The Malik Report
As something of an addendum to the news regarding the Red Wings' qualifying offer fun, the team's decision to bring Tom McCollum back into the prospect fold, the free agent scuttlebutt and whatever massive news I'm sure to miss thanks to the mom needing a bridge glued back in, the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings' front office held one final pre-free-agency powwow, and here's what she's learned (it seems to back up Fox Sports Detroit's Art Renger's assertion that Niskanen, Boyle and Ehrhoff are plans "1A, 1B and 1C"):
Their options opened over the weekend, but the priority when NHL free agency kicks off Tuesday remains Dan Boyle. General manager Ken Holland spoke to both Boyle's camp and that of the premier defensemen who will be available, Matt Niskanen, during the weekend draft in Philadelphia, but the Wings aren't likely to be bidders for Niskanen because of what he'll command.
Boyle tops the list because he shoots right, but the Wings could double-dip in the market thanks to Buffalo's decision to buy out Christian Ehrhoff, an offensive defenseman who turns 32 on Sunday.
We can confirm #RedWings bonus overage is exactly $3,017,500. Alfredsson, $2M. DeKeyser, $637.5K. Tatar, $160K. Sheahan, $160K. Jurco, $60K.
So Capgeek estimates that the Wings have exactly $14.72 million in cap space, and after not qualifying several players, the team still needs to re-sign RFA's Danny DeKeyser, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar.
Pro Hockey Talk's Jason Brough also reported what's probably bad news regarding the Wings' ability to go after Matt Niskanen, per a radio interview Niskanen's agent, Neil Sheehy, gave to Minnesota's KFAN 1003:
Updated 2x at 2:49 PM: Tom McCollum resucitated his career in Grand Rapids this past season, and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reports that the Red Wings are rewaring his efforts:
Updated 3x at 7:23 PM, make it six videos: Via RedWingsFeed, the Red Wings' YouTube Channel posted a pair of interesting videos today, speaking with Jimmy Devellano regarding the Wings' draft philosophy...
And talking to Team Sweden GM Tommy Boustedt and national team assistant coach Rickard Gronberg about the Wings' "Swedish influences":
Update: Here's MLive's Khan in article form:
The hardest part of free agency for fans, as far as this person with an anxiety disorder is concerned, is that we know that the decisions made over the course of minutes on July 1st can drastically alter the course of a team, but we have absolutely no control over them.
July 1st feels like a playoff game for anyone whose team wants to improve itself via the unrestricted free agent marektplace, but we don't get to prepare for it in the same way we get to put on our lucky shirts or sit in our favorite places or have our "lucky" things nearby before our teams perform on the ice.
In the middle of the summer, on Canada Day, hockey fans have to process twenty to thirty-five signings over the course of a couple of hours, and especially as the second-lockout CBA has unfolded as it has, find that their teams strike out in terms of tapping a thinner and thinner crop of less and less game-changing players as the years go by.
Two years ago, we were talking about the Wings bidding on a "franchise player" in Ryan Suter; now Wings fans can hope, at best, that the team will land an up-and-comer in Matt Niskanen, someone who's just been bought out in Christian Ehrhoff or a soon-to-be-38-year-old in Christian Ehrhoff, if not a back-up plan in a Tom Gilbert or Anton Stralman--and the odds are still stacked against the Wings landing any of 'em, because at least ten to twelve teams are pursuing each player.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"We got seven left-hand D. I love (to have a righty), but how do you get it?" Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said over the weekend at the NHL entry draft in Philadelphia. "It's great to have this fantasy; like (general manager) Kenny Holland would tell you, there's no tree. I've been all over him, but there's no tree to grab them off of, so we'll get what we get."
Babcock, who can't comment on specific players, said acquiring a defenseman is "absolutely 100 percent" the club's priority, as opposed to a forward....
The Red Wings are willing to offer Niskanen the maximum seven-year contract he likely will seek because he's only 27. But they might be reluctant to give him the money he's expected to command ($6 million or more per season).
There are other right-handers who interest the Red Wings, including Anton Stralman, who had a strong playoff run for the New York Rangers. But he's not the offensive-minded power-play quarterback Detroit would prefer.
Note: The title of this entry translated to, "One must do what one can do in order to improve his team," but nobody liked it.
I'm still attempting to recover from two days and 28 hours' worth of draft-related work, so I slept right through Paul's text message regarding the Sabres buying out Christian Ehrhoff to avoid cap recapture penalties way down the line (the Buffalo News's John Vogl reports that the news took Ehrhoff's camp by surprise; I'm not so sure that 38-year-old Ed Jovanovski getting bought out was such a surprise for the Windsor native).
Here's what I know: half the Gordie-Howe-damn-league is chasing 38-year-old Dan Boyle and 27-year-old Matt Niskanen, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo informed us that Niskanen got married in his home state of Minnesota on Saturday (the Wild are apparently going to sign everyone, or at least that's how their situation's being presented).
The Wings have apparently pushed very hard to wine and dine Boyle and Niskanen's respective representatives, but the odds are stacked against the Wings here--2 players, 12-15 teams interested--so I am perfectly happy to find that the soon-to-be-32-year-old Ehrhoff, who has eight 30+-point seasons to his credit, is available.
As far as I'm concerned, if the odds are 3-out-of-12 versus 2-out-of-12, any siutation which aids the Red Wings ability to employ their primary means of reinforcing their roste, a.k.a. free agency, the Wings' cause is good,
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press joined Channel 7's Sports Cave this morning and talked about the Wings' need on defense, she say Dan Boyle would be the best fit.
She also discussed Holland/Babcock and a few other topics.
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
In 2011 when Brian Rafalski told the Wings he was suddenly retiring it left a huge hole on their blue line.
One player they were looking at in free agency, but wouldn’t overpay for, was Christian Ehrhoff.
Well it appears Ehrhoff is back to being available.
TSN.ca’s Bob McKenzie reported Sunday morning that Ehrhoff is being bought out by the Sabres....
He’s the offensive defenseman the Wings are in need of but he shoots left.
added 1:19pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Ehrhoff shoots left but has many of the qualities the Red Wings desire: He's a tremendous skater who moves the puck well and likes to join the rush. He can quarterback the power play. He can log a lot of minutes and play in all situations. And he has decent size (6-2, 196), though he's not particularly physical.
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.