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St. James: Red Wings might sit tight and go with the kids

This isn't going to go over well today, but it's news, so: the Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Ken Holland about the team's direction heading into free agency, and it sounds like the Wings might very well sit tight and go with the youngsters--which is an OK direction in my opinion:

"I think we're going with our young players," general manager Ken Holland said when asked about the team's plans to improve. "You look at what happened over the last two years, not only in Detroit but in Grand Rapids. We're going to give Larkin a real chance to make our team, based on the way he played at Michigan and the World Championships and in Grand Rapids. Teemu Pulkkinen has got to come up. One of the young defensemen is going to be on the team.

"That's the direction we're going. They're good young players. They need an opportunity. When you look at the unrestricted free agent market, I can't tell you that there's not some players there that won't be better for us in the short term, but eventually, how do we get these younger players to the point where they are legitimate NHL pros. They've got to play at the NHL level."

In looking at the free agent market, with so few quality players available, the higher-end ones will draw tremendous competition. Forward Matt Belesky is going to be pursued by at least a dozen teams, and that's without knowing if his career season reveals who he really is - or is he the next David Clarkson? Belesky turned down what is believed to be four years and $16 million from Anaheim. Washington's Joel Ward is a possible option.

Defenseman Mike Green interests the Wings because he's productive and shoots right, but since he's one of the few decent defensemen available, he'll probably get in the neighborhood of $5-6 million and five years. That much term will be a deterrent for the Wings.

It comes down to this: If a team is going to spend big, it should be on a player the team loves, not one that appeals chiefly because other options are so dismal.

As for going the trade route, the Wings have had numerous conversations, but "there's been nothing close to doing a deal," Holland said.

St. James continues, talking about Dylan Larkin's future and the Wings' salary-and-player situation going forward.

Update: The Wings posted videos of Evgeny Svechnikov and Vili Saarijarvi speaking with the media...

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Red Wings select Joren van Pottelberghe 110th overall

Updated 2x at 12:19 PM: With the 110th pick in the NHL draft, the Red Wings have selected...


Stay tuned for updates.

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Red Wings select Vili Saarijavi 73rd overall

Updated 9x at 2:42 PM: With the 73rd overall pick in the 3rd round, the Red Wings have selected:

Prepare for updates shortly.

Saarijavi wasn't ranked by NHL.com, but DRW Prospects has seen him play...

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A little draft-day defense regarding Anthony Mantha

I sort of scratched my head when the Free Press's Helene St. James posted these quotes in her first-draft article about the Wings' drafting of Evgeny Svechnikov...

Detroit's first-rounder from 2013, Anthony Mantha, had a more tepid pro debut. Jeff Blashill, promoted to the Wings head coaching job from Grand Rapids, knows Mantha better than anyone in the organization, and cautioned patience.

"I think Anthony first of all is a great young guy," Blashill said. "I think he had a high, high expectation level that to me was unfair from the beginning. That's what I thought from the very beginning. I think he got injured at a hard spot."

Mantha broke a leg at training camp, sidelining him for two months and essentially wiping out a summer's worth of conditioning.

"I thought he made progress through the year," Blashill said. "Like a lot of other prospects, he's going to have to continue to make progress. Him and I have talked about what that specific progress is. But I think he's got a high ceiling, and he's got a big body and high ability - now he needs to find a way to reach that ceiling. Hopefully he's doing that every day throughout the summer."

And now, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's article ties it together with comments from Ken Holland that let us know something very simple: there may not be any "untouchables" on the Red Wings or any other team, but Mantha's not fallen out of favor with the team or its management:

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Red Wings select Evgeny Svechnikov 19th overall

Updated 17x at 11:14 PM: The Detroit Red Wings have selected Evgeny Svechnkov 19th overall:

More info as it becomes available/I dig it up, so prepare for multiple updates.

The Hockey News ranked Svechnkov 16th, and they said:

"Svechnkov, one of Cape Breton's top offensive threats in the regular season and a short playoff run, mostly played right wing, but he was trusted enough that the Screaming Eagles put him at center near the end of the campaign. He even won 52% of his faceoffs during a 7-game series loss to the Memorial Cup host Quebec Remparts. "He's trended up greatly since the CHL Top Prospects Game,' said one cout. "He's a big horse, really good puck skills, keeps his feet moving."

Nabbed in the 2nd round of the 2013 CHL import draft, Svechnkov spent one more season back home and even saw 3 games of action in the KHL with the Ak Bars Kazan before landing in the Maritimes. Then he hit the ground running. "He's like a Rick Nash type," said another scout. "He can score, he makes plays, he loves those 1-on-1 situations where he can stickhandle to get position on a guy. Good release."

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Pavel Datsyuk Had Surgery On His Ankle Today

Updated 4x at 7:09 PM:

added 5:43pm,

Updated at 6 PM:

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‘Lucky’ Wings

via Don Cherry tweets,

The Detroit Red Wings are always praised for the drafts of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Oh yeah, really smart.

If they were so smart and knew Datsyuk and Zetterberg were going to be superstars and Hall of Famers why did they wait to draft

Datsyuk at 171st and of course I guess they knew about Zetterberg being go good when they waited until 210th to draft him.

I tell ya folks, it’s the luck of the draw although Detroit seems to be luckier than most.

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Derek Lalonde to remain Toledo Walleye’s coach

From the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe:

Now all we need to find out is which assistants Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson will tap on the shoulder. Expect former Griffins defenseman Clay Wilson to be one of those assistants.

In text form:

Derek Lalonde plans to return to coach the Toledo Walleye next season.

After leading the Walleye to a record-setting season, Lalonde had been a candidate for head coaching positions in the higher-level American Hockey League.

But Lalonde said today he is content with returning to Toledo next season.

“I have full intentions of coming back to Toledo,” Lalonde said.

In his first season with the Walleye, Lalonde was named the ECHL coach of the year after leading Toledo to a 50-15-7 record. The Walleye earned 107 points to capture the Brabham Cup as regular-season champions.

Under Lalonde, 42, Toledo posted the best single-season turnaround in league history, a 58-point improvement.

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Grand Marshal Blash

Just as a very quick note from the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

Detroit Red Wings new head coach Jeff Blashill will serve as the grand marshal of the Cherry Royale Parade on July 11.

“It is an honor to have Jeff Blashill as grand marshal of this year’s parade. As the 27th head coach of our beloved Red Wings, he embodies a strong Michigan tradition, and it is only fitting that he leads this national tradition in its 89th year,” said a press release statement from Faye Nelson, a vice president at DTE Energy, the parade's primary sponsor.

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LeBrun: Red Wings re-sign Andersson


Update: MLive's Ansar Khan confirms, as does the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:

Update #2: Ditto for the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...

Update #3: Also FYI:

Update #4: MLive's Khan confirms in text form:

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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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