Red Wings Agree to Terms with Green

I’m going to agree with George Malik here and just call Mike Green’s new contract official.

Bob McKenzie had previously nailed down the financials of a then-unconfirmed deal.

The move was long-rumored but I can’t say I’m thrilled with it.

With Xavier Ouellet having been bought out and Green brought back, the Red Wings have six defensemen on their roster for next season.  Seven if you count Luke Witkowski.

Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek, and Joe Hicketts have all been discussed as possibly ready to jump to the NHL.  The Red Wings have said that they want to get their youth more ice time.  How are they going to do that with six guys already on the roster?

Yes, they could move Nick Jensen.  That’s a possibility that’s been rumored for most of the summer.  If they do, it opens up one spot for three players.

It could have been two spots for three players.

It’s just not necessary and it’s frustrating to see the Wings organization once again talking about playing the kids but not leaving open roster spots available to them.

2018 Development Camp Jersey Number Notes

The Red Wings released the rosters for their annual development camp today and, as per usual, there are some interesting jersey numbers in the set.

This is where I have to note that summer jersey numbers (specifically development camp and the prospects tournament) don’t usually mean much, but sometimes they’re a sign of number changes or

Of this year’s draft picks, Filip Zadina gets #11 and Joe Veleno gets #90, their usual numbers.  Ben Street had been assigned #11 last season but never wore it and David Pope had worn it in development camp but is now assigned #45.  Veleno’s #90 was worn in development camp last season by Keith Petruzelli, who is now assigned #80.

Jonatan Berggren has been assigned the #15 that used to belong to Riley Sheahan.  Speaking of players traded away last season, Dennis Cholowski will be wearing the #21 of Tomas Tatar after having previously worn #95, #2, and #53.  Meanwhile, free agent signee Patrik Rybar will wear the #34 formerly worn by Petr Mrazek.

Ryan O’Reilly is the only remaining 2018 draftee to be assigned a “normal” jersey number, with his usual #71 flipped to the #17 of David Booth.  I still expect Tyler Bertuzzi to take that number once the main camp rolls around.

Jared McIsaac, Alec Regula, and Seth Barton – Detroit’s trio of blueline draftees from last weekend – have been assigned #63, #94, and #95, respectively.  Jordan Sambrook wore both #63 and #95 last summer but will not be at this camp while Kaspar Kotkansalo had worn #94.  Kotkansalo will wear the #53 vacated by Cholowski.

The two goalies the Red Wings picked on Saturday – Jesper Eliasson and Victor Brattstrom – will wear #31 and #68, respectively.  The Wings regularly switch their prospect goalie jersey numbers up, as seen by now-departed Matej Machovsky wearing both of those numbers at different points last summer.

Wrapping recent draft picks up, Otto Kivenmaki has been assigned #84, the number Reilly Webb wore at development camp last year before switching to his current #50.

Mattias Elfstrom, a 2016 draft pick, switches from #56 to #37.  Jack Adams switches from #74 to #70, with Cole Fraser taking #74 after previously wearing the #85 now assigned to free agent tryout Luke Morgan.

With Eric Tangradi having claimed #26 during the Wings’ main camp last fall, Chase Pearson switches to #76.  Similarly, having lost his #48 to Givani Smith, Gustav Lindstrom switches to #54.

Defenseman Malte Setkov goes from #86 to #79, with Alfons Malmstrom taking the #86, having lost his #4 to Dylan McIlrath.  Meanwhile Patrick Holway completes a swap with Filip Hronek – Hronek took Holway’s #24 last summer with Holway taking the #87 Hronek switched from this summer.

Rounding things out are the goalies, which (as I mentioned) are always somewhat chaotic.  After wearing #36 in development camp last summer and #68 in main camp, Kaden Fulcher will wear #60 this time around, with Filip Larsson (who’d previously worn #68) taking #36.  Joren van Pottelberg is the only goalie keeping his previous number, as he wore Tom McCollum‘s #38 in development camp last year.

The full roster is as follows:

Forwards

Num. Name
70 Jack Adams
15 Jonatan Berggren
82 Colt Conrad
37 Mattias Elfstrom
64 Zach Gallant
67 Brady Gilmour
89 Pavel Gogolev
92 Maxim Golod
20 Nicolas Guay
78 Taro Hirose
84 Otto Kivenmaki
85 Luke Morgan
17 Ryan O’Reilly
76 Chase Pearson
45 David Pope
27 Michael Rasmussen
88 Ryan Savage
48 Givani Smith
90 Joe Veleno
75 Sebastian Vidmar
81 Trevor Yates
46 Lane Zablocki
11 Filip Zadina

Defensemen

Num. Name
95 Seth Barton
21 Dennis Cholowski
73 Marcus Crawford
74 Cole Fraser
62 Trevor Hamilton
87 Patrick Holway
53 Kasper Kotkansalo
54 Gustav Lindstrom
86 Alfons Malmstrom
63 Jared McIsaac
94 Alec Regula
79 Malte Setkov
50 Reilly Webb

Goalies

Num. Name
68 Victor Brattstrom
31 Jesper Eliasson
60 Kaden Fulcher
36 Filip Larsson
80 Keith Petruzzelli
34 Patrik Rybar
38 Joren van Pottelberghe

Wings Re-Up Bertuzzi and Frk

The Red Wings announced contract extensions for Tyler Bertuzzi and Martin Frk on Monday.

As per annoying club policy, financial terms were not officially announced but leaked almost immediately.  Bertuzzi’s deal is reportedly for two years at a $1.4 million cap hit while Frk’s is for one year at $1.05 million.

Both players will be restricted free agents upon the expiration of their deals.

Frk’s contract is interesting in that the Red Wings did not give him a qualifying offer over the weekend, meaning he was set to become an unrestricted free agent.  The qualifying offer would have been less than what he ended up signing for.  It’s possible that the Red Wings didn’t bother with a paper qualifying offer because they knew they had a deal hammered out already but that’s conjecture on my part.

Bertuzzi’s deal is a healthy raise from the $661,667 salary cap hit he carried last season, bringing him closer to in line with Luke Glendening.


With Bertuzzi re-signed and bound for the Red Wings’ roster next season, I predict that he’ll wear the #17 he wore in juniors now that David Booth is no longer using it.


In addition to not qualifying Frk (before re-signing him anyway), the Red Wings did not give qualifying offers to Dan Renouf or Zach NastasiukMatt Puempel did receive a qualifying offer.

Belated Draft Weekend Thoughts

I was in and out of cell service while camping in Manistee for draft weekend, which means I didn’t really get a chance to put down my thoughts on the Red Wings’ selections as they happened, so I’m going to run through some of that now.

After weeks of debating Quinn Hughes over Evan Bouchard over Adam Boqvist, is it weird that not getting any of them feels a little like a letdown, even if the reason the Wings “missed out” is because Filip Zadina fell to them?

Even with the Wings’ defensive needs, Zadina was absolutely the right pick at #6.  Or #5.  Or probably #4.  The Wings got the best player available, someone who could step into the lineup right now and contribute.

And at #30, they got another forward who fell to them in Joe Veleno, someone projected to go ten or more picks higher.  At #33 Jonatan Berggren, a projected first-rounder,  was still on the boardand the Wings were able to snap him up.  A trio of solid steals in their first three picks set the tone for a very good draft.

Jared McIsaac and Alec Regula and Seth Barton are all solid picks in the second and third rounds and hopefully one of them can give Detroit some defensive help relatively soon, but they’re not the big names we spent so long looking at.  I would have preferred Bode Wilde over McIsaac at #36 but I can’t argue with the pick.  I might have just gotten overhyped about Wilde.

From there on out we have two goalies in Jesper Eliasson and Victor Brattstrom as the Red Wings desperately search for Jimmy Howard‘s heir.  Detroit has gone from drafting a goalie every other year to drafting two in a single season and it’s a really weird look, to me.

Forwards Ryan O’Reilly (not that one) and Otto Kivenmaki wrap things up and I can’t help but keep coming back to the defensemen.

We keep being told you can’t get quality defensemen on the market, you have to draft and develop them yourself.  The Wings desperately need help on defense.  Yet only a third of their picks were defensemen and none of them were top names.

But at the same time, I can’t fault any of their picks, really.  Would I sacrifice Berggren to give them the option to get both McIsaac and Wilde?  I’m not sure I can sell myself on that.

Really, after getting Zadina, they could have drafted me and I’d still call this a solid draft.  There’s a difference between worrying about defense and complaining about who they did pick.


Speaking of defense, Sunday night the Wings made an effort to clear some of their blueline logjam.

I think this is a sign of how the Griffins will look next year more than anything.  The Wings have kept players around to help prop up the Grand Rapids roster for several years now and this summer they’re cutting them loose.

Russo has been dealt.  Dan Renouf wasn’t given a qualifying offer.  Add in buyout candidate Xavier Ouellet and it’s clear the Wings are trying to give room for guys like Joe Hicketts, Dennis Cholowski, and Filip Hronek.  And Vili Saarijarvi, who suddenly moves from Grand Rapids’ seventh defenseman to their second pair.

Like in Detroit, next season in Grand Rapids will probably be a bit difficult.  But it’ll be good for the rebuild.

Red Wings Announce Bylsma as Assistant Coach

The Red Wings made official on Friday something that had been rumored for weeks: The hiring of former Penguins and Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma as head coach.

It seemed somewhat inevitable once the Red Wings cut ties with John Torchetti that Grand Haven-native Bylsma would come to Detroit if he couldn’t land a head coaching gig.

I like the move.  That’s partially because every time the Wings’ coaching staff has an opening I worry that they’ll just bring in a former Red Wing who doesn’t have any coaching experience.  It’s also because this gives Detroit a clear backup plan if the team struggles under Jeff Blashill this season.

Coaching isn’t like goaltending, where you might bring in a veteran to backup a struggling younger player to light a fire under him.  Blashill isn’t going to become a better coach just because Bylsma is waiting in the wings (though he might by learning from Bylsma, which is a whole other thing).  But if the Red Wings don’t turn things around and if management decides it’s time to move on from Blasill, Bylsma isn’t a bad option to turn to when that comes.

Red Wings Announce 2018 Exhibition Schedule

The Detroit Red Wings will face a familiar slate of opponents during the 2018 preseason, with home and away matchups against the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The last time the Red Wings faced a team other than those four in a preseason game was 2011, when the Philadelphia Flyers were on their exhibition slate rather than the Bruins.  Detroit was to face Washington in the 2012 preseason that was lost to the league’s lockout of the players.

Detroit’s exhibition schedule is as follows:

Date Opponent Location Time
September 19, 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins Home 7:30 PM
September 20, 2017 Chicago Blackhawks Home 7:30 PM
September 22, 2017 Boston Bruins Home 7:00 PM
September 23, 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins Away 3:00 PM
September 25, 2017 Chicago Blackhawks Away 8:30 PM
September 26, 2017 Boston Bruins Away 7:00 PM
September 28, 2017 Toronto Maple Leafs Away 7:30 PM
September 29, 2017 Toronto Maple Leafs Home 7:00 PM

NHL to Portland? Domain Registrations Hint at It

There are a handful of cities that often pop up in rumors regarding NHL relocation or expansion.

Quebec is one, with their recent expansion bid partially hindered by the NHL’s geographic imbalance.  Seattle is going through the expansion process right now and is expected to be awarded the league’s 32nd franchise.  Houston, with a new owner for the NBA’s Rockets who is receptive to an additional tenant at Toyota Center, has jumped into the discussion of late.

And then there’s Portland, Oregon.

Portland, home of the Western Hockey League’s Winterhawks, has sniffed at the NHL twice in recent memory.

In the late 1990s, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen – owner of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers -, backed out of an expansion bid in the round that led to new NHL teams in Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, and Minnesota.

Just a few years ago, the Arizona Coyotes were rumored to be eyeing the Allen-controlled Moda Center as a landing spot as their (still ongoing) arena issues in Glendale seemed to be coming to a head.

Through spokespeople, Allen has stated that he has no interest in pursuing an expansion franchise for Portland.  However, if one became available for relocation, he would have interest.  Additionally, Winterhawks owner Bill Gallacher has indicated interest in NHL ownership.

Which brings us to a batch of ten internet domain names registered on Thursday by the Portland Winterhawks.

Four of them seem relatively benign.  You could make the case that hockeytownpdx.com, portlandhockeytown.com, playhockeyoregon.com, playhockeyportland.com could all be used in relation to the Winterhawks or other community initiatives (though the Detroit Red Wings might have something to say about a couple of those).

A fifth – hockeytoportland.com – would look innocent coming from anyone other than the Winterhawks, as they’ve already brought hockey to Portland.

The final five, however, explicitly state what kind of hockey would be coming to the Rose City:

pdxnhl.com
nhltopdx.com
nhl2portland.com
nhlinportland.com
nhltoportland.com

That’s five domains making reference to the National Hockey League coming to Portland, all registered by the Portland Winterhawks.

This is hardly confirmation of something coming.  As the Winterhawks do not control Moda Center, this would look a lot more convincing if the domains had been registered by someone affiliated with Paul Allen’s group.

That said, the Coyotes’ arena issues are still unresolved, the Calgary Flames have threatened to move without a new arena, Allen is interested in a relocated NHL team, and now we have domain registrations tied to Portland’s existing team – whose owner is from Calgary and who is already a tenant at Allen’s arena.

It could be nothing.  Or it could be a sign of the NHL’s next franchise move.

Vegas Team Name Speculation: Baseball Edition

Note: This is a non-hockey post but ties into the work I did looking into possible names for the team that became the Vegas Golden Knights and the NHL’s probable future Seattle franchise, so I’m publishing it here anyway.

The Las Vegas 51s of Minor League Baseball’s Pacific Coast League are adopting a new name next season to coincide with their move into a new stadium.

I hadn’t been paying much attention to this as I’m not much of a baseball fan, especially not of minor league teams on the other side of the country and not affiliated with any of my local teams.  The tools that I developed while attempting to determine the name of the eventual Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle’s seemingly-inevitable expansion team are still running, still focused on Las Vegas, and hit on something interesting today.

Yesterday, June 6, a lawyer with The Howard Hughes Corporation – owners of the 51s and their new ballpark in Summerlin, NV –  registered a total of sixteen domains related to the Las Vegas Aviators.

Additionally, a related Twitter handle – @lvaviators – shows as having been registered in June of 2018.  That account has yet to Tweet or update their profile but has a name of “Las Vegas Aviators.”  Ownership of the handle cannot be confirmed.

If this is indeed the team’s future identity, the name Aviators would tie in to Howard Hughes himself and the pilots at nearby Nellis Air Force Base.

As far as I can tell, The Howard Hughes Corporation has not registered any other baseball-related domains.

The full list of Aviators-related domains is as follows:

aviatorsdowntownsummerlin.com
aviatorslasvegas.com
aviatorslv.com
aviatorsnevada.com
aviatorssummerlin.com
downtownsummerlinaviators.com
lasvegasaviatorsbaseball.com
nevadaaviators.com
summerlinaviators.com
thedowntownsummerlinaviators.com
thelasvegasaviators.com
thelvaviators.com
thenevadaaviators.com
thesummerlinaviators.com
vegasaviators.com
vegasaviatorsbaseball.com


Update, 6/10 1:30 PM: It would appear that there is a Facebook account for this new team name, too, as @TheLasVegasAviators is classified as a “Sports Team.”  There’s also an Instagram user with the name “lasvegasaviators.” Of course, this could be someone not affiliated with the team.


Update, 6/11 2:00 PM: After SportsLogos.Net picked up our story, I was inspired to give the USPTO database another check.  It turns out that a ton of trademarks for Las Vegas Aviators were registered on June 6, the same day as the domains were acquired.  The trademark database usually takes a few days to update, so it’s not a surprise that we didn’t see this sooner.

A list of Las Vegas Aviators-related trademarks filed on June 6.