The Malik Report
As Ken Holland said this past Saturday, "It's all on General Fanager...Or CapFriendly..." The news that the NHL's salary cap increased by an entire $1.6 million, with its upper limit hitting $74 million U.S., still had to yield a sigh of relief for the higher-salaried teams, and as MLive's Ansar Khan notes, the Red Wings are one of those teams:
The Red Wings' current payroll is roughly $59.6 million. They still need to restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek, Alexey Marchenko and Teemu Pulkkinen. Among their unrestricted free agents, they have made offers to Darren Helm and Drew Miller.
They must shed Pavel Datsyuk's $7.5 million cap hit in order to be a major player in free agency on July 1. General manager Ken Holland said on Saturday that he is not "overly optimistic" he'll be able to move the contract (Datsyuk won't actually be getting paid) due to teams asking for top prospects. But Holland is already in Buffalo for this weekend's draft and will continue his attempts to trade the cap hit.
Khan continues, noting that the Wings will receive $3.95 million in cap relief when Johan Franzen's salary hits the LTIR, but if the Wings don't move Datsyuk's salary, they really don't have much space at all with which to play the UFA marketplace.
I don't have a problem with that as I'd like to see the team "play the kids" anyway, but that $14-or-so million in cap space will go pretty quickly given that DeKeyser and Mrazek are likely due salaries in the $3.5-4 million range, and when you add up Pulkkinen, Marchenko and the Wings' five AHL-level free agents, that cap space goes quickly, even assuming that the Wings don't re-sign at least Darren Helm.
Of course that situation can change if the Wings are able to pawn off Jimmy Howard's $5.29 million, but that appears to be increasingly unlikely unless the Wings either eat some of that figure or take a salary back in return.
When you realistically look at the Wings' cap figure with Datsyuk's salary still in the mix, there's not quite as much room to play as one would like, and even with the team able to exceed the cap ceiling by 10% ($7.4 million) during the offseason, the Wings will have to get creative to add to the roster via free agency.
Part of me really thinks that the team might be better off having to lean on "the kids" and Nyquist and Tatar, but that's just me.
Former ESPN analyst Al Morganti, penning a column for the Philly Voice, suggests that hockey has been blessed by a "Canadian ethos" embodied by Gordie Howe, and that the sport may be worse off without Mr. Hockey:
In the wake of Howe’s passing, what all hockey fans have to hope for at this point is that the athletes who compete in the sport at all levels do not lose the Canadian ethos that made the game so special. What we all have to hope for is that the humble, honest traits of Gordie Howe that were so wonderfully passed on to his Hall of Fame American son Mark, are not lost on the wide world of talent now excelling at the sport.
From generation to generation hockey players have upheld a tradition that they are the working class, down-to-earth citizens of professional sports. Despite the fattening wallets in the locker room there has remained some contact to the days when players arrived from Red Deer, Brandon and Val D’Or.
The models were Howe, Orr and Gretzky – bred in the land of Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Alberta. In Philadelphia a generation of children learned about Flin Flon, and in Boston a generation knew of a place called Parry Sound.
They also learned that not all athletes were driven by ego, and that players can blend into the local community. There was almost a demand by peers that a player respect the game, respect their city and respect the players who went before them in the ancestry of the league.
Morganti continues...Do you think that the "Canadian-ness" of hockey defines it, or does hockey's team-first culture transcend nationality?
Here's the Red Wings' 2016-17 regular season schedule (home games in italics):
RED WINGS ANNOUNCE 2016-17 SCHEDULE FOR THE FAREWELL SEASON AT THE JOE
… 23 Home Games on Friday, Saturday or Sunday; 10 Home Matchups Against Original Six Teams; Final Regular-Season Game at The Joe Set for April 9 vs. New Jersey Devils …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today announced their 2016-17 schedule for the team’s “Farewell Season at The Joe.” The year-long celebration will highlight historic games and entertainment acts held at The Joe during the building’s illustrious 38-year history with championship and alumni celebrations, memorable giveaways and special entertainment performances leading up to the final regular-season game at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday, April 9 against the New Jersey Devils.
The schedule features a fan-friendly home slate of 23 weekend games (six Fridays, nine Saturdays, eight Sundays). Detroit will host all Original Six opponents at least one more time at The Joe and will play a total of 18 games against the Original Six, including five games against the Montreal Canadiens and four games against the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs.
As Today's Slapshot's Chris Nichols Tweeted this...
The Free Press's Helene St. James posted an update regarding the Datsyuk situation from GM Ken Holland:
Updated 3x at 10:33 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The NHL Awards will be held tomorrow night in Las Vegas, and the Las Vegas Sun's Robin Leach (yes, that Robin Leach) states that the NHL will hold a tribute to Gordie Howe during the awards, with Mark, Marty and Murray Howe in attendance;
3. The Free Press has published a new book about Howe:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Why he would interest the Red Wings: They need to replace the offense they lost with Pavel Datsyuk's departure and Ladd has proven to be a consistent scorer. He would provide more size up front on a team with several smaller forwards. He has championship experience, something only two Red Wings under contract (Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall) possess.
How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He would play the left wing on one of the top two lines, with either Zetterberg or Dylan Larkin, who the club might move to center. Ladd would play on the power play and could be used on the penalty kill if needed.
What it might take to get him: Perhaps a five-year deal for around $5 million to $5.5 million a season.
If you're interested...
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on The Fan 590's Hockeycentral at Noon today, discussing his attempts to move Pavel Datsyuk's contract, possibly operating with the cap hit on his salary cap figure, his reluctance to move Jimmy Howard (in what is no longer a seller's market for goaltenders) and more over the course of a 20-minute interview. Holland did address Petr Mrazek as the team's #1 goaltender and he did state that he's "kicking tires" regarding moving Datsyuk's deal:
Update: Sportsnet also posted a video of about 4 minutes' worth of the interview:
Pavel Datsyuk, as far as I can remember, is the only hockey player whose last name was turned into an adjective to describe his feats. What a Datysukian Deke that was!! It was Red Wings’ announcer Ken Daniels who coined that phrase, and there may not be a more fitting string of words to hang above Datsyuk’s name. It caught on, in part, because of its mellifluous sound, because of the way those words – Datsyukian deke – rolled off the tongue. But more than that, the phrase was necessary. Datsyuk’s innovation with the puck demanded it.
When the Magic Man skated in alone against the Stars’ Marty Turco, faked to his forehand, dipped his right shoulder, hid the puck on his backhand while dragging it into his skates, delayed long enough for Turco to collapse in a heap of his own confusion and then flipped the puck underneath the bar, it was…what? Marvelous? Incredible? Stunning? Well yes, but no. Those words didn’t do it justice. There had been marvelous dekes in the past. There had been incredible fakes and stunning maneuvers. This was different. This was new.
This was Datsyukian.
The Red Wings' home opener will take place against the Ottawa Senators on Monday, October 17th:
Detroit will also open the Tampa Bay Lightning's 16-17 season on Thursday, October 13th:
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.