The Malik Report
George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press answered some questions from Tigers/Wings fans today (mostly Tigers)...
What happened to Z in the second half of the Season? What's his outlook for this season?
I assume you mean the lack of goal scoring? He did have 18 assists over the final 27 games, but only two goals. It wasn't like he wasn't chipping in offensively, but yes you'd think he'd put a few more in the net himself. As long as he's healthy, he'll remain an important player for the Wings, even more so at the start of the season when Datsyuk is missing.
If both players shine in training camp/preseason who is more likely to make the big club this year mantha or larkin?
I don't think there's any doubt that Dylan Larkin is the top prospect in the organization at this point. That said, I don't think there's really any chance that Larkin will start the season with the Wings, barring injury. But, it is entirely possible that if he dominates at the AHL level, he could force them to call him up at some point during the season.
As for Mantha, he's got a lot to prove. He needs to show he is willing to battle more than he did last season. And he has to get stronger, which he's apparently showing more of a commitment to doing this summer.
If Holland were to retire in the near future, do you think Kris Draper would be promoted to GM?
No, don't think Draper is ready for something like that. He might be one day. I can tell you that he gets a lot of credit for the Wings drafting Tyler Bertuzzi.
added 2:27pm, It's summer and I am a dummy. I see George posted this earlier today, sorry for the mess up.
Among this afternoon's Red Wings-related news stories:
First, from the Grand Rapids Griffins:
Second, the Free Press's George Sipple answered some Wings-related questions during a chat on Freep.com...
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In cheerier Pavel Datsyuk news...
Join us in wishing the #MagicMan @Datsyuk13 a very happy birthday today!
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:
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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.