The Malik Report
They keep heading to Toronto...Thus far, Mike Babcock's brought Red Wings assistant coaches Andrew Brewer and Jim Hiller to Toronto, as well as Wings strength and conditioning coach Peter Renzetti. This morning, the Maple Leafs issued a press release stating that the team's also hired one member of the Wings' amateur scouting staff:
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that Steve Briere has been named the team’s goaltending coach. The Maple Leafs have also hired Ari Vuori as their Director of European Scouting.
Vuori brings nearly two decades of European scouting experience to the Maple Leafs hockey operations department having served as a European scout with the Detroit Red Wings for eight seasons (2007-08 through 2014-15) and with the Los Angeles Kings for 11 seasons (1996-97 through 2006-07). He also held a hockey operations role with TPS of the Finnish Elite League for eight seasons.
As a player, Vuori collected 371 points (167 goals, 204 assists) in 503 regular season games over 13 seasons in the Finnish Elite League. He also spent the 1981-82 season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Belleville Bulls and the Niagara Falls Flyers.
Vuori helped facilitate the Wings' drafting of TPS Turku forward Julius Vahatalo, and he was one of the scouts that helped the Wings snag Teemu Pulkkinen.
This appears to be the extent of the Leafs' "poaching" of Wings personnel, and very thankfully, Hakan Andersson's both under contract and off-limits to speaking with anybody but the Wings' brass.
I've had a rather garbled email from USA Hockey sitting in my inbox for the better part of two weeks now, and I've tried to explain that Dominic Turgeon and Dylan Larkin will be taking part in the U.S. summer World Junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid this August, with Axel Holmstrom and Christoffer Ehn representing Sweden and Julius Vahatalo representing Finland as opponents for some time now, but I was suffering from a case of summer tongue-tied-ness at all the information presented.
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff summed things up better than I could (and Joe Hicketts will be taking part in the Canadians' World Junior summer camp as well):
Detroit prospects Dominic Turgeon and Dylan Larkin will be on opposite benches at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp next month in Lake Placid N.Y.
Turgeon will suit up for the Blue Team, while Larkin, one of 10 returnees from last season’s U.S. world junior roster, skates with the White Team, a squad that also includes Auston Matthews, expected to be the top pick in the 2016 NHL entry draft.
Red Wings assistant coach Chris Chelios and ex-NHLer Doug Weight will coach the Blue Team, while former NHLers Kelly Miller, a cousin of Wings forward Drew Miller, and Danton Cole handle the White Team.
The camp will run from Aug. 1-8. On Aug. 4, the 39-player squad will be trimmed down to one team for exhibition games against Sweden and Finland. Those games will be streamed live at http://www.USAHockey.FASTHockey.com.
Duff continues with an assortment of Wings notes, and around August 1st, the hockey withdrawl really sets in, so some streamed hockey will work just fine.
I've talked about James De Haas, a 6'4" defenseman with the skating skills and anticipation of a smaller player, more than once in this space. De Haas has all the tools to develop into a strong offensive defenseman, but as of yet, he has yet to produce strong offensive numbers at Clarkson.
Going into De Haas' junior year, the Free Press's George Sipple reports that the Wings' brass (i.e. assistant GM Ryan Martin) has challenged De Haas to become an elite NCAA player:
"Our message to him was whether he attempts to play this year and then commences his pro career or plays his last two years of college, he needs to focus on being a dominant college player," Martin said. "He's had a decent two years. He needs to take that next step. With his size and ability to move the puck on the power play, he needs to show us that he can really be a dominant player at that level.
"I think he's grown in his confidence and is certainly willing to accept that challenge."
Martin said de Haas needs to improve on his urgency and battle level.
"At the college level, he certainly plays more of a two-way game," Martin said. "The next couple years will tell what his skill set will translate to at the pro level. Is he going to be a guy that can chip in some offense? Or is he going to be more of a third-pair defender? If that's the case, he's going to have to make use of his frame. You gotta have a niche to play at the next level."
Sipple continues, and I agree completely with Martin's assessment. De Haas can go one of two ways given his size--he can either continue to develop into an offensive defenseman or he's got to learn how to be big and physical--and the next two years will determine which path his pro career takes.
SVT's Marie Lehmann is attending Pavel Datsyuk's hockey school in Yekaterinburg, Russia, and she spoke with Datsyuk regarding his ankle injury. Datsyuk says that he doesn't anticipate being ready to play at the beginning of the NHL season, but he believes there are more than enough players on the roster to compensate for his absence:
As the Free Press's Brian Manzullo notes:
"They say 4-5 months," Datsyuk said of his recovery time. "We'll see how this goes. ... I'll be there, but they not start me. I hope I miss (only) a little bit, the beginning of the season."
The Free Press's Helene St. James issues a wise point regarding the fact that the Red Wings have seven defensemen not named Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul (all going into their last year of waiver-exempt status) or Nick Jensen (waiver-exempt for two more seasons) on the roster--between training camp, the exhibition season and injuries, the Wings should be able to determine how to best address the "logjam on defense":
Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul are all entering their last year of waiver-exempt status, so the Wings have to figure out who is NHL-caliber this season. All four won't be up at the same time, but ideally they'll each be able to get auditions at some point.
Marchenko, 23, looked ready to make the transition through 13 appearances in a Wings uniform in 2014-15, and Ouellet, 21, mostly made smart decisions with the puck when he was up for 21 games. Jensen, 24, hasn't gotten a foot in the NHL door yet, but the Wings think highly enough of him they just gave him a two-year contract. Sproul, 22, played one game with the Wings in 2013-14.
I was unable to speak to exactly one prospect that I wanted to speak with during the Red Wings' summer development camp, and the person was the most intriguing and puzzling prospect in the organization, the 6'5," 250-pound Mike McKee.
The Western Michigan University defenseman-turned-forward absolutely dances through the skill drills during the summer camp, but during scrimmages, he's invisible, and McKee's still playing limited minutes in a 4th line role with Andy Murray's Broncos. The Free Press's George Sipple spoke with Red Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin about McKee's potential:
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
They went a little nutty in the offseason
Detroit general manager Ken Holland had already been on the job for several seasons and two Stanley Cups (one as GM), so he wasn’t a guy who’d be afraid to come up with a strategy and execute it. In the case of the 2001 offseason, that strategy apparently involved watching a VHS tape of an All-Star Game from the early ’90s and screaming, “Get me all those guys.”
Holland got started in late June, trading Vyacheslav Kozlov and picks to the Buffalo Sabres for legendary goaltender Dominik Hasek. It was a lopsided trade in the Wings’ favor, driven more by the Sabres’ finances and Hasek’s desire to chase a Cup outside of Buffalo than by actual hockey concerns, and Holland took advantage. The acquisition paved the way for Osgood’s exit, as he was picked first overall by the Islanders in the waiver draft.
Days later, Detroit signed Luc Robitaille, who’d been part of the Kings team that had knocked the Wings out of the playoffs months earlier. They followed that up by signing Brett Hull in August, making them the first team in NHL history to have three 500-goal scorers on the roster at the same time. (The three were Hull, Robitaille, and Yzerman; Shanahan would make it four late in the season.)
When all was said and done, the 2002 Red Wings were very, very good. They were also old. Very, very old.
9 more points..
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
If one of the Detroit Red Wings prospects reaches the NHL this season, fans expect it to be Dylan Larkin.
That was to be expected given what the 2014 first-round pick has accomplished in the last year.
But what was a bit surprising is that Anthony Mantha, who just a year ago was being touted by many fans as somebody who was ready for the NHL, finished fourth in our poll asking which prospect will suit up for the Red Wings first.
How the mighty have fallen, eh?...
Of the 4,468 votes cast in our poll, Larkin received 2,275 – 50.9 percent – while Bertuzzi was second with 656 followed by Athanasiou (595) and Mantha (549).
The Grand Rapids Griffins have wrapped up their "Between the Benches" chronicling of the team's march to the Western Conference Final, and the sum total of videos comes to 12 episodes and 85 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, with the series taking a little more importance given that the insights into the Griffins' locker room preparation and their coach's techniques now apply to the Detroit Red Wings:
The Free Press's Helene St. James offers the following regarding Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey and Jakub Kindl's likelihood of earning significant ice time on the Red Wings' third defensive pair:
Speaking earlier this month, Blashill sounded as if he would offer Smith a shot at power-play time, something Babcock didn’t do. Blashill’s assessment is based partly on having coached Smith in Grand Rapids.
“I think Brendan’s best offensive ability is roaming around below the tops of the circles,” Blashill said. “If he’s a weak-side guy on a power play, going to the net lots, he can retreat pucks because he’s quick and he’s strong and he’s competitive. He’s got good offensive instincts once he gets below tops of circles. I know at (the university of) Wisconsin he was on his off-side hitting one-timers.
“So those are all things we’ll explore as we go into camp, and I think the positive things for us is you’d rather have more guys that can do it than not enough, and we have more guys than we did.”
At 26, Smith has played 196 games in Detroit, being a full-timer since 2013. He showed off his offensive instincts best in 2013-14, when he had 19 points in 71 games. But he showed holes in his defensive game — dropping to a minus-7 defensive rating after his first five games.
His decision-making is a work in progress — he was benched three games after handling the puck while on Detroit’s bench — but he can skate and shoot. If he cuts down on risky plays, Smith might just find a backer in Blashill.
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.