The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/25/14 at 12:17 AM ET
Update: Severstal is confirming, says it's a 2 year contract, but KHL contracts can generally be opted-out-of after 1 year by the club or player.
Here I was, writing the overnight report (I tend to check the Russian stuff toward the end these days), and RedWingsFeed revealed that restricted free agent defenseman Adam Almquist is in very, very likely to be spending this upcoming season in the KHL--which is a good thing for him and a good thing for the Red Wings:
Swedish hockey players Adam Almquist and David Ullstrom will spend the next season with Severstal Cherepovets, reports R-Sport, citing a source familiar with the situation.
Last season, Ullstrom, a 25-year-old forward, began with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and moved on to Lev Praha, which reached the Gargarin Cup final. In the regular season he played 55 games and registered 20 points; 12 goals and 8 assists.
On June 16th, Cherepovets traded with CSKA Moscow to secure Almquist's rights, giving CSKA a third-round KHL draft pick in 2016.
Last season, the 23-year-old defenseman made his NHL debut for Detroit, playing in two games. He spent most of the season with their farm team in the AHL, playing 74 games and registereing 53 points (4 goals and 49 assists) with a plus-minus rating of +9.
Severstal's website has yet to confirm, but R-Sport's generally the first to breaking news.
This is GOOD, not bad. The Red Wings were concerned with Almquist's ability to deal with the bump-and-grind of NHL play given the fact that he's 5'10" and maybe 175 pounds, but the Wings didn't want to lose his rights by waiving him.
Almquist was pissed off about the fact that he wasn't in the Wings' plans per se, and had threatened to play for his Swedish team, HV71, before Severstal traded for his rights.
If Almquist plays the upcoming season in the KHL, he'll earn a ton of money (as well as the use of an apartment and a rented car for free) and will play in a clutch-and-grab-and-trap-happy league, and hopefully he can prove that he can deal with physical play while remaining Red Wings property.
Update: MLive's Ansar Khan weighs in:
Almquist is a restricted free agent. The Red Wings were anticipating his departure for Europe after he indicated following his second season with the Grand Rapids Griffins that he no longer wanted to play in the AHL.
Almquist had little chance of cracking the Red Wings lineup in 2014-15 and his future with the organization was murky since the team is higher on several other young defensemen (Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko, Ryan Sproul, Mattias Backman and Nick Jensen).
Almquist, 23, had a strong season with the Griffins, picking up 73 points (including 49 assists) in 53 games before an injury on a hit from behind limited him to one playoff game.
He appeared in two games with the Red Wings (one goal, averaging 17:13 in ice time).
He's a good skater and puck-mover, but his size (5-11, 178) raises concerns about his ability to play in the NHL. He was the Red Wings' final pick in the 2009 entry draft (210th overall in the seventh round).
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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.