Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

The Wings Have Some Off-Season Work To Do

from Scott Cullen of TSN,

The Detroit Red Wings were bounced from the playoffs in the first round by the Boston Bruins, but they have also made the postseason every year since 1990.

Off-Season Game Plan looks at a Wings team that has been rejuvenated with youth, but has a small window of time to capitalize on the talent of team leaders Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

The Wings have a bit of an interesting mix, with aging vets combined with young players who were thrust into bigger roles when those older players got hurt last year.

While the Wings can be, at times, too patient with their prospects, those that were called upon last year -- including Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco, among others -- were ready to play and contribute and that does provide reason for optimism going forward.

"I think there's this perception that July 1 free agents, there's this hockey store, there's this fantasy hockey league that I'm running, playing in, and that we can go get superstars," GM Ken Holland told Detroit's CBS Affiliate. "Those days are over. That was a bit of the league prior to 2005. Those days are over. This is a league now where you've got to draft, you've got to develop, we've got to make people better." 

continued

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

redxblack's avatar

Holland continued, “because I can’t figure out how Minnesota is able to get these guys. They’re supposed to draft and develop, like we have.”

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/27/14 at 11:45 AM ET

Avatar

Holland should quit whining and ask other GM’s how they manage to acquire players that help them, you know, actually trade roster players.

Posted by bababooey on 05/27/14 at 11:59 AM ET

DrD's avatar

Those players wanted to play in Minnesota for family reasons. If you remember correctly, Detroit came very close to signing Suter - and offered him a boatload of cash, but he wanted to play with his buddy in Minny. You can blame Holland for some bad contracts - the most notable being Weiss, Samuelsson and Cleary - but no team came closer to getting Suter than Detroit did that summer - except for the one team that had the only thing Holland (or anyone outside of Minnesota) couldn’t offer.

Posted by DrD on 05/27/14 at 12:16 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Holland will be a first ballot winner in the ALMOST hall of fame.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/27/14 at 12:21 PM ET

DrD's avatar

Yeah, like almost winning the Stanley Cup. Give me a break, what has Minny evenly remotely accomplished? Every year Minnesota does not win the Stanley Cup, those contracts will look less and less intelligent. Minny might have two star players in their prime, but they have a long way to go before they are a legit contender and Parise and Suter won’t be young forever. Holland will build another contender before Minny gets to the finals - of that, I am pretty damn certain.

Posted by DrD on 05/27/14 at 12:29 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Another word for almost winning the cup is losing. Not getting to the conference finals since 2009 is pretty far removed from even almost winning the cup.

Minnesota made it further this year in the postseason, winning six times as many games as Detroit. Boston was beatable, MTL proved that. If the wild are able to snag Vanek as well, as the rumor mill predicts, it will be hard to argue that they’re doing something wrong up north.

Sentimental Ken has replaced the “tick tock” of old, hanging on to broken players like a hoarder and refusing to make the team better until injuries forced his hand. Nyquist lost 20 games this year because he was out of waiver exemptions while Dan Freakin Cleary got the starts.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/27/14 at 12:38 PM ET

Avatar

Minnesota made it further this year in the postseason, winning six times as many games as Detroit. Boston was beatable, MTL proved that. If the wild are able to snag Vanek as well, as the rumor mill predicts, it will be hard to argue that they’re doing something wrong up north.

Minnesota can have Vanek, thank you very much.

Posted by George0211 on 05/27/14 at 12:43 PM ET

DrD's avatar

I guess by your measure, never winning anything, ever is better than having won several times in the past and having a track record for building champions. Nice logic.

 

Posted by DrD on 05/27/14 at 12:46 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Holland was REALLY good at his job for the first 10 years. He hasn’t been very good for the last 5. A good chunk of the first 10 was coasting on the work that Bowman and Devellano did when they sat in his chair, but nonetheless, he did quite well with what they left him to work with.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/27/14 at 12:53 PM ET

DrD's avatar

I agree that Holland has not been as good as he has been in the past lately (I mentioned the worse contracts earlier, no point repeating it), but he has done a great job in some key areas that will pay off in time - namely drafting and developing talent from a very poor draft position. Look at all the teams that are strong contenders now: Boston, Chicago, LA - all three have sucked the cellar for years in order to acquire their core group of talent. Detroit needs to become very, very bad for several years in order to build a winner that way - and if Holland has his detractors now, imagine how many he will have if they miss the playoffs for the next five years? He’s in a tough spot…but he also can’t afford any more bad contracts - I will give you that one.

Posted by DrD on 05/27/14 at 01:02 PM ET

igrover's avatar

I’m not so sure that Holland was behind the Cleary re-signing as much as it was Babcock who wanted more vets on the team.

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

DrD's avatar

It doesn’t matter - Holland has to own all signings…unless Illitch jams it down his throat. The buck has to stop at the GM. I still think he is a GM, but if his job is riding on it, he shouldn’t let anyone influence signings if it’s not something he himself agrees with…especially in this hard cap era.

 

 

Posted by DrD on 05/27/14 at 01:10 PM ET

DrD's avatar

Good GM, that is.

Posted by DrD on 05/27/14 at 01:11 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

^^Agreed!!

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/27/14 at 01:14 PM ET

Avatar

Ah, that “hockey store” line he loves to pull out. It’s a straw man. No one’s saying there’s this great big hockey store and his job is just fantasy armchair fan wank. People are saying we need a top-four defenseman. All contenders have at least one elite, game-changing defenseman who can move the puck with aplomb and put up big points. Our blue line is Kronwall. He’s awesome, but it’s not nearly good enough. And now we’re going to wait two or three years (the time we have left with Datsyuk) for one of the kids to *maybe* become an elite defenseman? Not that I’m not high on what we have on the farm. But, c’mon.

Back in 2011, when the Sharks pried Brent Burns away from the Wild - remember what Babcock said about it? He said, “They just hit a home run. That’s a gold medal pick. I’m pissed off.” Is Babcock a delusional fan who believes there’s this hockey store, there’s this fantasy hockey league that his GM is running? Note that we still had Lidstrom at that point. And yet, Babcock was “pissed off” that we didn’t add this top-four defenseman. Now, several years later, we have no Rafalski OR Lidstrom, and we still haven’t added That Top-Four Defenseman. Unless you want to count DeKeyser, which I don’t, but, while we’re talking about him - was he not a free agent? Did Kenny not get him from the “hockey store”?

And what about that? What about the fact that Kennny actually does shop fairly regularly (by GM standards) at the “hockey store”? (Scandalous!) Weiss and Alfredsson were FA signings. Tootoo and Samuelsson and Bertuzzi were FA signings. Brunner was an FA signing. White was an FA signing. Colaiacovo was an FA signing. Gustavsson was an FA signing. Glendening wasn’t drafted. And Kenny was very much in on Suter and Parise. And he was very much in on Edler. And he was very much in on Bouwmeester. And he met with Weber in person. And he kicked the tires on Salo. And he traded one our better prospects and a second-round pick for a few games from Legwand. And he traded for Quincey.

You have to draft well, you have to develop well. Everyone knows this. The ‘02 team could never exist in the cap era. We get that. Generally, top players cost a lot, so you have to be smart. The sky is blue.

Just saying.

Posted by Dont Toews Me Bro on 05/27/14 at 01:22 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Every team goes through a lull.

I, like most of us here, have a desire to see our team win *today*, not next year, not ten years from now. I want wins, every day. Coincidentally, I also want a pony, a billion dollars, and the ability to time travel.

The players in Minnesota are of no concern to us. Really, they’re not. They are playing there because they signed on the dotted line. Whether it was family, money, or because there’s this one great Coffee shop in St. Paul is anyone’s guess.

If a team is unable or unwilling to spend the extra money and grab those players, what is it that you would do? What we are doing, and what we have been doing for years now: Develop from within.

I would rather wait five years to get back to the conference final or cup final than blow an absolute boatload of cash on a player or two that *might* help us. One could argue that Minnesota may not have made it as far as they did without Parise, and that’s fine. You can analyze video footage and statistics until the end of time if it pleases you, but no one can predict whether or not those players would be a good fit here.

This too shall pass, It might be a few more seasons before we return to form, but we will return to proper form—whether anyone wants to believe it or not.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 05/27/14 at 01:36 PM ET

DrD's avatar

You have to judge Holland against his peers, with Stanley Cup victories (and appearances, maybe) as the real acid test. When you do that, there are two GMs that have as good or a better track record since the Wings last went to the finals in 2009. Stan Bowman (with Scotty) in Chicago, Peter Chiarelli in Boston and shortly, Dean Lombardi in LA. All three teams have clearly done a better job over that time, but only Boston LA has done it primarily through smart trades. Chicago did it primarily with lottery picks, no offence to the Bowmans.

Don’t even talk about Shero - he is the biggest failure of all given the lottery picks he was working with and what he has to show for it.

Therefore, making a Cup winner via the trade route is difficult and even more so when you have drafted from a poor position as the Wings have year over year - because you don’t have the same quality assets to move.

Hey, I am the first to admit Holland is not currently the best GM in the league…but he is right up there and he has held his own. Has he made some poor signings yes, but let’s keep this in perspective people…we’re generally headed in the right direction.

Posted by DrD on 05/27/14 at 01:44 PM ET

RWBill's avatar


Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/27/14 at 01:38 PM ET

Holland should quit whining and ask other GM’s how they manage to acquire players that help them, you know, actually trade roster players.
Posted by bababooey on 05/27/14 at 12:59 PM ET

Yeah, Minnesota is the model franchise!  Lololol

Take note, since Minnesota sunk 2 x $100,000,000 into big name UFA signings which teams have won more playoff games than the Wild?  Start with the Detroit Red Wings?  Yes.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/27/14 at 01:47 PM ET

Avatar

Again every other team is playing from the same set of rules, all 29 GM’s manage to function and the better GM’s get creative to acquire what they’re looking for.  Ken Holland is the only one who whines about it.  I for one think he’s no longer effective and would love for him to move over and let someone more capable run the team.  Yes Holland gets credit for the draft, but so does Jim Nill and the other scouts as they are the ones who run it.  The only think Ken Holland has direct control over is roster moves, signing free agents and trading, tell me how effective he’s been on either of those.  Not only ineffective, but a disaster I can’t recall one free agent signing (besides Dekeyser, which again was thanks to Jim Nill and his relationship with Dekeyser) or trade that Holland has done even decently with.  I’m tired of hearing his excuses as to why he can’t make any moves, and if he really can’t figure it out maybe the Bowman Clan in Chicago will help him out once again to show him how it’s done.

Posted by bababooey on 05/27/14 at 01:48 PM ET

Avatar

Yeah, Minnesota is the model franchise!  Lololol

Take note, since Minnesota sunk 2 x $100,000,000 into big name UFA signings which teams have won more playoff games than the Wild?  Start with the Detroit Red Wings?  Yes.

You bolded my quote, but for the record I never said Minnesota was a model franchise or even mentioned Minny in my posts.

Posted by bababooey on 05/27/14 at 01:50 PM ET

Avatar

Holland continued, “because I can’t figure out how Minnesota is able to get these guys. They’re supposed to draft and develop, like we have.”

Holland should quit whining and ask other GM’s how they manage to acquire players that help them, you know, actually trade roster players.

Wings fans.

Minnesota went 1-4 the year after they signed Parise and Suter.  Then they went 6-7 the next year.  Yes, let’s all hail and pay homage to the Wild Method, that gets you 7-11 over two years.  Ugh.

Detroit’s gone 8-11 the past two years, by the way… and people think Holland stinks.

If the reason you follow the Wings is that you like to see cool trades happen… yeah, Holland’s probably not your favorite GM.  If you follow Detroit because you enjoy a competently run, consistently competitive franchise with a stellar history of winning… then Holland’s rather farther along your scale of preference.

LA’s where they are because their best forward is a guy they drafted 11 overall, their best dman is a guy they drafted #2 overall and their goalie is a guy they drafted in the 3rd round and hit with.  Pretty much every team that goes deep lately does so on the backs of a number of top-15 overall picks.  The Rags are a bit of an exception, but they landed a legit top 2 or 3 goalie in Lundqvist late and it’s not like they’ve been consistent winners even with him.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 05/27/14 at 01:54 PM ET

Avatar

Ken Holland is the only one who whines about it. 
Posted by bababooey on 05/27/14 at 02:48 PM ET

I think you’re overreacting about his “whining”. I think he is simply addressing some fans who think he should be able to sign every free agent he wants for a minimum salary and trade for top notch players and give them the likes of Cleary and Samuelson in return. It just doesn’t make sense.
I don’t have a problem with Holland saying he can’t just go out and get whoever he wants.
Holland refused to over-pay for players in trades because he knows the current Red Wings are not a 1 or 2 players away from winning the Cup, so no need to waste your future.

Posted by George0211 on 05/27/14 at 01:54 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 05/27/14 at 02:54 PM ET.

Don’t forget another point that supports your argument: three of their top four points producers in the playoffs are guys they traded for.

Oh, wait.  Crap, I’m sorry, that doesn’t support your argument at all.

Posted by Garth on 05/27/14 at 02:46 PM ET

Avatar

Good discussion going on. Here is KH’s work in the past 3-4 seasons in no particular order.
1) Signing Cleary knowing that could put Nyquist in GR
2) Signing Bert to 2 year contract with NTC (I love Bert, but 1 year at a time would have been just enough)
3) Trading a first round pick for an average dman (Quincey)
4) Trading Jarnkrok and a second for a forward who ended up playing on a 4th line.
5) Signing Weiss who now apparently was injured at the time of signing
6) Signing Sammy
7) Signing Tootoo for about $1 mil too much and 2 years too long
8) Signing Howard who proceeded by having his worst season
9) Signing Alfy (good move)
10) Signing DeKeyser who wanted to play here

Some of these moves were bad luck, some were mistakes. Objectively if your name is not KH and you do not have a benefit of a doubt, you should be fired. Please note this has nothing to do with me loving or hating KH, this is just a list of trades and free signings (some I am sure I forgot) in the last several seasons. I have been defending KH on all different forums for years, but at some point enough is enough.

But as every die hard RW fan, I want the team to get better and hope that the last 3 years is not an indication of KH losing it.

Now, we all know we need a top 4 right handed d-man who can quarterback the PP. Objectively the options are very limited.

UFA

1) Niskanen - he will get $7 mil per year and I do not want to spend $7 mil on Niskanen
2) Boyle - $10 mil for 2 years?
3) Others are either old or injury prone or both and some are just not that good.

Trade

1) Erhoff and Edler will cost at least Nyquist, Smith and first (or Sproul). I do not want to trade that much for a slightly above average dmen.
2) Yandle will cost even more.

So, to KH’s defense (ahead of time), I do agree that the chances of getting a top 4 dman this summer are rather slim and I hope he will not sell the farm to get one average one.

 

Posted by VPalmer on 05/27/14 at 07:12 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Minnesota can have Vanek, thank you very much.

You can add Vanek to that poor excuse of a hockey team.

Posted by bigfrog on 05/27/14 at 08:19 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Actually KH’s work in the last 3-4 years:

1) watch his kids get married

2) Try to replace the best defenseman ever (sorry Orr lovers longevity and durability move him to the Bure/Lindros category along with playing in the older less in-shape era). Easy feat right: replace a still in Norris consideration d-man. Oh wait.

3) Try to replace the team’s #3 d-man and minute-eater (Stuart) the same year you lose Lidstrom.

Those 2 previous example plus losing Rafalski the year before are why you make the move for Quincey. Having to overpay for a young d-man with an offensive upside is not uncommon—esp given Lidstrom’s injuries the year of the trade.

4) Add consistent second line scoring to balance the top 2 lines. Signing Weiss and Alfredsson was KH’s move.

5) Rebuild the Wings’ scouting staff after losing key people to Yzerman and Nill. Done via hiring: Tyler Wright, Andrew Dickson,Jeff Finley, and Marty Stein.

6) Find a superstar scorer somehow.  Adding a CHL player of the year might help. The previous 10 winners were: Crybaby Crosby (‘04 & ‘05),  Radulov (‘06), Tavares (‘07),  Justin Azevedo (‘08, 2 serious injury derailed career),  Cody Hodgson (‘09, 20 goal scorer for Buffalo),  Jordan Eberle (‘10), Ryan Ellis (‘11, one of Nashville’s promising young d-men),  Brendan Shinnimin (‘12, wasn’t drafted and is struggling in the AHL), and Jonathan Drouin (‘13, two straight 100 pts seasons in Quebec Jr’s).

7) Add size to the roster. 2013 Draft picks:6-5 Anthony Mantha,: 6-1 Tyler Bertuzzi, 6-1 Zach Nastasiuk, 6-4 Mitchell Wheaton, and 6-5 Marc McNulty of Prince George. Watch the 2014 draft and see if the trend continues.

What KH needs to do now is:

prepare for the combine and continue to find quality players that will make the big club,

don’t trade down this year unless there is no one on your board (as 15th is the highest pick since gasp Marty Lapointe went 10th in 1991),

find a way to move some of the “solid NHL players” they have developed for a top 2 defenseman and/or top 4 forward—-hint can be a guy not quite NHL ready yet,

move on from saving cap space for Suter/Parise debacle (you know the move that was the reason why you didn’t pursue Jagr, Burns, or my boy Semin seriously. And before anyone says another word about Semin: the Wings ended up targeting Mike Ribeiro and Weiss instead—big upgrades there.

and finally…don’t lose out on the next management guy because their paths are blocked in the organization. Pay them to keep them happy.  Got a guy in GR on everyone’s radar…lock him up with an offer he can’t refuse. Got a GM in development. Pay him like one. Guy a super scout…you get the picture.

Posted by d ca on 05/28/14 at 01:32 AM ET

Avatar

1) Niskanen - he will get $7 mil per year and I do not want to spend $7 mil on Niskanen
2) Boyle - $10 mil for 2 years?
3) Others are either old or injury prone or both and some are just not that good.

If they don’t sign someone like Niskanen (young, for a long term) I would prefer the short term fix to be someone like Stralman (if he doesn’t re-sign) over Boyle.  $10M for 2 years?  Sorry, you need to refer to your own reason #2 for why Holland should apparently be fired.  Boyle wants multiple years and Doug Wilson is smart enough to know that you don’t sign a guy Boyle’s age for multi-year deals.  Ken Holland needs to be that smart too.

1) Erhoff and Edler will cost at least Nyquist, Smith and first (or Sproul). I do not want to trade that much for a slightly above average dmen.

Respectfully, you’re nuts. After the year he had there’s no way Edler costs that much, and there is absolutely no way in hell that Buffalo can even consider that they’d get that kind of return for Ehrhoff.

Posted by Garth on 05/28/14 at 09:45 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Man do I miss the pre-cap era.

Just chiming in here to agree with both VPalmer and d_ca.  Kenny’s slipping but even at 80% he’s still better than most GMs.

The only thing I would add is don’t throw Howard under the bus.  He’s a solid workhorse starter who has had to deal with losing his blue line and dealing with an entirely different style of play in the east.  Give him a chance to adjust.

I don’t think we should lose our heads come July 1, but some sensible changes do need to be made, just not at the expense of our youth.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 05/28/14 at 11:57 AM ET

Avatar

After the year he had there’s no way Edler costs that much, and there is absolutely no way in hell that Buffalo can even consider that they’d get that kind of return for Ehrhoff.

If I am Canucks or Sabres GM, this would be a package I would ask as I will be dealing from the position of strength as I have a young, but already experienced top 4 dman who can move the puck and quarterback the PP. And my dealing partner is in desperate need for what I am offering. Not sure who you think we can trade to get Edler or Erhoff. They are not coming here for the players we want to get rid of, that’s for sure.

Posted by VPalmer on 05/28/14 at 05:18 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

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.