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The Malik Report

In which the beat writers disagree about what happened to the Red Wings

Updated 8x at 6:23 PM, scroll to the bottom:

Update: From MLive's Ansar Khan and St. James:

Update #2: Either St. James' information is incorrect or there's something bad going on:

Update #3: Another one from Khan:

Update #4:

Update #5:

From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

July 1, the busiest day of the NHL off-season because high noon marked the opening of the unrestricted free market. It was an utter dud for Detroit.

They got rejected by Dan Boyle, who signed with the New York Rangers for two years and $9 million, less than the two years and $10 million offered by the Wings. They got rejected by Stephane Robidas, who went to Toronto for three years and $9 million, an offer the Wings would have matched. They got rejected by Anton Stralman to the point that Stralman's agent, Marc Levine, when contacted by the Free Press to ask if Stralman was interested in Detroit, the answer was a succinct, "no."

Stralman ended up signing with Tampa Bay for five years and $22.5 milion. Matt Niskanen, the premier right-shooting defenseman on the market, didn't have Detroit on his short list, either.

St. James continues, and asks...

So what gives? It's not the metro area – while Detroit the city may not have the allure of Chicago or New York, players routinely rave about living here. Todd Bertuzzi has described it as awesome. Daniel Alfredsson and his family are living here next year, whether or not he plays. Owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Ken Holland are held in high regard for the way they treat players.

It's not the competitiveness of the team – the Wings still boast superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. It's hard to think Robidas went to Toronto eyeing the Leafs as Cup contenders over Detroit. Boyle joined the Rangers - but do the Rangers look viable to return to the Stanley Cup final? Tampa Bay does legitimately look like a contender after improving on defense the past few days.

Is it head coach Mike Babcock? Babcock is demanding, but that's considered a positive quality in a professional coach – the ones that let things slide don't win, and players care about winning.

The Wings did sign Kevin Porter as a replacement for David McIntyre in Grand Rapids, and they put out a press release stating as much...

DETROIT SIGNS FORWARD KEVIN PORTER
… Northville, Mich., Native Has Skated in 206 Career NHL Games with Phoenix, Colorado and Buffalo …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced that they have signed left wing Kevin Porter to a one-year contract. In accordance with club policy, additional details will not be disclosed.

A native of Northville, Mich., Porter has split the last two seasons between the Buffalo Sabres and the AHL’s Rochester Americans. In 12 NHL games last season, he recorded one assist and two penalty minutes, adding 36 points (19-17-36) in 50 AHL contests. The 5-foot-9, 191-lb., forward has appeared in 206 NHL games since 2008-09, tallying 55 points (29-26-55) and 60 penalty minutes. He has also skated in 196 AHL games with the San Antonio Rampage, Lake Erie Monsters and Rochester Americans, totaling 156 points (63-93-156) and 109 penalty minutes. Porter was an AHL All-Star in 2012-13 when he served as Rochester’s captain.

Originally drafted by the Coyotes in the fourth round (119th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Porter enjoyed a standout career at the University of Michigan from 2004-08, notching 183 points (85-98-183) and 115 penalty minutes in 162 games and capping off his collegiate career with the CCHA Player of the Year Award and the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey. He also helped the Wolverines to two CCHA championships in 2005 and 2008. Porter has represented the United States at four international tournaments, posting 21 points (7-14-21) in 26 career games for his country and earning a silver medal at the 2004 Under-18 World Championships.

And they've inked Andy Miele for depth as well.

AT THIS POINT, given the $$ that Niskanen got, I'm glad the Wings didn't get him, and given the fact that Stephane Robidas got $9 million over 3 years and Willie Mitchell got $4.25 million per year for two years...

Holland could've made things worse. He didn't, and I can at least live unhappily with that.

 

Update #6: The quotes, from KH to St. James...

"We made pitches to a number of defensemen," general manager Ken Holland said. "For a variety of reasons, they opted to go elsewhere. I don't know why they're not coming here."

...

"We're still about two-and-a-half months away from camp," Holland said. "We'd like to add a defenseman. We'll look at our options."

There's trading, but the teams that have desirable additions, like Arizona with Keith Yandle or Buffalo with Tyler Myers, would ask for either of Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco or Antonthy Mantha in return, plus a high draft pick. Teams don't surrender top-four d-men for free.

The other option is to give a prospect a chance - Xavier Ouellet parachuted into the last game of the playoffs as an emergency measure; Ryan Sproul stands 6-foot-3 and shoots right. If they can't handle the NHL out of training camp, pull a deal in the fall.

...

It's not the metro area - while Detroit the city may not have the allure of Chicago or New York, players routinely rave about living here. Todd Bertuzzi has described it as awesome. Daniel Alfredsson and his family are living here next year, whether or not he plays. Owner Mike Ilitch and Holland are held in high regard for the way they treat players.

It's not the competitiveness of the team - the Wings still boast superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

Is it head coach Mike Babcock? Babcock is demanding, but that's considered a positive quality in a professional coach - the ones that let things slide don't win, and players care about winning. Holland downplayed any chatter Babcock is a reason, saying, "I've never heard those rumors. I think that we've got one of the best coaches in the NHL and he's been a reason why some people have come here."

Update #7: Via RedWingsFeed:

Update #8:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

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We’re losers and our city is a dump.

Posted by Shanahanman on 07/01/14 at 04:25 PM ET

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I’m not excited nor that upset. None of these guys got me that excited and I would’ve been happy if they’d gone after Gilbert, but oh well.

The one concern I have is whether or not this will make it more difficult to re-sign Babcock. I wonder how he’s feeling right now.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 07/01/14 at 04:27 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Viva la youth movement! Get on the horn Kenny, anyone over 30 is available for their highest prospects and/or 1st round picks, let’s be a contender in 2018 when the new Stadium opens!

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 07/01/14 at 04:30 PM ET

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Brian Boyle 3 yrs at $2.3 per to Bolts.  Where the F was Holland on this one?!

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/01/14 at 04:36 PM ET

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Rumor is that Ehroff received exact same offer from Detroit and chose Pittsburgh!

Posted by Joe on 07/01/14 at 04:37 PM ET

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I think Erhoff turned down more from Det.  But it all really seems like BS given the media reported Det was out on Erhoff cause he wanted a 5 yr. deal.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/01/14 at 04:41 PM ET

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The Brian Boyle thing pisses me off… woulda been a great addition at $2.3M per but Holland is asleep at the wheel.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/01/14 at 04:42 PM ET

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Bob Mckenzie corrected Brian Boyle got only $2M per.  Holland is a piece of crap.  Yzerman working deals to perfection.  Garrison, Stralman, Callahan and Boyle.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/01/14 at 04:46 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Ansar Khan @AnsarKhanMLive
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Wings offered Dan Boyle three years at $12.5 million ($5M, $5M and $2.5M) but he took two years, $9 million from Rangers.

Damn.  A $3.5 million offer that was better than the Rags and gone in a New York Minute.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 07/01/14 at 04:52 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

PLEASE SEE THE UPDATES. ST. JAMES IS NOT REPORTING WHAT KHAN, REGNER, etc. are reporting

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/01/14 at 04:52 PM ET

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George can u find out if offer to Boyle was straight up or was some of it in bonuses?  Holland clearly trying to send message it’s not his fault Wings came up empty.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/01/14 at 04:53 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Thanks, G.  I can see that Holland the Wings REALLY did try with term and money for the guys they really wanted, but came up on the ugly side.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 07/01/14 at 04:54 PM ET

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No enforcer, no protection.  Why would anyone come to play for Detroit when they get sand kicked in their face and nothing happens.  Cross checks and face washes after the whistle and nothing happens.  Our stars getting pummeled and are too beat up when play offs come around.  Why would anyone come here to be humiliated night after night.  Players on other teams that play 28 other teams and never raise their voice and skate away at the whistle become giants when they play the WIngs and the cheap shots begin.  And nothing happens.  No wonder Hossa left.  No wonder no one will come here.  They see our guys getting speared and no one takes any action.  Give me the Probert / Kocur Wings when they were competitive and feared versus this team of midgets that might have more talent and may even win more games but play like scare crows.

Posted by DetroitCity on 07/01/14 at 04:56 PM ET

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Holland clearly trying to send message it’s not his fault Wings came up empty.

That’s maybe where you’re wrong. It’s his team that has lapsed into a position where guys take less money/term to play elsewhere. It is on him for letting his team get to the point where guys play elsewhere for less.

I’m not exactly upset that we didn’t get anyone. There weren’t any guys I was extremely impressed with. That said, what is VERY concerning is that the Wings were trying very hard for this outcome NOT to happen. The Wings were not able to execute on Plan A, B, C, D and maybe even beyond that. That’s a huge red flag.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 07/01/14 at 04:58 PM ET

Chet's avatar

free agents won’t play in Detroit. what’re the reasons?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 07/01/14 at 05:03 PM ET

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Perhaps Wings just saying now they woulda gone to $42M to save face.  I doubt they would have actually offered that ridiculous number.  Either way a failure of a day.  Didn’t improve team at all period.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/01/14 at 05:03 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

AT THIS POINT, given the $$ that Niskanen got, I’m glad the Wings didn’t get him

I dont usually call you out, George, but you cant be serious about this.  We’ve been fretting for weeks that it would be 6.5/year or higher.  5.75 is a steal for a top 4 dman in his prime.  7 years is a little scary, but it doesn’t sound like Holland had a problem with the term. 

If there are no trades on the horizon to make this team better, its time for Holland to move on.  Only its probably too late for that, since the 2 best replacements, Nill and Stevie, left already to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

Posted by Hootinani on 07/01/14 at 05:05 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Craig Custance     ✔ @CraigCustance
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Niskanen said he spoke with @ICEHockeyAgent Neil Sheehy a good 15-16 times today before landing deal. Woke up not knowing where he’d sign.

It’s Neil fuching Sheehy.  Duh.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 07/01/14 at 05:06 PM ET

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What a disaster.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/01/14 at 05:07 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Ted Kulfan @tkulfan
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Quincey is a viable option going forward..

Uh, no.  Not ever.  Never.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 07/01/14 at 05:08 PM ET

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Perhaps Wings just saying now they woulda gone to $42M to save face.  I doubt they would have actually offered that ridiculous number.  Either way a failure of a day.  Didn’t improve team at all period.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/01/14 at 05:12 PM ET

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If Quincey is re-signed it’s truly a disaster.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/01/14 at 05:20 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I agree VL.. Are we turning into the blue jackets?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/01/14 at 05:20 PM ET

Colquhoun's avatar

If this is what free agency has yielded the team, so be it.  But instead of the “same old, same old” let Quincey walk and give the kids a shot.  I agree with many that it was hard to get overly excited about this UFA class, but it is obvious this team needs changes/upgrades.

Perhaps a trade is on the horizon, but done holding my breath.  Just wanting to see one or two of the young D on the team come October, and some heavy doses of Mantha.

Sometimes if you let things get over-ripe the smell gets bad.

Posted by Colquhoun on 07/01/14 at 05:20 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Perhaps a trade is on the horizon, but done holding my breath.

Posted by Colquhoun on 07/01/14 at 06:20 PM ET

Same.  I’m done with this for the day as well.  Wasn’t expecting anything earth-shattering, but we have a whole summer to work out something to shore up our defense.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 07/01/14 at 05:24 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Yeah, I’m surprised Nisk went for that “little” money.  You knew he’d get the term, but I was expecting someone to be shelling out a lot more cash.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 07/01/14 at 05:24 PM ET

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George is trying to rewrite the narrative about niskanen to protect KH. that’s a good deal for the caps. I expected he’d get 7x7 from a lower level team but would go to a good team for a discount

Posted by jkm2011 on 07/01/14 at 05:28 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

George ain’t doing shit, *#$%@&, I’m reporting what the beat writers are and they’re more confused than we are.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/01/14 at 05:32 PM ET

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George is trying to rewrite the narrative about niskanen to protect KH. that’s a good deal for the caps. I expected he’d get 7x7 from a lower level team but would go to a good team for a discount

Posted by jkm2011 on 07/01/14 at 06:28 PM ET

That’s a serious stretch. I don’t remember reading anywhere where George was advocating for Matt Niskanen. I don’t know what kind of relationship Ken Holland and George have, but based on what I’ve read here, it is nothing more than a cordial acknowledgement. If George has a closer relationship with Holland, it’s never been made known here, that I’m aware of.

On the other hand, as I’ve said, there weren’t any home run options and spending money to spend money is not the same as improving the team. That seems to be what he’s saying. Is Anton Stralman the difference between the Wings and a Cup? He’s not really that great of a player and he fits what the Wings already have too much of: bottom-half dmen. Dan Boyle. Meh. Matt Niskanen - I’ve been warning about paying this guy too much from the start. He had the benefit of taking Letang’s PP minutes and playing with Malkin and Crosby. Besides last year, he had one season of more than 30 points. Is that a $6M per year defenseman? Maybe. But maybe not.

George rightfully tries to add perspective here, rather than pouring gas on a fire that’s already burning hot for some.

I think we all have our concerns. Mainly, why have the Wings been unable to even execute secondary or tertiary plans in free agency? What’s this team becoming? That said, there’s nothing wrong with keeping perspective. Especially since there have been rumors all day the team is looking at a trade for Myers. Myers is a better improvement than any of the free agents available today. Let’s let the dust settle a bit. Which is what George is basically saying, for now.

Also, George is more likely to consider this stuff for a while before he reacts. He’s not a hot-headed type. If he’s going to write a negative post about today, it’ll be after he has time to mentally digest what happened. Again, some measured perspective.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 07/01/14 at 05:40 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Red Wings confused by today’s outcome. Offered more to Niskanen, Boyle and Ehrhoff than they signed for (money and term)...

Mr. I needs to take a hard look at what’s going on with the Wings. When guys like those above won’t even consider coming to the Wings for more money and more term (and guys like Stralman flat out reject them out of hand), something is seriously wrong with the organ-I-zation.

Maybe it’s not the roster that needs to be “blown up.” Maybe the explosives need to be placed in the executive offices and behind the bench.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/01/14 at 05:42 PM ET

perfection's avatar

The wings are rebuilding. It’s why Boyle chose the Rangers. It’s why trading Gus, Tats, or Jurco would be dumb dumb dumb. They tried to grab one the few guys that would have made us marginally better. Those guys chose elsewhere. Don’t forget, these 3 or 4 guys we wanted were pursued by 15 other teams. It doesn’t mean all that much in a larger sense. and while it’s kind of a bummer, it’s not all that surprising. I think as our kids move into their primes in a couple seasons, magically UFAs will appear again. Oh well. Definitely anticlimactic

Hell, between Marchenko, Oulette and Sproul, I’m kind of excited to see what they can do before we think about dumping Tats or the equivalent in a trade.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/01/14 at 05:45 PM ET

aerodude's avatar

*** Lets Quincey walk in FA ***

*** Whiffs on every top FA defenseman ***

*** signs Quincey as an FA for more than it would have cost to offer him last year ***


Still waiting for the ESPN app push to my phone for the last one…

 

Posted by aerodude on 07/01/14 at 05:46 PM ET

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“I don’t understand what happened.  They seemed extremely interested and then we took them on a tour of the city to finalize the deal and we never heard back from them again”.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 07/01/14 at 05:55 PM ET

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If the Red Wings are “rebuilding” it’s because we took a ridiculously passive approach to rebuilding the blueline the last three offseasons.

I guess the plan was “sign Suter or pray Smith and Kindl turn into stars before Datsyuk gets too old to be elite.”

Whoopsie-daisy.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/01/14 at 05:58 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Were reloading perfection. KH words not mine.  We just got our first infusion of forwards and its been great.  D.. Not so much.  Don’t have the depth to slot our high ceiling guys and they get thrown in the fire.  Smith would excel in the third pair while he develops his pro GAM just like the Fs but they haven’t addressed D for 3 or 4 yrs now and guys like Smith have to fill bigger shoes than they’re ready for.  While let them overripe in the minors talking about how you gotta ease them in but not ease them in with the D?  DDK has been the exception but imagine if errorson would’ve been without the veteran depth ahead of him.  What I’m hearing and what I’m seeing are two different things

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/01/14 at 05:58 PM ET

awould's avatar

They tried to grab one the few guys that would have made us marginally better. Those guys chose elsewhere. Don’t forget, these 3 or 4 guys we wanted were pursued by 15 other teams. It doesn’t mean all that much in a larger sense. and while it’s kind of a bummer, it’s not all that surprising.

It sounds like Detroit matched or beat the offers these players ended up signing. That’s not a good sign. So yes, it does mean something in the larger sense.

I’d like to see Holland gone and replaced w/ Yzerman, who has made some really good moves in his short career as a GM. Also, just a guess, but I bet players are more willing to sign for Yzerman because he’s, well, Yzerman. Bring him back.

Holland hasn’t done jack in years. No creativity. No risk. He deserves a gold watch, but no coffee. Coffee is for closers.

Posted by awould on 07/01/14 at 06:04 PM ET

awould's avatar

What I’m hearing and what I’m seeing are two different things

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/01/14 at 06:58 PM ET

Absolutely. If the situation is really that Holland will wait for the “perfect” match, which will likely take years, then trade Datsyuk now, be prepared to tank a season or two and reap the benefits and suffer the pain of an actual rebuild.

Because what I see happening is a slow road to mediocrity.

Posted by awould on 07/01/14 at 06:06 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Coffee is for closers

+19

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/01/14 at 06:07 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

If Quincey is re-signed it’s truly a disaster.

Posted by Uncle Rico on 07/01/14 at 06:20 PM ET

Per Khan:

@AnsarKhanMLive: Wings didn’t get a right-hand shooting defenseman, but still need someone. They’ve made offer to Kyle Quincey (left). Waiting to hear back.

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/01/14 at 06:09 PM ET

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@AnsarKhanMLive: Wings didn’t get a right-hand shooting defenseman, but still need someone. They’ve made offer to Kyle Quincey (left). Waiting to hear back.

The reason we need someone is that Quincey sucks.  The someone we need is someone better than Quincey.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/01/14 at 06:11 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.