The Malik Report
The Free Press's Helene St. James penned a column that I can only describe as...unique...in suggesting that the Wings will probably lean upon organizational depth to seek "improvement from within," but she does so after thoroughly exhausting the options the Wings have to sign free agents or make trades to alter the team's make-up:
Take [Johan] Franzen out of the lineup, and the Wings need size up front all the more. One free agent the Wings are expected to pursue is Windsor-native Matt Beleskey, a 27-year-old, 6-foot, 204-pound forward coming off a career-high 22-goal season with Anaheim. Even when he isn't scoring, Beleskey is still effective, and he would add size. The problem is 20 other teams will go after him, too, as he is one of the few attractive names available this summer. Another possibility is Joel Ward, who tops 6-1 and 220 pounds, shoots right and goes to the net.
On the back end, the Wings lack what the two teams in the Stanley Cup finals each have in Chicago's Duncan Keith and Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman: A superstar. There isn't one available via free agency. The Wings could look at someone such as Mike Green, who has put up good numbers with Washington, but he is going to want $6 million a year for five or six years, which is risky.
Sportsnet's Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman were in fine form during the final installment of Hockey Night in Canada Headlines on Saturday evening, discussing the following topics:
Friedman also stated that the Flames were being "very aggressive" in terms of working the phones, but wouldn't make any moves that prohibit them from re-signing Mark Giordano, Johnny Gaudreau or Sean Monahan long-term, but might consider moving Jiri Hudler (if it's worth their while), that the Avalanche were entertaining offers--emphasis on entertaining offers--for Ryan O'Reilly, and that the lack of a GM in Toronto would mean that Brendan Shanahan, Mark Hunter and Kyle Dubas would be making possible pre-or-during-draft trades as a managerial team.
As a representative of the Red Wings blogging community, I could see the Wings move their 1st round draft pick in some sort of trade, but I find the Mantha comments to be far too convenient given that Cox penned a Toronto Star column in which he wondered aloud whether the Red Wings would be "willing to give up futures" necessary to revisit and consummate the Dion Phaneuf trade (among other prospective Leaf trades) less than 24 hours ago.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Wings could opt to buy out Weiss this summer, but the cost would be significant, term-wise, as buyouts are stretched out over twice the term left on the player's contract. In the case of Weiss, it would mean six years of dead money against the salary cap, at respective rates of approximately $1 million, $1 million, $2.5 million, and then three successive years of $1.67 million. Weiss would be paid $1.67 million each of those years.
A better option would be to give Weiss another season, under a new coach in Jeff Blashill. Put Weiss back at center, where he's clearly better suited. He put up good points in Florida on terrible teams; he knows something about being productive. If he disappoints again, then take the buyout route next summer, when the penalty would be reduced to a four-year span.
The Free Press's Helene St. James provides an update on the Grand Rapids Griffins' coaching search, reporting that Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin's met all six candidates in the running for the job:
Among the first to be interviewed was Derek Lalonde, who heads Detroit's ECHL affiliate, the Toledo Walleye. He coached the Walleye to the conference finals this spring. Like Blashill, Lalonde is a former Ferris State assistant. He joined the Walleye last summer after three seasons as head coach and general manager of the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers.
Todd Nelson, who has experience as an assistant with the Griffins, also has interviewed with Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin, who is in charge of the Griffins. Nelson, a former player, most recently was interim coach of the Edmonton Oilers. He was an assistant with the Griffins in 2002-03 before going to the Muskegon Fury, where he coached that team to two UHL titles. He was an assistant with the Chicago Wolves when they won the Calder Cup in 2008.
St. James continues and reports that the Wings will meet with Chris Chelios regarding a possible coaching position next week...
From the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau:
Centre ICE Red Wings Training Camp organizers have announced a tentative ticket sale date for the 2015 TC NHL® Prospect Tournament and Detroit Red Wings training camp. This is an in-person ticket sale only and will be held at Centre Ice Arena from 12 noon until 4 pm on July 5th, downstairs in the main lobby. Tickets remaining after the in-person ticket sale will be available for purchase by FAX, which will begin at Noon on Tuesday, July 7 and continue until all tickets are sold out. The fax number will be posted at Noon on Tuesday, July 7 the Centre Ice Arena website (http://www.centreice.org), on twitter (@redwingscamps) and Facebook (DRW Events in TC). More details in regard to the full training camp schedule and confirmation of this ticket sale date will be announced shortly. All ticket prices remain the same as the 2014 prices.
Yesterday night, the Free Press's Helene St. James suggested that if the Wings still feel honor-bound to re-sign Daniel Cleary for one more sesaon, Cleary might expect to be waived and spend part or all of his season in Grand Rapids; today, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff offers an equally outspoken take on the Cleary fiasco in a column penned for Hockeybuzz:
Perhaps Holland simply was protecting Cleary, not wanting to say anything about whether he’d be back before first telling his player that his playing days in Detroit were done.
There are going to be coaching positions open on staffs in both Detroit and Grand Rapids, so maybe they are going to offer Cleary a spot there.
It would be easy to think this, if it weren’t for the recent past history between the Wings and Cleary. They brought him back last season when he clearly wasn’t the player he’d once been, his previous season ended by knee surgery.
The gamble didn’t pay off. Cleary played just 17 games, producing a goal and an assist, and was never a factor when he did suit up.
With so much young depth piling up on the Detroit depth chart, Cleary is a roadblock the team simply can no longer afford to employ. Holland definitely recognizes this fact of life.
“The other thing that factors into any decisions we make, if you look forward to this summer and the summer of ’16, we’ve got to re-sign (Gustav) Nyquist, we’ve got to re-sign (Justin) Abdelkader, (Danny) DeKeyser, (Darren) Helm, (Riley) Sheahan, Mrazek, (Tomas) Jurco. We’ve got lots of people between the summer of ’15 and summer of ’16, when they get re-signed they go up in salary, they’re going to eat more cap space.”
As Duff suggests, to accurately assess these restricted and unrestricted free agents-to-be, as well as the prospects will join Blashill in Detroit this fall, the Red Wings need those players to play, not Cleary, and as St. James pointed out, the Wings aren't going to want to lose another player (see: Andrej Nestrasil) because Cleary is taking up a roster spot that a non-waiver-exempt prospect is occupying.
The Hockey News's Jared Clinton asked Scotty Bowman to weigh in on the Russian 5 in light of the release of the documentary Red Army (via RedWingsFeed), and Bowman offered Clinton this assessment of the Russian 5's constituent parts:
Russian players have been some of the most creative players we’ve seen, and a lot of times people will call them too individualistic. However, in the documentary, it stands out how team oriented they were. When you had the five Russian players in Detroit, did it stand out to you how well they played as a unit?
Especially with (Igor) Larionov and (Slava) Fetisov. They joined the national team as real young players – as did (Sergei) Fedorov, but not for long because he moved to Detroit – they were so strong, they had the pick of any players they wanted, they had to sacrifice a lot, and I think what happened is over a decade of winning championships and Olympics, they didn’t have much competition. They came to North America and saw what the rest of life was like. These players had a lot of resiliency and a lot of sacrifices when they were playing for their national team because it gave them a little bit of a lifestyle – not a great lifestyle like we had here. When I went to Detroit, we had three (Russians). We had (Vladimir) Konstantinov, Fedorov and Slava Kozlov, he was just starting when I got there. Of course we added Larionov and Fetisov. We didn’t have a design to have all five, but we needed a defenseman and we got Fetisov, we had the makings of a good five-man unit. Larionov came in a trade from San Jose, because we had seen him in a trade from San Jose. He and Fetisov played together on the original ‘Russian Five,’ so I didn’t have a lot to do with what they were doing. I just put them together.
The Grand Rapids Griffins have posited two videos in which Jeff Blashill's profiled as both the exiting Grand Rapids Griffins coach and the Red Wings' new coach, and now, via RedWingsFeed, the Red Wings posted a video that includes interivews with Ken Holland, Kris Draper and Blashill, depicting the coach's "first day" on the job:
Update: If you are interested, Blashill appeared on Lansing's Fox 47's "Michigan's Big Show" today:
In Red Wings-related news this afternoon:
Detroit: Axel Holmstrom – Another squeaker thanks to Dylan Larkin, but Holmstrom led Skelleftea to the Swedish League final and no one had more points in the post-season.
2. In the "roughly translated" department, part 1: Tomas Tatar told "Plus One Day" that he's preparing to work on his summer training with Slovak trainer Roman Svantner, with this week's 3-times-a-week training yielding a 5-day regimen, but Tatar admits that he isn't watching the Stanley Cup Final as he's taking a bit of a break from watching hockey;
3. And in the "roughly translated" department, part 2: Marek Tvrdon spoke with Sport.sk about his first full rookie pro season, and Tvrond states that he was happy with his performance regardless of whether he played on the Griffins' 2nd or 4th line, he understands that he must both work on getting in better shape and that he may spend 2, 3 or 4 years in Grand Rapids before he's deemed ready for the NHL, and he hopes that he's put his injury-prone status beind him.
The Grand Rapids Griffins have posted two interviews and total of about 12 minutes spent with Jeff Blashill, discussing his status as the Red Wings' new coach and the background that led him to the job. Here are both videos, with a third on the way:
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.