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St. James: Red Wings have determined fates of most of their unrestricted free agents-to-be

This article looks like an "early edition" note--sans quotes--but the Hamilton Spectator posted a very important set of "exit meetings" updates from the Free Press's Helene St. James, who reports that the Red Wings have already made some final decisions regarding some of their unrestricted free agents-to-be:

Holland said Monday he has met with pending unrestricted free agents Todd Bertuzzi, David Legwand, Kyle Quincey and Jonas Gustavsson.

Holland said he told them he'll reach out to their agents later this month with final decisions, but simple math reveals, for example, Bertuzzi won't be back, because there isn't room on the National Hockey League team's roster for him. Ditto on Legwand, a trade-deadline acquisition, and Mikael Samuelsson. The Wings already have 11 forwards under contract for next season, with Tomas Jurco the only one eligible to be sent to the minors without waivers.

Quincey isn't likely to be back either, as the Wings are looking to upgrade on the back end — and because as a 28-year-old defenceman, he's likely to get considerable offers as an unrestricted free agent. There's some interest in retaining Gustavsson but, at the moment, Holland is evaluating whether prospect Petr Mrazek would be a better options as a backup.

The Wings are waiting to hear if Daniel Alfredsson, 41, wants to play another season before deciding if he fits into plans for 2014-15.

St. James continues and she reports that the team plans on offering Daniel Cleary a spot...In the front office.

While I'm at it, the Saginaw News's Cory Butzin is reporting that Jake Paterson will turn pro this upcoming season, which probably means that Tom McCollum will move on and that the Wings wll determine what to do with Mrazek, Jared Coreau and now Paterson..

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Keeping McCollum would put Detroit in a good position to keep Mrazek as the backup. McCollum is unlikely to be claimed on waivers meaning he could backup Howard on some nights allowing Mrazek to get 20 games of experience as a Starter in Grand Rapids as well as the 20 games in Detroit needed to spell Howard. Coreau isn’t a consideration. He isn’t an AHL goalie at this point. He needs to find his game in Toledo first.

Posted by Malleus Maleficarum on 05/05/14 at 09:10 PM ET

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I’m of two minds.  It seems pointless to have Mrazek in Detroit if he’s going to sit for 60 games when he could be playing 40-50 games in GR and getting a dozen or so NHL starts sprinkled in.

Having said that, if he stays in GR does he risk getting “bored” the way Brendan Smith seemed to be when he spent the lockout in GR, possibly making his development take a step back?  That’s probably not likely since it isn’t exactly like he’s a man among boys there…but still a consideration.

Still, I’d love to have Monster back, and knowing that his groin is always one walking stride away from being pulled, it means that Mrazek would get a handful of starts in Detroit.

Seems to me that after a season Detroit can reassess their goaltending and see what the best course of action would be.

Posted by Garth on 05/05/14 at 11:14 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Trust me Brendan Smith wasn’t bored in GR.

He embarrassed the organization by giving his ID to Riley Sheahan—who happened to get pulled over while dressed as Tinky Winky—so he could go out drinking to the BOB and other bars downtown. In fact from what I heard (from all kinds of friends in GR—where I went to college at) there is no way you can describe that year as boring…those guys stuck in GR were blowing money at the bars left and right. It was only after the incident that the Detroit organization stepped in and said enough…

Did Smith make the lockout season all about hockey?—-ha that’s a good one…but many players took 9 months off that year….so even at 50% concentration he still was better than most. And comparing the talent in the AHL now to that during the lockout (like the OKC Baron’s team with 26 Oilers players sent down—not all of whom reported or the Charlotte Checkers who were sent 28) is a joke. There is no point to having him be the Griffins MVP 3 years in a row. He’s close to being “over-ripened” now and the Wings need a goalie to push Howard…not just back him up.

Out of the UFA the two that the Wings should bring back are Alfie and Quincey (gasp—yes, Quincey as there aren’t any outstanding UFA’s). If not they better get Joni Pitkanen, which would be a huge risk seeing as how he has yet to be cleared for hockey activities (at least as of the last update at the end of March) despite injuring his ankle in April of 2013.  Otherwise trader Holland better ask about Myers, Yandle, or Weber.

Posted by d ca on 05/06/14 at 03:00 AM ET

RW19's avatar

Why can’t Mrazek get 40 NHL games next year? What’s wrong with alternating through the season and going with a fresher Howard throughout the playoffs?

If the Wings think Quincey will hit the motherload in the UFA market, imagine what it will take to sign Matt Niskanen in a year when so many teams have cap space? It doesn’t bode well for the DRWs landing him.

I like Alfredsson plenty, but Pulkinnen’s 30 goals as an AHL rookie and now 3 more to start the playoffs are not getting enough attention. For a team that struggles scoring, struggles on the PP, struggles staying healthy and struggles dressing RH shots you would think this kid might get a pretty decent look in camp especially if he keeps up the pace in the post season.

Posted by RW19 on 05/06/14 at 04:32 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Legwand was a disappointment.  In retrospect, Holland paid too much for this rental. 
It is good that the Wings are “retiring” all these old guys.

Posted by w2j2 on 05/06/14 at 05:00 AM ET

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He embarrassed the organization by giving his ID to Riley Sheahan

I was talking about on the ice and everything I read about him during the lockout suggested that he was indeed bored playing in the AHL and his development took something of a step back.

Posted by Garth on 05/06/14 at 06:47 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Legwand shows why Holland is hesitant to make a move at the trade deadline. He’s REALLY REALLY bad at getting value for trades. The other GMs must absolutely love this guy.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/06/14 at 07:06 AM ET

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Why can’t Mrazek get 40 NHL games next year?

If I’m Holland, I look at it this way:

There’s a pretty decent chance that when Mrazek comes up full time the freaking kid steals the job from Howard.  Coming off a crap year, if I bring up a wunderkind and he starts hot, I’m essentially flushing Howard’s career in Detroit down the toilet.  He’s not going to want to be a backup, if he becomes a backup it’s going to be a mess, and with 4 years and 20+ mil left on his deal… that’s an expensive mess.

So, I give Howard one more year to get his bleep together.  I’ll sign a decent backup on a one or two year deal, I’ll give Mrazek (hopefully) a full year in the AHL to put up monster stats, and I give Howard all the rope he needs to either climb the mountain or hang himself.

That way, if Howard sucks again I know I have to move him in the offseason, bring up Mrazek in 2016, and make sure I have a solid Gustavsson-type 1b backup signed as well, just in case.  If Howard gets it together I can bring up Mrazek on graduation day and know I have a fantastic goaltending tandem.

Bases are covered.

The only way bringing Mrazek up next year makes sense is if I’ve already decided Howard’s done, and I’m pushing him out now.

Legwand was a disappointment.  In retrospect, Holland paid too much for this rental.

Yeah, the Legwand deal isn’t going to work out if it was just a rental.

I think the roster situation isn’t as dire as all that, though.  Glendening is a dime a dozen player.  I’m not remotely worried about exposing him to waivers.  Ditto Andersson.  He was beyond awful all of last year.  I don’t know if he’s necessarily as ceiling-limited as Glendening, but hoo boy he was a steaming pile for a long time.  If he could be had in the 2.5-3ish range for a couple years, I’d rather Legwand then either of those two.

Sheahan, man that’s a tough one.  I think he’s a kid that would have been greatly, greatly helped by another year in GR.  On a healthy NHL roster he’s going to be a healthy scratch a ton.  In reality, the only way he gets a prominent role on the team is if he beats out Abdelkader for his… or if the whole team is on IR again.  I think there’s a hint of on-ice panache or something there with him, I just don’t know how much buffing it will take to bring it out.

Anyway, if Detroit carries 13/7/2(3) for their roster, there’s some wiggle room.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 05/06/14 at 07:26 AM ET

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He’s REALLY REALLY bad at getting value for trades.

Get a list of deadline trades that have worked the last five years and then get back to me.  Deadline trades rarely work.  They always involve giving up a lot of future assets for limited present improvement.  Go ask St. Louis.  They gave up a 1, a 3, a solid middle six player in Stewart, and a prospect they took in the second round for Miller and Ott… and lost in the first round.  Yay.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 05/06/14 at 07:32 AM ET

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So, I give Howard one more year to get his bleep together.  I’ll sign a decent backup on a one or two year deal, I’ll give Mrazek (hopefully) a full year in the AHL to put up monster stats, and I give Howard all the rope he needs to either climb the mountain or hang himself.

And hopefully he doesn’t play himself out of being tradeable.

Yeah, the Legwand deal isn’t going to work out if it was just a rental.

Yes it is because it was only ever going to be a rental.  It wasn’t a normal rental, with a team simply looking to boost their team, it was a team dealing from a massive disadvantage needing an NHL centre at a time when all their everyday centres were injured.

Posted by Garth on 05/06/14 at 07:47 AM ET

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I agree trade deadline deals usually don’t work unless you are a top 4 contender and want that motivated vet who wants to win before retiring. But the Legwand trade certainly helped Detroit make the playoffs. The issue was playing a juggernaut in the first round.

The mistakes were signing all those vets who did nothing the past two years and then having Dats and Z wait to be shut down until after the Olympics despite being clearly injured. Both should have been shut down in January. Then both would have been back after the Olympics and the Legwand trade unnecessary.

Holland may not have had a choice but to let them play but they forced the trade by participating.

Posted by Malleus Maleficarum on 05/06/14 at 08:48 AM ET

RW19's avatar

That way, if Howard sucks again I know I have to move him in the offseason, bring up Mrazek in 2016, and make sure I have a solid Gustavsson-type 1b backup signed as well, just in case.  If Howard gets it together I can bring up Mrazek on graduation day and know I have a fantastic goaltending tandem.

If he isn’t up, it will be because they feel he isn’t ready - not because they have a plan that essentially amounts to weakening the team. If Mrazek plays 40 games and is better than Howard, then you go into the summer of 2015 dealing from a position of strength: ‘we have two good goalies, but we are going with the younger guy, is there any interest out there.’

However if Mrazek stays on the farm and Howard implodes in 2014-15, you have to hope that Mrazek can actually play 40 NHL games successfully the following season and you have to hope someone will want a depreciated asset (Howard) that has had two bad seasons in a row.

Posted by RW19 on 05/06/14 at 08:49 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.