The Malik Report
As mentioned earlier today, a total of eight Red Wings prospects are taking part in World Junior summer camps this week--Dylan Larkin and Dominic Turgeon (USA), Julius Vahtalo and Vili Saarijarvi (Finland), Christoffer Ehn and Axel Holmstrom (Sweden) are all taking part in the U.S. World Junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, NY, and Joe Hicketts (Canada) and Evgeny Svechnikov (Russia) taking part in Canada's World Junior camp in Calgary.
And, as you might imagine, Red Wings GM Ken Holland is absolutely delighted with the fact that six of the Red Wings' top prospects are taking part i a high-level competition in early August, as he told the Free Press's Helene St. James (via RedWingsFeed):
“They’re playing against their peers, that’s why I like it,” Holland told the Free Press. “To evaluate 18-19 year olds, if you try to evaluate them at a main camp, against pros, they don’t have the puck a lot. If you see them against their peers, you get a better read for their potential, and things they need to improve on.”
Just as importantly, unlike the summer development camps, spots with national teams are on the line, so there's checking, physical battling and different sets of team officials to impress.
It’s an especially good opportunity to see Holmstrom, because while the Wings have signed him, “we’re not bringing him to camp in fall because he’s trying to establish himself with a Swedish Elite League team,” Holland said.
While Saarijarvi is expected to play next season in Flint and Larkin either will be in Detroit or Grand Rapids, this is an opportunity to get a better handle on all six, as well as seeing some of next-year’s draft-eligible players.
St. James continues, stating that Holland will take in both camps. I'm sure he won't be representing the Wings alone--the World Junior summer camps precede the Under-17 Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic, so this is basically the "start of the 2015-16 season" for the Red Wings' amateur scouts.
Among today's Red Wings-related news stories:
1. The World Junior camps are underway in Lake Placid (Dominic Turgeon and Dylan Larkin represent Team USA; Juilus Vahatalo represents Finland; and both Christoffer Ehn and Axel Holmstrom represent Sweden) and Calgary (Joe Hicketts is playing for Team Canada; Evgeny Svechnikov is playing for Russia), and ESPN's Corey Pronman is covering the U.S. camp:
FASTHockey.com is going to air the U.S. camp games online; TSN will air Canada's tilts.
2. Also in the prospect department, OHL Prospects Blog's Brock Otten examined the Red Wings' Ontario Hockey League graduates:
Alexey Marchenko had a conversation with Sport-Express's Igor Eronko recently, and here's a very rough translation thereof (as there's some colloquialism fun going on here):
As far as I'm concerned, it's just a bit too early for fantasy hockey talk, but the Hockey News's Matt Larkin spent a good bit of time compiling the Hockey News's top 200 fantasy hockey player list, and seven Red Wings players made the cut:
43. Pavel Datsyuk, C: Quietly topped a point per game for second time in past three years. May miss first month, though. Watch the injury reports.
48. Henrik Zetterberg, C: Doesn’t score goals like he used to but still piles up points in Detroit.
61. Tomas Tatar, LW: A year ago, Gus Nyquist was Wings’ top young talent. Now it’s Tatar, who always had the better pedigree.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill stopped by the Grand Rapids Griffins' youth hockey camp today, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that Blashill was in town to watch his 9-year-old son take part in the event:
He got to watch his oldest son, 9-year-old Teddy, take part in the camp, and then signed autographs for 30 minutes for the 75 campers in attendance.
"I haven't had as much a chance to watch him because we're in the process of moving right now," Blashill said of one of his three children. "But it's a cool thing to be able to see him. I think he likes daddy on this side of the glass and not on the ice with him, so it works out good."
Blashill said his family has sold their home in East Grand Rapids and purchased a home in Plymouth. They will complete the move in the next couple of weeks.
"I feel blessed to be a part of the organization for three years and to get an opportunity before we leave town here and touch base with some of the young kids here," he said. "I think there's a great connection with the Red Wings and Griffins, and I think as you go through the state of Michigan there are Red Wings fans everywhere. I just don't think this is censured to just one region of the state. So it's' good to be able to touch base."
As the Grand Rapids Griffins wrap up their youth hockey camp, a familiar face dropped in for a visit...
And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Wings assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler about his adjustment from Grand Rapids to his new position with the Red Wings:
First-year Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler got a taste of what's ahead under Jeff Blashill when the staff met for the first time about three weeks ago. Ferschweiler, who was with the Grand Rapids Griffins with Blashill, will be joined on the bench by Tony Granato, a holdover from Mike Babcock's staff. He came away encouraged.
"We went over for two days in Detroit for a seminar where we did, 'Here's how we did things in Grand Rapids,' and Tony said, 'Here's how we did taught things in Detroit,'" Ferschweiler said. "Now, the systems are virtual the same with a few subtle differences. Some of the verbiage is different, so we just wanted to get on the same page and say I like the way that sounds or the way this sounds. That was our first time as a staff."
Ferschweiler continues, discussing his role as the power play manager for Detroit's forwards, and at the end of the article, he and Blashill discuss their roles in terms of keeping each other in check:
Niklas Kronwall spoke with Expressen's Jonatan Lindquist in a very lengthy interview, and here's a rough translation thereof:
ESPN's Scott Burnside penned a list of, "Five teams that could fall out of the playoff picture" during the 2015-16 season, and he included the Red Wings in his list:
Detroit Red Wings
Yeah, we know GM Ken Holland nabbed defenseman Mike Green during the summer. But did anyone happen to watch the tapes of the final three games of the Capitals’ second-round loss to the New York Rangers, when Green was regularly exposed by the Rangers? Enough said.
And while we like the addition of Brad Richards, who was a key part of Chicago’s run to a Stanley Cup last spring, the 35-year-old Richards joins a forward group that also includes the aging Johan Franzen (a battered 35), Henrik Zetterberg (34) and Pavel Datsyuk (37).
With Datsyuk coming off injury and perhaps not available until after the start of the season, and with the goaltending situation still in a state of flux under rookie head coach Jeff Blashill, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the Wings' improbable run stops at 24 straight playoff appearances.
Burnside continues...and he seems to have forgotten about Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek etc.
One Red Wings prospect and one free agent have reflected upon their summer camp experiences, with Joe Hicketts looking forward to taking part in Team Canada's World Junior summer evaluation camp starting on Saturday, as he told the Victoria Times-Colonist's Mario Annicchiarico...
The Victoria Royals captain has represented the country at several international events, but to be part of the junior evaluation camp at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park [in Calgary] is a first for the Kamloops native.
“I didn’t get the opportunity to go to it last year,” said Hicketts, who arrives in Alberta today, with practices set for Saturday and Sunday before the recruits are divided into teams to play Russia and the Czech Republic from Monday to Thursday. I’m looking forward to meeting all the new guys and seeing what camp is about. It’s going to be quick with practices and then four games. Hopefully, I can become one of the leaders there, that’s my personal goal.”
He’s handled that responsibility on previous Canadian teams in younger age groups, wearing a ‘C’ or an ‘A’ as captain or an alternate.
And MLive's Brendan Savage spoke to University of Michigan forward Alex Kile during the Red Wings' summer development camp, discussing Kile's desire to fill Dylan Larkin's absence on the Wolverines' roster:
DetroitRedWings.com's Craig Peterson was tasked with penning an article featuring Jakub Kindl's "Red Wings highs," and by the time you get through the list of the times that Kindl came off the bench and produced, you start feeling downright sympathetic for the plight of Mike Babcock's least favorite defenseman, 2014-15 season version:
Appearing in just 35 games, the Red Wings’ defenseman achieved new goal-scoring highs and provided a major boost in production from the blue line. In his fifth season, Kindl came into the lineup and had an immediate impact on games.
A healthy scratch for the majority of the season, Kindl spent much of the season retooling his game and honing his skills in practice. When called upon though, the veteran defenseman came into the game with a splash producing some of his best performances after being sidelined for an extended period of time.
(In practice and in Grand Rapids)
On Feb. 21, in a game against the Dallas Stars, Kindl was thrust into the lineup after Kyle Quincey was scratched with an ankle injury. The game was Kindl’s first glimpse of action in nearly two months, as he had been out of the lineup for the previous 20 games.
Showing no signs of rust, the 6-foot-3, 199-pound defenseman scored back-to-back goals just 1:15 apart in the third period, propelling the Wings back into the game and tying it at 4-4. Kindl’s contribution would be critical, as the team needed every bit of offense to overpower the Stars, 7-6 in overtime.
Peterson continues, with more scratch-to-star narratives and praise for Kindl from one Brendan Smith...
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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.