The Malik Report
I was on the road when the Red Wings traded Tomas Jurco to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 3rd round pick, so a text message right before I arrived in Grand Rapids was my first heads-up as to the fact that the Wings and Jurco had come to an amicable divorce.
Ken Holland's comments suggesting that Jurco might not have come back as a restricted free agent were accurate, and given that Jurco was drafted in the 2nd round (along with Landon Ferraro back in 2011), and given that he wasn't playing, a late 3rd round pick is about all I would realistically expect for an estranged player not playing hockey;
Reading Stan Bowman's comments about Jurco, as conveyed by the Wings' press corps, is just a weird experience. To read Bowman compare Jurco to Dick Panik, who's turned out to be a relatively useful performer for Chicago was weird, too--Jurco and Panik faced off as the Grand Rapids Griffins won the Calder Cup in 2013, and at the time, the pair were equivalent in potential.
As DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji noted in her article covering Bowman's conference call with the media, Panik has blossomed in a manner that Jurco has not:
The Detroit Free Press's Mandi Wright produced a wonderful video of Joe Louis Arena facilities manager Al Sobotka reflecting upon The Joe's pluses and minuses 38 years into his tenure at the rink. Al knows the building better than anybody, and he clearly loves it--but he hates the stairs!
Of prospect-related note:
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins came out a little flat, were scored upon 4 times by the Milwaukee Admirals, and came back via a tremendous 3rd period rally...Only to be charged with a "too many men" penalty on a play in which captain Nathan Paetsch was cut with a high stick, denying Grand Rapids a full comeback en route to a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee.
The Griffins' website posted a recap:
I'm in Grand Rapids and was making my transit cross-state while the Red Wings traded Tomas Jurco to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 3rd round pick--not terrible given that Jurco was a 2nd-round pick--so I missed the fun. Ken Holland may or may not be here tonight, and he spoke with MLive's Ansar Khan regarding Jurco...
"Obviously, things haven't worked out in Detroit the last couple of months," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "He's been very frustrated and requested a change of scenery and his agent has been calling me.
"His contract was up (he'll be a restricted free agent on July 1) and we didn't know if he was planning on staying with us. It's a great opportunity for Tomas in Chicago and we move on."
The Red Wings, who have virtually no hope of making the playoffs, are open for business. They also are expected to move pending unrestricted free agents Thomas Vanek, Brendan Smith and Steve Ott prior to Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.
Holland, however, said he has spoken to the agents for all these players to determine what it would take to re-sign them.
"Just to hear what they're thinking and let them know what I'm thinking," Holland said. "We'll see what becomes of it."
The Free Press's Helene St. James also spoke with Holland:
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today acquired a third-round draft pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for right wing Tomas Jurco.
Jurco, 24, skated in 159 games for the Red Wings since 2013-14, totaling 39 points (15-24-39) and 46 penalty minutes. The Kosice, Slovakia, native skated in 16 games for the Red Wings this season and also appeared in two games with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, picking up two points (1-1-2). A Calder Cup champion in 2013 with the Griffins, Jurco had 71 points (33-38-71) in 113 AHL games between 2012-17. Prior to his professional career, Jurco helped the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Saint John Sea Dogs to league championships in 2011 and 2012, registering 175 points (87-88-175) in 172 games from 2009-12.
The Red Wings currently have nine draft picks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, including two picks in both the third and sixth rounds.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Wings are expected to use the 11-player formula. Whom will they protect? Today’s focal point is the defensemen.
Protect: Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green and another to be determined. DeKeyser is a workhorse who anchors the top pairing. Green is the only D-man on the team who generates anything offensively.
Who might the third man be? It depends on what happens with Brendan Smith. He’s unrestricted this summer but has said he is open to staying. He sometimes makes questionable decisions with the puck, but he is mobile and has an edge to him, something the Wings lack. If he leaves, the Wings would need to replace him, and the UFA market is getting weaker every summer. If he can be had for somewhere in the $3.5 million-$3.75 million range, that would be a fair salary cap hit. If he is re-signed, then he’d join the protected list. It’s also possible that the Wings trade for a defenseman after the season, in which case that player would be protected.
Expose: Jonathan Ericsson, Nick Jensen, Niklas Kronwall, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul. Ericsson is signed through 2019-20, at a cap hit of $4.25 million. Jensen could be the third guy protected if Smith is gone and there is no newcomer via trade. He makes mistakes but can recover because of his excellent skating. Kronwall is 36 and has a permanently bad knee. A conversation needs to be had at season’s end about whether he can even play next season or goes on long-term injured reserve, freeing up $4.75 million per year through 2018-19. Ouellet has good hockey IQ but is not a great skater. The jury is still out on Sproul -- he can shoot the puck but hasn't been able to establish himself on a team that sure could use more offense from the back end.
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin had 2 assists in 14:49 of ice time as Lokomotiv Yaroslavl won 7-2 over Dynamo Minsk, taking a 2-0 lead in the teams' first-round series;
In regular season action, in the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo had an assist in 8:37 of ice time as TPS Turku lost 2-1 to the Lahti Pelicans;
And in the OHL, Filip Hronek finished at -1 with a penalty taken in the Saginaw Spirit's 4-1 loss to Windsor;
In the AHL, in player reassignment news, from the Grand Rapids Griffins:
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
Past salaries aren't relevant and there's plenty of time in the offseason to think about the future. With that in mind, we're going to look at this year's contracts and decide whether they're good, fair or poor. You can do the same in the comments section.
Contract status: Signed through 2022-23
Salary cap hit: $4.75 million
Analysis: Some say Abdelkader is overpaid and that's hard to argue given his production this season – four goals, nine assists and a minus-13 rating in 42 games. But the biggest issue with Abdelkader's deal might be its length. By the time the deal expires, he'll be 37 and what will he have left in that final season given his physical style of play?
Contract status: Signed through 2021-22
Salary cap hit: $5 million
Analysis: Like some of his teammates, DeKeyser has regressed after showing such great promise during his first four seasons. His deal might not have seemed like a bad one when he signed it last summer had he continued to make progress. But he's struggled all season, making it look like the Red Wings potentially overpaid while committing for too many years.
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa penned an article suggesting that a "salary dump is in order," and given the fiscal commitments of many of the Wings' long-term deals, I'm not quite sure how the Red Wings' management could accomplish Gregg's goals. For example:
Two seasons ago, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist looked ready to replace some of the offense that would eventually be lost when Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk retired. Now, they are fading assets.
Tatar and Nyquist have slumped badly enough that their return value is diminished. Holland should not fail to pull the trigger if an offer hold a promise of improvement, even if only long range.
Nyquist may go first. His no-trade clause kicks in next season.
The rest of the lineup contains no untouchables.
Krupa believes that the Wings could and perhaps should move everyone not named Mantha, Larkin, Athanasiou, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Mrazek or Howard; it's going to be hard to do that, and I sincerely question the Wings management's desire to move that aggressively.
2. To the positive, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness penned an article about pleasant surprise Nick Jensen, who's made himself an indispensable part of the lineup:
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
1. In "coming soon" news, concrete version: DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji spoke with the Red Wings regarding their attempts to come out of the "Bye Week" up to speed with the rest of the NHL:
The Red Wings managed to take advantage of the Washington Capitals last week when the Capitals were coming off their bye.
Now it's the Wings' turn. Following Tuesday night's game, the Wings won't play again until next Tuesday in Vancouver.
They will have just Monday's practice before that contest. Teams have gone 4-12-4 in their first game after their bye.
"I don't think there's any magic plan," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We're going to have to come up with the right approach, have the right type of practice. What's our pre-game skate going to look like on that Tuesday? You can't make up for five days with a pre-game skate and a practice, so we got to be careful there. The No. 1 thing is we're going to have to have lots of energy in Vancouver. I bet you lots of those games (teams coming out of break) are close. The one we won against Washington, them coming out of the break, was a shootout game. So we got to make sure we find a way to win a hockey game."
2. In "coming soon" news, theoretical version: ESPN's Craig Custance penned an Insider-only entry discussing 20 trade deadline targets, and 3 of his targets are Red Wings players:
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.