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The clock’s ticking on Ericsson, Eaves and Miller’s tenures as Red Wings

Updated 4x with a very belated Lidstrom interview at 2:48 PM: According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, while the Red Wings await Jaromir Jagr’s decision as to whether he’d prefer to play for Detroit or Pittsburgh, the team’s having a harder-than-anticipated (at least by fans) time of attempting to re-sign Jonathan Ericsson and especially Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller because the latter pair of players want to be more than fourth-liners, and that’s not going to happen in Detroit:

“Part of it is money, part of it is opportunity,” Holland said. “They think they can have a bigger role with other teams.”

The Red Wings have 16 players (11 forwards, four defensemen, one goaltender) signed for a salary-cap hit of $47.6 million (the cap is $63.4 million). That doesn’t include rookie forward Cory Emmerton, who is out of minor league options and must make the roster or risk being claimed off waivers. It also doesn’t include defensemen Brendan Smith and Doug Janik.

Smith will have every opportunity to make the team in training camp and the preseason but still can be sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins without waivers. Janik is on a one-way contract, and the club would like to keep him on the NHL roster as a depth player. If he is sent back to Grand Rapids and clears waivers, he’ll remain there all season because he’s subject to re-entry waivers, meaning if he were claimed on re-entry the Red Wings would be responsible for half of his salary and the cap hit.

“If we don’t sign anybody (their own free agents), we’re in great shape, cap-wise,” Holland said. “The biggest issue is the 23-man roster. I’m comfortable either way, getting some of our guys signed or having (more) cap space (to explore the market).”

In terms of the negotiating bottom line…

“Lots of talk, but nothing’s happened,” Holland said. “The deadline is noon Friday (when free agency starts). There’s lots of time to continue to talk.”

Khan provides an update on Mike Babcock’s attempt to fill out his shoulders with two assistant coaches as well:

“I’m leaving it in his hands to bring some people to me that he feels comfortable with,” Holland said. “He’s interviewed lots of people—met a few people at the draft (this past weekend). There’s so many good people. I think Mike is struggling with giving younger people an opportunity or going with veteran people, someone who’s done the job before.”

Update: Hell no, Brooks Laich was and is not worth $4.5 million per season;

• Per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

So what now for Christian Ehrhoff? With Kevin Bieksa returning to the Canucks’ fold, agreeing Monday to a $23 million, five-year deal, contract talks continue between Vancouver and the Ehrhoff camp. The German defender can become an unrestricted free agent Friday.

A source told ESPN.com there has been an offer and counteroffer between the Canucks and veteran agent Rick Curran.

The general ballpark for Ehrhoff is somewhere between Bieksa’s new deal and the one signed by Dan Hamhuis last July 1 (six years, $4.5 million per season). But don’t look for Ehrhoff to take less than either player.

Does it get done before Friday? It might. Then again, the Detroit Red Wings are sitting there with money to spend and a need for a top-four defenseman ...

• I actually agree with the Chief—if Cam Barker’s available, he’d be a good pick-up;

• In charitable news, per the Port Huron Times-Herald and the Free Press:

Thirty-two teams teed off Monday in the 12th annual Shawn Burr Foundation Celebrity Charity Golf Classic at St .Clair River Country Club.

The event raised money for the foundation, which benefits local charities. The amount of money raised is not yet known.

Each team was paired with a celebrity, many of them former hockey players.

There were some current players in attendance, however, as Detroit Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi played with one of the groups. Port Huron native and 2010 Dallas Stars draft pick Jack Campbell was also one of the celebrities in the outing.

Among the others were former Red Wings Burr, Dino Ciccarelli, Dave Lewis (coach), Dennis Hextall and John Ogrodnick. Other former NHLers included Craig Wolanin and Pat Peake.

Former members of Port Huron’s professional teams in attendance were Jon Hillebrandt, Bobby McKillop, Kraig Nienhuis and Jon Finstrom.

Frank Beckman, the play-by-play man for Michigan football games and radio host on WJR, also was on hand.

The outing was preceded by a luncheon, which featured a speech by Mitch Albom.

Update #2: Via NHL Gossip on Twitter, Vancouver’s AM 1130 reports that Ehrhoff and the Canucks are talking, and per the Sporting News, well…This is crazy talk, but I’d love to see the Wings trade for Semyon Varlamov;

• Of note from the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts”:

4) A couple of things to remember as free agency begins. First, teams can go over the max by 10 per cent (that’s $6.43 million during the offseason). Second, all bonuses count immediately against the cap next season (whether they are reached or not), and that’s how some lower-spending teams will hit the floor.

So that means any bonuses the Wings would pay to Jagr would count against the cap…

11) Half the league is convinced the Flyers are going after Brad Richards - hard. (I’m still wondering about Detroit making a run at him, especially since Valtteri Filppula appears available in a trade.)

Um, no…

19)  Mike Babcock told The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell that the Sharks getting Burns was “a gold medal pick. I’m pissed off.” The biggest concern about Burns? His concussion history. That scared a couple of teams. But not the Sharks, who are really going for it in 2011-12. Curious to see who the Sharks go after to plug the vacancy left by moving Devin Setoguchi.
23) Message received: The Detroit Red Wings want to be a bigger team.

• As an FYI, if you glanced at Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien’s list of players receiving qualifying offers, the Wings are going to hold on to Jordan Pearce, Logan Pyett and Francis Pare, but they have not tendered qualifying offers to Jamie Tardif or Sergei Kolosov;

If you’re interested in where the Griffins’ alums have scooted to, the Griffins’ website provides an Alumni Tracker;

• If you’re interested in more realignment talk, the National Post’s Matthew Scianitti, via RedWingsFeed on Twitter, posted a possible redrawing of divisional lines;

• And the Detroit News’s Ursula Watson reported on Sunday that Chris Chelios, Eddie Vedder and John Cusack engaged in a late-night batting practice at Comerica Park on early Sunday morning, and the News posted a photo gallery from the event.

Update #3: Nice call from the Hockey News’s Darryl Dobbs, handicapping Tomas Jurco’s “upside”:

Tomas Jurco, Detroit

The Detroit organization takes its time with prospects, but it’s done right. Jurco is less of a risk now, but more of a wait. His upside will fall somewhere between two other prospects who are on the cusp: Jan Mursak and Tomas Tatar.

Update #4: If’in you’re interested…WJR is terrible about updating its Mitch Albom show page with interviews, so here’s a very belated interview with Nicklas Lidstrom from last Wednesday:

Download file

Update: Per the Sporting News’s Craig Custance and RedWingsFeed:

Still no deal with Red Wings and Jonathan Ericsson but told the two sides are still talking.

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Well, if in the end it turns out that Holland wouldn’t offer $1.7m and we lose Eaves, then I will join you in proclaiming this a fairly large fail.

And if it turns out he did and Eaves walked away from it then I’ll hope that Kronwall lays him out Havlat-style in the first game he plays against the Wings.

Posted by Garth on 06/28/11 at 05:12 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Will.  Take.  Ehrhoff.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 06/28/11 at 05:32 PM ET


Get Eaves his pony and sign his ass.  Trade off Hudler and Filppula for a couple of conditional 7th rounders and then snag Brad Richards, Cam Barker and the Polish dude.  The rest will work itself out smoothly.  Oh yeah, fuch Jagr.

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 06/28/11 at 05:35 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Do Eaves and Miller remember that the rest of the NHL left them on the career scrapheap?  I would say it’s a little odd for them to seriously be looking for increased playing time, except for the fact that many times during the season that’s exactly what happened with Babcock saying pretty much he couldn’t afford to keep them off the ice.  They’re entitled to ask for bigger and better things, but if it falls apart like the last time they tried the NHL outside the Wings it’s on them.

I’ve said numerous times over the past 2 seasons that Eaves is like a little leaguer over on the bench hopping up and down whenever anything good happens.  I appreciate that enthusiasm and his effort, but there is a limit to its $$ worth. 

I doubt if anyone here knows what the offers are, and keep in mind The Franchise faces the uncertainty of CBA +1 and whatever limits and punishments on success it will bring.

It could force franchises to have to buy out contracts to get under another artificial limit.  Who knows?  How the Hell can one be a successful GM in this environment when the amount of money one is able to spend on contracts changes each summer?  I think they’re lucky it never went down from one year to the next.  What an unsettling, disruptive disaster this could have been and just might be again after the expiration of this CBA.

Posted by RWBill on 06/28/11 at 05:42 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

so what are we doing for a backup goaile? What would it take for a deal with NYI to get Nabby? Trade Huds for Nabby, but what else would it entail? We wouldnt have to give up picks or? Vokoun too expensive, as is Rollie. Theodore possibly?

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 06/28/11 at 06:24 PM ET


Do Eaves and Miller remember that the rest of the NHL left them on the career scrapheap?

So?  It’s not like Detroit would be doing Eaves and Miller a favour by re-signing them.  They’ll get snatched up quickly on the open market.

Detroit may have taken them off the scrapheap, but they haven’t been chopped liver since then.  They’ve played well and contributed nicely for the Wings and should be conmpensated for it.

Posted by Garth on 06/28/11 at 06:25 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by 11B3PF7 in MN on 06/28/11 at 03:48 PM ET


Seriously, can we cut it with the “we need a fighter” shit? It isn’t 1989 any more.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 06/28/11 at 07:15 PM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

Eaves and Miller strike me as guys who are feeling like Todd Bertuzzi when we acquired him briefly the first time. Soon after, despite loving Detroit, he left for more money/opportunity.

Miller and Eaves have been nice little reclamation projects who probably have an overinflated sense of self-worth on the ice, and know that another team will overpay because of the success they’ve had in Detroit. But what they’ll find if/when they leave is that they had success BECAUSE they were in Detroit, and never should’ve left. They’re nice players, and at the right price, I’d like to have them both back too…Eaves more than Miller. But neither guy is anywhere near irreplaceable, and if they want to leave for more money/opportunity, I’m with Holland. I’m not upset, because we can find guys who are just as good who WILL accept their roles and relish an opportunity to play for the Wings.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 06/28/11 at 07:30 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 06/28/11 at 06:30 PM ET

Yes, the artificially narrow window between maximum and minimum salary range ensures that players like Eaves and Miller will have a market for themselves and likely be overpaid by teams struggling to make it UP to the salary floor.

Turmoil is a major tenet of Gary Bettman’s vision.

Posted by RWBill on 06/28/11 at 07:36 PM ET


RWBill & Michiru,

What about their time with the Wings makes you inclined to believe they now have inflated views of themselves? Is it the charity work they’ve done?  Is it the nones of quotes they’ve released so far during this process?

Turmoil might be part of Bettman’s vision, but keeping veterans on the team as long as possible is ours. You shouldn’t be surprised then when younger players see the salary paid out to players they out-produce and then want that.  Not saying the veteran model is bad, just saying this is a by-product.

Posted by dumbasrocks on 06/28/11 at 07:44 PM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

Um, please note the part where I said “on the ice” and that I’m not saying they’re bad people or haven’t done a good job. I’m just saying that as hockey players, on the ice, if they’re looking for more money and opportunity than we can give them, they’re probably thinking too highly of their games. They’re solid role players, and that’s what they are. If they don’t want to be that, then fine, they can go elsewhere, but like Holland, I wouldn’t give them much more than 1-1.5 mil to play fourth line minutes and kill penalties when we have Mursak coming up, and Helm improving, and a plethora of other solid forwards up front. If they want to leave for “greener” pastures, that’s okay. But I think we can replace them with guys just as young and effective for less money, if they’re asking for too much. That’s all.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 06/28/11 at 07:49 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.


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