Golden Triangle Realty office at 640 Riverbend Drive, signing autographs from 1:30 until 3:30pm.

They are asking $99 for an autograph on a small item, 100 per cent of the proceeds will go to Family and Children Services of Waterloo Region.

“Everybody remembers that moment when they met Gordie Howe…unbelievable.”
said Jeff Reitzel, broker-owner, with Keller Williams and Mortgage Alliance.

Reitzel tells 570 News he has formed a friendship with Howe over the last few years, so it seemed like a natural fit to bring him here.

“We really like how they help children (Family and Children Services).” added Reitzel.


Update #2: MLive’s Ansar Khan is intrigued by Schultz, too:

Many believe Schultz not signing with the Ducks indicates he has his sights set on a particular team. Various reports list the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers as the leading candidates to land Schultz, who turns 22 on July 6.

Would he be interested in joining the Red Wings, who’ve had their share of Wisconsin defensemen in recent years (Chris Chelios, Brian Rafalski, Brendan Smith) and might get another (Suter) on July 1? Not if he’s determined to play in the NHL right away. Even if Nicklas Lidstrom retires, the Red Wings probably would be inclined on having Schultz spend a season with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

A two-time Hobey Baker finalist and WCHA defensive player of the year, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-handed shooting defenseman had 40 goals and 73 assists in 121 games over three seasons with the Badgers.

He and Smith were teammates in 2009-10.

The Red Wings also were among many teams pursuing Western Michigan defenseman Dan DeKeyser, who opted to return to school for his senior season. Detroit will continue its pursuit of DeKeyser next spring.

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Comments

MsRedWinger's avatar

Thanks for all the news, George.  It’s nail biting time - waiting to see what will or won’t happen.  I just hope Wings fans don’t go nuts on Holland if he doesn’t manage to land the “big fish” - Suter and/or Parise.  Lots of teams will be throwing ridiculous money at them, I’m sure.

I’m wondering how Helm and Eaves are doing physically…  But I know if there were any news out there about them, you’d have it.

Have a great holiday weekend.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/27/12 at 11:46 AM ET

Keyser S.'s avatar

I’d love to have parise, as would 29 other teams, but I’m hoping we’re one of the few teams who can offer him a competitive environment and have salary cap space for it.

Shultz multz, who cares. He won’t sign with detroit due to their over-ripeness (stuck in the minors for 3-4 years) philosophy with prospects. While talking about shultz you throw in leino and brunnstroms name LOL And I’ll have to agree. We’ve seen to much hype with free flavor of the months to get excited aboot the hype.

Posted by Keyser S. on 05/27/12 at 12:32 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

For clarification, the reason I never fail to mention that I attended the Game 3 from the previous thread is that I have lived basically my entire adult life outside of Michigan, and about 11 years of that overseas before the common and widespread availability of satellite TV which sends events and news in real time to troops overseas now.

Thus, I am jealous of the rest of you who saw the early Yzerman years, or the bash brothers.  Even once settled into Virginia I didn’t have cable until almost the mid-90s, and then the Red Wings were on ESPN only a half dozen times a year until the playoffs.

So although for the last good number of years I watch 80 games a regular season, paying for it of course, attending that SCF is my one claim to personal connection with a Wings Stanley Cup.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 05/27/12 at 01:54 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I feel the Wings will have to be more generous but not stupid when they pursue these UFA’s. They simply can’t afford to miss on all 3 top UFAs.  They are no position to go into next year without reloading with some addition of high end talent!

As for Schultz I would get rid of Quincey, who has had a few years to prove he is inconsistent at best, and pursue Schultz. Sometimes you have to over pay for something that you need!!  Quincey has very little up side if any. 

There are other D’Men Carle, Garrison, Wideman, etc. http://capgeek.com/free_agents.php?year_id=2012&team_id=-1&position_id=D&fa_type_id=2

Maybe do something at the draft table to move up in the draft??  (Lost/Wasted 1st round pick) IMO Obviously not a Quincey Fan!

And as usual a dependable Backup to Howie.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 05/27/12 at 02:00 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

the Wings are after elite defenseman Ryan Suter, who isn’t likely to re-sign with Nashville.

This is always assumed in every article.  Why do we (she) think this?

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 05/27/12 at 02:11 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

Not sure why Kenny would bother with Schultz instead of going all-in to get Dan DeKeyser.  With him and Smitty, the backend would be set for some time.  If we’re lucky enough to also get Suter, we’d eventually be looking at this:

Suter-Kronwall
Smith-White
Kindl-DeKeyser

Not bad….

Posted by BrendonR on 05/27/12 at 05:50 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Okay, my internet crashed and then my browser crashed, so I’m writing this for the second time:

1. After June 5th, things get interesting, and I’m gonna be biting my nails and telling Paul, “Text me three times and call me twice if news breaks about Holmstrom, Lidstrom, Hudler, MacDonald Stuart, etc!” because that news will come pretty fast and furious. For now, we can at least stock up on oxygen and regular breathing.

As Matheson suggested, it’s not as if Hudler’s gonna nail a payday in Detroit, and Stuart’s probably headed elsewhere…

But I’m equally interested in how the negotiations with Helm, Abdelkader and Quincey will pan out, because the Wings will want to hammer out long-term deals in the $1.5-2.25 million range with Helm and Abby, and Quincey’s likely to take a slight haircut to stay.

2. Capgeek’s Wings salary chart and its free agent finder for forwards, defensemen and goalies are our friends. We should have them bookmarked.

And yes, if the Wings don’t land Parise and Suter—and it seems like every damn beat writer is convinced that their team will manage to land one or both players, regardless of whether the team’s a contender, financially solvent (see: New Jersey and Nashville) or has the cap space to acquire either—they’re going to push hard to snag a secondary target like Alex Semin, Matt Carle, Dennis “Sorry I had a shitty playoff run, can I still cash in this summer?” Wideman, etc.

Every indication suggests that the Wings understand that they can’t continue to make lateral moves and expect to improve going forward, so they’re either going to add significant free agent pieces or they’re going to make trades to add that top-six forward and top-pair defenseman, regardless of what Nick chooses to do.

3. What I can say about the almost ridiculous persistence of the Parise/Suter-to-Detroit rumors is that in Parise’s case, the, “He’s going to Detroit” suggestion actually started last July 1st, and both rumors have persisted based upon the estimations of the kinds of journalists who don’t tread in attempting to posit unsubstantiated rumors, like Craig Custance, Pierre LeBrun and Matheson. I’ve never seen these kinds of rumors remain so persistent, nor be disseminated by the kinds of people that are spreading them.

4. I don’t think that Schultz is going anywhere near Detroit. Somebody’s going to offer him a rookie max deal and a promise of playing on their NHL roster next season, and the Wings won’t be one of those teams. The Wings are interested in Dekeyser, and as he’s a #3/4 defenseman, he’s a safer bet in terms of his NHL “upside.”

5. No news on Helm, Eaves, or any other of the players who were banged up in one way or another during the season, playoffs or at the Worlds. Ditto for Danny Cleary. I wish we knew how they’re doing, but I’m guessing those updates will come when the front office starts talking about Helm’s contract negotiations and their free agency plans.

6. I’ve never taken the privilege of watching the Wings in person for granted, not for a second.

To watch Nicklas Lidstrom shuffle his feet to stay in position between the goal and the puck, even when his forwards are cycling down low, to be able to see Yzerman, Fedorov, Shanahan, Draper, Maltby, McCarty, Fetisov, Coffey, Konstantinov, Murphy, Hasek, etc. in the flesh, to plain old watch Draper and Matlby act like little kids running the warm-ups, Datsyuk begin his dangling and dekeing between the bluelines during the pre-game skate, watching Helm and Filppula effortlessly stride up ice, Stuart twist his hips and smear guys when he checks them, from giggling when Datsyuk embarrasses opposing defensemen to just plain old soaking in the detail work and even sitting angrily through losses that the Wings have mailed in, right until the three-star selection after the game…

Ive never taken attending Wings games for granted, not for a second. I’ve never been to Cup final games, but I’ve seen the Wings lose to Toronto in 93, the team hand Dallas its ass in 2008, lots of great moments, but I’ve equally enjoyed exhibition games and the few open practices the team’s had…So I find it kinda insulting when people suggest that Wings fans are “spoiled” when I’ve done my best to understand that every second of watching the Wings is a rare privilege.

One of my favorite moments is at the end of this video clip: I was in attendance when Thomas Steen accidentally herniated a disc in Steve Yzerman’s neck in 1993, and wouldn’t you know it, Sergei Fedorov began his Hart Trophy season in earnest, scoring a literal end-to-end goal against the Jets. It was just…magical.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/27/12 at 06:38 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Great analysis George of after your crashes of Technology.  I think this is a pivotal year to hopefully RETOOL but if that can’t happen I think a minor rebuild might be seen.

The Wings are in an unusual year where Lids and Stuie might leave (even if they don’t I still think additions are needed) but age and grit is needed.

Man that was hard usinging Age and Rebuild when talking about the WINGS.  I am old enough to remember the pre Stevie and Lids days, it was UGLY at best!!

Just hoping Wings get a few pieces and Lids back and some kids step up!

Not a Quincey fans as stated before but Hudler leaving now would be a good thing, just not enough to be a top 6.  Will Vokoun realize he is not #1?  Some goalie movement , I suspect this year??

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 05/27/12 at 07:08 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Somewhere in the pages today you see KH confirm what I’ve thought for the last year, Abdelkader is a core Wing building block, mentioned right up there with Datsyuk, Z, and Helm.  Somehow he’s going to score a few more goals.  Even in the World’s he seemed to have been right there on the doorstep, but the puck isn’t finding his stick.  Defensively?  He was the team’s 2011 plus/minus leader at 13, with just 19 total points.  That is giving up very few points.  If he is traded it will only be for something of extremely high value.

capgeek is great.  We’ve already got some 11 forwards on contract I read somewhere.  They will adequately reward Helm and Abby. 

I have not been convinced that Cleary returning to form has ever been a routine matter, that could be another hole to fill.  With the lack of offense he really shouldn’t be considered a top six slot anyway.

Well you’re right George, news can’t come too soon, and it will, likely following the end of the SCF.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 05/27/12 at 07:08 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

Somewhere in the pages today you see KH confirm what I’ve thought for the last year, Abdelkader is a core Wing building block, mentioned right up there with Datsyuk, Z, and Helm.

Posted by RWBill from the Capital of the Confederacy. on 05/27/12 at 05:08 PM ET

I think you’re right, meaning our middle will have those 4 for some time to come.  Babs needs the right pieces, and people to be healthy, in order to effectively use Abby as a 4th line centre instead of the 3rd.  I’m probably biased but I also think if Helmer could somehow, some way add some more finish to his game, he would more than belong as a 2nd line centre.  To me he’s a Top 6’er all the way except for his actual finishing abilities.  For all of the Parise talk, I see the exact same toolset in our #43 minus the big goal scoring numbers.

Posted by BrendonR on 05/27/12 at 07:33 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I am also a BIG fan of Helm who I was lucky to see in his Junior years in WHL.  He has everything but the scoring touch, yet!!!

I would like to see him on the 2nd line someday, will see.  He is a key component on any line!!!

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 05/27/12 at 07:40 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Hey, Bill?

Shut up.

:D

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 05/27/12 at 08:23 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by BrendonR on 05/27/12 at 03:50 PM ET

Wow, no, please.  Smith, Kindl and DeKeyser (who, I believe, has already decided he’s going to be staying in College) all in the top six?  YIKES.  That is a HUGE step back from having a top four of Lidstrom, White, Kronwall, Stuart.

For all of the Parise talk, I see the exact same toolset in our #43 minus the big goal scoring numbers.

Well, “the big goal scoring numbers” makes the difference between the two very, very big.

What you said is like me saying “The only difference between me and Nick Lidstrom is that he’s one of the best defensemen to ever play in the NHL.”

Posted by Garth on 05/27/12 at 08:53 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

Well I was referring to eventually when DeKeyser would be NHL-ready, or at least the KH version of ready.  Better than having Quincey in there IMO.  I’m not sure how you can compare any post-Lidstrom D corps with one that includes him.  Obviously its way worse without him no matter what.  And suggesting the difference between Helm and Parise is the same as you and Lidstrom doesnt make sense to me.  Helm will never be a 40 goal man obviously, but putting up 30 on a regular basis is not outside the realm of possibility if he could bury half the chances he makes for himself, which wouldnt put him far off where Parise is now.

Posted by BrendonR on 05/27/12 at 09:14 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

  Helm will never be a 40 goal man obviously, but putting up 30 on a regular basis is not outside the realm of possibility if he could bury half the chances he makes for himself, which wouldnt put him far off where Parise is now.

I think you shouldn’t start talking about Helm being a 30 goal scorer until he breaks 25.  Or 20.  Or 15.

He’s a great 3rd liner, without question.  He’s an elite player in that role.  But he’s certainly not Parise.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 05/28/12 at 01:05 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

My hopes for Helm remain the same that they were when he was a skinny kid from what I can best describe as a “suburb” of Winnipeg (Winnipeg doesn’t really have any suburbs, but still) skating for the Medicine Hat Tigers, albeit cranked down a little bit because the “crackdown” on obstruction has gone the way of the dodo:

I’ve always hoped that he would be a worthy successor to Kris Draper, and that if he could register 12-15 goals and 25-30 points a season, all while dominating on faceoffs and roaring up and down ice with the kind of speed and forechecking ability he has…Teams pay lots and lots of money for those kinds of third-line forwards, and they very, very rarely receive returns on their investments.

What Helm already brings the Wings, even at a million and a half or two million bucks a season, is something that money can’t quantify: a player you throw over the boards when the ship is listing, and a player you tap on the shoulder when your team’s lost its heartbeat to play the human defibrillator.

The Wings don’t need Helm to be anybody but himself. Ken Holland and Jim Nill will tell you any day of the week that players who excel as “support players” are just as important as superstars, that you don’t get to have the Datsyuks or Zetterbergs unless you find players who are proud of being Darren Helm.

That’s why the Wings are willing to put up with Quincey to help him un-learn all the crap other teams taught him, especially now that Stuart’s heading out West, and that’s why they’re still frustrated about the fact that Tomas Kopecky left to chase bucks instead of being a slightly bigger version of Justin Abdelkader.

Those “support” players are absolutely essential to a team’s success.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/28/12 at 03:43 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

The Wings don’t need Helm to be anybody but himself.

This.

I can’t understand why people keep expecting all of these players to be something they’re clearly not when what they are is an important cog in a team that really wasn’t that far from being a cup contender.

...they’re still frustrated about the fact that Tomas Kopecky left to chase bucks instead of being a slightly bigger version of Justin Abdelkader.

To be fair, moving with Hossa was a factor as well as the money.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 05/29/12 at 01:54 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Maybe it’s because they were “cogs” themselves, or because they’re team players in the management team, but every time I’ve talked to Nill, Holland or Ryan Martin, they make it incredibly, remarkably clear that while they want to find the next Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Kronwall and Howard out of their top prospects, they also desperately hope to find players that will be happy and productive while playing what the average person would deem a “supporting” role.

To the Wings’ brass, if you don’t have Darren Helm being Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader playing like he did at the Worlds and during last year’s playoffs, Jonathan Ericsson being that surprisingly good penalty killer none of us knew he was until he got hurt, Drew Miller being the Brad Stuart-Swiss-Army-Knife of forwards, Patrick Eaves healthy and blazing up and down the ice, Emmerton and Mursak making pushes, or the Doug Janiks of the world coming up from Grand Rapids and playing the solid, mistake-free and almost invisible hockey which is exactly what they need out of a utility defenseman…

The Zetterbergs and Datsyuks of the world don’t get to be themselves, either.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/29/12 at 02:15 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.