On Ken Holland Joining the Oilers

As I write this, former Red Wings’  General Manager and short-time Senior VP Ken Holland is being announced as the new GM of the Edmonton Oilers.

This news does not come as a surprise, having been broken over the weekend and rumored since Holland graciously stepped aside and allowed the Red Wings to hire Steve Yzerman in the role that used to be his.

There’s been a lot of talk about how Holland will be remembered in Detroit.  About what his legacy is.  About how we, as fans, should make sure we remember the good times.

Yes, Holland is due credit for his role in Detroit’s Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008 (and other accomplishments along the way).  He should also be accountable for Justin Abdelkader‘s contract and the trades for Kyle Quincey, David Legwand, and Erik Cole.  Don’t pick and choose the good or the bad, remember it all.

So I guess that’s my take on his departure.  Holland did great things for the Red Wings organization.  He also flamed out at the end and got fired for it, no matter how they worded it.  And now he’s going to an Edmonton team where a lot of the problems he’ll face are similar to the ones he’s leaving Yzerman with.

It’s not existential.  It’s not dramatic.  Holland was the face of the Red Wings’ business and that’s all this is: business.

Thoughts on the Red Wings’ Trade Deadline

I was feeling pretty good about the Red Wings’ efforts in the lead up to the NHL’s trade deadline this morning.  Then the Thomas Vanek trade happened.  Those who follow DH.N on Twitter know I am less than happy about that but I’ll look at each of the Wings’ moves piece-by-piece here.

Tomas Jurco
The Red Wings traded Tomas Jurco to the Chicago Blackhawks last Friday.  An upcoming restricted free agent, Jurco never really latched on with the Red Wings.  Detroit got a third-round pick in the deal, which is more than I would have expected.

I don’t think Jurco was ever used properly in Detroit so it hurts to see him go to Chicago, but if the Wings weren’t going to use him, at least they got some value for him.  This is a pretty solid deal.

Brendan Smith
The first of Detroit’s pending unrestricted free agents, the team tried to sign him to a contract extension but the trade offer from the New York Rangers was too much to turn down.  Smith netted the Red Wings a third-round pick in the upcoming 2017 NHL Entry Draft and a second-round pick in 2018.

This was Detroit’s best move of the week.  I probably would have been happy with a second or a third, to get both feels like larceny.  That said, like Jurco, perhaps Smith just needs a change of scenery.  It’s not that he was particularly bad this year in Detroit, but he’s weighed down by the expectations and the memory of bad performances.

Steve Ott
I never liked Ott’s signing, that’s no secret.  I don’t know why the Canadiens thought they needed him, either.  He wasn’t horrible in Detroit by any means, I just think his role could have been filled by one of the kids in Grand Rapids, namely Tyler Bertuzzi or Tomas Nosek.  Getting a sixth-round pick for Ott seems like a near-miracle.

Thomas Vanek
I’m going to need more space for this one.

Nick Jensen
Not a trade, the Red Wings locked up Jensen for two more years at around $800,000 each.  Jensen has stepped onto the Wings’ blue line and seemingly leapfrogged both Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet (and definitely Alexey Marchenko, now in Toronto).

I like this signing for multiple reasons.  One, it’s only two years, unlike the ridiculous four-year deal that Brian Lashoff got after serving in a similar capacity back during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign.  Two, it can entirely be buried in the minors if Jensen ends up being a bust or if the Wings acquire a legitimate top defenseman at some point.

Mitch Callahan
With Ott off to Montreal, the Red Wings called up forward Mitch Callahan to take his place.  I’m okay with this but I’d rather have seen Bertuzzi get the nod, as I mentioned above (Nosek is currently injured and wouldn’t be called up).

Drew Miller
The trade that didn’t happen.  I don’t know if anyone was interested in Miller but he’s the one upcoming unrestricted free agent that Holland was unable to unload.  Part of me thinks that if you can unload Ott, you can unload Miller.  But maybe the Habs were the only team interested in a guy like that.

Thomas Vanek
Okay, let’s try this one again…

Vanek had to be dealt.  He’s been one of the Wings’ best players this season and is an unrestricted free agent this summer, so it was assumed that he had significant value.  At the end of the day, it sounds like there weren’t that many teams interested, though, and he only fetched a third-round draft pick (plus AHLer Dylan McIlrath, minus retaining some salary).  That the Wings got the best deal they could get is good.

It’s kind of hard to see that for multiple reasons, though.  There was a lot of buzz about Vanek in the lead up to the deadline and Minnesota made a massive deal for Martin Hanzal, a player deemed to be somewhat comparable to Vanek.  You don’t trade buzz, though.  The best player the Red Wings had to offer simply wasn’t enough to generate that much interest.

Winging it in Motown’s JJ from Kansas has been talking about getting caught up in the hype about Vanek.  Take a look at Detroit’s history as buyers, though, and it’s hard not to.

In 2015 the Wings gave up a solid prospect in Mattias Janmark, a questionable prospect in Mattias Backman, and a second round pick for Erik Cole and a third rounder.  In 2014 Detroit traded Calle Jarnkrok, Patrick Eaves, and a third round pick for David Legwand.

In my mind, 2017 Thomas Vanek is better than 2015 Erik Cole or 2014 David Legwand, so I would expect 2017 Thomas Vanek to bring in more than 2015 Erik Cole or 2014 David Legwand.  But that’s not what this year’s market supported.

So it’s disappointing that costs are high when the Wings are buyers but they’re low when they’re sellers.  It’s hard to swallow.  It feels like if the Wings should have to sell, they should get to sell for the same prices that all the teams that profited from them got to sell at.

Overall
All of that said, the Wings did the best that they could with what they had.  In sheer volume of picks, the last week has been a pretty impressive haul.

I’m not as excited about the upcoming draft as Ken Holland is, though.  Holland has spoken about having so many picks to work with, more than they’ve had since 2002.  This draft is shallow and none of those picks are particularly high.  As such, I don’t see this sell off as sparking a rebuild.  Barring some big changes this summer, I don’t think the assets gained in the last week are going to turn things around next year.

Red Wings Sign Jurco to Two-Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings announced the signing of forward Tomas Jurco to a two-year deal.

As per club policy, no other terms were announced. The annual cap hit will reportedly be $900,000.

Jurco, 22, had been a restricted free agent. Originally drafted by Detroit in the second round (35th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 2014-15 was his first full season with the Red Wings. In 63 games, he scored three goals and added 15 assists for 18 points.

In 99 career NHL games, Jurco has 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points. In 106 game with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, he has 27 goals and 33 assists for 60 points.

With Jurco signed, all of the Red Wings restricted free agents will be returning to the team. Unrestricted free agents Erik Cole, Marek Zidlicky, and Jonas Gustavsson will not return to the team. Daniel Cleary‘s future has yet to be determined.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Lightning – Game 1

The Red Wings open up their their first-round matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and neither team will be entirely healthy.

Detroit is missing forward Justin Abdelkader, still nursing a sore hand, while Tampa Bay defenseman Jason Garrison is out. The Red Wings are also without forwards Erik Cole and Johan Franzen, who are both out for the season.

Rookie goalie Petr Mrazek gets the nod for the Red Wings. Tampa starter Ben Bishop will also be making his first career playoff appearance, as he was injured for their playoff run last season.

Mrazek is joined by Landon Ferraro and Alexey Marchenko in making his first NHL playoff appearance. Daniel Cleary and Teemu Pulkkinen are the healthy scratches up front, Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith are out on the blueline, and Jonas Gustavsson is the third goalie.

SSOTD: The Red Wings haven’t won in Tampa since February 17, 2011.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Red Wings Lose Forward Cole for Season

Detroit Red Wings forward Erik Cole will miss the remainder of the regular season and any possible playoff games.

Cole announced that doctors had recommended he shut down for several months at the conclusion of the Red Wings’ optional practice on Wednesday. He revealed that the injury that has kept him out of the lineup for two weeks is a spinal contusion.

“It stems back from my neck injury in 2006,” Cole said. “When I ran into the player in the Arizona game, I bruised my spinal cord. A spinal contusion is something that you have to let heal and obviously, it’s a pretty serious occurrence. Doctors feel I need to look out for my well-being as a person, not just as a hockey player.”

The Red Wings acquired Cole, 36, from the Dallas Stars in advance of the NHL’s trade deadline, hoping that he could help make up for the loss of Johan Franzen to a concussion. He had planned on returning to play before receiving news that not just his season but his career was at risk.

“When you have a contusion like that,” he said, “it will affect your nerves and it can affect your motor function, you can be a bit clumsy even just sending a text message or something like that. Right now, it’s just about being a healthy individual and worrying about my future and being able to play with my kids.”

In eleven games with the Red Wings, Cole compiled three goals and three assists. In 892 career games with Carolina, Edmonton, Montreal, Dallas, and Detroit, he totaled 265 goals and 267 assists for 532 points.

Red Wings Rally for Win over Hurricanes

Two third-period goals lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

Gustav Nyquist and Pavel Datsyuk scored to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead and goalie Jimmy Howard stopped all 16 shots he faced in the final frame.

Nyquist’s shot from the top of the left faceoff circle slipped through traffic and between the pads of Carolina goalie Anton Khudobin just 1:56 into the third, tying things up.

With 8:35 left, Henrik Zetterberg drove down the left wing and carried the puck behind the net before sending a pass out to Datsyuk in the slot. Datsyuk kicked the puck onto his stick and snapped a shot past Khudobin while falling down, setting the score at 3-2.

Zetterberg had opened the game’s scoring 1:29 into the second period with a power play goal. Stephen Weiss grabbed a loose puck on the left wing boards and sent it to Zetterberg on the right side. All alone, he drove to the net and lifted a backhander past Khudobin.

The Hurricanes evened things up with 5:52 left in the middle period as Nathan Gerbe snapped a rebound chance past Howard after a Red Wings giveaway in their own end.

Chris Terry made it 2-1 for Carolina, picking up a rebound as the late-man on a rush by the Hurricanes.

Howard finished the night with 30 saves on 32 shots while Khudobin stopped 22 of 25 chances.

Each team had one power play on the night, with Detroit scoring on theirs.

The win put the Red Wings two points away from clinching a playoff spot, which they can do with a win in Montreal on Thursday.


Detroit was without forwards Justin Abdelkader, Erik Cole, and Tomas Jurco… Forward Daniel Cleary and defenseman Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches… Goalie Jonas Gustavsson remained injured… Forward Landon Ferraro made his season debut.

Red Wings Fall to Capitals, 2-1

With their playoff lives in the balance, the Detroit Red Wings dropped a 2-1 decision to the Washington Capitals on Sunday evening at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit entered the day in a three-way tie with the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins – all with 95 points in the standings – but holding a game in hand.

The Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov opened the game’s scoring just 3:38 in on a power play. Kuznetsov’s shot from the right wing deflected off of Drew Miller and went over goalie Petr Mrazek‘s shoulder.

Mike Green made it 2-0 at 4:42 of the second period with another shot from the right side that deflected and went off Mrazek’s glove before hitting the back of the net.

Darren Helm got Detroit back in it with 7:01 left in the middle frame, tipping a pass from Pavel Datsyuk past Braden Holtby while on the power play.

Even with a furious finish, the Red Wings were unable to pull even.

Holtby finished the night with 35 saves on 36 shots. Mrazek stopped 26 of the 28 chances he faced.

The Red Wings close out their home schedule on Tuesday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.


Detroit was without forwards Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Jurco, and Erik Cole, all injured… Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch on defense.

Howard Stops Six in Shootout as Red Wings Beat Wild

Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped six shooters in an eight-round shootout on Saturday night, leading the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

It was just Howard’s second shootout win of the season. He had made eleven saves in nine previous shootouts, going 1-8.

Howard stopped Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle to open the tiebreaker before Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek scored. He then held off Nino Niederreiter, Chris Stewart, Mikael Granlund, and Justin Fontaine.

Darren Helm scored in the eighth round, beating Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk on a shot that had to be reviewed to confirm that it crossed the goal line. Gustav Nyquist scored in the second round while Riley Sheahan kept the Red Wings alive in the fourth. Dubnyk stopped Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Tatar, Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, and Niklas Kronwall.

Parise had opened the game’s scoring with 5:53 left in the first period, tipping a Granlund pass to the front of the net past Howard after a Detroit turnover at their own blue line.

The Red Wings responded just 1:52 later when Sheahan – perched on the edge of Dubnyk’s crease – knocked home the rebound of a Weiss chance.

Nyquist’s low-angle shot over Dubnyk’s shoulder with 2:47 remaining in the second gave the Red Wings their only lead of the night on their first power play, making it 2-1.

Parise replied with a Minnesota power play goal, tipping a Pominville chance past Howard at 6:33 of the third period.

The Wild finished the night one-for-six on the power play while the Red Wings went one-for-two.

Howard made 22 saves on 24 shots against. Dubnyk stopped twenty of the 22 shots he faced.

The Red Wings are back at it on Sunday as they host the Washington Capitals.


Detroit was without forwards Erik Cole and Tomas Jurco. Daniel Cleary was a healthy scratch and Johan Franzen remains on injured reserve… Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch on defense while Jonas Gustavsson remained out in goal.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Wild – 4/4

Hey, we’re back. That hiatus DH.N has been on? We’re gonna pretend that’s over and see if we can’t get back to talking about some hockey over here, as the Red Wings visit the Minnesota Wild tonight.

Also back? Jimmy Howard and Pavel Datsyuk. Howard gets the start in goal after Petr Mrazek had gotten the nod for a few games. Datsyuk returns from a troublesome ankle to center Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar.

Daniel Cleary will be the healthy scratch up front with Erik Cole and Tomas Jurco still injured (and Johan Franzen on IR with no return in sight). Jakub Kindl is the healthy scratch on defense. Mrazek will back up Howard with Jonas Gustavsson (remember him?) still shelved.

The Wild are playoff-bound, riding the improbably-hot netminding of Devan Dubnyk. The Red Wings chased Dubnyk when the two teams met on January 20 but still needed a shootout to get the win after the Wild scored three third-period goals to force overtime. Three third-period goals against… This sounds familiar…

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings are 89-83-20 all-time in the regular season in April.

Game time is 7:00 PM on FSD+.

Red Wings Acquire Forward Cole

In the final day before the NHL’s trade deadline, the Detroit Red Wings made a move for additional forward depth in acquiring veteran Erik Cole from the Dallas Stars.

Cole comes to Detroit along with Dallas’ third-round pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft in return for prospects Mattias Backman and Mattias Janmark, as well as the Red Wings’ second-round pick. Dallas’ pick will be returned to them if the Red Wings make the Eastern Conference Finals.

Cole, 36, has 18 goals and 15 assists for 33 points in 57 games for the Stars this season.

Injuries to Johan Franzen and Darren Helm left the Red Wings short on forwards and would have pressed little-used veteran Daniel Cleary into service.