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The Malik Report

Initial takes on the Red Wings’ 2016 draft haul

The Red Wings' 2016 draft picks earned a B- grade from ESPN's Corey Pronman, and as for myself...

It's hard for me to make significant assessments of prospects I've known for about 24 hours, especially before I've seen them live at the Wings' summer development camp or fall prospect tournament, but here are my initial takes on the Wings' 7 picks:

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Walleye players want assistant Dan Watson to become their head coach

From the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe:

A group of current and former Toledo Walleye players took to social media to express their support for assistant Dan Watson to take over as the organization’s next coach.

Watson was an assistant the past two seasons under Derek Lalonde, who accepted the coaching job last weekend with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.

Watson, who has been an assistant for all of the team’s seven seasons in the ECHL, got endorsements from several players.

Former Walleye defenseman Cody Lampl sent a tweet out on Monday strongly recommending his former boss: “Watty For Head Coach!”

“He is ready,” Lampl later told The Blade. “Watty’s attention to the details, for the little things, is impeccable. With how much video he studies, he’s always learning. But the biggest thing with Watty is that he knows how to connect and to motivate. The thing that separates the good coaches is the ability to connect with the players. He knows when to get after it and when to pull back.”

Continued...

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‘Two things,’ draft version

Of prospect-related note this morning:

1. Via RedWingsFeed, MLive posted a photo gallery of the Wings' draft pick haul;

2. And Dennis Cholowski spoke with the Langley Advance's Troy Landreville regarding being drafted by the Red Wings:

On Saturday, Cholowski shared with the Langley Advance that being drafted by the Red Wings is a “tremendous honour.”

“Detroit is one of the best organizations in the league, and have produced some of the greatest player of all time,” Cholowski said. “Also the fact that they are an Original Six team is extremely cool.”

In his final year with the [BCHL's Chilliwack] Chiefs, Cholowski put together a brilliant draft year. The 6’1” 176-pound Cholowski was named as a BCHL second team all-star while leading all Chiefs rearguards in scoring with 40 points (12g-28a).

His point totals were fifth among all BCHL defencemen.

Landreville continues...

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Looking on the bright side of the UFA wining-and-dining period

The Free Press's Helene St. James provides a Wings free agency wining-and-dining period update that looks on the bright side of the Wings' cap space:

Now that the Detroit Red Wings can swagger to market with a purse expanded by $7.5 million, how can they best use their wealth?

General manager Ken Holland will use this week to verbally woo unrestricted free agents and see if one or more can be a fit for the Wings. The jewel of this summer stands to be Steven Stamkos, the 26-year-old, 312-goal scorer who has rebuffed offers to stay in Tampa Bay.

Holland is also involved in trade talks for a defenseman.

The Wings crave an infusion of talent, both at forward and on defense. Ownership is not interested in tanking, especially not while going into a new arena in another season. Nor is there interest in wasting years of Dylan Larkin’s career finishing near the bottom of the NHL’s standings, which is what it takes to gain the truly elite draft picks.

Getting considerably better via free agency and the trade route was made possible when Holland pulled off a little magic Friday night during the first round, unloading the contract of Pavel Datsyuk. Holland struck a deal with Arizona: The Coyotes took Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit (no actual money is owed Datsyuk) and the 16th overall pick; the Wings got the 20th overall pick, the 53rd overall pick, and took on the contract of Joe Vitale, who will end up on long-term injured reserve as a result of a head injury. The deal would have looked good even without the extra second-round pick.

Next up: How to invest what’s now nearly $20 million in salary cap space.

St. James continues, naming Cam Fowler, Steven Stamkos, Milan Lucic, Loui Eriksson and Troy Brouwer as targets (just remember the fact that around half of that $20 million in cap space is going to go to retaining Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek and the rest of the Wings' restricted free agents)...

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Krupa: Even Steven Stamkos won’t solve all the Wings’ ills

You know it and I know it, and the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa makes it plain:  Even if the Red Wings land Steven Stamkos as an unrestricted free agent, the Wings still have a back-up goaltender eating $5.32 million in cap space and a defense that could use one or two additions that just aren't out there on the UFA marketplace.

Adding Stamkos would give the Wings a superstar up front, but next year's team will be a work in progress:

For another June, it looks like the Wings’ prospective roster is unlikely to advance far in the playoffs unless it achieves the NHL equivalent of retrieving lightning in glassware.

Bolstering is especially necessary along the blue line. Improving the performance of the defensive corps is the top priority, and the root of much malfunctioning last season.

But a top-notch sniper is a long desired priority, arguably since the Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan stopped skating in red and white. In Stamkos, 26, the Red Wings would seize a big chance at something their long success is depriving them of – playing with a No. 1 pick in the draft (2006), and one that has matched, even exceeded expectations.

That means he will be hard to get.

Krupa continues...

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Not much is new in your Saturday night Steven Stamkos rumor update

Red Wings GM Ken Holland may be a good salesman, but he remains someone who doesn't believe in building up expectations regarding trades, free agency, or much of anything else. ESPN's Pierre LeBrun asked Holland about the Steven Stamkos situation, and he got this reply:

I asked Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland to confirm his long-rumored interest in Stamkos after the draft on Saturday -- which became even more realistic after shedding Pavel Datsyuk's cap hit in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Friday -- but he declined to talk about Stamkos, pointing out that he didn't see the merit in revealing his UFA game plan to the world.

He has a point there.

Nevertheless, it's absolutely 100 percent guaranteed that the Red Wings will make an offer to Stamkos. The Vancouver Canucks and, of course, his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs are among the other potential suitors, and some other teams might surprise.

It is "certain" that the Wings will offer Stamkos a contract--as Sportsnet's Chris Johnston notes, the Wings have been linked to Stamkos for over a year now--and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan believes that he's got the price down...

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Talking about the Red Wings’ second-day draft haul

Updated 8x at 1:42 AM: I'm going to place my second-day Red Wings draft summary articles in here, and we may as well lead things off with the Wings' second-day press release:

RED WINGS ADD SIX PLAYERS ON SECOND DAY OF 2016 NHL ENTRY DRAFT
… Detroit Drafts Three Defensemen, Two Forwards and One Goaltender in Buffalo, N.Y. …

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today made six selections during the second day of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The Red Wings held a pair of second-round picks, adding right wing Givani Smith (46th overall) and defenseman Filip Hronek (53rd overall) and later selected defenseman Alfons Malmstrom (fourth round/107th overall), defenseman Jordan Sambrook (fifth round/137th overall), goaltender Filip Larsson (sixth round/167th overall) and left wing Mattias Elfstrom (seventh round/197th overall).

Smith spent the 2015-16 season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm, ranking second on the team in goals (23) and points (42) while pacing the OHL with 146 penalty minutes. He also tied for the team lead with seven power-play goals and placed second with 185 shots on goal. Smith also registered 15 points (7-8-15) in 30 regular-season games and five points (2-3-5) in nine postseason games with Guelph in 2014-15 after a midseason trade from the Barrie Colts. In 126 OHL games over the past two seasons, the 6-foot-2, 204-lb., native of Thornhill, Ontario, has logged 61 points (30-31-61) and 222 penalty minutes. The 18-year-old also represented his country at the 2015 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.

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Red Wings pick Mattias Elfstrom 197th overall

With their final pick at the NHL Draft, the Wings picked Mattias Elfstrom 197th overall:

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Red Wings pick Filip Larsson 167th overall

With the 167th overall pick, the Red Wings took goalie Filip Larsson:

Larsson was ranked 10th overall in European goalie rankings by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau, and he plays for Djurgardens IF's junior team.

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Mid-day Stamkos rumor chatter

From TSN's Frank Seravalli...

Ken Holland did not mention Steven Stamkos by name, but that wasn’t exactly necessary anyway. The Detroit Red Wings will unequivocally be among the handful of teams making a significant play for hockey’s youngest superstar ever to hit the market, if he makes it there on July 1.

Holland cleared the salary cap space required to enter the Stamkos Sweepstakes on Friday night when he flipped retired forward Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5 million-contract to Arizona.

“We’re going to go into free agency,” Holland said. “We’ve got a goalie. We’ve got six NHL defencemen. I’m sure we’re going to exploring the forward market. I don’t know what that means until the dust settles.”

Stamkos and his representatives the Newport Sports Group could begin meeting with potential suitors just hours after the first round of the NHL draft wrapped up at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.

Detroit is expected to join at least a half dozen teams, including the Maple Leafs, Sabres, Rangers, Canucks and Canadiens, to size up the prospect of signing Stamkos. The courting period, which can include visits to prospective cities, lasts five days until Thursday.

For now, Stamkos remains Tampa Bay property. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman still seemed optimistic about his chances to retain his captain.

“I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Yzerman said Friday night.

Who continues...

And Sportsnet's Luke Fox:

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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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