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Ansar Khan Answers UFA Questions

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Q: There seems to be a lot of buzz around the Wings and the only real marquee superstar out there this year: Steven Stamkos. The Leafs will probably back up a truck full of money for Stamkos, and there has been talk that they can also offer around $3.5 million in non-contract endorsement money. How do the Wings beat a deal like that? It's going to take in excess of 10 million per year, and the max term to get Stamkos, at a minimum. Is he worth it? ... What about looking at guys that fill a need for less money that are either RFA's, less hyped-up UFA's or buyout casualties? Thomas Vanek? Matt Martin? Eric Staal? Dan Hamhuis? Mikkel Boedker? – Saskatoon Wingnut

A: I can't speak to endorsement money. The Leafs might be able to offer more in salary, but it probably wouldn't be that much more than the Red Wings' offer. And no teams except Tampa Bay (eight years) can sign him for more than seven years.

Is he worth it? The Red Wings could use an established star, a marquee player to build the team around and create buzz heading into their new arena in 2017. His age (26) makes him more enticing.

You could argue that they would be a better team if they spent that money on, for example, Milan Lucic and Kyle Okposo. But it would be difficult to land either of those players and virtually impossible to get both. These players have many other options.

If Stamkos wants to come here and isn't commanding much more than $10 million a season, the Red Wings must make that deal.

I don't see them pursuing any restricted free agents. I doubt they'll look to sign a defenseman in free agency, since it's a thin crop. Better to keep options open for a possible trade later this summer or during the season.

I heard they're interested in Martin. Not sure about the others you mentioned.

read on for more UFA questions and other topics...

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TMR evening line: Miller takes great pride in being a penalty-killing Red Wing

You may or may not agree with the Red Wings' decision to re-sign Drew Miller to a 1-year, $1.025 million contract, but it's hard to question Miller's commitment to being a Red Wing. Miller spoke about his pride in wearing the winged wheel in a conversation with the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:

“I think a lot of people look at that role and think a younger guy can fill it,” Miller said. “I think my experience and what I bring to the team contributes night in and night out. It’s not always the easiest to play on the fourth line and kill penalties but it’s one I definitely like doing and take pride in. I want to get better at that as well.”

Miller has spent seven seasons with the Wings, who claimed him off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009. He has appeared in 449 games with Detroit, putting up 49 goals and 51 assists and posting a minus-18 rating.

"When you first come to the Red Wings you got (Nicklas) Lidstrom, (Tomas) Holmstrom, (Kirk) Maltby, (Chris) Osgood, (Kris) Draper, all these guys that won Cups, and you want to be a part of that,” Miller said. “You learn from those guys, how to do it the right way, what winning is all about. We haven’t won a Cup in my time here but you learn from those guys, you carry that tradition on. I think being a Red Wing is something special.

“We just lost one of our best Red Wings in Gordie Howe,” Miller continued. “To say you know him because you’re a Red Wing, those are the special things you get from being part of the Red Wings family. For me, being from Michigan and watching the Red Wings when I grew up and being on the team as long as I have been, I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”

Pleiness continues...

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Dennis Cholowski on being drafted by the Wings: ‘The hard work is not over, it is just starting’

From the Langley Times' Gary Ahuja:

Just because Dennis Cholowski has been drafted — by one of the premier National Hockey League franchises no less — does not mean he will rest on his laurels.

The Detroit Red Wings selected the 18-year-old from Langley in the first round, 20th overall, during the NHL entry draft on Friday at Buffalo’s First Niagara Centre.

“It is very exciting thing to get drafted in the first round but what it really means is the hard work starts now,” Cholowski said on Monday, the day after returning from Buffalo. “I have to get in the gym and get bigger and stronger and continually working on my game and be better on the ice. The hard work is not over, it is just starting.”


At the NHL Combine earlier this month, 29 of the 30 NHL clubs — all except Pittsburgh — spoke to Cholowski.

But he had no idea who might draft him — or when — but he said [coach Jason] Tatarnic suspected the Wings were interested. And after they acquired the 20th pick, the Chiefs coach came and sat beside Cholowski and his family.

“That kind of gave me suspicion and sure enough, it turns out to be them,” Cholowski said.“It was a blur. Just so exciting for me and my family. Jumping around and screaming. It was a surreal experience for sure.”


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On Ozzie and Rogie

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa penned a lengthy article discussing the Hall of Fame credentials of one Chris Osgood...

For a third year, the selection committee for the Hockey Hall of Fame passed over Chris Osgood.

It is only a matter of time.

Osgood’s career, measured by statistics, places him firmly within the pack of every goalie inducted since 2000.

There is a troublesome lack of buzz about him in the media this time of year, including the prognostications of inductees that crop up annually in late June. So many of them list goaltender like Miikka Kiprusoff, Nikolai Khabibulin and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, whose careers fall short of Osgood’s.

Curtis Joseph is more in the neighborhood, and he gets a lot more mentions in the media.

As for what the 19-member selection committee of the Hockey Hall of Fame discussed, whether they mentioned Osgood this year or last year, how they evaluate him, how many votes he got and what might be holding him back, we are unlikely ever to know.

And as Krupa continues, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose spoke with a short-time Red Wing who spent a long time waiting for a call from the Hall in Rogie Vachon:

Rogie Vachon – who played two of his 16 NHL seasons in Detroit – got the call that eluded him for more than three decades.

Vachon, along with former players Eric Lindros and Sergei Makarov, and the family Pat Quinn, the late coach and general manager, received the good news from hall chairman Lanny McDonald, who called each inductee Monday afternoon.

“I sort of resigned myself that I don’t think it’s gonna happen after all those years,” said Vachon, who posted a 30-57-19 record with the Red Wings from 1978-80. “When Lanny called I was at home with my son Nicholas and I was in total surprise because I didn’t even know that I was going to be on the list. But you know, looking back, it was really worth the wait.”

The new inductees will be enshrined during a ceremony at the hall in Toronto on Nov. 14.

Roose also continues...

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Aaron Ward: Datsyuk to sign with SKA St. Petersburg this week

From Aaron Ward:

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Evening news: On kicking UFA tires, the anti-Stamkos sentiment, Miller and draft talk

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Red Wings' front office is taking advantage of the free agent interview period to "wine and dine" unrestricted free agents-to-be:

"Talked to lots of players today letting them know we have interest,” [Red Wings GM Ken] Holland told the Free Press. “I'll double back with the agents later in the week and see what the player or agent is thinking.”

As of this afternoon, there were no plans to bring a player to Detroit, partly because it isn't really realistic. The window to interview players ahead of Friday's noon start of free agency opened this past Saturday, but that was taken up by the draft. Lots of players have interest from lots of teams, so talking over the phone makes the most sense.

The Wings have prime interest in 26-year-old, 312-goal scorer Steven Stamkos, who so far has rebuffed offers to stay in Tampa Bay. Other big-name forwards are Milan Lucic, Loui Eriksson Andrew Ladd and Troy Brouwer. The Wings badly need scoring help. They have about $19 million in spending power.

“We're going to sign some players,” Holland said. “We're looking at higher profile ones, but also looking to see if somebody lesser can have impact. That's part of the cap - they can't all be about big money.”

St. James continues, and notes the following:

Continue Reading »

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Helm off to market?

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose slid this tidbit about Darren Helm into an article discussing Drew Miller's re-signing:

The Red Wings have three other players who can become unrestricted free agents this week. Defenseman Kyle Quincey and center Brad Richards will not be brought back to Detroit. However, Darren Helm has been offered a contract, but the speedy forward has chosen to hit the open market when the bell rings Friday.

Detroit must also re-sign their restricted players, beginning with goalie Petr Mrazek. Forward Teemu Pulkkinen and defenseman Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko are also signing priorities this summer.

“The organization top to bottom is great,” Miller said. “I think we’ve got some good young kids who I know are gonna be aggressive here. With free agency I think the team they’re gonna put together, as they do every year, is gonna be fighting for a chance at the Cup. I want to be a part of that and I think I’ve made my role here and it’s one that I play and take pride in. I just want to get better at it every year.”

Roose continues at length...

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Not Ozzie’s year, again…

Updated 2x at 8:21 PM: Congrats to all the inductees...

I guess we wait another year or three for Chris Osgood to get his due. So it is.

Update: As the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan notes, Osgood may be a borderline case, but there's a case to be made:

Continue Reading »

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I took part in a podcast for Winged Octopus

I took part in a podcast at WingedOctopus.com yesterday, and as you might expect, blabby George went over the half-hour limit by two times as we discussed free agency, the draft and prospects:

I do make reference to the donation page but am at goal for the summer camp, so I'm raising funds for the fall. I promise not to annoy you with the Paypal button for a month or so.

Many thanks to the gang at Winged Octopus for having me!

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On Stamkos sales pitches

As TSN's Frank Seravalli and MLive's Brendan Savage survey the rumor mill, CBS Detroit's Will Burtchfeld wonders what exactly the Red Wings will have to offer Steven Stamkos to successfully court this year's marquee unrestricted free agent. I've always assumed that the Wings will offer less than a cap-max deal, offering something in the range of $8-10 million to entice Stamkos to be the centerpiece of a more thorough rebuild, but Burtchfield wonders if the Wings will have to offer more to sweeten the package:

Let’s be honest: the dollar signs reign supreme here. According to numerous reports, the Lighting have offered Stamkos a seven- to eight-year deal, worth somewhere from $8 to $8.5 million per season. He will undoubtedly command more on the open market – and we’ll get to that number in a moment – and thus the question is whether that gap in potential earnings is enough to draw Stamkos away from an ideal competitive situation. What’s the Stanley Cup – or the chance to win one, anyway – worth in his eyes?

That’s a question only he can answer, and his decision will spell out his guiding desires as a professional athlete. It will also speak to Stamkos’ level of self-belief, the strength of his conviction, one way or another, that he is capable of pushing a lesser team into serious Cup contention. The Wings, in that sense, are an interesting contrast to Buffalo and Toronto. They’ll likely be the most competitive of the three in the immediate future, but it’s hard to project where this team will be four or five years from now. The Sabres and Leafs, on the other hand, seem well-situated for continued success as their young players come of age. And though Stamkos certainly doesn’t want to waste a precious season or two of his prime, he’s not exactly motivated by a sense of professional mortality.

I don't think that the Wings are going to offer Stamkos a $12 million contract, but their sales pitch is at least a relatively strong one (including from the geographical advantages of being "close to home without having to deal with the Toronto media maelstrom on a direct basis):

Continue Reading »

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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.


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