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The Malik Report

The overnight report: On Athanasiou’s contract, Cholowski’s options and multimedia

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. According to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, the Red Wings are unlikely to re-sign Andreas Athanasiou until the team sorts out its salary cap situation:

The lone unsigned restricted free agent on the roster is forward Andreas Athanasiou. And it’s likely to stay that way for a little while, as the Red Wings deal with the salary cap issues.

General manager Ken Holland said he’s exchanged offers with Athanasiou’s representatives as talks continue.

The Red Wings will get $3.95 million of salary-cap relief with Johan Franzen gets placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), but that will only leave approximately $1.4 million for signing Athanasiou (likely not enough money) and recalling a player from Grand Rapids during the season if someone goes on short-term IR.

The Red Wings are likely to waive or trade a player — or maybe someone like Sproul (knee surgery) might not be ready to start the season — to get comfortably under the salary cap ceiling.

2. Hockeybuzz's Bob Duff took note of Dennis Cholowski's decision to sign with the WHL's Prince George Cougars:

The Wings were quick to state that no decision has been made on Cholowski’s playing locale for the upcoming. Since he played NCAA hockey for St. Cloud State last season before signing with the Wings, unlike Rasmussen, Cholowski is not covered by the CHL-NHL agreement, which states that any CHL player drafted by an NHL must either play in the NHL or be returned to his CHL club.

The Wings now are presented with three options where Cholowski is concerned. They could keep him with the big club in Detroit, but because of his situation and the fact that he is signed to a pro contract, they also are left with the option of assigning him to their Grand Rapids Griffins farm club in the American Hockey League. They could even opt to allow Cholowski to begin the season in Grand Rapids and then send him to Prince George at any point during the season.

However, if the Wings do assign Cholowski to Prince George, once he’s there he would fall under the CHL-NHL agreement and be ineligible for recall until the end of his junior team’s season.

Whatever option they choose, Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin confirmed that the decision won’t be made until after training camp in the fall.

3. According to the Traverse City Record-Eagle, the first day of Red Wings training camp will be free to attend for first responders and military servicepeople:

TRAVERSE CITY — Detroit Red Wings Training Camp and Centre Ice Arena will offer complimentary entrance to active military, veterans, police, fire and EMS personnel during the practice/scrimmage session on the camp’s opening day, Sept. 15.

The event, scheduled for 9:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m., will be held at Centre Ice Arena.

Qualified personnel should come to the main entrance of Centre Ice Arena the morning of Sept. 15 and show a military ID or service badge to be admitted as a guest on a first come, first served basis while tickets last. Doors open at 8:30 am. No advance complimentary tickets will be issued.

For qualified personnel who have already purchased a ticket for that day's event, they may show their ticket for Sept. 15 to admissions staff when they arrive and they will be provided a free ticket to either the Sept. 16 or 17 morning practice/scrimmage session while supplies last.

4. In the Wings alumni appearance department, part 1: The C&G Newspapers' Kristyne E. Demske reports that Darren McCarty will attend this weekend's GreekFest in Grosse Pointe Woods;

5. In the Wings alumni appearance department, part 2: USA Hockey announced that Chris Chelios will serve as one of the coaches for the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo this September (21st)...

6. On Instagram, part 1:


Lineup for 8/26 Celebrity Softball.

A post shared by Joe Kocur Foundation (@kocurfoundation) on


It was great to meet the newest @detroitredwings, Trevor Daley today! Welcome to the #WarriorHockey family!

A post shared by Warrior Hockey (@warriorhky) on

7. On Instagram, part 2, per WXYZ's Brad Galli:

Bruno Mars sold out the Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday night, and gained new fans with his $1 million donation to help people in Flint.

He may have gained some more local fans, too.

After leaving metro Detroit, the Grammy award-winning artist posted a photo and video on Instagram wearing a Red Wings sweater.


Music Video Release Party! #VersaceOnTheFloor

A post shared by Bruno Mars (@brunomars) on

8. And finally, DetroitRedWings.com's Art Regner spoke with Anders Eriksson in his latest "Red and White Authority" podcast:

Update: According to Aftonbladet's Linus Norberg, former Wing Mikael Samuelsson has taken a picture as a prospect advisor for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Update #2: Per the Swedish and Finnish national team pages, Gustav Lindstrom, Filip Larsson (Sweden) and Kasper Kotkansalo (Finland) will take part in the Four Nations tournament in Vierumäki, Finland later this month.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



It’s one thing when cup contenders go thru this salary cap song and dance every summer, but when a bellow average team does, it’s insane.
Sorry just venting.

Posted by George0211 on 08/15/17 at 07:29 AM ET


I don’t know where Kulfan is getting the $1.4 million figure—whether he just took it straight from Ansar, or another beat writer, or from Holland, or he glanced at Capfriendly and mistakenly subtracted performance bonuses even though they’re already omitted from the totals—but it doesn’t make any sense. There’s no way to get that number to work out based on the players projected to be on the roster. The closest you can get is assuming Sproul will start the year on LTIR or be waived, but that’d leave more like $1.6m instead of $1.4m.

At any rate I’ve learned not to trust the MSM for any kind of accurate reporting on anything relating to the salary cap. It’s clear they don’t know how it works (I’ve written in to correct Ansar on mistakes he’s published) and don’t double check what they’re told.

If you actually check the numbers, you’ll find that the Wings have about $1m of wiggle room once you factor out Franzen. AA will probably sign for about twice that.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/15/17 at 08:05 AM ET


The closest you can get is assuming Sproul will start the year on LTIR or be waived, but that’d leave more like $1.6m instead of $1.4m.

Right, once Franzen is on LTIR, if they also waived Sproul, they would have like $1.55M of cap space. And that is with a 21 man roster. Oh boy. Things are going to be tight. Of course, between Kronwall’s knees, Ericsson’s hip, and Howard’s groin, there will probably be LTIR space sooner rather than later.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 08/15/17 at 08:24 AM ET


Does Chris Ilitch know any of this (and does he care) is my main question at this point.

Posted by VPalmer on 08/15/17 at 08:32 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

Is that a Probie or a Cheli #24?  smile

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 08/15/17 at 09:27 AM ET


and does he care

Not even a little bit.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 08/15/17 at 09:29 AM ET


Posted by Ilovekermit on 08/15/17 at 08:24 AM ET

Playing with the numbers and assuming AA signs for like $2 million, we’d be looking at ~$1 million over with 12 forwards, 8 defenders, and 2 goalies (not counting Franzen, and counting Witkowski as a forward).

The LTIR shuffle is a bad idea if you’re expecting those players back at some point during the season, though. Instead of clearing an extra million or so now, the Wings might end up having to clear multiple millions in a day when a guy like Ericsson or Kronwall returns, if they start the season on LTIR. Not a good scenario.

If I were the general manager?

Waiving Ericsson and sending him to the minors might be juuuuuust enough to close the gap (depending on what AA signs for), since that would save $1.025m under current rules. But that would leave a 21-man roster and only 12 forwards (one of whom is actually a defenseman), which is not good at all. It’s not great asset management, but I’d probably look to see if anyone is interested in Sheahan in exchange purely for prospects and/or picks. (I think he’s very movable considering his longer-term history and contract status, despite the poor season.) That’d clear a total of $3.1m between Sheahan and Ericsson, enough to sign AA and call up at least two (and possibly three) forwards from GR without having to rely on more injuries to stay compliant.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/15/17 at 09:53 AM ET


Hey fellas. We may have a GM with no vision, no creativity, no long term plan, no ability to make a hockey trade, a roster full of awful contracts, with a poor track record in free agency, and who treats his fanbase with arrogance and condescention…but he is the NHL expert at playing the LTIR/waiver shuffle. So chill out. Quit worrying about the cap. AA will get signed and we’ll figure this out after pre-season. Last time he banked on someone to get hurt and nobody did, and then Kindl tragically came down with pink eye. He always finds a way. Witkowski playing forward AND defense is his newest strategy. Who needs 23 guys when you can have 21 plus a magic extra player who can do anything. We love you Kenny!!

Posted by fatsavage on 08/15/17 at 10:21 AM ET


Last time he banked on someone to get hurt and nobody did, and then Kindl tragically came down with pink eye. He always finds a way.

I also remember a couple of seasons ago, there was about to be cap crunch, and Miller blew out his knee just in the knick of time. That was actually real, and he didn’t play for at least a couple months I believe, but the timing was just unbelievably good. Kenny always finds a way.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 08/15/17 at 10:32 AM ET


Sven, I would be all for them waiving Ericsson and trading Sheahan. But I don’t think either will happen. I can’t see Holland waiving a vet like E, and he rarely makes trades, so I don’t see Sheahan being moved either. My guess is that he will waive Sproul, hope someone else can’t play right away due to injury, and will deal with what happens when no one is hurt anymore later.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 08/15/17 at 10:36 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

I think it’s more of a stretch to imagine that injuries wont happen vs. imagining they will. lol.

Posted by ilovehomers on 08/15/17 at 10:41 AM ET


I think it’s more of a stretch to imagine that injuries wont happen vs. imagining they will. lol.

Sure, but a team that finished bottom 5 in the league last season shouldn’t be in this position. And it isn’t like the team underachieved by that much. Perhaps they should be more middle of the pack if everyone is doing their job correctly, but they aren’t a top team even in the best of times with this roster. This team should not be trying to invent ways to sign a young forward for $2M per. It’s not good.

Posted by Ilovekermit on 08/15/17 at 10:47 AM ET


Posted by Ilovekermit on 08/15/17 at 10:36 AM ET

Oh, I agree entirely. Waiving Ericsson and trading Sheahan is what I would try to do (hence the “If I were the general manager?”), but I don’t expect either to happen any more than you do.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/15/17 at 10:55 AM ET


This must be what its like to be an Ave fan.  Perfect example hoarding talent and talent eval gone wrong.

And Denver is actually a good sell to athletes, unlike Detroit.

Posted by ThatGuy on 08/15/17 at 11:49 AM ET


This must be what its like to be an Ave fan.  Perfect example hoarding talent

Detroit is hoarding talent?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 08/15/17 at 12:15 PM ET


This must be what its like to be an Ave fan.  Perfect example hoarding talent and talent eval gone wrong.

And Denver is actually a good sell to athletes, unlike Detroit.

Posted by ThatGuy on 08/15/17 at 11:49 AM ET

I understand the Daley signing, since Kenny still thinks he’s 2% away from being in the mix. But the moment Daley was signed, you knew that one of your other d-men must be traded or waived. And since trades are hard, well I guess we let Ouellet versus Sproul compete for the 7th spot and waive the other. That’s terrible asset management. Do something. Surely there would have been teams willing to give up a mid-round pick for Ouellet at the draft. His ceiling is low but he’s a serviceable bottom-pair d-man. Why aren’t we making a move like that? Why not move Nyquist before his NTC kicked in? Who cares about the return? The benefit is cap flexibility. You can insert Frk into that role and evaluate him. If he fails, then call up Svech after a couple months. If you don’t like those ideas, then take $1M and go sign someone like Vanek or Jagr or Parenteau or any number of vets who have missed the game of musical chairs and will end up signing somewhere for $1M. heck, even Hudler at $1M would be fine…again, only if you’re convinced Frk and Svech would be absolute failures as a 3rd line role.

But nothing happens because Kenny is hoarding assets and thinks if a few guys rebound and if we can add Daley then maybe we get back in the mix, where anything can happen. Like gee, look how far lowly Nashville went?

Posted by fatsavage on 08/15/17 at 12:22 PM ET


Like gee, look how far lowly Nashville went?

I can only hope KH is not thinking of Nashville as an example of what can happen if you just get in. Nashville possibly has the best top 4 defensive unit in the game. We possibly have the worst.

Posted by VPalmer on 08/15/17 at 12:36 PM ET


We don’t really need cap flexibiltiy given Holland’s direction to be honest.  I think that is hte point.  And you are assuming a mid round pick for Ouellette was available, and even if that is true, Holland may rather take the chance that he comes to camp significantly improved and if not, you risk losing someone on waivers.  To be honest, if they don’t come in improved, they probably would clear waivers…

Everyone keeps saying we shouldn’t be in this position…. and while generally true I suppose… why not?  If you haven’t figured it out, the mantra is to be as competitive as possible, which includes spending all available resources to do so.  That’s fine if you disagree with that, frankly I do too to a large degree, but it’s consistent with what the plan has been and still is.  Be as competitive as possible, while trying to integrate impact younger players so regardless of where we end up finishing or did finish, he’s going to spend to the cap and maximize the ability to be competitive.  You all want to get rid of some vets and put in Frk and whomever… but in Hollands mind, right or wrong, and I would assume Blash to at least large degree, doesn’t believe the team would be as strong, cap flexibility be damned. 
Until we lose something valuable or miss out on something because of our cap situation, it really doesn’t matter if we are at the cap or not. 
Do I wish we were using it to take other teams bad assets in hopes of getting some higher picks or prospects, absolutely.  But Holland is pretty consistent.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 08/15/17 at 12:37 PM ET


cap flexibility be damned. 

Posted by DieByTheWing on 08/15/17 at 12:37 PM ET

Cap flexibility also allows you to exploit other organizations looking for relief. Also makes completing a hockey trade easier. With Nyquist out and a $1M replacement in…you can now actually improve your roster. Look at how New Jersey used their cap space to absolutely rob Washington of Marcus Johansson. He’s everything we hoped Nyquist would be…younger, cheaper, more productive. Why weren’t we involved in the Johansson talks…well we have no cap space! We couldn’t add Hamonic or Scandella or Hjalmarsson because we have no cap room for them. Vegas added an extra 1st and 2nd for swallowing David Clarkson from Columbus. Last year Carolina added Terovainen just for eating a year of Bickell. So imagine dumping Nyquist a year ago, and then using that space to swallow Bickell and add Terovainen. Does swapping Nyquist for TT kill our chances to be competitive? No. It’s a wash. Now what about the next 3 or 4 years…which asset would you rather have?

Sorry. Trades aren’t hard. What makes them hard is having zero cap flexibility, not to mention the most NTC handcuffs in the entire league.

Posted by fatsavage on 08/15/17 at 12:56 PM ET


Posted by fatsavage on 08/15/17 at 12:56 PM ET

Completely agree.  Fact is we don’t know what opportunities we are missing.  If we had the opportunity for a top 2 D right now we would have to ask the other team to take on more salary just to give us their player.  We don’t have enough assets coming up that we could trade to make up the difference.  Cap space is an asset, just like picks and prospects.  If we are not willing to move one of Mantha, Larkin, or AA.  we are severely limited on what we could offer another GM for their high value asset.

Posted by murph1jj on 08/15/17 at 01:29 PM ET


Hear hear.

The argument that “we haven’t really lost anybody important ... what have Pulkkinen / Nestrasil / Marchenko / Ferraro / etc. etc. etc. accomplished?” misses the point.

It’s about OPPORTUNITY COST. The reason that living at the top of the cap, stuffing yourself with replacement-level vets, and attrition via waivers is a bad strategy isn’t so much about the moves you do make or the players you do lose. It’s about the moves that it prevents you from making. It is fundamentally reactive rather than proactive.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/15/17 at 01:51 PM ET


If we are not willing to move one of Mantha, Larkin, or AA.  we are severely limited on what we could offer another GM for their high value asset.

And moving them will not solve the cap issues anyway

Posted by VPalmer on 08/15/17 at 02:09 PM ET


Posted by VPalmer on 08/15/17 at 02:09 PM ET

Agreed, I just meant that they are probably the only three where the other team may consider retaining some salary on their side.  Or that their value is greater than their salary rather.

Posted by murph1jj on 08/15/17 at 02:12 PM ET


Well, until somebody shows me that we actually “didn’t make a move” I reserve judgement.  I believe that if the opportunity is there, there are ways to make it work.  FOr your one off TT examples, there are equal examples of teams that did the necessary things when something became available.  Otherwise you are pure speculation and hyperboles.

You say TT, but you can’t just make teh Nyquist example.  Carolina was worse the whole time they Weren’t using that cap space, UNTIL that opportunity magically presented itself (definitely not a common occurence).  THere is a reason only rebuilding teams or crappy teams make those deals….

So, again, if you accept that the goal is to remain competitive, you don’t waste cap space on nothing, because those opportunities do not occur often enough to wait around for them. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather us be doing that at this point and being competitive be damned because I don’t foresee this working out well.  BUT i can also see where Holland is coming from.  He’s doing exactly what he said he would… not sure why people continue to act like some of these decisions are surprises, they are consistent with the way h e said he was operating the team.  We can all criticize that plan, that’s for sure, but the decisions are not surprises like people make them out to be.  I’d hesitate they are even logical given the original illogical decision.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 08/15/17 at 03:14 PM ET


Don’t kid yourselves… we didn’t get Hamonic because of cap issues….

As for Marcus….that is an interesting one.  Whatever you guys think about Holland, I question that move more than many Holland has made…. and you guys act like it was some missed opportunity cost… I don’t get that deal at all.  Surely someone could have offered more than NJ, if we live in this hypothetical world everyone likes to live in.  Again, the cap didn’t prevent that move, if anything, our cap “issues” as you call them, show that if Holland believes in something he will do it.  We signed Daley…. knowing what we know.  If we could have got MJ, I still have faith we would have despite the cap.  There are buyouts, sending guys to the minors, dumping guys for nothing, etc…

Cap Space is 100% an asset, much more so for a rebuilding team, and to a degree, for a contending team for deadline flexibility (the Pens).  But they are all in different situations.  Rebuilding, is obvious and is the poitns you guys make…and frankly, where we should be…but given that isn’t the direction, keeping it isn’t necessarily giving you the best chance to win games.
As for contenders… you can only keep cap flexibility when you have a core that is Crosby/Malkin/Letang, or Kane/Keith/Toews/Crawford….. sure then you can fill in with marginal or low cost vets or whatever you like and keep some deadline flexibility, but when you don’t have that core…?

Posted by DieByTheWing on 08/15/17 at 03:19 PM ET


I read these post and frankly I’m confused. We have a whole team of players no one wants at almost any salary or only at a near entry level salary and you would offer way better than average players(Neilsen’s words: stars maybe superstars)  just to unload a bad contract, in hopes to what, luckily replace his current production and risk his possible way better than average if not stellar production. I’m not sure that Blashill isn’t the biggest reason these problems exist and player production is down.

Posted by stateofmifan on 08/15/17 at 03:20 PM ET


Definitely would not trade away prospects that every other team wants.There’s a reason for this-they recognize talent.

Posted by stateofmifan on 08/15/17 at 03:43 PM ET


Posted by DieByTheWing on 08/15/17 at 03:14 PM ET

THere is a reason only rebuilding teams or crappy teams make those deals….

We are exactly that and couldn’t make a deal if it fell in our lap.  It is a challenge for us to sign our own roster and be cap compliant.

not sure why people continue to act like some of these decisions are surprises, they are consistent with the way h e said he was operating the team

I haven’t really noticed people being surprised by this.  If anything it is consistent.  There is why people are upset about it.  Isn’t the definition of insanity something to the affect of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  It appears that KH is unable to do something different, to try to help this team.  The fact that at one time the loyalty of the ownership and front office to players was admired, and is now a weakness.  It happened when they failed to get superstars, for whatever reason.  They then over extended those loyalties to role players.  Tying our hands for years to come.

It is becoming more evident that as the league changed to the current model of a hand full of high paid skilled players, and a rounded group of lower paid roll players(see Salary Cap), and either KH, Ownership, or some combination, are incapable or unwilling to make that change.

We have our hands tied for the next several years.

Any flexibility they can make now will pay off in the next few years.  You will never know about the deals they missed out on, but I would rather see them in a position to try and fail, then not be in the conversation at all.

Posted by murph1jj on 08/15/17 at 03:58 PM ET


Kenny should have identified the expansion draft as a unique opportunity to make changes that could improve the roster. This was a chance to exploit other teams dealing from a position of weakness. But to do that, he needed to enter this off-season with considerable roster and cap flexibility. If he actually had any ounce of a long-term vision, he would NOT have committed long-term money to Nielsen, Helm, Glendening last summer. He should have just signed more 1-year stop gaps like Vanek to round out the roster. He could still sell the fanbase on trying to extend the streak, but we all knew this was a joke the moment Datsyuk left. So imagine life without just those 3 players right now. That’s $11-12M of cap space. Now you can absorb a Clarkson to add an extra 1st and 2nd. Or you can be one of the few teams that could add a Hamonic or Hjalmarsson or acquire a Johansson. Be aggressive.Pay a premium to a team like Anaheim to acquire a Vatanen to rescue them from their expansion draft woes. We can do you a favour and take a garbage contract at the same time.

It was a total miscalculation on Kenny’s part. Instead he loaded his roster with a bunch of albatross contracts, then entered the expansion draft as an observer with his hands tied, and even then played it wrong by losing an affordable 4th liner while protecting a bunch of guys that nobody would have wanted in the first place.

One day this will be a case study in how to mismanage a sports franchise.

Posted by fatsavage on 08/15/17 at 05:15 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The average Wings fan has no idea about the team’s precarious cap situation. They have no idea that guys like Abby, Helm, Glendenning and E-52 have been ridiculously overpaid. And they’re utterly clueless when the Wings lose yet another player to waivers in an effort to solve their cap situation.

All those poor saps know is what Holland tells them – the Wings are just a 2% improvement away from being right back in the playoff mix. And once they’re there? Well, “anything can happen.”

Ignorance may very well be bliss, but it’s still ignorance. Sometimes I really envy those poor saps.  sick

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 08/16/17 at 12:14 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.