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Walleye’s former coaches say Dan Watson is highly qualified to lead Toledo

The Toledo Walleye are going to officially name Dan Watson their head coach a little later this afternoon, and the Walleye's two former coaches, Nick Vitucci and Derek Lalonde, gave their highest recommendations and strongest compliments to the long-time assistant in conversations with the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe:

Lalonde said he predicts Watson will have immediate success. Lalonde said he expects as many as 12 players from last year’s team that went 47-20-5 and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs will  want to return due in part to the hiring.

“He had overwhelming support from our core players. I think he can retain a lot of the guys. He is the coach that the guys wanted,” Lalonde said. “Dan will have that nucleus back and he will have some tough decisions to make. This is a place where players want to be now.”

Vitucci said Watson has grown as a coach and knows the ins and outs of the ECHL.

“Now he has learned from a couple of different coaches how to handle certain situations,” Vitucci said. “He's been in the league long enough to have great contacts with agents and other coaches.”

Vitucci said the amount of video work Watson put in bettered himself and the team.

“The hours are endless that he has put in front of his computer,” Vitucci said. “He’s ready to be an NHL assistant with how good he is with video. It’s a perfect fit for both the Walleye and Dan Watson. He will do a great, great job.”

Monroe continues...

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St. James examines the Wings’ options with Jimmy Howard

Ken Holland told The Fan 960's "Boomer and Pinder" that he'd rather spend excessive money on two goaltenders in Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard than have one flame out and have no back-up this upcoming season.

The Free Press's Helene St. James questions whether that's a good idea in asking whether the Wings should, "Buy, sell or hold" with Howard, examining the Wings' options with #35, six years' worth of a buyout included:

This is where a buyout comes into the picture. It’d be very costly, though, in term. It'd be two-thirds of Howard’s remaining salary, averaged out over twice the amount of years left. So $14.75 million over six years.

Thanks to the handy buyout calculator offered by the website http://www.generalfanager.com here&,#39;s a breakdown of the money situation:

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Mid-day news: Holland on The Fan 960, Stamkos stuff and rumors

Updated with an unusual Tweet at 2:25 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. Red Wing GM Ken Holland appeared on Sportsnet's The Fan 960 on Wednesday, speaking with "Boomer and Pinder" regarding the team's free agency strategy, the Datsyuk trade--as well as Datsyuk's desire to go home--and more over the course of a 21-minute interview:

Quoting Sportsnet's Luke Fox:

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Morning news: A Ken Holland interview and 3 articles

Of Red Wings-related note:

1. Ken Holland appeared on TSN 1050's Naylor and Landsberg show, admitting that the Red Wings are interested in Steven Stamkos and "lots of players," but stating that the Red Wings continue to contact agents and players as the team doesn't want to see a free agent go elsewhere and have no more options. Dave Naylor and Mike Landsberg ask Holland a whole bunch of good questions, and Holland answers some of them, including whether the team can pay a player $12 million (which Holland suggests is a decision you make on the fly):

2. Via Steven Choate, the website for Centre Ice Arena now has a short development camp schedule;

3. MLive's Tom Mitsos examined the "fit" of Steven Stamkos and 5 other free agents via advanced stats;

4. And MLive's Ansar Khan examines Stamkos' fit with 8 teams over the course of a 13-image photo gallery, strangely stating that the Wings have "no star players" in their developmental system.

Update: 5. Via RedWingsFeed, DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji examined the free agent field.

Update #2: We can only hope that the Fourth Period is accurate about the Wings' interest in Demers:

On the blueline, the Wings are not expected to re-sign defenseman Kyle Quincey, and are believed to be eyeing the likes of Dallas Stars' rearguards Jason Demers and Kris Russell.

Depending on whether or not Stamkos signs in Detroit, and for now much, the Red Wings are being extremely active in their pursuit of bolstering their roster for the 2016-17 campaign.

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Sounds like a nice spot for a Stamkos to land…

NHL.com's Dan Rosen answered a slate of questions for his weekly mailbag, and I think Rosen could do some selling for the Wings:

Where do you think Steven Stamkos will end up, Detroit, Toronto or stay with Tampa Bay? -- @BBiolo

The longer this goes, the less likely he is to stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning. I once thought they were the favorite in this race for Stamkos; I don't think that's the case anymore. I'm eyeing the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres or Vancouver Canucks at this point. Sabres GM Tim Murray and Canucks GM Jim Benning both flat-out said they were going to go after him. Detroit GM Ken Holland played coy, but all indications are he cleared Pavel Datsyuk's salary cap number this past weekend with the intention of going after Stamkos as his primary target. The Montreal Canadiens and, of course, the Toronto Maple Leafs all have to be considered in the running.

In the end, I think Stamkos will wind up in Detroit if he doesn't re-sign with Tampa Bay before the market opens at noon ET on Friday. The Red Wings offer him an Original Six franchise, the ability to be the new face of the franchise, the chance to play with Dylan Larkin, the opportunity to be the next captain after Henrik Zetterberg, and it's a short distance from where he grew up in suburban Toronto. The Red Wings are moving into a new building for the start of the 2017-18 season and they need a new star to help the organization make the move. Owners Mike and Marian Ilitch will pay Stamkos handsomely to come to Detroit with the hope he can be the next Steve Yzerman. And wouldn't that be ironic for Yzerman in his current role, the GM of the Lightning?

Rosen continues, answering a multitude of free agent questions, and I hope Stamkos knows that Metro Detroit is in fact quite a nice place to live...

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‘Three Things,’ prospect version: on Filip Hronek, Vili Saarijarvi and Givani Smith

Of prospect-related note this evening:

1. The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that defenseman Filip Hronek, who was picked by the OHL's Saginaw Spirit in the CHL's Import Draft this morning, will play in Saginaw this upcoming season:

“To get him over on a North American rink, on the smaller ice surface, will be very beneficial,” Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin told the Free Press. “He's a good skater and he moves the puck well, but on a smaller ice surface, the timing is different. So this will be really beneficial for his development as he prepares to turn pro.”

It will be good for Hronek linguistically as he doesn't speak English, and for him physically as he needs to grow his 6-foot, 160-odd-pound frame.

“He needs to get stronger, and being right up the road, he'll get visits from our director of player development,” Martin said, referring to Jiri Fischer, who conveniently is Czech.

“We have a good relationship with the people in Saginaw, so that's a positive, too,” Martin said.

2. The Mississauga News's Iain Colpitts reports that Vili Saarijarvi, who was traded from the OHL's Flint Firebirds to the Mississauga Steelheads, kept his summer vacation short, and is training in Metro Detroit presently:

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‘Three things’: On parity, Matt Martin and Stamkos chances

Updated at 11:30 PM: Of Red Wings and free agent-related note this evening:

1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the team's outlook going into unrestricted free agency...

On Friday, teams like the Red Wings and Stars and Avalanche will have be plenty of competition for the services of players such as Steven Stamkos, Milan Lucic and Kyle Okposo.

“There are 30 teams all trying to win,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “It’s a competitive business. With the salary cap, everyone has a chance. Those days (pre-salary cap) are over. There are about 25 teams who believe they a chance to make the playoffs.”

But the Red Wings, with some $19 million — restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Petr Mrazek still need to sign, along with unrestricted free agent Darren Helm — will take their best shot at the best players.

“We want to make to our team deeper, bigger, better,” Holland said. “We want to get better.”

2. And specifically speaking, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff reports that the Red Wings are interested in New York Islanders checker Matt Martin...

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The Latest Steven Stamkos Talk Regarding The Wings

via Chris Nichols tweets,

Dreger: "Stamkos is top priority to the Detroit #RedWings." They believe they can tender an offer of seven years at $10.5 million or more.

Dreger: #RedWings would like to sign two forwards, not just Stamkos. "They believe they have the cap space to do it."

Dreger: If it isn't Stamkos on Friday, maybe they turn to Frans Nielsen. "Or Milan Lucic. Detroit is on on Lucic as well." #RedWings

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Late Afternoon Detroit Related Rumors

via tweets of Curtis Stock, former sports writer at the Edmonton Journal,

I understand Lucic signed with Oiler's. He's another piece the oilers needed

Got it from a good source. Announcement on July 1

As I said in a RT, take is as you wish and this is the only time of year things like this happen.

 

added 6:09pm,

 

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Talking about ‘Loosick’

Updated at 4:31 PM: The idea of Milan Lucic joining the Red Wings makes my stomach churn as he was such a violent villain while playing against Detroit with the Boston Bruins, punctuated by his spearing of Danny DeKeyser, but he is apparently on the Wings' wish list...

And as a result, MLive's Ansar Khan examines Lucic's "fit" with the team:

Why he would interest the Red Wings: He would help compensate for some of the offense lost with Pavel Datsyuk's departure. He would bring size and toughness to one of the smaller teams in the league, giving Detroit the kind of fighter it hasn't had in some time.

How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He'll play on the wing on a top-two line, possibly providing protection for Dylan Larkin. He'd play on the power play, not on the penalty kill.

What it might take to get him: Perhaps a five-year deal for between $6.5 million and $7 million a season. Vancouver, where he played his junior hockey, and Edmonton are considered the front-runners to land him.

Three key questions: 1. Again, if they don't land Steven Stamkos, would the Red Wings be better off pursuing another center? 2. Will his hard, physical style cause him to wear down in the final couple years of his contract? 3. How much harder would the Red Wings be to play against with someone like this in the lineup?

According to Twitter, Lucic has visited Vancouver and Edmonton on an in-person basis, and that makes me think that he's not going to be particularly interested in heading back East again, but stranger things have happened, and if Wings fans could stand Todd Bertuzzi playing for the team (twice), I'd imagine that they'd come to love "Loosick."

Update: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan posted a 10-image gallery of his top free agents available, and the Free Press's Helene St. James discussed Stamkos "alternatives":

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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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