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The Malik Report

Evening news: Draper and Wright on the draft; on Todd Nelson, Liljegren, Mrazek and Hamonic

Of Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins-related note:

1. The Red Wings posted a video in which Kris Draper and Tyler Wright preview the draft:

2. In the rumor mill, from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson:

3. In the draft rumor mill, from the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy:

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Griffins post ‘Between the Benches’ video

The Grand Rapids Griffins posted a very cool video that's much more than a 7-minute "Between the Benches" clip, taking fans behind the scenes and into the locker room as well:

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Detroit Showing Interest In Travis Hamonic

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Griffins coach Todd Nelson may be a candidate to replace Dave Tippett

I'm a little late with this one, but Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman posted a Tweet last night that caused Grand Rapids Griffins fans' ears to perk up:

On the ice after the Griffins won their Calder Cup, Nelson said that he feels he has nothing left to accomplish in the AHL save winning more championships. It will be interesting to see whether Nelson feels that he's comfortable with the Griffins, or whether he chases any coaching openings that appear in the NHL. It would be a shame for the Griffins and Red Wings to lose him, but I know that Nelson's ultimate goal is to reach the NHL.

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The Athletic talks Wings draft pick ‘fits’

The Athletic asked Future Considerations' Scott Wheeler to pick five prospects that represent "good fits" for the Red Wings' 9th overall draft pick, and one of the prospects is the one I believe is the best fit:

Elias Pettersson: LW, 6-foot-2, 164 Ibs, Timra IK (Allsvenskan)
FC Rank: 8

If [Owen] Tippett is one of the 2017 NHL Draft's most dynamic scorers, Pettersson is one of its most creative. He's an energetic, driven, light-on-his feet skater and creator (with and without the puck). Pettersson played in Sweden's second-tier pro league this season and was its best young player, posting 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in 43 games, finishing second on Timra in scoring to Jonathan Dahlen, good for first in league scoring among under-19 forwards by a wide margin (17 more than the next closest forward).

Pettersson excels most as a skater, with high-end top speed and quick acceleration to get there. With the puck, he cuts extremely well laterally, shifting directions one-on-one or easily navigating traffic. Pettersson makes up for a lack of puck strength and physicality with his elusiveness, navigating all three zones to create space for himself and make quick, decisive plays with the puck.

He's not shy either — Pettersson is aggressive with the puck and will take it to the net to make quick plays on net or corral and finish a rebound off with excellent stickhandling. Equally capable as a passer and shooter (though he scores with a quick release rather than an overpowering kick), Pettersson is one of the more versatile offensive players in the class.

Wheeler continues...

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A trio of items of Griffins-related note

The Grand Rapids Griffins posted three items of note this evening:

1. First, the Griffins posted a video in which coach Todd Nelson shares his reflections upon the Griffins' Calder Cup championship from the coach's perspective...

2. The Griffins have also created a webpage that captures tons of Tweets, videos and Instagram posts sharing "Championship moments"...

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Highlights of the Wings’ 2017-18 schedule

The Red Wings released their 2017-18 season schedule on Thursday afternoon, and I'm just getting back to work after an afternoon of errands, so: here are the observations of Wings beat writers who've had longer than a couple of minutes to look at the schedule:

1. From Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples and Stefan Kubus...

Little Caesars Arena will host 17 weekend home games (five Fridays, seven Saturdays and five Sundays) all the way until the regular-season finale at home on Saturday, April 7 against the New York Islanders.

Detroit will head on the road right after their debut at LCA for a four-game trip including a stop at Las Vegas to play the Golden Knights on Friday, Oct. 13.

It’s a road-heavy start, with only five home games in October for the Wings. Starting on Nov. 11 against Columbus, the Wings will have a stretch of five home games, one away game in New York, and then three more home games to round out the second month of the season.

Detroit has another five-game stretch in Dec. for their two longest home stands – they will be home from Dec. 5 through Dec. 15.

2. From the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:

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Some Mrazek scuttlebutt from Kulfan

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan got an unusual response to a request that Ken Holland address the team's decision to expose Petr Mrazek, Xavier Ouellet, Riley Sheahan et. al. in the expansion draft...

Holland said he’ll discuss his decision not to protect certain players — particularly, surprisingly, Mrazek — this weekend at the entry draft.

And Kulfan's assessment of the Wings' salary cap situation (hint: the Wings will be tight to the cap again) precedes, well, this:

The Red Wings will look aggressively to trade a goaltender, likely Mrazek, 25, who has one year remaining on his contract at $4 million.

Mrazek had a poor statistical season, and his attitude and work ethic came into question in stories after his name was not on the protected list.

But several teams could be interested in upgrading their goaltending, and Mrazek remains a viable option.

Update: The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa also weighed in on the Mrazek situation:

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St. James: Wings to emphsize defense at the draft

The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright ahead of tomorrow and Saturday's NHL draft in Chicago, and Wright told St. James that the Wings will look to bolster their defense as they prepare to pick 11 times:

“Defense is an area that we are targeting,” Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright said in an interview with the Free Press this week. “It is deep at that position in this draft, throughout the draft.”

The draft begins Friday at United Center with Round 1, and the Wings hold the ninth overall pick, their highest since drafting Martin Lapointe at 10th overall in 1991. That’s what 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs — and four Stanley Cups — will do. The Wings missed the playoffs this season for the first time since 1990.

The Wings will select 38th, 71st, 79th, 83rd, 88th, 100th, 131st, 162nd, 164th, and 193rd on Day 2 of the draft.

As for the team's strategy with the 9th overall pick, it's the old standby, "Take the best player available"...

“We are basically talking over every scenario possible, what could happen, try to figure out the unexpected,” Wright said of the staff’s last-minute preparations. “It is pretty much set in stone as far as final rankings for us. With the luxury of having 11 picks, we have options now — plus we have  two seconds next year, as well, so whether that means we move up and spend some of those picks — there is a risk factor in doing that. Or we could move back and accumulate more picks and go from there.When you are talking top-10 pick, you should get good player, but you want to make sure you pick the right one.”

And St. James continues, with Ken Holland confirming that defense is the emphasis for this year's draft, and St. James posted some short draft profiles as well.

Update: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff also spoke with Wright:

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Wings Need A Defenseman

from Craig Custance of The Athletic,

The challenge is finding a defenseman who fits into their long-term plans, one who is in the same age range as their young cornerstone players like Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha and one who is available.

It’s a hard equation to crack.

They have a player who might be able to help them crack it. Forward Andreas Athanasiou, who electrified Detroit fans this season with his breakaway speed, is a possible candidate to get moved for a defenseman and there’s belief outside the Red Wings organization they’d be willing to trade him for the right price.

Detroit GM Ken Holland declined to comment on the 22-year-old Athanasiou specifically as a possible trade candidate but spoke in more general terms about his approach to moving any young forwards in the organization to upgrade the defense.

“I’m not looking to trade any of our 21, 22 or 23 year olds for players who are five, six or seven years older,” Holland told The Athletic. “If I’m going to trade, and I might not, the trade has to be there. It has to make sense. It has to make sense for the other team. It has to be a similar age.”

read on

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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.


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