On Funding the Wings’ New Arena

A few days ago there was an excellent fan post over at Winging it in Motown about the Red Wings’ new arena. It touches on a lot of the economics of the project and the sources of the arena’s funding but I wanted to further break down one of its points.

It is also important to note that the DDA is a chartered institution not affiliated with the city’s other institutions. The DDA is specifically in charge of procuring investments privately for the city as well as playing a major role in neighborhood revitalization, restoration, and construction. In short, this is an additional sum of money paid out by businesses (call it a tax if you want) but it is in a different category, meaning it will not be stealing money from the school system, trash collection, pension funds, police, or firefighters as many are arguing. Could the DDA have been disbanded to save money for other priorities? Sure. However, it can be argued that certain parts of Detroit would resemble slums more than they do at the present moment.

The Downtown Development Authority is the source of the “local” public funding for the redevelopment project. As noted, the DDA is not the City of Detroit itself, which is why Detroit’s bankruptcy doesn’t matter for this project to move forward.

The DDA is the equivalent of a homeowners’ association. Downtown property owners pay their dues to the DDA and the DDA funds projects that make downtown better.

You can think of this whole thing as a homeowners’ association building a new playground when a nearby school needs money. The school district wasn’t going to get the money that went towards the playground anyway, so it’s not a matter of taking from one to give to the other.

That’s a bit of a simplification because no one homeowner would be expected to profit more than others in the case of building a neighborhood playground, while Mike Ilitch‘s empire clearly will profit more than, say, General Motors in the case of building the new arena. It covers the funding side of it, though, which is all I’m touching for now.

Red Wings to Host Sabres to Open 2013-14 Season

The Detroit Red Wings will open their 2013-14 schedule by hosting the Buffalo Sabres on October 2, it was revealed as the National Hockey League announced its schedule for the coming season on Friday.

It will be the first of four matchups between the Detroit and Buffalo, who are now divisional rivals as the Red Wings move to the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division, a group made up of the former Northeast Division plus Detroit, Tampa Bay and Florida.

The remaining teams of the Eastern Conference, a division mostly made up of the former Atlantic Division, will be called the Metropolitan Division.

The crown jewel of the Red Wings’ schedule is the January 1, 2014, Winter Classic, in which Detroit will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium.

Detroit will first host the Ottawa Senators, former team of free-agent signing Daniel Alfredsson, on October 23. The Senators will host their former captain on December 1.

Stephen Weiss will meet his former team on December 7 and December 10 in a home-and-home with the Florida Panthers. Immediately after that will be the Red Wings’ first visit to Valtteri Filppula and the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Filppula’s return to Detroit set for December 15.

With the move to the Eastern Conference, the Red Wings will play only four games at 10:00 PM Eastern or later. Only two of those fall on a weeknight. On the flip side, however, they will visit Boston for a Monday afternoon game on October 14 (Columbus Day).

With the NHL’s participation in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, there will be seventeen consecutive days without Red Wings hockey in February. To make up for the gap, the team will play on consecutive nights thirteen times. Only one of those sets will involve two games in the same location, as the Wings host the Colorado Avalanche and then the New Jersey Devils on March 6 and 7.

In addition to the series with Florida in December, the Red Wings will have a home-and-home with the Minnesota Wild on March 22 and 23.

The Red Wings will first visit former Central Division rival Chicago on March 16, Columbus (also making the jump to the Eastern Conference) on March 11 and Nashville on December 30. They close the season with a visit to the Central’s St. Louis Blues on April 13.

Red Wings Agree to Two-Year Deal with Smith

The Detroit Red Wings re-signed defenseman Brendan Smith to a two-year deal on Monday. The signing allows the Red Wings and Smith to avoid a potentially disruptive arbitration hearing.

Smith, 24, was Detroit’s first-round draft pick in 2007. A two-year pro, he spent the first half of the 2012-13 season with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins during the NHL lockout but was called up when the lockout ended and spent the remainder of the year with the Red Wings. In 34 games he notched eight assists playing mostly on the second defensive pair with Kyle Quincey.

As per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not announced. Elliotte Friedman of CBC reports that the contract is worth a total of $2.525 million, giving it an annual salary cap hit of $1.265 million.

Former Red Wings Chelios, Shanahan Named to Hockey Hall of Fame

Two longtime Red Wings were named as part of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2013 class on Tuesday afternoon.

Defenseman Chris Chelios and forward Brendan Shanahan are joined by Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney and Fred Shero in receiving the honor. Chelios and Niedermayer were selected in their first year of eligibility.

Chelios and Shanahan were both part of Detroit’s 2002 Stanley Cup Championship team that included Hall of Fame players Igor Larionov, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Steve Yzerman, and was coached by the legendary Scotty Bowman in his final season behind the bench.

At 1,651 career games, Chelios sits fifth in all-time regular season games played. His 26-season NHL career saw him play for the Montreal Canadians, Chicago Black Hawks, Red Wings and Atlanta Thrashers. Now a part of the Detroit front office, he played in nine NHL All-Star Games and represented the United States in three Olympic Games, two Canada Cups and the inaugural World Cup of Hockey. He won a silver medal in the 2002 Olympics and won the Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1986 and Detroit in 2002 and 2008.

Shanahan won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit – 1997, 1998 and 2002. He played 1524 games across 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Red Wings and New York Rangers. He was a two-time Olympian for Team Canada – claiming the gold medal with them in 2002 – and played in the Canada Cup twice and the World Cup once. Now the NHL’s Director of Player Safety, he scored 656 goals and 698 assists throughout his career.

This year’s class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on November 11, 2013.

Red Wings’ 2013 Development Camp Sweater Number Stuff

As I’ve mentioned every summer for the past few years, I love it when the Red Wings’ training camp rosters come out and we get to see who will be wearing what number. I’m a geek about sweater numbers (as seen with yesterday’s post on how to get Alfredsson into #11) so that’s fun to me.

With today’s release of the jersey numbers for Detroit’s 2013 Development Camp, we can get a look at some of the changes soon to come. Last year we were told that development camp numbers meant nothing but only Luke Glendening (who was on a tryout at the time of the development camp) switched between camp and the Red & White Game in January, so I think it’s safe to use these numbers as indicators.

Of immediate note, the recently-signed Glendening has moved from the #72 he wore in camp and the #65 he wore in the Red & White Game (now taken by Danny DeKeyser) to #21. That number had been assigned to Tomas Tatar, so the fact that Glendening has it now seems to validate the report that he’d requested a switch to #90.

Similarly, Phillippe Hudon has been given #63 (he wore #61 last year), which wouldn’t be available if Joakim Andersson were not switching. I’d been expecting Andersson to take #18 as soon as it became available, which is the case with Ian White no longer on the team.

It’s worth noting that no number changes were expected for goalies Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum but Mrazek’s #34 was assigned to free agent Andrew D’Agostini and McCollum’s #38 went to tryout Toni Eskelinen.
It would appear that Tomas Jurco will not be switching back to #28 now that it has been made available by Carlo Colaiacovo‘s buyout as it’s been assigned to free agent invitee Trevor Hamilton. Other numbers that had been assigned to a player last year include Jan Mursak‘s #39 (given to first-round draft pick Anthony Mantha), Kent Huskins‘ #3 (given to Nick Jensen) and Joey MacDonald‘s #31 (free agent signing Jared Coreau).
The only player keeping the same number from last year’s camp is Marek Tvrdon, who holds on to #60.

The changes from last year are as follows (excluding free agent invitees who are returning):

Player Name Old Num. New Num.
Andreas Athanasiou 76 72
Rasmus Bodin 75 67
Martin Frk 48 42
James De Haas 74 75
Nick Jensen 71 3
Richard Nedomlel 3 77
Xavier Ouellet 54 61
Ryan Sproul 22 48

The final switch is a humorous one. Red Wings’ goaltending prospect Jake Paterson switches to the #36 previously assigned to goalie Jordan Pearce, while the #68 he wore last year will be assigned to free agent tryout goalie Jake Patterson (that number was worn by Chad Billins, now in the Calgary Flames organization, during the Red & White Game).

Numbers for players marking their first appearance at the development camp are as follows:

Player Name Number
Tyler Bertuzzi 59
Mattias Janmark 81
Alexei Marchenko 47
Hampus Melen 83
Marc McNulty 74
Zach Nastasiuk 62
David Pope 64

Bertuzzi’s #59 had previously been assigned to Francis Pare, who signed with TPS of Finland today as an unrestricted free agent.

Update, 11:25 PM: The Left Wing Lock’s Sarah Lindenau Tweeted the following regarding the numbers assigned during the Wings’ development camp:

As I said at the top, we were told last year that the development camp numbers meant nothing. That was a season that saw Brian Lashoff switch from #25 to #23 and Martin Frk assigned the #48 that had been worn the prior season by Cory Emmerton. Weeks later, Emmerton’s switch from #48 to #25 was announced.

Clearly some of these numbers mean nothing. I would be shocked if Zach Nastasiuk ever wears #62 in a regular season game for Detroit (or if he’s even wearing it in the next camp). Similarly, I don’t expect Andreas Athanasiou to wear any number in the 70s if/when he cracks the lineup.

Whether intentional or not, the trend for the Wings is that players wearing numbers in the 50s or higher are the guys not expected to crack the lineup that year and they wear numbers that may be randomly assigned. The lower your number gets the more likely you are of a call-up, until you’re actually assigned a “real” number.

In his first camp, Tomas Tatar wore #72. The next year, when he was in line for a call-up during the season, he was down to #21. Landon Ferraro wore #57 in his first camp and was down to #41 last year. We’ll see what number he actually wears if and when he ever makes his debut.

In the time that I’ve been watching the camp numbers, no prospect has ever been assigned the number of a player already on the Red Wings’ roster. Much like Frk getting #48 last year was a sign of Emmerton’s upcoming switch, I think #21 and #63 being assigned makes it safe to say Tatar and Joakim Andersson will be getting new numbers next year. No, I don’t know it for certain, it would just follow the trend. A prospect being assigned the number of a roster player seems to mean something.

Perhaps #34 and #38 were given out because those numbers went to free agents who won’t be back for the main camp, when Petr Mrazek and Tom McCollum return. Or maybe McCollum will finally take the #33 he wore in junior. Those two we’ll have to wait to see.

On How to Get Daniel Alfredsson #11 and Other Jersey Numbers

I realize that most fans – most players, even – don’t care about sweater numbers a whole lot. I do, though, so I’ve been thinking about what hoops would need to be jumped through to get the Red Wings’ recent acquisitions assigned numbers that are familiar to them in Detroit.

Daniel Alfredsson is easy if Daniel Cleary ends up not returning, as his #11 suddenly becomes available. If Cleary does return, however, there are a couple options.

Alfredsson has always worn #11 professionally but he was forced to switch to #9 for the 1997 and 2004 All-Star Games and to #15 for the 1996 event. Of course, #9 isn’t going to be an option in Detroit but #15 could be. I’ve already advocated taking #15 from Riley Sheahan and assigning it to Anthony Mantha as it was his grandfather’s number, but Alfredsson will be done with it by the time Mantha might need it.

Alternately, we have a trio of switches that gets three players into “their” numbers. Cleary only wears #11 because it was what was assigned to him when he made the Detroit lineup as a tryout. The number he wore in juniors and at least once in the minors was #8. Justin Abdelkader currently wears #8 but, like Cleary, only because it was assigned to him. In fact, several years ago it was rumored that he requested to switch to the #89 he wore in high school but it never happened. So give Abdelkader his #89 and it opens up #8 for Cleary which opens up #11 for Alfredsson.

Do I expect it to go down that way? No, not really, I just like ways for players to have numbers that mean something to them rather than just randomly-assigned numbers.

Stephen Weiss is a little more of a problem. His #9 isn’t going to happen, nor is the #19 he wore during his rookie year. He wore both #12 and #14 with the Chicago Wolves but neither of those is available (Gustav Nyquist has said he has no intent to switch from #14 to the #89 he wore in college, which wouldn’t be possible if Abdelkader took it first anyway). Weiss wore #22 for Canada at the World Juniors but Jordin Tootoo won’t be giving that up (though he might end up being traded). Going the Mike Modano route and changing from #9 to #90 might not even be an option, as reportedly Tomas Tatar has requested to switch from #21 to #90.

I’ve got no answer for Weiss except maybe it’s time to find a new number. A bunch of numbers with #9 as one of the digits are open.

Speaking of people changing numbers, I haven’t seen anything confirming it but I fully expect Joakim Andersson to take the #18 abandoned by Ian White next season.

Red Wings Free Agency Recap: Day 2

It was a quiet day for the Red Wings in Day 2 of NHL free agency but that doesn’t mean it was uneventful. Here are a few things of note that happened today:

A mid-afternoon report stated that Daniel Cleary and the Red Wings had agreed to a three-year deal that would carry a $2.6 million cap hit, to be signed as soon as some of Detroit’s excess forwards are dumped (as mentioned yesterday, including RFAs the Wings are at the 50-contract limit). Quickly, that report was contradicted by one stating that the Wings would like to have him back if they can fit him under the salary cap.

I’m in the group that thinks the original report is closer to the truth and that there probably is a gentleman’s agreement in place to bring Cleary back but that the Wings organization is worried admitting as much would be considered circumventing the cap. And, for the record, I hope neither the term nor the value of the reported deal end up being true. Especially the term. As Helene St. James tells us, though, Mike Babcock loves Cleary so the Wings will do what they can to keep him.

Still no word on what will happen with Damien Brunner but there is a report that he’s looking for $3 – $3.5 million per year on a three-year deal. That was the high end of where I was willing to go for him. It’s apparent that Babcock does not love Brunner, despite being the one to seemingly promise him a top-six role last summer. As mentioned yesterday, he played well in the third-line role down the stretch and into the playoffs so I don’t blame the Wings for not giving him the promotion he’s looking for.

In a major blow to the Red Wings organization, head of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell and amateur scout Mark Leach have left Detroit to join former Wings’ assistant general manager Jim Nill, now the GM of the Dallas Stars. McDonnell ran the 2013 NHL Draft for Detroit after Nill’s departure, as Nill had been the Wings’ “draft guy” for years.

Detroit’s management and coaching staff has been raided repeatedly since their 2008 Stanley Cup win. After that season they lost assistant coach Todd McLellan to the San Jose Sharks and he took video coach Jay Woodcroft with him. In 2010, Vice President of Hockey Steve Yzerman left to take on the GM role with the Tampa Bay Lightning, taking scout Pat Verbeek with him. In 2011, assistant coaches Paul MacLean and Brad McCrimmon moved on to head coaching roles elsewhere and in 2012 the Wings lost another assistant head coach as Jeff Blashill shifted over to the head coaching job with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Alfredsson Reaction
Finally, today saw some interesting reaction to yesterday’s signing of Daniel Alfredsson, with “Puck Daddy” Greg Wyshynski taking offense to Alfredsson’s decision to “get selfish.” I’m not going to link to it because I think the guys at Yahoo see Wings fans as easy targets for extra clicks.

I think the accusation of selfishness is interesting given the timeline of his contract negotiations and the actual timing of the signing.

Supposedly Alfredsson made his contract demands to Ottawa and was told that they were “unfair.” The Sens let him reach July 1 unsigned, at which point he was free to talk to other teams. When he started talking to other teams he decided he wanted to leave; only then did Ottawa offer him a “blank check” to return. He said no and moved on.

A star player who’d spent his entire career offended by the route that negotiations took and making a selfish decision to bolt for personal reasons? Alfredsson’s choice came exactly two weeks before the tenth anniversary of when Sergei Fedorov did it to the Red Wings.

I wish more of today’s MSM had been around then so we could compare their thoughts on Alfredsson to what they said about Fedorov. For the record, I only wrote up a news piece rather than an opinion one at the time.

Red Wings Free Agency Recap: Day 1

The Red Wings made quite the splash as the NHL’s 2013 free agency period opened on Friday. Here’s the breakdown of what happened:

The big surprise to start the day was that longtime Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson would be spurning the Senators and joining the Red Wings for a (presumably) final run at the Stanley Cup. There’s a lot of drama around how he left the Sens but he arrives in Detroit on a $5.5 million deal. The base salary is only $3.5 million, so the final $2 million could apply to the Wings’ 2014-15 cap instead of the 2013-14 one. Alfredsson is penciled in to play the right wing on the second line as Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be reunited on the top line.

Centering Alfredsson will be new addition Stephen Weiss. Signed from the Florida Panthers on a five-year deal with a $4.9 million cap hit, Weiss replaces the departed Valtteri Filppula. Detroit won a bidding war with the St. Louis Blues for the onetime Plymouth Whaler. The $4.9 million is a steal compared to the $6 million it was rumored Weiss was asking for.

As mentioned, Weiss replaces Valtteri Filppula, who signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning shortly after the Weiss deal was announced. Filppula reportedly was looking for first-line center pay and a first-line center role. He’ll be the number two center in Tampa behind Steven Stamkos, making $5 million per season for the next five years.

Though not yet signed by anyone else Damien Brunner seems to be out in Detroit. Red Wings general manager says he expects Brunner to go “in a different direction” for his next deal. The rumor is that Brunner is asking for guaranteed top-six minutes, something he couldn’t get with Detroit after falling to the third line (but having success there) late last season. There has been little buzz on where he might end up.

It seemed like Daniel Cleary was on his way out of Detroit but there are still rumors that the door is open for his return. The Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins were vying for his services but both teams dropped out. The Anaheim Ducks were also reportedly interested at one point. The Red Wings have continued to be reported as “in” on Cleary, to the extent that at one point it was thought he’d be back in the Winged Wheel by the end of the day. As of right now, Cleary is still on the market.

Defenseman Ian White – who no one expected to return to Detroit – is also still on the market with no apparent suitors.

Grand Rapids
The first of two Griffins-centric came when former Ferris State defenseman Chad Billins signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Calgary Flames. Billins spent all of last season on an AHL-only deal with Grand Rapids and was rumored to be a Red Wings target for a deal similar to what he took with Calgary.

Former University of Michigan forward Luke Glendening did stick with the organization. After spending last year on an AHL-only deal with the Griffins, he signed a one-year, two-way deal with Detroit today. He’s expected to stick with the Griffins next season but will provide additional depth if the Red Wings need a call-up.

Additional Moves
In addition to being in on Cleary, the Wings are reportedly interested in former Dallas captain Brenden Morrow. This makes absolutely no sense, so I have no idea why the team would be interested.

Detroit still has four restricted free agents to sign. Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Brendan Smith and Tom McCollum will be looking for deals but restricted free agents tend to sign after their teams are done with the unrestricted market, so it’s likely only a matter of time.

On top of those moves, the Wings will need to make at least one trade before the start of the season. After all of the RFAs are signed, the team will be maxed out at 50 player contracts and have 16 NHL forwards. If Cleary or Morrow were signed, there wouldn’t be room to sign all of the RFAs. Trade bait includes Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo, Patrick Eaves, Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson. Samuelsson has a no-trade clause but could be convinced to waive it if the alternative was to be buried in the lineup. The Wings are reportedly in the market for a top-four defenseman on the trade block.

Detroit Adds Forward Weiss as Free Agent

On the heels of signing forward Daniel Alfredsson to a one-year contract, the Detroit Red Wings announced on Friday the signing of center Stephen Weiss as a free agent to a five-year deal.

Weiss, 30, was the Florida Panthers’ all-time leader in game played, having spent his entire 654-game career with the team that drafted him fourth overall in 2001.

Limited to just 17 games due to injury during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, Weiss scored one goal and added three assists. In his career 145 goals and 249 assists.

Weiss will be expected to replace Valtteri Filppula in the Detroit lineup, as the Finn will not return as a free agent. Filppula had reportedly been requesting a five-year deal averagining $5 million per season.

As per club policy, financial terms of the Weiss’ deal were not announced. The contract reportedly carries a $4.9 million salary cap hit.

Red Wings Sign Free Agent Forward Alfredsson

The Detroit Red Wings signed longtime Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson as the NHL’s free agency period opened on Friday.

Alfredsson, 40, has spent his entire career with the Senators after being drafted by them in the sixth round. In 1178 career NHL games, he’s scored 426 goals and added 682 assists for 1108 points.

In his rookie year of 1996, Alfredsson was named to play in the first of his six All-Star Games. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year that season and was named to the NHL’s all-rookie team. In 2006 he was named to the NHL’s end-of-season second all-star team, having won an Olympic gold medal with Sweden earlier in the year. He was the King Clancy Memorial Trophy winner in 2012 as the league’s humanitarian of the year and in 2013 he claimed the Mark Messier Leadership Award.

Financial terms were not formally announced but Alfredsson’s contract is reportedly worth up to $5.5 million for a single season. The base salary will be $3.5 million with $2 million in bonuses. The bonuses can be pushed to the Red Wings’ 2014-15 salary cap.

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