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Pre-draft Red Wings updates: on Alfredsson, the assistant coaching search and Babcock

Updated 8x at 7:37 PM:

Update: Here's more from the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

Holland confirmed via text message that they’ll wait until August before deciding on whether Alfredsson will return for another season in Detroit or retire.

However, Alfredsson and his family will remain in Detroit next season no matter what the final decision is on his career.

Update #2: Zing:

Update #3: More from Khan:

Update #4: St. James in text form:

"He told us he really wants to play for us in Detroit, or else he's not going to play," general manager Ken Holland said. "He feels good, but he'd like to feel a little bit better. We agreed that we'll wait till he gets to Detroit in August, he's going to skate every day in September, and then we'll sit down and have a talk right before training camp and see what he's thinking.

"He really would like to play again. He'd like to take one more chance to try to be a playoff team and go on a longer playoff run than we did. A long, long playoff run."

Alfredsson, 41, had 18 goals and 31 assists for 49 points in 68 games last season. The ones he missed stemmed from back issues, which is what is holding up doing a deal now. The Wings would love to have Alfredsson back - he provided offense, a right-handed shot, and leadership - and that's why they're willing to wait on him.

"He's a real good player," coach Mike Babcock said. "But just like all players, when they're not healthy, when they can't skate - especially with back issues, that kills you. He's got to get healthy. You've got to be healthy for your life, first. There's nothing worse than when your back is killing you each and every day. So we need him to get healthy and then I'm sure him and Kenny will work something out."

Update #5: More St. James:

Babcock needs to replace assistant coach Bill Peters, who was hired as head coach in Carolina.

"I've been kicking lots of tires trying to come up with the right guy," Babcock said Friday. "I want new ideas. Is that a veteran coach that's going to challenge you every day, is that a new young serial winner who just comes in, has got a hundred ideas? I don't know, but it's an important hire for me."

Babcock said he isn't looking within the organization, though he called recently retired defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.

"I phoned Nick Lidstrom, I offered him the job," Babcock said. "I told him that his wife was happier in Detroit. He wasn't too much into that."

Asked about his own future in Detroit - Babcock is in the last year of his contract - Babcock noted usual protocol is for general managers (Holland is also in last year) to be extended first, then work on the coach.

Update #6: From Khan, via RedWingsFeed:

Alfredsson tied for the team lead with 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 68 games, doing what was expected of him after signing a one-year $5.5 million contract last summer.

But he missed nine games during the regular season with a back issue and sat out two more in the first round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.

"We can't have him not be able to practice," Babcock said. "We need him to be able to help the team. Otherwise what you're doing is taking a kid's ice time.

"We got kids, but they are kids. In this league you win with (veteran) players. So all these (young players) that came and got started, it's not like they came and secured a spot in the NHL forever. It's a big summer for our kids. We'll see what happens."

The Red Wings are expected to be roughly $9-10 million under the $69 million salary cap after inking restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan.

If they sign Alfredsson, mostly likely it'll be a relatively low base salary (possibly in the $2 million range) with a games played bonus that can be applied to the following season's cap.

Update #7: Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Duff:

Update #8: Khan on Babs' assistant coaching search:

"I phoned Nick Lidstrom, I offered him the job," Babcock said. "Told him that his wife was happier in Detroit (than in Sweden). He wasn't too much into that. He's helping (coach) with one of the boys teams."

Another former Red Wings defenseman, Chris Chelios, also isn't a candidate.

"Cheli helps out on the farm (with the Grand Rapids Griffins)," Babcock said. "Cheli's not interested in being a coach full-time. He's got a ton going on in his life. So to be at the rink every day at 6 a.m. probably isn't a priority for him. We're looking all over and we're going to find a guy."

Peters was hired as the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, leaving the Red Wings with just one assistant, Tom Renney. Babcock said Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, an assistant for the Red Wings in 2011-12, will remain in Grand Rapids.

"Bill Peters is a big personality and Blash is on the farm and Blash is a great coach, too, but we don't want Blash to do that (assist in Detroit), we want him to develop kids," Babcock said.

...

"I want new ideas," Babcock said. "Is that a veteran coach that's going to challenge you every day? Is that a new, young serial winner who just comes in and has a hundred ideas? I don't know, but it's an important hire for me.

"We just got in the playoffs two years in a row (with little room to spare), we got a bunch of kids," Babcock said. "We can't do an average job as coaches. We got to do a really good job, so we got to make sure we hire the right person. When we find that guy we'll know. But right now I'm talking to everybody I possibly can and I'm not talking about talking to the coaches, I'm talking to managers and players about details.

"I just asked one of the guys that works in the head office about a guy that used to coach there. It's amazing how you can get information on people. I'm not interested in the best interview; I'm interested in the best coach. But it's hard to interview people and make sure. You get to November and you don't want to be disappointed, you want to hire a good man."

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Comments

Avatar

Betcha it’s team-mandated. Initial news sounded like Alfie was not going to retire. That seemed to come from him. Then, you had Babcock telling reporters he should take time to make sure his back feels good enough. Sounds like team told him he better be healthy if he wants to return.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 06/27/14 at 05:01 PM ET

Avatar

Any chance the Wings go after Iginla now or will they just wait on Alfie?

Posted by Pizizzle on 06/27/14 at 05:04 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

With the cap at $69 million it’s going to be tough to go after both a forward and a defenseman.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/27/14 at 05:08 PM ET

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That’s true George. Maybe the Red Wings make a splash by acquiring a defenseman via trade (Myers? Yandle?)  without eating some of their remaining cap space (cough trade Franzen cough).

Posted by Pizizzle on 06/27/14 at 05:11 PM ET

RorSchach's avatar

Bored? Clicky This. Pre Draft Stream

Posted by RorSchach from Datsberg on 06/27/14 at 05:19 PM ET

RorSchach's avatar

Mule isn’t going away. I wish people would just accept it.

He’s a loafer. But he’s good for about 30 a year.  for 4 million, that’s fine. Whatever.

Posted by RorSchach from Datsberg on 06/27/14 at 05:20 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

I’m not too upset by this.  In my opinion, Alfie has a spot should he want it.  He’s still a dynamic performer and a great leader on and off the ice.  If his back can’t go, we’ll give it to Mantha (or Ferraro or whatever Griffin earns his Winged Wheel.).  No worries about this.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 06/27/14 at 05:23 PM ET

gowings's avatar

love ya Babs….for trying to get the perfect human back behind the bench….

That would have been….AWESOME…..

Posted by gowings from MTL on 06/27/14 at 05:29 PM ET

Avatar

What, $15M to spend?

Assume Sheahan is $2M, DeKeyser is $3.5M, and Tatar is $3M.  Leaves us just over $6M to spend at 21 roster spots.  I agree that even shopping from the relative bargain bin—Gilbert and, say, Jokinen—it will be hard to add two pieces averaging $6M.

But it isn’t quite so dire as all that, given a bit of creativity.  Remember, we can go over the limit temporarily, so these options remain:

1)  Using easily-achievable bonuses to shift salary forward a season.  This could be done for Alfredsson, Iginla, Boyle, or another veteran.

2)  Waive Lashoff, who won’t count against the cap at all even if buried, and open an extra $700k to obtain a defenseman that way.

3)  Trade Jakub Kindl.  Kindl’s $2.4M cap hit could be replaced with the more affordable hits of Marchenko or Ouellet, opening almost $1.5M in space.  Alternatively, we could waive him—he would likely be claimed.

4)  Start the season with Weiss on LTIR.  Other than alleged “good news” about Weiss’s health recently we have no idea if he can play or not.  This is a big contract that’s significantly limiting us.

5)  Waive Drew Miller and replace him with a depth player who costs less.  Miller will likely be claimed, but even if he’s not this could save $400k against the cap.

6)  Demote Jurco, play with a 22-man roster, and use Jurco’s waiver-exempt status mercilessly (AKA the “New Jersey Devils Bargain”).  Would hate to see this, but it’s possible and saves $700k.

7)  Don’t try to land two players—treat Anthony Mantha as our forward acquisition.  Obvious option is obvious.

There’s probably others I’m not thinking of, including, of course, trading other now redundant players or simply taking a harder line to our RFAs.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/27/14 at 05:33 PM ET

Paul's avatar

via Khan tweet,

Babcock added Chris Chelios is not interested in being a coach full-time.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/27/14 at 05:35 PM ET

Avatar

That’s true George. Maybe the Red Wings make a splash by acquiring a defenseman via trade (Myers? Yandle?)  without eating some of their remaining cap space (cough trade Franzen cough).

Franzen to Phoenix actually makes sense. Looking at their forwards after they got rid of Ribeiro, they have Vrbata and Moss as UFA and plenty of cap space. They would want a young d-man (Ouellet) and probably Tatar or a pick. I would do that since its much harder to find a top 4 d-man and waiting for our prospects to pan out might take a while. We have waited for Kindl and Smith and still nothing.

I don’t see Buffalo trading Myers to us unless we offered them one of our top d prospects plus Mantha or Mrazek.

Posted by fuleko on 06/27/14 at 05:40 PM ET

Avatar

Mule isn’t going away. I wish people would just accept it.

He’s a loafer. But he’s good for about 30 a year.  for 4 million, that’s fine. Whatever.

You’re telling me you wouldn’t want to see him go away if it meant the Wings were getting a guy like Myers or Yandle in return? A scorer like Franzen might be very appealing to a team like Phoenix or Buffalo.

Posted by Pizizzle on 06/27/14 at 05:44 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

If the Wings find Franzen aggravating, and given that cap hit with the recapture penalties if he retires early, you can be sure that no other team thinks he’s the belle of the ball simply because he has a low cap hit.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/27/14 at 05:50 PM ET

RorSchach's avatar

Want in one hand. Shit in the other. It’s not a matter of what I want. I’ve come to accept his Loferness. For the price.. 30 goals is acceptable.

Perhaps the emergence of someone bigger then him that can play better on a regular could be a picker upper. Know one knows. But I’m okay with what he brings to the table.

Would I want him gone? Sure. But it won’t happen. It would have years ago. That Loafer status makes lots of teams not want him.

Posted by RorSchach from Datsberg on 06/27/14 at 05:55 PM ET

Avatar

What, $15M to spend?

Assume Sheahan is $2M, DeKeyser is $3.5M, and Tatar is $3M.  Leaves us just over $6M to spend at 21 roster spots.  I agree that even shopping from the relative bargain bin—Gilbert and, say, Jokinen—it will be hard to add two pieces averaging $6M.

CaptainElectric - I just don’t see the Wings paying those kids those kind of $$$ just yet. If I were a betting man I think those three will sign for much closer to $6M than your $8.5M figure. Remember, this lower Cap Amount will hit all teams where it hurts. That means the players will have to accept a little less to meet the constraints the teams have to adhere to.

Posted by Heresy from Aiken, SC on 06/27/14 at 06:03 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Kesler traded to Anaheim.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 06/27/14 at 06:04 PM ET

Avatar

Assume Sheahan is $2M, DeKeyser is $3.5M, and Tatar is $3M.

WOW, I hope you aren’t doing the negotiating…

Posted by Garth on 06/27/14 at 06:44 PM ET

awould's avatar

If Yandle is available, I think the Wings probably have the right mix of assets to trade, and they should do it.

Myer will likely cost an arm and a leg, all because teams charge a penalty for trading a player they’re afraid to face 6 games a year, which I think is stupid since the trade goes both ways and, like, sack up.

The lower cap isn’t good news for any team, but it’s a much smaller problem for Detroit than for many others.

I do wonder how much the lower cap will really temper the total contract offers made for Niskanen/Gilbert/Stralman…. I imagine someone will still offer a lot, and everyone knows the cap will continue to move up so it may be structured accordingly. While you can’t circumvent the cap like before, you can tailor it enough to accommodate it.

Posted by awould on 06/27/14 at 07:02 PM ET

Avatar

Myer will likely cost an arm and a leg, all because teams charge a penalty for trading a player they’re afraid to face 6 games a year, which I think is stupid since the trade goes both ways and, like, sack up.

I don’t think it’s fear as much as it’s the fact that everyone is trying to make themselves better while not making their threading partner better.

And there is also the fact that everyone judges a trade based on who got the best player, so if you’re trading the best player you know people are likely to say you lost at the time of the trade, but if you get a lot for the player then a few years down the road people might view the trade differently.

Posted by Garth on 06/27/14 at 07:36 PM 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.