The Malik Report
Nine days removed from the draft and thirteen from the start of free agency, it's easy to read the Free Press's Helene St. James' report about the Wings' desire to move some bodies up front and/or use some cap compliance buy-outs, to think about the progress made by the Grand Rapids Griffins' players during their Calder Cup run, and to start letting our minds wander.
Two buy-outs, three trades, four free agents signed and eleven kids promoted next year! The roster's going to be completely different! (and surely, we can clone TSN Player of the Year finalist Pavel Datsyuk's competitor, Pavel Datsyuk!) Right? The elevendy twelve signed forwards and eight defensemen mean the Wings have to make tons of moves right away!
It's at this time of year, when TSN's Scott Cullen pens his "Off-Season Game Plan" for the Wings (it''s a great read but it doesn't translate well to a blog entry), that Wings fans tend to head over to Capgeek and build radically different Red Wings rosters, ignoring what Ken Holland told the Windsor Star's Bob Duff--that the vast majority of the changes made to the Red Wings' roster this summer will involve the players that the Wings sent down to the Griffins to bolster their ranks (and Tomas Tatar) joining Detroit's lineup on a full-time basis:
The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings' management plans on easing its roster crunch by making some pre-draft or pre-free-agency trades (the Wings have $10.6 million in Capgeek-estimated cap space, but they're going to spend $4 million-plus re-signing Joakim Andersson, Jakub Kindl, Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith, and they may need to spend up to $3 million to re-sign Damien Brunner), but if the team can't move bodies, it may buy out Mikael Samuelsson, Todd Bertuzzi or Carlo Colaiacovo--and she also reports that each and every one of the NHL's 30 teams can make cap compliance buy-outs at any time from 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final ends until July 4th, the day before unrestricted free agency begins this summer!
The No. 1 buyout candidate is Mikael Samuelsson, who was a non-factor this past season, felled by one injury after another. He's got a year left at $3 million, money that could be well used towards funding a top-six forward.
The vast majority of our discussions over the last couple of days have involved the proposed follow-on rink that will replace Joe Louis Arena, as well as the surrounding economic development that's absolutely essential for a still-blighted Cass Corridor--and, quite frankly, developing those swaths of vacant land behind the Fox Theatre will finally allow the Ilitch family to escape those creeping-in comparisons to land-hoarder Matty Moroun.
We'll continue talking about the $450 million rink and proposed $650 million investement in both the rink and surrounding development in a little while...
Update: From Mr. Datsyuk himself:
We've reached the Final Round of TSN.ca's 2013 Play of the Year Showdown, and for the first time in POY history the final match-up features just one player, Pavel Datsyuk. Both of Datsyuk's plays have beat out outstanding goals, passes and saves to land in the final two spots of this year's Play of the Year competition.
On his way to the finals, Datsyuk's skillful play narrowly defeated an absolute show-stopper of a save by Jake Allen, edging out the goalie by a mere 0.5 per cent, on the other end of the bracket, Datsyuk easily moved past a stellar play by Cody Hogdson. Which of Datsyuk's two plays will take the crown?
As Paul noted, the Dallas Stars hired Lindy Ruff as their head coach, all but ensuring that Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill will defend Grand Rapids' Calder Cup championship while continuing to mentor the Red Wings' top prospects.
Blashill just happened to speak to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner about his status this morning, and Blashill stated the following regarding any sort of involvement with the Stars or interviews with Jim Nill:
“I had zero conversations or contact with them regarding that,” he said.
Likewise, Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin said the Stars had not sought permission to speak with Blashill.
Blashill, who has two years remaining on his contract as Griffins coach, said, “I fully expect to be in Grand Rapids next year. I am really, really just focused on the progress of our players in this organization,” he said.
Blashill does want to coach in the NHL one day, but that day is not today:
Updated at 7:05 AM: As we've discussed over the past week or so, the Red Wings appear to be ready to move on from Valtteri Filppula, they've got a hard decision to make about Daniel Cleary, and in terms of both their restricted free agents (Joakim Andersson, Jakub Kindl, Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith) and free agents-to-be, the Wings find themselves in the most peculiar pickle regarding one Damien Brunner, who seems quite intrigued by the prospect of testing the unrestricted free agent marketplace on July 5th.
With an extremely limited NHL resume, an incredibly inconsistent 2013 season to his credit and few "comparables" salary-wise, it's hard to say what the 27-year-old forward could earn on the open market, but there's no doubt that he could more than double his $1.35 million cap hit , and while the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that Brunner's agent, Neil Sheehy, and the Wings are talking contract turkey, she wonders what the Wings might do, and whether Brunner's worth the investment:
The Grand Rapids Griffins' video crew produced a lovely little video of the team celebrating its first Calder Cup win. It plain old made me smile:
As noted in the mid-day entry, MLive's Eric Lacy and David Muller discussed the proposed follow-on rink that will replace Joe Louis Arena and the surrounding developments in extensive detail, discussing the blighted areas that may see the biggest tangible improvements from the $450 million rink and $650 million mixed-use development's construction, cutting through the BS surrounding the proposal's purported benefits and "job creation," and profiling the archtectural firm that will (we think) design the rink.
This early evening, Lacy got an absolutely classic "no comment" from the HKS architectural firm in Dallas, and couldn't contact Chan Krieger NBBJ, and that's generally a good sign, not a bad one...
Updated 3x at 1:20 PM: Amongst this afternooon's Red Wings-related news:
We're still talking about the follow-on rink that serve as the Red Wings' next arena, and I hate to agree with this point by the Free Press's Helene St. James, but she's spot-on:
MLive posted a series of articles about Joe Louis Arena's successor this morning, including a list of 10 locations and/or areas (mostly in the Cass Corridor, which is still a dangerous place) that could stand to benefit from the rink and surrounding development from Eric Lacy, some reader reactions and a Lacy-penned profile of the architects who will hopefully channel Joe Louis Arena's sightlines, Olympia's elegance and the practicality of a rink with important things like parking, restroom, windows and, quite frankly, a place for fans to gather together outside the rink:
Detroit, MI... The Detroit Red Wings will hold a special equipment and memorabilia sale at Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (1845 E. Big Beaver Rd.) this Saturday, June 22, from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. For the first time, Red Wings fans will have the opportunity to purchase game-worn jerseys from the team’s recently completed 2012-13 campaign, featuring Henrik Zetterberg’s sweaters from his first season as the 36th captain in franchise history. In addition, various game-worn jerseys from previous seasons will be discounted and available for purchase. This one-day-only sale also includes both used and unused hockey equipment such as team practice jerseys, sticks, skates, gloves and locker room Reebok hoodies with each individual player’s number. Autographed items including pucks, photos, skates and sticks will also be available for fans to add to their collections. Quantities are limited for all of these one-of-a-kind sale items.
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.