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Evening news: On fitness testing, Vili Saarijarvi and ‘shot passes’

Updated 2x at 9:48 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. The Wings posted a 4-minute video in which there's a surprisingly frank discussion of the Wings' use of heart rate monitors as part of the Wings' emphasis on fitness during the development camp, with Jiri Fischer, strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar and Shawn Horcoff discuss the on-ice fitness testing:

2. DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji and Arthur J. Regner combined for an article discussing Vili Saarijarvi's status as a player who made a positive impression during development camp:

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The case for ‘shorting’ Tatar

The Hockey News's Jared Clinton suggests that Tomas Tatar should receive less than the $6 million he's seeking or the $5 million the Wings are probably offering him given that Tyler Johnson signed a 7-year, $35 million contract with Tampa Bay recently:

[Why] would Detroit hand out $5 million to Tatar? While he’s inarguably playing and producing as part of a weaker roster, the comparison between the two players gives the edge to Johnson, who just signed long-term at $5 million per season. One would think a similar deal for Tatar would then come in cheaper, especially if Detroit hands out term over dollars.

There’s reason for Detroit to want to push Tatar’s cap figure down, too. As of Wednesday, Detroit has little more than $2.2 million in cap space with new contracts due to Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou. That means somewhere, in some way, shape or form, Detroit needs to clear up some space to make room before the campaign begins. That’s not to mention the Red Wings will need new deals for RFAs Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Riley Sheahan, Ryan Sproul and Petr Mrazek come next season, so every penny spent will have to be considered.

So, while Tatar may be seeking $5 million-plus on a new deal and pointing to a future where he hits the open market, Johnson’s deal combined with a few other factors could see the Red Wings winger heading to arbitration and earning less — and on a shorter term — than he may have been expecting following a few productive campaigns.


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St. James: Vanek still an option for Wings

From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

The Detroit Red Wings remain in contact with Thomas Vanek.

Nearly two weeks into free agency, Vanek, 33, is still unsigned, even though he is coming off a good season. A few teams have kicked tires on him, but the sense is he would prefer to come back to Detroit if possible. His agent and the Red Wings are keeping in contact, even as a comeback has hurdles to clear.

For starters, the Red Wings don’t have much in salary cap space, with $5 million earmarked for resigning Tomas Tatar and another million earmarked for resigning Andreas Athanasiou. Vegas taking Tomas Nosek in the expansion draft provided the Wings no salary cap relief, as it would have done had the Golden Knights taken Riley Sheahan, or Darren Helm.

Beyond that, the Red Wings want some of their younger players – especially big forward Anthony Mantha - to play a bigger role.

Also weighed in the balance, though, is just what an impact Vanek made last season with the Wings. He had chemistry with everyone he played with – at the start of the season, the team’s hottest line had Vanek with Helm and Gustav Nyquist. When Vanek suffered an injury, those two got very quiet, production-wise.


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‘Three Things’: On Tatar, Horcoff’s develpment camp take and Little Caesars Arena’s roof

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The Athletic's Tyler Dellow suggests that the Wings and Tomas Tatar should settle on a one-year contract...

If Tatar is on a long-term deal, that limits what the Red Wings can do. So if Holland and the Red Wings are wrong about their ability to compete next season after having signed Tatar to a significant extension, they tie their hands on a rebuild.

You can also flip the “What if you're wrong?” question around and ask it of the people who think that the Red Wings are already in a rebuild and that the next step will be management acknowledging it. What if Detroit signs Tatar to a one-year deal, a bunch of young players take steps, veterans age well and Detroit returns to being a 95-point team? Are the Red Wings then facing the loss of Tatar for nothing?

Dellow continues...

2. MLive's Brendan Savage wrote an article discussing Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff's impressions of development camp:

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Evening news: three development camp-related items

Of Red Wings-related note this evening:

1. DetroitRedWings.com's Arthur J. Regner wrote an article summarzing Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff's takes on his first summer development camp:

"I"m really happy with it," said Shawn Horcoff, the Wings' director of player development. "The goal of this camp is really just to educate the kids on all the different aspects it takes to become a hockey player, a good NHL hockey player. A lot of information was given to them but I think they retained it. The feedback was good, their effort was excellent. I was really happy with the pace they had in their game. It went great."

The youngsters always have fun in the traditional putt-putt golf tournament and even in the cooking classes, which become a competition, but this year Horcoff wanted to make sure the players had a place to gather when they weren't working.

"We added a commons room this year. That was a big hit," Horcoff said. "For those that don't know, usually NHL teams in the playoffs when they go into road cities they always have a commons room. There might be card tables and ping-pong, there's always a lot of couches and TVs, just an area for everyone to gather and socialize. To me it's just as important for these guys to be comfortable with each other, get to know each other, start relationships as it is on the ice."

Regner continues...

2. Regner also spoke with Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson for half-an-hour's worth of "Red and White Authority" podcast...

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Impressions from the fifth day of the Red Wings’ summer development camp ‘17

The Red Wings' summer development campers wrapped up their on-ice activities with a split set of fast-paced practices which were followed up by the dreaded "skating test," a downright vicious set of 3 intervals of 3 team skates up and down the ice surface, followed by 3, 2 and 1-minute rest intervals.

The main event was preceded by practices that I would best describe as focused on a layered attack and layered defense, with the skaters almost entirely engaging in sets of 2-on-1 and 3-on-1 drills. There was one instance in which forwards played "get 'em to turn" with defensemen skating through center ice, and there was a lovely drill in which the nets were set up "street hockey"-style at the half boards, with 2 defensemen playing 2-on-2 hockey against 2 forwards...

But the day was full of surprises in every instance, from the pre-practice goalie drills to the ultimate winners of the skating tests. Free agent invites Sean Josling, Graham Slaggert and Tommy Marchin left it all on the line with tremendous last-day performances, and while players like Filip Hronek, Vili Saarijarvi and Dennis Cholowski starred in the skating tests, Kasper Kotkansalo, Givani Smith and big Alex Peters, all 6'4" and 220 pounds of him, displayed the anerobic conditioning necessary to finish the skating drills strongly.

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Here’s the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 2017-18 season schedule

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday released their schedule for the 2017-18 American Hockey League season. It will mark the franchise’s 22nd campaign overall, 17th as members of the AHL and 16th as the primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.

The Griffins and third-year head coach Todd Nelson will open their 76-game slate at Van Andel Arena with a pair of games against the Manitoba Moose on Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7, marking the 12th time Grand Rapids’ season opener has been at home. The Griffins’ road opener will occur a week later when the team heads to San Jose on Friday, Oct. 13 for a rematch of the 2017 Western Conference Finals.

Highlights of the 2017-18 schedule include:

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‘Two Things’: On Dylan Sadowy and ‘wearable technology’

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan spoke with Dylan Sadowy regarding his up-and-mostly-down rookie pro season with the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toledo Walleye:

“It’s a big step,” Sadowy said of turning pro. “It’s the same step coming out of major junior and going to the OHL. It’s something you’re not prepared for, and it takes a while to get adjusted to, but after a couple of games you get used to it and get the hang of it and you learn from all the older guys.”

Sadowy has the size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds), but needs to work on his speed and conditioning to succeed at the pro level.

“Keep working hard,” Sadowy said of his goal. “I talked with the coaching staff and other people and what I have to do is get faster on the ice and just give it 110 percent every single shift. You can always work on your conditioning (too). You are never too conditioned. It’s a long season and you want to be in good condition.”

The inability to crack the lineup in Grand Rapids was disappointing, but Sadowy doesn’t regard it as a complete setback to his ultimate goal of reaching the NHL.

“You obviously want to get to the National Hockey League as fast as you can, and the AHL is a stepping stone,” Sadowy said. “I got one year under my belt and now you go back next year and see how things go and see how camp goes and we’ll take step by step.”

Kulfan continues, noting Jeff Blashill's development camp remarks and speaking with defenseman Reilly Webb...

2. And The Athletic's Craig Custance penned an article discussing the wearable heart monitors that the Wings' development campers have been wearing this week, and the possible applications of such data if the NHL and NHLPA can agree to allow players to wear such devices during NHL games:

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Audio from the fifth day of the Red Wings’ summer development camp

The Red Wings' summer development campers wrapped up their activites at Centre ICE Arena today, engaging in practices which focused on layered attack and defense before undergoing the ever-entertaining and probably brutal-to-skate-through "skating test," where players got 3 minutes, 2 minutes and then 1 minute's worth of rest between skating from the faceoff dots to the far goal line, back to the near goal line, and back and forth two more times.

The results of said test were intriguing at times and surprising at others--more on that later--and the development camp wrapped up with players huffing and puffing as they packed their equipment in bags and prepared to head off their separate ways for the balance of the summer.

After the morning and afternoon sessions, I managed to snag a few last-minute interviews from the players, and they include the following:

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How About A One-Year Deal For Tatar?

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Tatar has been a productive player, but the Wings are operating under the constraints of several longer-term deals, and with the fact that next summer will see rising stars Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha reach restricted free agency, along with Tyler Bertuzzi.

The Wings may be better off with a one-year deal when it comes to Tatar. If he shows better consistency (four or five goals per month), then re-open talks on a long-term deal. If Tatar rejects such talk, then flip him for picks and/or prospects at the trade deadline. 


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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.


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