Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

The overnight report: free agent discontent, signee comments and DeKeyser’s ‘numbers’

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. Whether it's the Toronto Star's Damien Cox, the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons, the Buffalo News's Mike Harrington or the Traverse City Record-Eagle's James Cook and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, pundits both near and far find the Red Wings' free agency moves to be "perplexing," and the Oakland Press's Pat Caputo was nothing less than in full growl while speaking on Fox 2's SportsWorks on Sunday night (fast forward to the 6-minute mark):

Caputo reiterated his talking points in a column for the Oakland Press:

What is missing is the puck-moving defenseman - by far the Red Wings’ biggest need. What is also missing is creativity. It’s other teams making the bold moves. You know, like the Red Wings were not afraid to do during their salad days as bonafide Stanley Cup contenders.

It wasn’t a great free agent class for the Red Wings’ need, but the two best potential unrestricted free agent defensemen didn’t even make it to the market. Phoenix traded a fifth-round draft pick to Dallas to gain exclusive rights to Alex Goligoski before free agency. They signed him to a five-year deal. Florida dealt a sixth-round pick to the Rangers for the exclusive rights for Keith Yandle, and signed him to a seven-year contract (the Rangers got a fourth-round pick which was conditional on signing Yandle before free agency).

How come the Red Wings didn't come up with such a plan?

To get that need, the Red Wings now must to make a trade. Given Ken Holland’s track record in that area, anybody holding their breath that will take place?

And if it doesn’t transpire, what are the Red Wings chances of being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender during their final season at Joe Louis Arena, or even during their first in the Little Caesars Arena?

As is, the Red Wings did give themselves another shot to make the playoffs and perhaps face the Lightning in the first round again.

This town can only wince in unison at thinking about the probable result of that series, though.

And therein lies the continual problem.

 

2. With Pavel Datsyuk all but literally riding off into the sunset, and free agent grading to be done, the players the Red Wings did sign spoke about their new home, as did the general manager who brought Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott to Detroit, as the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness noted:

“The plan heading into the ‘16-17 season was to put the best team we can on the ice,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Our goal is to make the playoffs. Our goal is to try to get in and find a way win some playoff rounds and try to make some noise in the playoffs.”

Helm, who could have become an unrestricted free agent, signed a five-year deal worth $19.25 million. Marchenko, who was a restricted free agent, got to a two-year deal worth $2.9 million.

Nielsen signed a six-year deal worth $31.5 million and Vanek got a one-year deal worth $2.6 million. Ott also got a one-year deal worth $800,000.

“We’ve added some guys up front that are legitimate NHL forwards,” Holland said. “They give the coaching staff some different dimensions. You’ve got to be good on special teams. We think Vanek can help our power play, Frans can help the power play and our penalty kill. We think Helmer can help our penalty kill.

“We’ve got some people with some speed,” Holland added. “We’ve got some people with some different looks and different options available to our coaches. We’re excited about the team and the additions.”

Nielsen believes that he's a "fit" here in Detroit, as he told Pleiness...

“I was looking for a place that I knew would compete for a playoff spot,” Nielsen said. “It’s so hard to win, but I know this team is going to be in it. I know we’re going to have as good a chance as anyone else.

“We know how hard it is, for sure these guys know making it – what is it 25 years in a row – how hard is it getting into the playoffs,” Nielsen added. “It was a factor for me coming to a place where I felt I would have a chance to win. We had a good team in New York when I left. We built something special, but here too, I think this is a special team too. I believe that Ken is building another great team that can win again.”

Nielsen said he patterns his game after Henrik Zetterberg.

“You’re going to see a little bit of a similar player in me,” Nielsen said. “I always put a lot of pride in working hard and being responsible defensively. I want to be part of the offense. Even when you’re not creating offense, with my game I can still do something for the team defensively whether it’s killing penalties or getting matched up against other teams’ top lines. I feel the all-around game is my strength.”

In 81 games last season, Nielsen had 20 goals and 32 assists, which would have ranked him first on the Wings’ roster. In 11 playoff games he had three goals, three assists. For his career, he has 119 goals and 230 assists in 606 games. In 24 playoff games, he’s totaled four goals and six assists.

Nielsen is also a shootout specialist converting on 42 of 82 attempts, which ranks him tops in the league.

(MLive's Ansar Khan also noted that Nielsen is "locked in":

/end note)

And Nielsen spoke glowingly of Thomas Vanek, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...

"He's definitely going to bring some offense," Nielsen said. "He played with (John) Tavares and (Kyle) Okposo on a line and when he's on his game he's up there with Tavares, skill-wise. He could be the steal of this free agency. He definitely has all the talent, he can score goals, he's good on the power play. I hope you're going to see the old Vanek here because he's a top, top talent in this league."

Vanek, a native of Vienna, Austria, who was taken fifth overall in the 2003 draft by Buffalo, scored 25 or more goals seven seasons in a row with the Sabres, twice reaching 40 or more.

He was traded to the Islanders in 2013 and produced nearly a point a game (17 goals, 44 points in 47 games) before being dealt again, at the deadline, to Montreal. He had 15 points in 18 regular season games and tallied five goals and 10 points in 17 playoff games with the Canadiens.

He then signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract with Minnesota but was bought out after two undistinguished seasons there (39 goals, 54 assists in 154 games).

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said the reason for signing Vanek was simple.

"You're always looking for goals," Holland said.

Vanek has been criticized for inconsistency – taking too many shifts off – and his lack of speed. But Holland received favorable feedback from new Red Wings assistant John Torchetti, who coached Vanek during the latter part of 2015-16 when he was the interim head coach for the Wild. And Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill is close with Vanek's coach at the University of Minnesota, Don Lucia.

And Pleiness...

“Risk and reward,” Holland said about the signing. “We’re taking a one-year contract on Thomas and we’re hoping it turns out to be a real reward for us.

“He’s a big, heavy body,” Holland added. “He’s a real good net-front presence on the power play and the hope is we’re going to get a guy in here that’s motivated to be one of those veteran players that we’re looking at long-term deals and that he’s going to have a real good year for us and parlay it into a second half of his contract.”

The Wings ranked 23rd in the league in goals scored last season.

He has 316 career goals and 333 assists in 817 career games with Buffalo, the Islanders, Montreal and Minnesota. However, his goal totals have gone down in each of the past three seasons (27-21-18).

“He’s scored in the league, he shoots right, he can play on the power play, we need to get our power play better, you got to be good on special teams, so we’re hoping Thomas can come in and kind of fit the bill for us,” Holland said.

While Ott provided his own promotion, as noted by MLive's Brendan Savage...

"To be honest with you, I've waited for this moment ever since I was drafted," Ott said after signing with the Red Wings. "I've always wanted to be a Detroit Red Wing. It's my childhood team that I always grew up admiring the teams and runs that they had with Steve Yzerman and the rest leading the way. It has always been a dream to wear the winged wheel and now that this has all come together, this is the most exciting contract I have ever signed. I've dreamed of this moment to put the jersey on and wear it."

Ott said he's not the only one excited about the move to Detroit.

"My family is real excited, my friends in the area and my phone has been blowing up with how local we are with everyone being a Wings fan and to have this opportunity to play in the Joe Louis Arena, where I grew up watching games or coming over for morning skates, all those things," he said. "To be 33 years old and have this chance and opportunity to come together I'm excited about it. I feel like I've got a lot of hockey in me and when I feel I have a lot of hockey left in me, I know it's a one-year deal, but I'm trying to put a big year together and hopefully earn more from there."

Ott was limited to 21 regular-season games last season – he had two assists and 34 PIM – after undergoing surgery in December for a hamstring injury.

But Ott said the "injury is behind me" and looks forward to working toward being 100 percent when training camp opens.

...

Ott likes the look of the Red Wings' roster after they also re-signed Darren Helm and Alexey Marchenko Friday.

"I sure do," he said. "You add in different guys and you continue to push forward, especially in the Eastern side of things, like Pittsburgh did. They came out of nowhere and I think this team has the capabilities to be a very successful team, and have a lot of fun doing it.

"It has a great mixture of old guys with great leadership with obviously (Henrik Zetterberg) and (Niklas Kronwall). Go down the list of other guys that are right in that situation that can help this team. Then you add in these high-end young guys that they continue to find, like a (Dylan) Larkin. This team's gonna push for a lot of years and it's gonna be a lot of fun this year coming up."

And the Free Press's Helene St. James offered this take on the low-risk signing of Ott to a 1-year, $800,000 deal versus the Leafs' signing of Matt Martin to a 4-year, $10-million contract--which is the same deal the Wings offered Martin:

When Martin opted for Toronto, the Wings went for a short term and much cheaper option in Steve Ott. Wings front office members that were part of Friday’s gathering to deal with the first day of free agency described Ott as sounding like a kid in a candy store when called and asked about his interest in joining the Wings. Ott backed that enthusiasm up on a conference call later in the day, saying he dreamed of the moment he’d put on a Wings uniform (he grew up the Windsor, Ont., area).

Ott signed for one year, at $800,000. He’s 33 and hasn’t played since an early December injury that led to hamstring surgery (he says he’s fully recovered). He’s three seasons removed from producing in the 20-point range. But as recently as 2014-15, he won 56.3% of faceoffs (160 won out of 284 taken) and he was third on the St. Louis Blues in penalty killing minutes at 114:46 overall in 78 games.

Free agency signings are to an extent a gamble. Maybe Martin blossoms and turns into a great investment for Toronto. If not, four years is a long commitment, and while it’s possible to buy out a player, that would be years of dead money. If Ott disappoints, he can be sent to the minors for total salary cap absolution and there’s no parting pains come next summer.

 

3. And our extended version of "Three Things" ends with a "By the Numbers" examination of Danny DeKeyser's tenure with the Red Wings from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose...

The 26-year-old Detroit native is coming off another solid season with his hometown team. He led Wings’ defensemen with eight goals, despite a three-year low in shots on goal (72).

“I try to get up in the play when I can,” DeKeyser said in February. “It just seems there are a few more opportunities this years where the puck is actually finding me instead of kind of being the late guy in the rush and not getting it. I’m getting hit with that puck a few more times and it’s going in for me, which is nice.”

Still, the coaches tried encouraging DeKeyser to shoot more.

“They’re always preaching that, always preaching to have the extra D-man jump into the play and having the D ready to shoot from the point,” DeKeyser said. “It’s always something we’re talking about.”

8 | Recorded a career-high in goals – it also led all team defensemen – doubling his previous personal best that he established during his rookie season, in 2013-14. In a 13-game span scored five goals, including three game winners. He’s just the fourth American-born player to lead the Red Wings’ defense in goal scoring, joining Brian Rafalski, Mathieu Schneider and Reed Larson.

72 | DeKeyser’s shots on goal were down from his first two seasons in the league when he registered 84 and 89 shots in 2013-14 and 2014-15, respectively. His SOG totals were tied with Vancouver’s Dan Hamuis and Pittsburgh’s Ian Cole for 121st among league defensemen.

31| Led the Red Wings in average number of shifts skated last season. Only three NHL defensemen averaged more shifts per game than DeKeyser, who averaged a career-high 21:48 of ice-time in 2015-16. He skated a season-high 39 shifts in the Wings’ 4-2 win over the New York Islanders (Jan. 25). He also scored the winner in that game. … DeKeyser trailed the Kings’ Drew Doughty (33.3), Wild’s Ryan Suter (31.6) and Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen (31.4) in average shifts.

Who continues...

 

And I hate to stick this out here again, but it turns out that after all my calculations, the extra day and an extra oil change required me to spend an extra $200 that wrecked the budget, so:

I'm raising funds for my annual trip to the Red Wings' summer development camp from July 7-10 at Centre Ice Arena. I'm hoping to attend the camp and grind out a strong chunk of player assessments and interviews, but I can't do it on my own.

If there's any way that you'd be willing to lend a hand, I'd gratefully appreciate anything you can give. The $5, 10, $20 and $25 donations tend to pave the way up to Traverse City for 5 days in the summer and two weeks for the fall prospect tournament and main camp (which will take place a week later this year due to the later NHL season start).

Paypal's the easiest way for me to raise funds, and while you may have to plug in my personal email address, rtxg at yahoo dot com, it should be a plug-and-play experience for you:

As always, thank you for your time and thank you for your readership. My readers are why I do this and I'm looking forward to providing strong content for you.

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Comments

Chet's avatar

the helm and ott deals really do confuse me.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 07/04/16 at 03:54 AM ET

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Ott deal shouldn’t confuse. He’s the experienced tough guy, that can be buried in GR if it doesn’t work out. The Helm deal on the other hand…I’d a rather seen them pony up the extra mil on Radulov for one year

Posted by TB1015 on 07/04/16 at 07:48 AM ET

tatudave's avatar

“This is your friendly reminder that Yzerman would be the Red Wings’ general manager if Ken Holland had agreed to move upstairs.” - Greg Wyshynski, Yahoo.com…


...Quote of the century!!!

Posted by tatudave on 07/04/16 at 08:38 AM ET

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Utterly ridiculous and sad that KH didn’t step aside for Yzerman as Jimmy D did for him.  Holland simply lacks the creativity and shrewdness required to work in the modern/cap environment.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/04/16 at 10:44 AM ET

Temo's avatar

What does it meeaaann??

Posted by Temo from La Capital, Míchígán on 07/04/16 at 10:45 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

As much as I’ve liked watching Helm over the years, his limitations were acceptable as a role player when there were lots of others scoring.  I was stunned at 5 years at $4M.
There is nothing that Helm can do that AA can’t learn to do quickly, such as lanes in the PK and whatever else Blash banished AA for, plus AA is so much more of a threat offensively than Helm, whether creating something from nothing on the 5x5 or a breakaway on the PK.

Then KH added 3 more forwards in free agency.  With an abundance of playing time Helm may run into a dozen goals just like a blind squirrel finds a nut, but Helm will be a total cockblock to the development of AA and others.

Posted by RWBill on 07/04/16 at 10:46 AM ET

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Anyone know if Helm got a NMC/NTC too?  Giving that t Nielsen and Abby is stupid.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/04/16 at 10:48 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

exclusive rights for Keith Yandle, and signed him to a seven-year contract

I’d actually like to thank Kenny for not doing that. 

Ok. that’s out of my system. 

And here we go…

Ken Holland said. “Our goal is to make the playoffs. Our goal is to try to get in and find a way win some playoff rounds and try to make some noise in the playoffs.”

First off: DRINK!!!!!
Secondly: NO!  Our goal is to win The Stanley Cup.  NOT “well, let’s get our 8 Seed and see what happens.”  THIS! This is why I want you fired.  Your plan is not The Detroit Red Wing way. If your modus operandi is focused on achieving “Better-than-average”, you do not belong with an Original Six franchise.

 


Oh, and Happy 4th.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/04/16 at 11:10 AM ET

lakeside mall's avatar

i posted this in a previous thread but wanted to repeat it here ;

i rip holland about his capability to rate nhl talent , and the contracts he hands out . and i truely believe hes not a real good ranker of players , hes like a teenage fan boy that sees all nhlers as great . and he hands out krazy kenny contracts to guys like cleary n helm but at same time his reasoning is that loyalty to players that have been loyal to the drw is seen by all 50 guys on the depth chart which instills more respect for the organization in them creating more driven players . hollands focused on optimizing what he gets out og each n every guy on the depth chart , hes an excellent manager / leader of people working in big picture mode

but what i dont rip and shall never rip holland for is not tanking . i hate tankning and hollands rebuild on the fly while trying to build a team that can get in and have some type chance every year is **** beautiful . ITS CALLED LEADERSHIP !! hes shooting for ultimates , looking for new ways to grow better as opposed to candy ass tanking and i am in total agreement with his philosophy !

REBUILD ON THE FLY TIL ONCE AGAIN THE BANNER FLIES HIGH !

* the bc wizards thinking on a higher plain than the masses . it’ll take a few more years to see if hes correct , to me an exciting time in drw history . the weight of hockey town piling up on ilitch / hollands / develanos shoulders . does it crush them or do they return to glory ?

Posted by lakeside mall on 07/04/16 at 12:10 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Anyone know if Helm got a NMC/NTC too?

Shockingly, Hapless didn’t give Helm either a No Movement or a No Trade clause. But I’m sure he gave him a “Dan Cleary-style wink-and-a-nod” verbal agreement that he’ll be a Red Wing for life – and possibly beyond.

“To be honest with you, I’ve waited for this moment ever since I was drafted,” Ott said after signing with the Red Wings. “I’ve always wanted to be a Detroit Red Wing.”

The Wings have needed a player like Ott for years, but Holland waited until the down-side of his career to sign him. And that only happended because Martin chose to go to the fricking Leafs instead of the Wings. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Hapless is as hapless does.”

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/04/16 at 12:12 PM ET

lakeside mall's avatar

ide pay alot to move ericssons contract because i want mrazek and danny d locked up long term at 5 per’ish . i dont want to **** around with either of these contracts , ive seen enough and want them both career wings . so wrap ericsson up in a package with futures like pulu and new pick smith for a draft pick and get 4 mil back off the cap to re sign these guys comfortably while bringing a decent draft pik back and dumping an excess forward before waivers or expansion hit

Posted by lakeside mall on 07/04/16 at 12:35 PM ET

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Unfortunately, if you want to dump Ericsson, you’re gonna have have to make a similar deal as the Bickell deal to Carolina. No way anyone takes that contract off our hands unless they’re getting a huge return.

Posted by benzanato on 07/04/16 at 02:34 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

I think we all need to get used to the idea that unless the Black Knights try to correct their Vitamin E52 deficiency, Big E is a Wing For Life(tm).

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/04/16 at 02:40 PM ET

lakeside mall's avatar

i see ericsson as a legit but over paid over termed nhl stay at home dman who uses bulk n span to play a decent game in own end , not useless at all . he should be on a 2 year 2.75 contract , so hes over payed 1.5 and 2 years = not the worst contract going . i also havent written ahl scoring champ pulu off after such short time in nhl , and the smith prospect is a 2nd rounder . if im a gm with cap space theres a feasible deal in there . if im not contending trade a vet dman for futures whose replaced by ericsson and add pulu to my forwards challenging for spots and the prospect to the minors , ide easily offer wings a 3rd for that deal which is a risk for wings trading a second rounder

Posted by lakeside mall on 07/04/16 at 03:02 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

With a bottom (between 24 and 30) D and could get worse.  What if Quincey says F you to KH and signs with another team, hilarious.

It won’t matter who are fowards are, they will be stuck in their own end playing D.

Ott is not a big problem, at least he seems to like the Wings.

Helm’s whining in public was dumb, term should be shorter, NOT TOP 6 NOT, minutes old be less than AA, 4th line soft grinder…..Of course none of this will happen.

I thought the Demers contract was reasonable, maybe he doesn’t like KH either.

Panthers moved Tallon out of the GM chair, they were good now they are alot better.

When the boss tells you to move out of the GM chair, do it or walk.

Who really is running the Wings. KH and HSJ (LOL), what a useless pair

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 07/04/16 at 04:02 PM ET

Chet's avatar

vegas can have 35, 43, and 52—then THEY can be an easy out 8 seed!

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 07/04/16 at 04:53 PM ET

SYF's avatar

vegas can have 35, 43, and 52—then THEY can be an easy out 8 seed!

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 07/04/16 at 04:53 PM ET

Hope they’re on that list on June 20, 2017 when Vegas announces its roster.

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 07/04/16 at 05:06 PM ET

SnarkinLarkin's avatar

Pencil in the date for Wings vs Leafs…I want to see Ott pummel Martin into submission and stand over his dazed body and say, “That’s what you get for choosing the Leafs.”

Posted by SnarkinLarkin on 07/04/16 at 05:21 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Holland has made some real bonehead deals but this Helm deal….its feckin ridiculous. If I were Chris Ilitch and I give two shits about winning I’d do some investigating into whether Helms girlfriend really is Holland’s neighbor. Scratch that! I would have fired that numbskull years ago. Either Chris Ilitch is running the team and he’s like William Clay Ford (soft as hell) or Mike is still in charge and can’t keep up with two teams. Either way us Wings fans lose. Hard!

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 07/04/16 at 07:05 PM ET

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does it crush them or do they return to glory ?

Posted by lakeside mall on 07/04/16 at 12:10 PM ET

It has already crushed them to the point that Dats defaulted on his contract with the DRW and returned to Russia. Do you realize that even Dats was unable to take any more NHL punishment on this soft, Euro-heavy team and voted with his feet on Holland?

I an a Euro, BTW.

Posted by Alex7 on 07/04/16 at 07:08 PM ET

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—-Anyone know if Helm got a NMC/NTC too?
——His contract is basically NTC. This contract is non tradable.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/04/16 at 07:16 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I’d a rather seen them pony up the extra mil on Radulov for one year

I read Radulov wanted to play in Montreal, or in other words the Red Wings had no chance of signing him. surprised

Posted by bigfrog on 07/04/16 at 07:18 PM ET

lakeside mall's avatar

on helm - i flip back n forth constantly about holland because i was raised to keep an open mind and look at both sides in effort to make proper decissions , so even though without thinking my immeadiate reaction was complete disgust with hollands densness i as always look at other side . in this case we must consider the possibility that after speaking to the ufa centerman wings saw as better options than helm and finding out they werent interested in wings while at same time holland as always is trying to assemble a playoff maker wings decided helm was best option . and that it was very important to have center depth this year with dats gone and zeta toasty . he didnt want to give helm 5 term or 4 $ but decided he at minimum is worth 3x3 now adays . and that .85 and 2 years extra without a ntc wasnt a bad deal . and the continuity factor of keeping helm on board was worth important early season points , plus wings already know he fits in the room so lessens the chance of the boat being rocked . its an unexciting but safe play . i bet if it were 3x3 folk wouldnt be very upset , its just the extra term and coin . but that can go away very quickly 2 years down the road when helm might be all for a trade back home to western canada . and im very glad weve got center depth because its the most important feature needed in a fleet of forwards without any top gun centermen

on datsyuk - no i dont realize thats why he left the team because ive never heard that said . ive been thinking reason he left was his ankles so messed up the rugged nhl had become hell to fight thru while at same time the ankle causing his hockey days to be numbered and that it was very important to dats personally and to his country that he do a victory lap season so all the fans could bask in his success and cheer him for it . yes the wings being a non contender probably was part of that but no properly thinking person can blame that on holland whose just had to draft bottom 10 for twenty years , a handicap that has caused every other team that had to draft way back like that to completely fizzle out . but hollands found a way to REBUILD ON THE FLY , and i’ll be damned if its not starting to look feasible that he does so . the severe handicap of gm’ing in murder city which causes prospective ufa to no doubt not prefer coming here has been the only thing stopping him from having the wings dangerous again

Posted by lakeside mall on 07/04/16 at 07:38 PM ET

Avatar

the helm and ott deals really do confuse me.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 07/04/16 at 03:54 AM ET

Ott deal shouldn’t confuse. He’s the experienced tough guy, that can be buried in GR if it doesn’t work out. The Helm deal on the other hand…

Posted by TB1015 on 07/04/16 at 07:48 AM ET

The Helm deal, and also Cleary’s and many other deals for that matter, from now on will not confuse you. On the contrary, those moves will seem to you as the most logical if you carefully read this Wiki article (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsive_hoarding). Yes, I think the state of DRW affairs is that serious as to be medically diagnozed.

Posted by Alex7 on 07/04/16 at 07:44 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

i bet if it were 3x3 folk wouldnt be very upset , its just the extra term and coin .

I’d be upset. I’m upset they signed Helm at all. Dudes redundant as feck!

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 07/04/16 at 07:50 PM ET

lakeside mall's avatar

yes you might be upset . but your pitting your amature opinion on the matter vs a gm that has just racked up the best record in nhl over the past 20 years . so you may want to temper your upset and think it over a bit as holland skippers the ship towards its 26th year at sail without floundering

Posted by lakeside mall on 07/04/16 at 08:00 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Hahahaha…you’re a funny little fella

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 07/04/16 at 09:24 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

He’s got the best record over the last 20 years because he’s the only one that has stayed in one job in the last 20 years.  Plus, a lot of that record came pre-Cap, when he could buy us a Cup (and did!).

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/04/16 at 09:42 PM ET

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Why do people think Ott is a tough guy?

Matt Martin would absolutely take his head off.

Ott is an aging agitator who I thought was on his last fumes
when he signed with St. Louis.

It’s cool he loves the Wings and smart his contract is so low-risk.

But, again, this is Holland’s idea of tough, no one else’s.
The team that Dallas Drake joined also had Aaron Downey and
McCarty for his swan-song. It was a different league then, but
Drake could still skate well enough that he was still a dangerous forechecker.

How well can Ott skate coming off of major hamstring surgery?
I’m surprised Holland hasn’t tried to bring Brendan Morrow out of retirement.
Hey, he was impactful ten years ago!

Posted by Lefty30 on 07/04/16 at 11:26 PM ET

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Vanek isn’t necessarily a terrible signing, in that it *should* give Kenny the depth to deal at least a couple of skilled, younger offensive wingers as part of a package to bring back a real top-paring D.

A goal-scoring right shot whose size should make up a little bit for his softness and lack of intensity.

The concern again is that - as Pat Caputo - my new favorite sports journalist - said, he is yet another skilled,  finesse player who can too easily disappear when the going gets tough.

It could be there was more pressure on him in Minny - his American hometown - and maybe he sees Detroit as precisely the kind of place where it’s ok to be a non-physical finesse player who drifts.

Others have mentioned this in the past, but could it be that Detroit’s personnel and playing style would benefit more of a Bowman or Babcock tyrant-savant and less from a players’ coach?

Posted by Lefty30 on 07/04/16 at 11:35 PM ET

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Re: Yandle, I’ll second Figaro, that that’s a too much money and term for a one-zone defensman.

I see enough Rangers coverage here to know that that’s how he was seen in NYC, and Vigneault was reluctant to use Yandle commensurate with the price they paid to acquire him, at least until serious injuries struck McDonough, etc.

But Caputo and many commenters are dead-on that Kenny only seems to think in one or two dimensions, when so many of his peers seem more motivated, more creative, more energetic about finding new ways in this new NHL to acquire players who can really help.

It does seem more and more players are viewing Detroit as a has-been that’s just treading water. And the Stamkos re-signing is a great reminder Tampa - and the Panthers - not only are seen as exciting contenders or up and comers, but also can outbid other teams simply because there’s no state tax.

On the other hand, Martin basically took less to play in Toronto than Detroit, because their combined taxes are higher. I thought there was no chance he’d sign with the Wings as soon as I read the article where he was asked about growing up nearby and outright said he not only switched to the Avs during the blood-feud years, but also currently “doesn’t like either team”. He had every chance to say one nice word about the Wings and i didn’t see it. Add to that the comments about loving the big city environment of NYC. Oh and the fact he would have the shortest leash in Detroit.

Posted by Lefty30 on 07/04/16 at 11:46 PM ET

Colin's avatar

Keeping things simple:

Helm: Too much money, too much term. Makes me worry that we will continue this awful experiment of Helm the Top-6 forward.

Nielsen: Great player, you can bag on the lack of scoring, but the thing is (and I commend Holland for assumingly seeing this) we don’t need extra scoring forwards that badly. We need the complimentary forwards to make plays and play defense so that the scoring forwards we do have (Tats, Nyke, Larkin, etc.) can focus on scoring more goals. Nielsen is this player, and he’s good for about 20 goals and 50-65 points as it is, depending on how his future linemates respond. You know a player is good when their fanbase laments a player leaving, and that’s what we have in Nielsen. The term REALLY sucks, but the cap hit isn’t bad. If this was a 5.25x3 year contract, I’d have loved it.

Vanek: I’ll give this signing a “meh” rating. He can be brilliant offensively at times, but there hasn’t been a coach in the past few years that has been able to get him to play a whole game. Or shift for that matter. He’s an incredibly talented forward who we need to up the effort level considerably. If our coaching staff can get him there, this signing will be genius, and I will happily welcome an extension for him. But that’s the problem with Vanek and all these other “show me” reclamation projects. Will they actually do it?

Ott: Another “meh” rating. I, for one, would’ve MUCH rather had Matt Martin on this team. The dude is a monster. Ott does give us grit, but I’m concerned about his surgery. Hopefully his love of the Red Wings will allow him to recover quickly and contribute with his grittiness. If not, his salary can be buried in GR, and I couldn’t care less at that point.

Overall, Kenny’s real mistake here was the Helm signing. We’ve known the kind of player he is and was. His attempt at being a top-6 forward fell continuously flat on his face. And yet, Kenny felt it necessary to give him a substantial raise and, at best, a spot on our roster which should be occupied full-time by our Greek Freak. At worst he stumbles around in our top-6 again, generating little more than turnovers. Kenny should’ve let him walk if another team was going to overpay for him. Helm’s only exclusive asset (as in one that cannot be replicated or replaced by training) is his speed. That kind of speed is genetic, but it is also something that can be identified easily and early, and thus easily replaced. We already have Larkin and AA (both of which are/will be faster than Helm), and Nyquist is no slouch either. We could’ve afforded to lose Helm, especially with the addition of Nielsen to our lineup, who I hear is quite good on the PK (and a plus skater). If it weren’t for the Helm signing, I would’ve been fairly happy with this free agency spree. A shorter Nielsen contract would’ve made it perfect. And yet, the world isn’t perfect. Neither is Kenny Holland.

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 07/05/16 at 09:36 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Posted by Colin on 07/05/16 at 09:36 AM ET

That’s an extremely well-thought-out evaluation of Holland’s moves, Colin. So my question is this: What are you doing here among all of us crazy, irrational people?  LOL

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/05/16 at 11:29 AM ET

Colin's avatar

That’s an extremely well-thought-out evaluation of Holland’s moves, Colin. So my question is this: What are you doing here among all of us crazy, irrational people? 

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/05/16 at 11:29 AM ET

Finding my best way to outlet my crazy with other crazy people.

I just have a different way of wording things, and I’ve been around and followed the sport for a long time. I’ve played since I was 5 or something like that as well. I’m a huge proponent of what a player brings to a line, not just as an individual. I think some people get caught up in who the player is instead of what he brings, which is a huge misinterpretation of how teams and lines work. These are the same people who would complain that Hossa didn’t score enough in the playoffs for us, when what he did do was open up the ice and push the play for Pav and Z to do whatever the hell they wanted, while being the scariest (in a good way) PK player this team has ever seen.

A player can only be as good as his linemates and their complimentary styles and skillsets allow him to be. For every undersized, perimeter scoring forward you have, you need a power forward and two-way guy as his linemates (preferably a center because of how zone play works) so that player can just focus on getting open and ripping one home. Otherwise, you have a bunch of guys trying to fill roles and do things on the ice that they either can’t or shouldn’t, so they can’t produce.

Ever watch Tats or Nyquist play the boards? It’s pathetic. They get ragdolled and turn the puck over every time. That’s why they don’t work as linemates. Nyquist was a stud when he had Z and Tats was when he had Pav while both were still at about 80% of their abilities two seasons ago because all they had to do was get open (which was way easier in 14-15 than it was in 15-16) and SHOOT. When Pav and Z regressed, Tats and Nyquist did too because nobody was left to carry the mantle of the space-maker. Abdelkader disappears from play completely at times, and Sheahan doesn’t play as big as he is.

Kenny’s biggest flaw when it comes to talent scouting and player development is that he assumes that every player he drafts has a little Pav or Lids in him, and will be able to play many roles and make his linemates better. Unfortunately, as we see with players like Tatar, Nyquist, Pulkkinen, Jurco, this team has a lot of role players that don’t have complete games. Granted, they’re very good at what they do, but you can’t expect them to do everything for themselves. Jurco, Nyquist, Pulkkinen, and Tatar aren’t going to play strong defense from the wing, but they shouldn’t have to. That’s what a 2-way center like Z or Nielsen is for! None of those guys (with the possible exception of Jurco) are going to win battles and create space for your triggermen, but once again, they shouldn’t have to. That’s what a power forward like Vanek, hopefully-this-year-Abdelkader, and should-be-Sheahan is for! If you ask me who I think our young guys with the potential to be complete players on this team are, I will give you only two names: Larkin and Athanasiou. They have the physical assets, the smarts, the skill, etc. to be those players. Everybody else is just a role player, and that’s who they always will be. Until Kenny figures that out, he will always mismanage this roster, and he will always overvalue his prospects, and he will always drive us insane.

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 07/05/16 at 12:07 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.