The Malik Report
Updated at 3:27 PM: Hopefully this news from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe will put to rest a saga that’s been overly dramatic for both Red Wings and Penguins fans to put up with over the past few weeks:
The Penguins will speak with Jaromir Jagr’s agent about a contract this afternoon. Petr Svoboda, Jagr’s agent, confirmed that he is set to have a meeting with Penguins general manager Ray Shero today.
“We are meeting this afternoon to talk about a deal,” Svoboda said. “Hopefully by tomorrow, we will know something.”
Earlier today, the Penguins signed Pascal Dupuis to a two-year, $3 million deal. They have just under $7 million left under the salary cap for the upcoming season. The Penguins appear to be targeting Jagr, Tyler Kennedy and Mike Rupp as players they would like to sign.
As a Wings fan I just want to see this get over and done with…And Yohe confirms that Svoboda’s willing to admit that he’s received a solid contract offer from Wings GM Ken Holland…
Update: Here’s a bit more on the situation from the Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi:
Updated 4x with a very belated Lidstrom interview at 2:48 PM: According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, while the Red Wings await Jaromir Jagr’s decision as to whether he’d prefer to play for Detroit or Pittsburgh, the team’s having a harder-than-anticipated (at least by fans) time of attempting to re-sign Jonathan Ericsson and especially Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller because the latter pair of players want to be more than fourth-liners, and that’s not going to happen in Detroit:
“Part of it is money, part of it is opportunity,” Holland said. “They think they can have a bigger role with other teams.”
The Red Wings have 16 players (11 forwards, four defensemen, one goaltender) signed for a salary-cap hit of $47.6 million (the cap is $63.4 million). That doesn’t include rookie forward Cory Emmerton, who is out of minor league options and must make the roster or risk being claimed off waivers. It also doesn’t include defensemen Brendan Smith and Doug Janik.
Smith will have every opportunity to make the team in training camp and the preseason but still can be sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins without waivers. Janik is on a one-way contract, and the club would like to keep him on the NHL roster as a depth player. If he is sent back to Grand Rapids and clears waivers, he’ll remain there all season because he’s subject to re-entry waivers, meaning if he were claimed on re-entry the Red Wings would be responsible for half of his salary and the cap hit.
“If we don’t sign anybody (their own free agents), we’re in great shape, cap-wise,” Holland said. “The biggest issue is the 23-man roster. I’m comfortable either way, getting some of our guys signed or having (more) cap space (to explore the market).”
In terms of the negotiating bottom line…
Jaromir Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, played in over 1,000 NHL games for four NHL teams, and while he never met expectations in terms of his offensive output, he was supremely steady and…Sneakily dirty.
Svoboda certainly flashed the “sneaky” part of his game as a player agent on Monday night, choosing his words carefully enough to send journalists in Detroit and Pittsburgh in different directions and igniting a Twitter-based firestorm of sorts while discussing his client, Jaromir Jagr, and whether said client wishes to join the Detroit Red Wings or Pittsburgh Penguins.
It started with this quip to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari...
Updated 3x at 7:07 PM with Svoboda talking to Sipple and Kulfan, and ohyeahbytheway, Gerard Gallant isn’t leaving Saint John: As Kevin Bieksa’s contract extension with the Canucks sets the bar for free-agent defensemen (read: other players should expect around or less than $4.5 million on the open market) and the rather large number of players not receiving qualifying offers bolsters a thin free agent pool, the Pittsburgh Penguins might be telegraphing their likelihood of winning the Jaromir Jagr sweepstakes by not qualifying Tyler Kennedy...In any case, as Jagr’s decision-making process applies to the Detroit Red Wings, Jagr’s agent offered something of a teaser to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari:
Agent Petr Svoboda, who represents free-agent right winger Jaromir Jagr, seems confident that Jagr’s short-term future will be settled in the next few days. Possibly as early as Tuesday. He said that Jagr still hasn’t received a contract offer from the Penguins, but that “there is interest from both sides” and added that, “If you call me tomorrow, there will be much more happening.”
Penguins general manager Ray Shero could not immediately be reached for comment. Detroit had publicly expressed interest in trying to sign Jagr, but Svoboda said there is “nothing concrete” with any NHL team.
The Detroit Red Wings’ status as perennial contenders yields a simple result at the NHL Entry Draft: the Wings tend to pick late in every round, and as such, the picks they make are highly dependent on who the teams ahead of them pick. In this year’s draft, the Wings have earned high marks from experts galore for choosing to trade down into the second round and picking Tomas Jurco 35th overall, but the reason that the team did so, according to a pair of Twitter updates from The Fan 590’s Greg Brady (per RedWingsFeed), is because the player the Wings really wanted to draft got away:
Per good Red Wings source, pretty safe to say they were drafting Tyler Biggs at #24. When Leafs did, traded out. Only guy they wanted there.
Jim Nill & Ryan Martin had both seen Biggs several times….Wings would have thrilled to get him. DRW did not pursue trading picks w/ Leafs.
As such, Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon’s the latest to suggest that the Wings made a helluva pick in Jurco, and earn top marks as “winners” for their usual draft haul:
Now that the NHL Entry Draft’s over and it appears that Jonathan Ericsson will be re-signed, Ken Holland and the Red Wings’ front office will prepare for the start of unrestricted free agency on Friday, July 1st. The Wings’ top priority, as the Free Press’s Helene St. James suggests, is replacing Brian Rafalski, but the Wings will be competing for a limited number of players, and aren’t sure whether they’re willing to toss out a high-dollar-amount deal to snag a good defenseman:
The Wings have some players in mind but expect a few to be signed by their own teams by Friday. Andrei Markov was on Detroit’s list, but the Canadiens locked him up. James Wisniewski, also with Montreal, also is on the list, but he could ultimately command a price higher than what the Wings are willing to pay, as could other higher-profile defensemen who are inching closer to free agency.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Holland said. “First all, if you’re going to get involved in unrestricted free agency, the high-end guys, you have to pay premium dollars. That’s why they’re hitting the market. We’re going to sign somebody, but I don’t know if it’s going to be a more expensive guy or a cheaper one—we’re going to debate.”
Amongst Red Wings-related news on an all-too-quiet Sunday afternoon (something tells me that 30 teams’ scouts, general managers and coaches took the day off after traveling back home from the draft), and starting with a focus on past players’ legacies, the Windsor Star’s Dylan Kristy reports that the first annual Bob Probert Memorial Ride was a success:
Almost a year after his death, Bob Probert continues to be remembered as a “protector” of his community. More than 800 riders came out with their motorcycles Sunday for the inaugural Bob Probert Memorial Ride.
The first ride was held in partnership with Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital foundation, CAW Local 444 and 2458 to help raise awareness and money for the hospital’s angioplasty program. Probert died July 5, 2010 of heart failure. He was only 45. Riders left Hotel-Dieu and wound their way along the shoreline of Essex County before returning to Place Concorde in Windsor. Hundreds of supporters, many wearing red, white and Probert’s number 24, packed the starting line for the all-day event.
“This is a very emotional time for me to be over here and I’m honoured to be part of today’s event,” said Chris Chelios, honorary captain for the ride and former Detroit Red Wing and Chicago Blackhawk. It’s a great tribute to the people of Windsor supporting Bob and I’m very honoured to be a friend of Bob’s and to be part of his as an honorary captain.”
KK readers had a spirited and plain old smart discussion regarding yesterday’s quips from the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell, pegging the NHLPA and the players as the bad guys because the NHL’s salary cap floor has risen far past its initial post-lockout ceiling, with many comments stating the obvious—that a salary cap based upon league-wide revenues with a narrow, $15 million payroll range is never going to make it easier for the “have not’s” to compete, nor is it the players’ fault that they agreed to a fixed percentage of revenues that’s increased past the league’s projections—but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks brings us a declaration wrapped up in a, “Why the Rangers shouldn’t sign Brad Richards to an inflated contract” frame, suggesting that no matter what happens over the course of the NFL or NBA’s lockouts, we should expect the NHL to demand nothing less than both a rollback in salaries and a reduced “players’ share,” and that “creativity” or logic won’t hold sway. Instead, Brooks believes, the NHL and Gary Bettman will simply try to roll back the clock and bail out his owners’ mistakes on the players’ backs:
Gary Bettman’s utopia proved nothing of the sort. The entire concept of “gross revenue” in the NHL is fraudulent. Teams do not pool their revenue under any circumstance other than to arrive at a figure that’s then used to calculate the cap.
The entire premise of linkage the commissioner posited through the last owners’ lockout—that would all but ensure every franchise would be in position to make a profit—is counterfeit. It never made the slightest bit of sense the Islanders’ minimum payroll would be dependent on the Rangers’ revenues or the Hurricanes would have to spend more because the Maple Leafs make more money year after year after year. But common sense doesn’t matter. Percentage of the gross is Bettman’s baby. It is not going away. It is, however, going down, and if the owners have their way, it is going down dramatically, to somewhere in the range of 48-to-50 percent.
Of note: Big news about Jonathan Ericsson staying in Detroit and Jagr watch blah inside: After an extended period of time perched over my laptop, frantically searching for information on the nine newest Red Wings who became part of the team in a little under four hours, I succumbed to the boss’s advice and fatigue and took a nap. And I had a dream that My Little Ponies were singing a Wu-Tang Clan song…no, wait, I did see that on YouTube (can’t link it, though). And I can confirm that the Red Wings have at least drafted one player who wowed the local media enough that this YouTube video made its way onto the evening news:
If you followed the draft day open post, we’ve at least got a general idea of who the nine players the Wings picked are, and somewhere between 3-7 years from now, the Wings hope that at least one or two of Tomas Jurco, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, Alan Quine, Marek Tvrdon, Phillipe Hudon, Mattias Backman, Richard Nedomlel and/or Alexei Marchenko are playing for the Red Wings. That’s a hard mathematical equation to swallow on a day that’s akin to high school graduation day, but as Mike Babcock tends to say, “That’s the facts.”
As noted earlier, the Carolina Hurricanes, among other smaller and mid-market teams, find themselves a little financially squeezed by the fact that the league’s revenues have exceeded the $3 billion mark, thus yielding a salary cap “floor” of $48.3 million and a cap ceiling of $64.3 million, which are obviously much higher numbers than the league was working with coming out of the lockout, but as the smaller-market franchises begin to lament a CBA which they wholeheartedly supported, negotiated between Bill Daly and a sycophant in Ted Saskin, because a) the “payroll range” is determined by league-wide revenues instead of team-by-team revenues and b) because one Gary Bettman’s dream CBA involved parity, thus a $15 million gap between floor and ceiling instead of a more reasonable $20-25 million one…
The Hockey News’s Ken Campbell insists that, when the NHL and NHLPA engage in CBA negotiations after whatever happens happens in terms of the NFL and NBA’s lockouts, it’s the PA that should take another salary rollback because they’re earning too much of the pie, especially after applying their 5% inflator, thus making the PA the “bad guys,” if not the “fall guys,” upon which the smaller-market teams should foist blame:
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.