The Malik Report
The Free Press's Helene St. James disusses the "pros and cons" of the free agents the Red Wings may or may not be able to sign...
Frans Nielsen has been tagged within the Wings organization as a target because he'd fill a need at center following the departure of Pavel Datsyuk. He's versatile enough to play in all situations, trustworthy defensively and a good passer who could help set up Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. Bearing in mind that overpaying is inevitable, maybe the Wings offer Nielsen, 32, four years at $6 million annually. Yes, that's a lot of money, but it's better to overpay in money than term.
Nielsen would enable the Wings to use Dylan Larkin as their first-line center, maybe between Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader. Larkin mostly played wing last season, but his speed makes him a natural at the center spot.
Milan Lucic, 28, beckons as the biggest name after Stamkos -- and with Stamkos no longer available, Lucic is likely to get an even bigger offer from a team such as Edmonton.
Updated 2x at 12:09 PM: ESPN's Craig Custance examined the "Plan B's" (I'm pretty sure that, technically speaking, it should be "Plans B," but that sounds a little stuffy) for the teams that were interested in Steven Stamkos, and in his Insider-only article, Custance suggests that the Red Wings now need to make a trade:
Detroit Red Wings
New target: Jacob Trouba
Signing Stamkos would have given the Red Wings a replacement for Pavel Datsyuk. It would have given them a headliner for their new arena and a supserstar for the next era in Detroit.
It also wouldn’t have addressed their biggest need, which is getting younger and more mobile on defense.
The Jets would move Trouba for the right price, especially with Trouba’s big contract looming as a restricted free agent and Winnipeg facing expansion draft protection challenges in less than a year. The Jets ideally want a left-handed defenseman who can play in their top four and would be willing to commit to Winnipeg long-term as part of the package back. There may not be a fit there with Detroit. If not, Holland should turn his attention to Cam Fowler.
Update: NHL.com's Nichols J. Cotsonika also weighs in:
Updated 2x at 11:10 AM: Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. MLive's Tom Mitsos compares the advanced stats of Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Fowler, Dan Hamhuis and Jacob Trouba in a superb article...
Updated 2x at 12:57 PM:
RED WINGS RELEASE DEVELOPMENT CAMP ROSTER AND SCHEDULE
… Camp Begins Wednesday, July 6 in Traverse City; All 2016 NHL Entry Draft Selections Slated to Attend…
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today released the schedule and preliminary roster for their 2016 Development Camp, which will be held at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Mich., from July 6-10. The camp begins on Wednesday, July 6 and features on-ice skill development and off-ice workouts each day, including scrimmages on Friday, July 8 and Sunday, July 10. The camp roster currently consists of 39 players: 23 forwards, 11 defensemen and five goaltenders.
The camp will be split into two sides, Team Howe and Team Lindsay, and will feature daily on-ice instruction and skill development from a team of coaches, led by Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Todd Nelson. Attendees will also take part in NHL-level off-ice workouts and attend classes designed to help players transition to professional hockey, while receiving feedback from Red Wings coaches and management.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Why he would interest the Red Wings: He's relatively young with proven offensive ability. It's an area of concern for a team that had trouble scoring and lost Pavel Datsyuk. His right shot would be valued on a team loaded with left shooters.
How he could fit in with the Red Wings: He would play first- or second-line right wing and on the power play. He doesn't kill penalties.
What it might take to get him: Perhaps a five- or six-year deal in the range of $6 million a season.
Three key questions: 1. Should the Red Wings pursue a center instead? 2. Does Okposo's age make him a more desirable target than someone like David Backes, Troy Brouwer or Andrew Ladd? 3. How important is it for the Red Wings to have a right-handed shot among their top-six forwards?
Of note from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts:
18. The Pavel Datsyuk deal with Arizona freed up Detroit to do a few things, and the Red Wings will take advantage. After looking through the finances, there’s some indication — in addition to drafting Jakob Chychrun — as to why the Coyotes did it. Datsyuk costs them no real money. Joe Vitale did. Sadly, Vitale’s injuries make it unlikely he will play again and his contract is $1.3M cash for 2016-17. I don’t think it was insured, which is normal for one that isn’t among the highest-paying deals on a team. For Arizona, that’s real money. Detroit can flex its financial muscle and eat that. I’m not sure it’s going to make a few other teams feel better since the Red Wings are now in the game, but I see why it happened.
I'm sorry for Vitale--genuinely so--but his $1.16 million in cap space + Franzen's $3.95 million in cap space = $5.11 million for the Wings to spend in addition to Datsyuk's $7.5 million hit, or about $12.61 million to spend in addition to the $10 or so million allocated to re-sign Petr Mrazek, Danny DeKeyser, Alexey Marchenko and the various restricted free agents the Wings want to keep.
Now whether Ken Holland should spend all or part of that $12.61 million in discretionary spending space is a completely different story...
19. There was plenty of talk on the floor New Jersey was going to benefit from Detroit’s need to clear space if Arizona didn’t.
And this is a "thought" I believe is important not only becaus the Wings chased Radulov, but because Shipachov/Shipachyov is now available:
This is hard to read, and it's rather depressing, so you've been warned. Fox 2 Detroit's M.L. Elrick tells the story of "Gordie Howe's final victory," a lawsuit against his former business manager:
Will Rogers used to say "I never met a man I didn't like." Gordie Howe sure seemed to have that same love for his fellow man. Unfortunately, Gordie's goodness left him vulnerable to business partners with their own agenda.
ML Elrick: "Will you just stop and answer some questions, sir? We want to give you a chance to have your say. You've been accused of ripping off one of the greatest hockey players of all time."
Del Reddy: "God bless you."
Well, I certainly appreciate the blessing, but what I could really use is some answers.
Answers to questions like these:
Why did you betray Gordie Howe?
Why did you start a charity in the Howes' name?
What happened to the charity's money?
When are you going to pay the $3 million you owe Mr. Hockey?
Earlier this afternoon, while hockey Twitter was imploding, the Detroit News's Tony Paul reported some unsettling news if you're a hockey fan starved for hockey talk under the Flagship Station's reign: Detroit Sports 105.1 FM got the axe, and with it went the possibility that sports talk radio listneers' ears might hear hockey talk outside WDFN's Matt Sheppard show and late night Pat Caputo on 97.1 (to be fair, when they do make hockey a priority on The Ticket, they do it very well, but they don't do it often).
The Detroit News's Paul broke down DS 105.1 FM's demise:
Around 6 p.m., oldies started to play on WMGC and the station’s website, app and Facebook page were deactivated or replaced with other content.
The news comes after Detroit Sports 105.1 failed to take any significant chunk of WXYT-FM 97.1 The Ticket’s audience since launching in August 2013.
Greater Media officials have said the sports format would be a long-term play of at least five years, but decided to change in recent weeks after firing their second program director, Dave Shore, in May, and, after some initial replacement feelers halting the search.
“Quite honestly, what changed is that we didn’t see the growth coming,” said Steve Chessare, vice president/market manager for Greater Media Detroit. “It’s a business, obviously, and my job is to deliver revenue to the bottom line, and we think we gave it a good shot and I’m proud of every single person at that radio station. I thought we did a great job as far as delivering content. ... It didn’t take hold in Detroit.”
Paul continues, and for someone who was listening to Sean Baligian and Darren McCarty interview USA Today's Kevin Allen on podcast Tuesday...This is a real bummer.
Author's note: It appears that Paul was not the person who "broke the story," as it were. No offense was intended toward the person who did so by posting Paul's story.
Updated at 12:17 AM with some bummer tweets: The reactions to Steven Stamkos' decision to remain with the Tampa Bay Lightning have ranged from disappointed and angry to just plain old angry in the comments sections of more than a few blogs, this one included, and ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's revelation that the Wings were never invited to make an in-person pitch to Stamkos' agents just pours some salt in the wound...
But my gut feeling was always that Stamkos was probably going to stay in Tampa Bay as his best opportunity to win was always already around him, so while I'm very disappointed that the Red Wings were unable to add a superstar to the mix, I wasn't pinning my hopes and dreams on someone other than Sergei Fedorov being the last player to wear #91 in red and white.
I'm not in the mood to question whether there's an indictment on Ken Holland, who's gone back from genius to moron (again) in the eyes of most Wings fans, now that the Wings' sales pitch (remember the draft? They were able to make one; the team just couldn't technically discuss term or money, which was probably hinted at regardless of the rules) didn't work.
Now it's about finding the right "Plan B," and with Kyle Okposo, David Backes, Andrew Ladd, Mikkel Boedeker, Loui Eriksson, Frans Nielsen, Troy Brouwer, Milan Lucic (assuming he doesn't sign with Edmonton), Eric Staal, Matt Martin, Jason Demers, Kris Russell and a host of other free agents available (including bought-out players like Fedor Tyutin), the Wings need to crunch the numbers, crunch stats both advanced and conventional and out-smart the competition to snag the right player at the right pri...
What's that, you want to get the anger and disappointment out of the way? Well, 97.1 the Ticket's Pat Caputo provides for your needs:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
"We've got cap space. We'd like to sign somebody. We got to let this system play itself out," Holland said Wednesday. "Some of these guys might re-sign with their teams. I think there's probably 10 or 12 teams doing the same thing we're doing and we'll see what happens over the next week."
The top players on the market will cost between $5 million and $6 million a season. The cap hit isn't a concern, but there are risks in giving too much term to an older player (30 or 32), especially someone who plays a physical game like Brouwer or Backes.
Nielsen is 32, but doesn't have the hard miles on him. He's a skilled two-way center. That's the hole they must plug and that's why Nielsen might be their main target with an offer of a five-year deal for around $5.5 million.
Okposo's age (28) also sets him apart from some of the older free agents.
Holland didn't rule out the possibility of re-signing Darren Helm, who has been talking to other teams this week. If Helm isn't re-signed, the Red Wings might make a pitch for Matt Martin, a 6-foot-3, 221-pound bruising winger who led the NHL in hits last season with the New York Islanders.
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.