The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/01/14 at 05:21 PM ET
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:
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:
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