The Malik Report
Of brief Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
2. At the other end of the developmental spectrum, MLive's Brendan Savage assembled a set of Wings draft grades;
Petr Mrazek was in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic last night to watch Jaromir Jagr win the Czech "Golden Stick" (Zlata hokej) award--Mrazek finished 3rd in voting for the trophy--and Mrazek spoke with the Czech press, speaking with the Hokej.cz's Vaclav Jachim...
Mrazek had a superb year and now looks forward. The World Cup, for which he was nominated, isn't yet in his head. "It's still far away. Anyway, it will be a special event that we'll all look forward to," he says. The Czech National Team also has Ondrej Pavelec and Michal Neuvirth on the team, and Mrazek doesn't know which one of them will be the starting goalie. "No, not at all. I haven't spoken with the World Cup coaches. I think this will be decided on the ice--depending on how one does. But it's not just great that I'm in the tournament. It will bring together the best players in the world, first with games against Canada and then with America...For each of us it's a great experience and great honor."
24Malmo.se's Magnus Anderberg spoke with Malmo Redhawks forward Mattias Elfstrom about his status as being drafted by the Red Wings in the seventh round:
"It's really cool. It came as a bit of a shock. I talked a little bit with them before, but I didn't think anything would happen," says Mattias. "They phoned from Detroit right after. Their European scout called and told me that they chose me. I knew there was a chance, but i didn't think it would be for real."
What have you thought since you received the news yesterday?
"I've been dreaming about this since I started playing hockey. It's proof that you've done something good."
MLive's Brendan Savage spoke with Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright to discuss the reasons why the Wings picked Dennis Cholowski with the 20th overall pick at the NHL Draft:
"He was the next guy on our board," Wright said. "He's just a heckuva hockey player. He's got great mobility, he's a very good skater, he's got good puck skills, he can move pucks very well. He can jump into the rush, he can defend plays in all situations. I think all that stuff he could get better at but he's got a good package and a good starting point as far as development. We believe he's got top-four potential and that's why we took him."
Wright said the Red Wings viewed Cholowski as one of the best-skating defensemen in the draft.
The independent scouting service Red Line Report projects Cholowski to be a steady, mobile, mistake-free fourth defenseman. RLR says Cholowski is patient with the puck, sees the entire ice while trying to make plays and can play in all situations – something the Red Wings plan on doing with the 18-year-old native of Langley, British Columbia.
"He's an elite thinker," Wright said. "We think his hockey sense is very good. He's just a guy that can play in any position, late in a game, early in a game, never have to hide him because of size and skating ability.
"He's one of the best-skating defensemen in this draft. Kind of been a little bit of a late bloomer, has done a lot of growing in the last couple years. We still believe he could still be growing for that matter, which would be a plus. And it was an area of need for us for defense. We think we've got a good group of kids coming along. We thought he'd fit in that defense mold for us."
Savage and Wright continue...
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:
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.”
Of prospect-related note this morning:
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.
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)...
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.
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...
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.