The Malik Report
While the Red Wings’ amateur scouting staff prepared for this weekend’s NHL draft at First Niagara Center, coach Jeff Blashill took the opportunity to assemble his staff, including new assistants Doug Houda and John Torchetti.
“(We) all went to dinner on Wednesday night and that’s just a good start to getting a feel for each other personally,” said Blashill, who was also joined by staffers Dave Noel-Bernier and Pat Ferschweiler. “I think sometimes that’s more important than getting into the details of hockey. We’ll do that later on. Right now it’s been more socially and trying to get comfortable with each other.”
Houda and Torchetti bring a wealth of NHL coaching experience behind the Red Wings’ bench, but more importantly they will help out Blashill, who is entering his second season as an NHL head coach. So just getting together as a staff during the off season is a big step in creating chemistry.
“I think the best staffs have chemistry,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you always get along, it doesn’t mean you always agree but you build off each other and you work as a cohesive unit. So I think that’s a real good first step, all being here together.”
Update: From the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
Updated 10x at 11:51 PM: The Detroit Red Wings take Dennis Cholowski from Chilliwack of the BCHL.
Here's a set of highlights for the St. Cloud State University-bound defenseman:
Here's "Future Considerations" on Cholowski:
Updated 5x at 12:03 AM:
Vitale, 30, has 1 year remaining at $1.16 million per General Fanager.
Take this for what you will, per Sportsnet's John Shannon:
From the Spruce Grove Examiner's Mitch Goldenberg:
The hockey world lost a legend on June 10 when six-time NHL MVP, four-time Stanley Cup champion and 23-time all star Gordie Howe passed away at the age of 88.
For three years during Howe’s reign of dominance, he was teammates with Stony Plain resident and NHL legend Glenn Hall with the Detroit Red Wings.
“I met Gordie at my first training camp out west when I was 16 years old,” Hall recalled.
In 1949, Howe was still a teenager but had already established himself as an exceptional NHL talent. Hall was invited to the Red Wings’ pro camp in Saskatchewan, where he would eventually earn a spot in their farm system with the Windsor Spitfires.
“They had the pros mixed in with us and as soon as you saw him, you knew he was the best player you ever saw,” Hall said of No. 9. “He was in a class by himself. The only guy close to him was Bobby Orr.”
From the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness:
If there was ever a time the Detroit Red Wings could use a draft filled with a decent amount of quality players it’s this year. And they got it.
“I think the quality is definitely there,” Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright said. “I think after 10 to 30 it’s pretty interchangeable if you took the other 29 teams’ lists and compared them after the draft was done there would be wide variety on how teams ranked it, even from seven or eight back. The quality is definitely there but I think there’s definitely going to be some guys that are going to go higher than we thought or we definitely had guys that are higher than the rest or the majority,” Wright continued.
The Wings have the 16th overall pick in the first round, which takes place Friday in Buffalo with the final six rounds on Saturday. It’s the second-highest first round pick since 1991 for them.
Wright reiterated what general manager Ken Holland said on Wednesday that they’ll take the best available player with their first pick, no matter the position.
“It’s the cliché that the general public doesn’t like to hear, but it really is, you take the top guy on your draft board at that position, whether it’s a forward, D or goalie,” Wright said.
Spb.Sovsport.ru spoke with Pavel Datsyuk's agent, Dan Milstein, regarding Datsyuk's situation at present. Here's a rough translation thereof:
Milstein: "Pavel returned home, he's now in Yekaterinburg with his family. After a few days he will decide where to continue his career."
Q. [SKA St. Petersburg GM] Alexander Medvedev made it clear that Datsyuk will come from the NHL to SKA.
Milstein: "I can't comment on these statements because I don't know [Medvedev] personally. Pavel will consult his family about the new teams and decide in the coming days."
Ahead of tonight's draft, MLive's Ansar Khan checked in with Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright about the progress made by the Wings' 2015 draft picks:
Evgeny Svechnikov (LW, 19th): Will start pro career with Grand Rapids this season following back-to-back 32-goal seasons (78 and 79 points, respectively) with Cape Breton (QMJHL). He appeared in two playoff games for the Griffins.
"Happy with his development through the year," Wright said. "I didn't think he had the best World Junior (no points in seven games for Russia). I thought he competed hard. We like the size (6-2, 205), we like the sense, like the way he plays below the goal line. He's got into Grand Rapids in the playoff run at the end of the year, played a couple of games, did fine. He's a big body guy that competes, can really shoot the puck and play in the trenches, so happy with that for sure."
Vili Saarijarvi (D, 73rd): His first and only season with the OHL Flint Firebirds was tumultuous, to say the least. This small (5-10,165) puck-moving defenseman had 12 goals and 43 points, along with a minus-15 rating, in 59 games. He played five games for Toledo (ECHL), picking up a goal and three assists. Saarijarvi was traded Friday to the Mississauga Steelheads.
"He did a lot of growing up this year, obviously playing in Flint with the controversy they had around them all year," Wright said. "I thought he played extremely well at the World Junior team (no goals, four assists in seven games for Finland, which won the gold medal). Excited he got to play in big games and play big minutes, played on their power play in the World Junior. Size is a little bit concerning. He's got to get stronger, he's got to put his time in the weight room, but offensively he's gifted. So excited with that."
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Who wouldn't want Fowler? He's 24, already has played more than 400 NHL games, went straight from being drafted 12th overall in 2010 by Anaheim to playing 76 games for the Ducks in 2010-11. He's a smooth puck mover with two years left on a contract that pays $4 million annually.
He'd significantly improve a Wings defense that's average at best. Fowler isn't a true No. 1 defenseman such as Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty or Duncan Keith, but Fowler is a good No. 2, and the Wings don't even have that at the moment.
As always, the issue is price. Would it make sense for this year's 16th overall pick and a good prospect? Yes. But what if the price is this year's first-round pick and promising right-winger Anthony Mantha?
From the Free Press's Brian Manzullo:
Vili Saarijarvi apparently wanted out of Flint - and the Flint Firebirds obliged.
The Ontario Hockey League team announced it had traded Saarijarvi, a Finnish defenseman, to the Mississauga Steelheads. The Firebirds received forward Everett Clark, a second-round pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, a fifth-round pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection and a conditional second-round pick in the 2023 OHL Priority Selection.
Saarijarvi is still under the control of the Detroit Red Wings, who drafted him in the third round of the 2015 NHL draft.
“It is unfortunate that Vili was unwilling to continue here in Flint, especially with our new group in place,” Flint Firebirds general manager George Burnett said in a statement. “Vili’s representation made it very clear that a move was necessary or we risked losing him to the Finnish Elite League. Therefore, we wanted to find the best move possible for our club.”
It's unclear where Saarijarvi will play next season despite the trade. He was promoted to the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red Wings' top minor-league team, in late March to get a look in the AHL and is planning to work this summer in off-season conditioning to get back to the Griffins this fall.
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