The Malik Report
Updated 2x at 9:29 PM: Of very brief Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan reports that we'll learn the identity of the Wings' assistant coaches on Tuesday:
2. The Red Wings have a draft page up on their website, and it includes the Wings' "order of selection" and links to NHL.com's by-position-and-nationality player rankings. It also includes a photo gallery;
3. Speaking of photos...
4. Regarding photos of a different kind, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that no other Red Wings or Griffins players were involved with the gambling ring to which Nathan Paetsch pled guilty of participation with today;
Update: Make it six items, because ESPN's Ben Arledge suggests that the Red Wings are a good "Value bet" for a Stanley Cup championship next year:
Quite happy to spread the word regarding these two events:
GRIFFINS' YOUTH HOCKEY CAMP AND GOLF OUTING RETURN
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – This summer, the Grand Rapids Griffins are inviting fans to participate in either of two long-running West Michigan traditions: the Griffins’ Youth Hockey Camp, to be held the weeks of July 27-31 and Aug. 3-7 at Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park, and the 21st annual Griffins Youth Foundation Golf Classic at Egypt Valley Country Club on Monday, Aug. 31.
The Griffins Youth Hockey Camp will be conducted by Griffins assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler, who will be joined on a part-time basis by four notable hockey pros from West Michigan: former Griffins and current Red Wings Justin Abdelkader and Luke Glendening, current Griffin Mitch Callahan, and longtime NHLer and current Grand Rapids assistant coach Mike Knuble. Offered to kids ages 6-16, the camp helps players maximize their skills through on-ice instruction, dry-land training and off-ice video sessions.
Paul found this Tweet from the National Post's Michael Traikos, and if it's accurate, it's intriguing:
One could argue--as we've been arguing in the Franson thread--that there are or are not any real upgrades on the market, and if the Wings really want to "let the kids play," that may not preclude the team from cutting ties with Jakub Kindl....
Update: For what it's worth, Pro Hockey Talk's Dhiren Mahiban posited the following:
With their lone right shot defenseman, Marek Zidlicky, likely headed for unrestricted free agency next week, the Detroit Red Wings will attempt to fill the void internally.
Dion Phaneuf has been rumored to be headed to Detroit, and there are options on the open market come July 1 (i.e. Cody Franson and Mike Green), but PHT has learned the Wings would like to give their young blue liners a chance.
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, noting that the Griffins have experienced a rare spate of coaching stability over the past three years, wondered aloud how long Todd Nelson might call Grand Rapids "home" again before pursuing NHL employment:
The 46-year-old Nelson also made it clear his goal is to be an NHL coach. But whether that happens because of success in Grand Rapids – or even how fast that might happen – wasn't his concern.
"Oh, I don't know. Right now the way my track record has been, I might be sticking around for a while," he said with a laugh. "But I just take each year the same way. Obviously, I have aspirations to be a head coach and had that opportunity last year and because of circumstances it didn't work out. In this position, you just take it day by day and hopefully at the end it's always positive. The future's unknown; you never know what can happen."
The Detroit organization knows the risks. They ran into it with Blashill, who attracted attention after winning the AHL title his first season and prompted to Red Wings to give him a new three-year extension after last season, when as many as six teams inquired about him.
This is not Red Wings-related per se, but shocking nonetheless. Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford reports that Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Nathan Paetsch has pled guilty to charges related to sports gambling, per the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle's Kevin Oklobjiza:
Former Rochester Americans and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nathan Paetsch faces eight months home detention and must pay the U.S. government $265,000 as punishment for his role in an illegal gambling operation that was shut down last summer.
Paetsch, 32, pleaded guilty on Monday morning to two charges relating to an off-shore gambling enterprise run out of The Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte.
Paetsch was accused by the government of recruiting hockey players and others to place bets, and also of aiding in the transmission of wagering information as well as collection of debts, according to papers read this morning in U.S. District Court in Rochester before Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.
He agreed to plead guilty to two charges: transmission of wagering information and structuring a bank transaction to evade reporting requirements (all cash transactions in excess of $10,000 must be reported by banks).
He will be allowed to continue playing hockey, his attorney, David R. Morabito said.
Update: FYI from the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner:
I posted this in KK Hockey last night, so consider this FYI news regarding the Red Wings GM, per Sportsnet:
Doug Armstrong has been named Canada’s general manager for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Monday.
Hockey Canada also announced that Ken Holland, Bob Murray, Marc Bergevin, Rob Blake and Scott Salmond will join Armstrong’s staff.
Armstrong is the general manager of the St. Louis Blues and is a member of the “Triple Gold Club” — winning a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal and world championship.
Holland and Bergevin currently work as GMs for the Red Wings and Canadiens, respectively. Murray is the GM for the Anaheim Ducks while Blake is an assistant GM with the Kings.
Update: Here's Ken Holland speaking with David Amber about the coaching situation:
The Red Wings and Griffins have kept me particularly busy over the past couple of weeks, so I haven't been able to spend as much time talking about Friday and Saturday's draft as I usually do (and I tend not to do a ton of pre-draft coverage as there's usually a 1-in-10 chance that the 10 prospects linked with the Wings are actually picked by Detroit, especially in a year where the Wings have historically "traded down" to the second round to maximize their picks).
In any case, Winging It in Motown's Kyle McIlmurray penned a fantastic summary of the mock drafts versus his pick for the Wings (NTDP forward Kyle Connor), and Hockey's Future's Ryan Womeldorf made a pick for the Wings in his "Draft Preview" as well:
MLive's Ansar Khan examines whether Cody Franson might fit into the Red Wings' free agent plans this morning, and if I may be blunt, the 28-year-old right-shooting defenseman never really impressed me:
How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He could play on the top pairing with Niklas Kronwall or the second pairing with Danny DeKeyser. He could join Kronwall on the first power-play unit or lead the second unit. His long reach could make him an asset on the penalty kill.
What it might take to get him: Based on the contract Jeff Petry signed with Montreal (six years, $5.5 million per season), Franson likely will command at least $5 million per season for five or six years.
I'd rather give Mike Green that kind of money...
Three key questions: 1. Is Franson capable of producing more points or has he reached his ceiling? 2. Should the Red Wings commit big money and a long term to a player who might not be a top-pair defender or should they seek a better alternative? 3. How imperative is it for the Red Wings to have a right-handed shot among their top four defensemen?
These three articles have little to nothing to do with each other, which is aggravating from a "storytelling" perspective, but this time of year is feast or famine--with this week's emphasis on "feast" as the Wings will announce their assistant coaches soon, the 15-16 schedule is coming out on Wednesday, there's that whole draft thing going on Friday and Saturday, and the Hockey Hall of Fame will name Nicklas Lidstrom and probably Sergei Fedorov inductees next Monday--so:
1. The Free Press's Helene St. James asks yet another trade-related question given that Newsday's Steve Zipay reported that Kyle Okposo may be on the block in a draft-pick-related deal.
St. James suggests that the Wings should be all over Okposo and his $2.8 million cap hit despite the fact that he's going to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, and hre's where St. James' argument that the Wings ought to pursue Okposo (or any of the other players that she's listed over the past five days) has me shaking my head:
It doesn't make sense to trade for Okposo without being able to re-sign him, and he's going to want to want a significant raise (think $5 million annually as a starting point, probably more) and a lot of term. On the other hand, Okposo is just entering the prime of his career, he's a proven scorer, and he'd add size and a right-handed shot. What it comes down to is figuring out whether Okposo is worth the risk.
Okposo going from a $2.8 million salary to a $5+ million salary alone would be a concern given, as Ken Holland pointed out, that the Wings will have to re-sign Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Riley Sheahan, Danny DeKeyser and Petr Mrazek next summer.
Given that the U.S. National Team Development Program is moving to the now-former Compuware Arena this fall, this lengthy read from the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy is worth your time because it does a fine job of describing the tradition and work ethic that have been built in Ann Arbor over the past 13 years:
These days, joining the NTDP is a priority for many elite American teenaged players. “The aspect of representing my country appealed to me,” said right winger Christian Fischer, a Notre Dame commit from Illinois. “Putting on the USA jersey is something special. Also, they have a reputation for producing a lot of NHL players.”
The key is in the program itself. Collecting the best talent from around the country helps, but the NTDP has specific goals in mind. An almost universal need for teenaged players is strength, which is best achieved in the weight room, not on the ice. To that end, off-ice workouts are the No. 1 priority. Coach Don Granato, who followed the 1997 birthdays from the under-17s to the under-18s, began the run by giving strength and conditioning coach Darryl Nelson a calendar with the first two months left blank, telling him to fill it out for strength development. “On the ice, the kids are passionate,” Granato said. “It’s not going to be hard to implement systems or develop their skill because they’re made for the ice. But I wanted to make sure we hammer them in the weight room, and if we need rest and have to shorten or cancel a practice, I’m willing to do that.”
The results can be impressive and are propelled by internal competition. According to Wesolek, the players know when they’re a pound up or a pound down. While bigger kids like Fischer and [Jordan] Greenway are molding the frames they were blessed with, an undersized dynamo can really transform himself. Kane stands out in Monaghan’s mind, and the similarly crafty 5-foot-9 Bracco is the latest success story. “Last year I came in about 150 pounds,” he said. “Now I’m 173.”
Kennedy continues, and this paragraph matters to fans like you and me:
Next season, the operation will move into a new home in Plymouth, just 20 minutes east. It’s the old home of the OHL’s Whalers, who decamped to another Michigan locale in Flint. It will be interesting to see how many people flock to see Team USA, since Ann Arbor games were mostly family and opposing fans from Midwest USHL opponents such as Bloomington and Muskegon. What the program lacks in a following, it makes up for in closeness. Though the 44 players from the two NTDP squads come from 17 different states plus Washington, D.C., at least half a dozen families have taken up temporary residence in Ann Arbor, acting as both parents and billets. And the bloodlines are showing, too. Keith Tkachuk’s son Matthew has been dynamite on a line with fellow 2016 hot-shot Matthews, while ex-Washington Capitals GM George McPhee can watch his son, Graham, play for the under-17s.
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.