The Malik Report
Now that I've emptied my notebook and given my final impressions...Here are three items of Red Wings-related note:
1. First, I hate to say it, but the Free Press's Helene St. James has it right: the most impressive prospects at the Red Wings' summer development camp were...the most impressive prospects in the pipeline...
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press that "the players you expect were the best in the scrimmages: Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi. Anthony Mantha played good."
The latter name is especially key, because while both Larkin and Bertuzzi had terrific 2014-15 seasons, Mantha's first year of pro hockey demonstrated the growing pains that can come when a junior hockey standout suddenly finds that he doesn't have nearly as much space at his disposal.
"When you scored as many goals as he did," Holland said, "every time you go up a level, goals are harder to score. For most young players, they have to go through process. Mantha had a good week; he competed harder. He's learning it."
Svechnikov, selected in the first round in last month's draft, was among the youngest at camp.
Holland addressed the group at the start on Friday, emphasizing that "it's about moving forward and getting better, it's about hitting the gym, learning to be a pro. Down the road, it's about taking somebody's job. We'll let them state their case in September."
2. Jerome Verrier scored the game-winning goal in today's scrimmage, and MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Verrier after the game:
The scrimmage wrapping up the Red Wings' summer development camp was all you could hope for: Team Lindsay tied the game 4-4 with 6 seconds remaining in regulation, the teams skated in 3-on-3 overtime for about two-and-a-half minutes before Jerome Verrier scored a chip shot over a sprawling Chase Perry, and the "10-man shootout" went down to the final shooter, with Team Howe winning 5-4.
Anthony Mantha scored a goal, Dylan Larkin scored a goal, Evgeny Svechnikov scored a goal, for summer hockey, the pace was scintillating, there were big hits, great board battles, and a jam-packed Centre Ice Arena crowd (as well as Jeff Blashill, Todd Nelson and Jiri Fischer watching from the suite) catching some fantastic summer shinny on a cool Tuesday morning in Traverse City.
The Red Wings' players are taking part in a yoga class as I begin to write this entry at the rink; I'll relocate to my hotel by the time that this is over, and four hours from now, I'll wrap up my summer development camp coverage for the moment--though I've been asked to perhaps pause and share a few thoughts on the different kind of camp under Todd Nelson instead of Jeff Blashill and without Tomas Storm or Andy Weidenbach over the next week or so.
Among the Free Press's Helene St. James' notes:
Nyquist update: Negotiations are underway on a shorter-term contract (2-3 years) with restricted free agent Gustav Nyquist. With two near-30 goal regular seasons to his credit, the 25-year-old forward will command in the $4-million range. Nyquist filed for arbitration, which runs July 20-Aug. 4. If it gets to that (unlikely), the club has the choice of electing a one- or two-year contract.
Barry Melrose weighs in on three free agents as part of a "Melrose Minute" on NHL.com, and he has this to say about Mike Green:
GREEN GROWS HIS WINGS
Mike Green is a polarizing player for many people, but I think signing him was a smart move by the Detroit Red Wings. The knock on Green is that even though he is great offensively, his defense suffers. Well, I think he played a lot better defensively last season and I think he showed that if he commits to defense he can be an adequate defensive player on the ice rather than a liability.
What might be more important, though, is that Green will make the Red Wings' power play better. That's the one thing they didn't have last season: an elite power-play defenseman. Green is someone that can carry the puck out of the zone, walk the line, dish the puck and make that smart first pass. Detroit has never had that. Now it does.
Green can be criticized for his defensive play, and it's true that he probably won't be put up against other teams' top lines, but he's a very unique player. You saw in the playoffs how important a power play is. A good one can win you rounds because play is so much tighter and goals are so hard to come by. Green brings an element to Detroit's power play that it hasn't had, and though his defensive impact might be minimal, he's still someone opponents will have to watch and game plan for. I think when it's all said and done, Detroit will look smart for bringing him in.
Team Lindsay defeated Team Howe 5-4 in regulation on an overtime goal--a 3-on-3 overtime goal--by Jerome Verrier, but Team Howe took the shootout 5-4 as the festivities at the Red Wings' summer development camp came to a close. The Red Wings' prospects were packing up their gear and preparing to depart for parts all over the world after the scrimmage, but I was able to snag a few interviews with prospects I'd hoped to interview:
George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press did a Wings/Tigers Q & A today..
Is anyone disappointed that Babcock is gone? Players? Fans? Management? Media?
GS- Sounds like a poll question....I'll definitely miss Babcock because he always had something interesting to say.
Poll: Glad that Mike Babcock is gone?
What is Dan Clearys status
GS- There's no chance of him being back on the roster next season.
I think Red Wings fans on the message boards need to understand you can't package your crap players and contracts and get good stuff for them. No one wanted Weiss, Howard, Cleary, Franzen, Andersson, Ericcson. If you move them, you likely get something bad back in return. That being said, I like the Green signing a lot, but he's not physical. Do you think the Wings are just a little too easy to play against at this point?
GS- No, I don't think so.
Among this morning's Red Wings-related news items:
MLive's Ansar Khan penned an article discussing Jakub Kindl and the possibility that Kindl might re-set his career under coach Jeff Blashill...
"His strengths for me are he's good on the power play; he's another guy that's going to compete for power-playopportunities," Blashill said. "When he's playing his best he's a great puck-moving defenseman.
"He's going back for pucks. He's seeing through the forechecker, making the proper passes. I think for me that's the No. 1 ingredient for defensemen to be great, their ability to break the puck out of their own end so you're not playing in the D-zone and you're playing in the other team's end. That's a formula for winning."
The Red Wings didn't draft Tyler Bertuzzi to become a second-line goal-scoring, playmaking forward, but a series of concussion and neck injuries--and a whole lot of maturation on Bertuzzi's part as a player and young man--have yielded an intriguing prospect turning pro full-time with Grand Rapids this upcoming season, as the Free Press's George Sipple notes:
Bertuzzi said his game began to evolve after his season in the Ontario Hockey League. He said he had spent his time "hitting, fighting, doing the little things like that. I never thought skill would be part of my game."
Bertuzzi, 20, said the development camp has helped him a lot and he has worked hard to improve his offensive skills. He said the grinder is still there, though.
"I can score goals now, I can get points and help contribute offensively, too," Bertuzzi said. "Growing up I was always a playmaker. I could make my passes. I got a lot of assists here and there. Goal scoring — I wasn't that much of a goal scorer when I was younger. Now I know I can put the puck in the net and now have a good shot. Just working on it more and more."
Bertuzzi (6-feet-1, 190 pounds) is preparing for his first full season in Grand Rapids (American Hockey League). He said he wants to be an "offensive force" and "a guy that's hard to play against."
Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples penned an article in which he spoke with Dylan Larkin about "managing expectations"...
Fans would rather he start the season in Detroit instead of Grand Rapids. But the only one who sets the expectations for Larkin is Larkin himself.
“He is the one that’s managing the expectations, and that’s through his performance,” Red Wings Director of Player Development Jiri Fischer said. “When he got drafted last year, since then, he has evolved in a way that impressed a lot of people, including us.”
Larkin has guided himself through the frenzy. He’s his own biggest critic, and uses it as motivation. His work ethic, which Fischer raved about, comes from within. It helps manage the sky-high expectations he has for his future.
“I probably criticize myself the most, and I think that is what drives me to be the player I want to be,” Larkin said. “I try to focus on what’s next in my training right now. (Red Wings coaches) have told me to stay on track and work as hard as possible.”
And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness penned an article regarding the Red Wings' expecttions for Larkin...
“My take on Larkin would be he’s got to be in our top 12,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Coach Blashill’s got to say to me, ‘I want him in the lineup.’ He’s not going to be our 13th, 14th forward. Realistically, just to put him on the fourth line and play eight minutes, I think he’s a real good young player with a lot of potential.
“He’s going to be real important to our franchise as we go forward,” Holland continued. “We want to make sure we do what’s right for him and us. If he comes and is a legitimate top-nine forward we’re going to find a way to get him in the lineup. If he’s less than that then we’ll sit down as an organization and decide.”
Update: The Traverse City Record-Eagle's' Brett A. Sommers penned an article about Larkin as well:
I don't believe that he Red Wings are going to trade Jimmy Howard, as Ken Holland has told us all as much, and I don't believe that the Red Wings should simply trade their prospects because they have "too many," because--and get this, I'm saying this from a development camp--not everyone develops into a superstar, but the Free Press's Jamie Samuelssen believes that Ken Holland's summer is not over until Jimmy Howard is not on the roster and one of the Wings' forward prospects is no longer a Wing:
Here are two modest proposals about moves he should or could consider between now and September when the team heads north to Traverse City.
First, find a taker, any taker for Jimmy Howard. That's easier said than done and the Red Wings would have to take on a chunk of Howard's salary if he played elsewhere next season. But Petr Mrazek established himself as the Wings best option in goal in the playoffs. He was the biggest reason that the series even went seven games and the biggest reason that the Wings had a chance to win Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Mrazek will make $738,000 next season. Howard will make 5.5 million. You know this. I know this. Holland knows this. Every team in the NHL knows this.
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.