Thoughts on Trading as a Fall Back Option

It’s been known since before the 2013-14 season was even over that the Red Wings would be looking to upgrade their defense this summer and their best opportunity to do some comes tomorrow as free agents become eligible to sign contracts with new teams at noon.

The costs are expected to be high, however. Even with the late additions of Christian Ehrhoff and Ed Jovanovski to the free agent pool (due to buyouts by Buffalo and Florida, respectively), there are roughly fifteen teams legitimately thought to be in the mix for only six or seven players.

If Detroit were to miss out on Ehrhoff or Matt Niskanen or Anton Stralman or whoever (as they did when they were unable to woo Ryan Suter in 2012 and had to settle for Carlo Colaiacovo), they would be forced to turn to the trade market, where their history isn’t quite so successful.

The Red Wings haven’t traded for a roster player signed beyond the end of the current season since acquiring Robert Lang from the Washington Capitals in 2004, when he was two years into a five-year deal.

Oh, sure, they picked up Brad Stuart at the deadline in 2008 and managed to sign him just before he became an unrestricted free agent that summer. They also got Kyle Quincey – likely departing in the coming weeks – in 2012 and re-signed him as a restricted free agent, as they expected to do when they paid the hefty price of a first round draft pick to get him.

By and large, however, Detroit’s method of acquiring players for the last decade has been via free agency, which means that if they miss out in the next few days they’ll be entering relatively-uncharted territory for the club.

Red Wings Select Six on Second Day of Draft

Following their selection of Michigan native Dylan Larkin in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings picked an additional six players in the remaining rounds on Saturday.

The Red Wings missed out on the second round, having sent that draft pick to the Nashville Predators in the David Legwand trade in March. To help make up for it, they moved up in the third round, sending their original third-rounder (76th overall) and a third-rounder in 2015 to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 63rd overall pick, which they used to select Dominic Turgeon.

Turgeon, the 18-year-old son of former NHL star Pierre Turgeon, is a two-way center who scored ten goals and added 21 assists in 65 games for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL in 2013-14.

At 106th overall in the fourth round, Detroit went with another center, Christopher Ehn of Froluna Juniors in Sweden. The 6’2″ 18-year-old scored four goals and seven assists in 45 games 2013-14.

The Red Wings turned to a goalie in the fifth round, selecting Thomas “Chase” Perry of the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild. Perry, 18, had a 2.34 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage in 35 games last season. The Andover, MD, native is commited to play for Colorado College next season.

In the ninth round Detroit selected 19-year-old winger Julius Vahatalo of TPS in Finland. Vahatalo is 6’5″ but only 191 pounds and had previously been passed over in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He had 18 goals and 21 assists in 33 games for the junior TPS squad, adding three goals in 18 games for the main club.

Two seventh-round selections closed out the draft for Detroit.

At 186th overall, the team selected Swedish center Axel Holmstrom. Holmstrom – who is not related to former Red Wing Tomas Holmstrom – had 15 goals and 23 assists in 33 games for Skelleftea. He turns 18 on Sunday.

At 201st overall the Red Wings went with center Alexander Kadeykin of Russia. Kadeykin, 20, went unselected in both 2012 and 2013. He scored eight goals and fifteen assists in 54 games for the KHL’s Atlant Mytishchi.

Red Wings Draft Local Center Larkin

With the fifteenth overall selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings selected Waterford native Dylan Larkin on Friday night.

The 6’1″ Larkin scored 17 goals and added nine assists for 26 points in 26 games in the USHL for the Ann Arbor-based US National Development Team. He added 56 points in 60 games for the US National U18 team and four points in six games as the alternate captain for the United States’ entry at the World Junior Championships.

Larkin becomes Detroit’s highest draft pick since Martin Lapointe was selected at 10th overall in 1991.

Michael Petrella of The Production Line called Larkin the biggest of a handful of centers that would be available to the Wings and that he “will be playing most locally at the University of Michigan. The Wings are no strangers to collegiate prospects (Howard, Smith, DeKeyser, Nyquist, Abdelkader, Glendening, etc.) and that system has served them well.”

Revisiting “Trust But Verify”

I had a post with a big hypothetical scenario half-finished but I’m scrapping it in favor of being more to the point.

Over at Winging it in Motown today, Graham Hathway has a bit comparing the Red Wings’ situation going into the summer of 2014 to that of 2012. It made me realize that what I was trying to say was tied to something I said at the end of July 1, 2012.

I trust Ken Holland to make the right moves for the team. That said, I don’t blindly believe everything he does is perfect. I question these moves and I want to see how they’ll work out.

Trust, but verify.

When Ken Holland signed Jordin Tootoo and Mikael Samuelsson and Jonas Gustavsson, I thought it was a little weird but I trusted that Holland had a plan. Having seen how things worked out, though, I’ve come to a conclusion.

I don’t trust Ken Holland anymore.

Okay, that might be a dramatic way of putting it but the point stands.

In 2012, I was willing to look at those signings and put aside my own misgivings. Flash-forward to this year’s trade deadline and my immediate dislike of the trade that brought David Legwand to Detroit. Though some will probably attribute the Red Wings making the playoffs and extending their streak of doing so to Legwand’s acquisition, I still argue it wasn’t worth it.

I’m not saying that Holland should be fired. I’m not even saying that he’s a bad GM. It’s not like he’s out to ruin the team, as some seemingly think.

He’s just burned through the faith I’ve previously had in him. My initial analysis is no longer geared towards “How awesome is this thing that Kenny did?” but rather “How could this end up going bad?”

Every good deal has a downside. Even bad trades can be justified. Eventually you should see both sides.

It’s just odd going into a summer without that faith to fall back on.

Report: Almquist Bolts to Russia

A report out of Russia Wednesday morning states that Red Wings’ defensive prospect Adam Almquist will leave the Detroit organization, signing a two-year deal with the Kontinental Hockey League’s Severstal Cherepovets.

The Red Wings will retain his NHL rights as a restricted free agent by virtue of giving him a qualifying contract offer.

Almquist, 23, made his NHL debut this season, playing in two games for Detroit and scoring a goal. He had 14 goals and 70 assists in 144 career games for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate.

If Almquist had not made the Red Wings’ roster out of this fall’s training camp, he would have been subject to waivers and a possible claim by another NHL team. Given that he had seemingly slipped down Detroit’s depth chart behind players such as Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet and Alexey Marchenko, that had become a likely outcome.

Hasek, Modano Among Hockey Hall Class of 2014

Former Detroit Red Wings Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano were part of the group named as the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014 on Monday.

The pair join Peter Forsberg and Rob Blake as player inductees. Late coach Pat Burns was selected as a builder while referee Bill McCreary also got the nod.

Hasek won two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings and played 735 total NHL games split between the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators. He won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie six times in the 1990s with the Sabres and finished his career with a .922 save percentage and 2.20 goals-against average.

Hasek notably retired twice, only to resume his career. After Detroit’s 2002 Stanley Cup, Hasek called it quits only to return to the Red Wings a season later. He retired again after his second Cup in 2008 but came back for two more seasons in Europe.

Modano was long the face of the Dallas Stars franchise, having been drafted by the Minnesota North Stars and playing twenty seasons with the organization. He won his lone Stanley Cup in 1999 over Hasek’s Sabres on a controversial goal by Brett Hull.

Modano completed his career in 2010-11 with one season playing for his hometown Red Wings. In 1499 career NHL games he had 561 goals and 813 assists for 1374 points, most all-time among Americans.

The Class of 2014 will be inducted on November 17.

Red Wings 2014-15 Schedule Released

The National Hockey League released it’s schedule for the 2014-15 season on Sunday.

As previously announced, the Detroit Red Wings will open their campaign on October 9, hosting the Boston Bruins, who eliminated them from the playoffs in April. They’ll close things out on April 11 as they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.

The three consecutive home games Detroit starts the season with are the most since they started the truncated 1995 schedule with five home games in a row. They’ll host the Bruins, then the Anaheim Ducks, then the Bruins again in that span.

Detroit has only one home-and-home on the season, against the Toronto Maple Leafs in their fourth and fifth games of the year.

The team’s annual New Years Eve matchup returns after having been lost last season due to the Winter Classic, with the Red Wings hosting the New Jersey Devils.

The Red Wings’ first matchup with the newly-rebranded Arizona Coyotes will be a visit to Glendale on February 7, while Arizona will visit Detroit on March 24.

The schedule features twelve sets of games on consecutive nights, eleven of which include travel between the games.

Detroit’s full 2014-15 schedule

Red Wings Assistant Peters Named Head Coach of Hurricanes

The Detroit Red Wings lost assistant coach Bill Peters on Thursday, as he was named the new head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Peters had been with the Red Wings for three seasons, having joined the club alongside Jeff Blashill when the pair were hired to replace the departing Paul MacLean and Brad McCrimmon.

Prior to coming to Detroit, Peters was the head coach of the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs. Before that he was the head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, a team for which he’d previously been an assistant coach under current Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.

Thus far the Red Wings have retained the services of Tom Renney, their other assistant coach. Peters’ replacement will be named later in the summer.

Red Wings, Gustavsson Agree to One-Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings and backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson agreed to terms on a one-year contract on Thursday.

The deal is reportedly worth around the $1.5 million salary he earned on his previous two-year deal with the Red Wings.

Gustavsson, 29, made 27 regular season appearances for Detroit during the 2013-14 season, finishing with a 16-5-4 record, a 2.63 goals against average, and a .907 save percentage. He also made two playoff starts while Jimmy Howard was out sick, losing both while picking up a 2.71 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

In the lockout-shortened 2013 season, Gustavsson made only seven appearances, missing most of the year with groin injuries. Those injuries carried into the 2013-14 season, which saw him injured five times as he missed 18 games.

Gustavsson’s signing relegates Petr Mrazek to the starting role with the Grand Rapids Griffins for one more season.

Red Wings Release 2014 Exhibition Schedule

The Detroit Red Wings released their 2014 preseason exhibition schedule on Thursday.

As per usual, they will play eight games against four teams. This season they will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs once each at home and on the road.

The full preseason schedule is as follows:

Date Opponent Location Time
September 22, 2014 Pittsburgh Penguins Away 7:00 PM
September 23, 2014 Chicago Blackhawks Away 8:30 PM
September 25, 2014 Chicago Blackhawks Home 7:30 PM
September 27, 2014 Boston Bruins Home 7:00 PM
September 29, 2014 Toronto Maple Leafs Home 7:30 PM
October 1, 2014 Pittsburgh Penguins Home 7:30 PM
October 3, 2014 Toronto Maple Leafs Away TBD
October 4, 2014 Boston Bruins Away 5:00