Is Mike Green This Year’s Thomas Vanek?

With the NHL’s All-Star Break over, we’re fully into trade deadline season, and the biggest chip the Red Wings have to cash in is defenseman Mike Green.

We knew that would be the case coming into the season.  As much as the team itself said otherwise, they weren’t expected to compete for a playoff spot.  As such, their pending free agents – most notably Green – would be available come February.  And as much as the team continues to say they’re going to try to make a push, they’re in exactly the spot we expected.

Early in the season we heard a lot about possible destinations for Green.  Toronto and Pittsburgh and Edmonton and Tampa.  Vegas jumped onto the list as it became clear that they weren’t fading.

But with every look at the possibility of trading Green, more disclaimers were added.  Suddenly there were concerns about being too expensive.  About being one-dimensional.  About teams not having room for someone who plays his role.

It reminds me of the lead up to trading Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for a third-round draft pick and minor-leaguer Dylan McIlrath last season.

Vanek was expected to fetch the most leading up to Detroit’s sale at the trade deadline.  According to some reports, a first-rounder wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.  Multiple teams were interested.  Then, as the clock ticked down, it came down to just the Los Angeles Kings and the Panthers, with the Kings bowing out and going with Jarome Iginla instead.  Vanek went to Florida, with the Panthers failing to make the playoffs anyway.

Immediately, we heard talk about how Vanek was too one-dimensional.  He was only successful when playing sheltered minutes.  That a third-round pick was actually a great return for him.  None of this was stated in the lead up to the deadline but once the deal was made they were presented as irrefutable facts.

Now come back to Green.  He’s the Red Wings’ top trade piece.  He’s also a power play specialist.  He’s a bottom-pair defenseman on a good team.  He’s unreliable in his own zone.  He’s expensive, even with Detroit retaining salary.

I’m not saying it will happen, but I could see Green’s value in trade being less than many fans would hope.  We saw it with Vanek and it may be the case again.

Red Wings’ Slump Reaches Six with Shootout Loss to Avalanche

The Detroit Red Wings lost their sixth consecutive game on Sunday night, a 2-1 shootout decision to the Colorado Avalanche.

It was the fourth loss of the sixth to come in the tiebreaker.

Petr Mrazek took the loss for the Red Wings, making the start in goal in place of the injured Jimmy Howard. Mrazek stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced and six of nine shootout attempts.

Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene beat Mrazek to start the shootout, then Mrazek made six straight stops before Jarome Iginla scored what would be the game-winner.

Avalanche netminder Calvin Pickard stopped Pavel Datsyuk before Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar scored to force sudden death rounds. Pickard wouldn’t allow a goal the rest of the way, stopping Brendan Smith to secure the win in the ninth round.

Pickard made 34 saves on 35 shots in regulation and overtime.

After two scoreless periods, Pavel Datsyuk opened the game’s scoring at 4:52 of the third. With Detroit on a power play, Datsyuk took a feed from Riley Sheahan in the left faceoff circle and snapped a shot past Pickard.

With 4:15 left in the period, the Avalanche tied things up on a power play of their own. Erik Johnson‘s blast from the top of the right circle appeared to deflect off defenseman Jonathan Ericsson‘s stick on its way past Mrazek.

Detroit finished the night one-for-four on the power play while Colorado went one-for-two.

The Red Wings have one more game remaining before the Christmas break, Tuesday night against the Buffalo Sabres.


With Howard injured and Jonas Gustavsson still weeks from returning, Tom McCollum was called up to back up Mrazek… Jakub Kindl was back in the lineup as Xavier Ouellet was sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins to make room for McCollum… Daniel Cleary replaced Joakim Andersson for his tenth appearance of the season, triggering a $1 million bonus in his contract.

Red Wings Eliminated in 4-2 Loss to Bruins

Much like in the previous week of games, the Detroit Red Wings had no answer to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, leading to a 4-2 loss in Game Five of their Atlantic Division Semifinal matchup.

It was the fourth-straight loss for the Red Wings, who were eliminated from the playoffs after only managing to win Game One in Boston.

Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, making his second consecutive start in place of the flu-ridden Jimmy Howard, made 29 saves on 32 shots in the losing effort for Detroit.

The Bruins opened the game’s scoring just 3:27. On a power play, Dougie Hamilton carried the puck down the right wing and threw a pass from the corner into the slot. The puck bounced off Darren Helm and right to Loui Eriksson, who cut to the right faceoff circle and backhanded a chance under Gustavsson’s glove.

Pavel Datsyuk tied things up at 5:19 left in the second period. With Detroit on a power play of their own, Henrik Zetterberg fired a long shot that was knocked down by Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. Johan Franzen was on the doorstep to sweep the puck to Datsyuk, who was driving in from the left wing to snap a shot into the back of the net.

Boston captain Zdeno Chara put the Bruins back out in front with just four seconds left in the period, blasting a shot from the top of the right circle past Gustavsson on another power play.

Milan Lucic made it 3-1 at 4:27 of the third. Torey Krug picked off an attempted outlet pass by Franzen at the Detroit blue line and carried it down low on the left wing before sending it to the front of the net where Lucic was wide open to knock a shot past Gustavsson.

Zetterberg would give the Red Wings hope with 3:52 remaining, fighting off Chara and getting to a loose puck at the bottom of the left faceoff circle, then lifting a no-angle shot into the far corner past Rask to make it 3-2.

With 16 seconds left, Jarome Iginla would close things out with an empty net goal.

Rask finished the night with 31 saves on 33 shots.

The Red Wings scored on one of their seven power play tries while Boston scored with the man advantage on two of six attempts.


Defenseman Xavier Ouellet made his NHL playoff debut, replacing Jakub Kindl in the Detroit lineup… Goaltender Jake Paterson was a healthy scratch as Howard was well enough to back up Gustavsson… Daniel Alfredsson returned after missing two games with a back injury, replacing Todd Bertuzzi.

Red Wings Rout Bruins in Preseason Matchup

The Detroit Red Wings scored eight times on Thursday night, getting goals from eight different players en route to a 8-2 preseason victory over the Bruins in Boston.

Boston prospect goalie Malcolm Subban allowed all eight Detroit goals, facing 27 shots on the night. Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped 14 of 15 shots in the first two periods before being replaced by Tom McCollum for the third.

Justin Abdelkader opened the game’s scoring on the power play at 5:01 of the first period, kicking a rebound chance from his skate to his stick at the top of the crease and knocking the puck past Subban.

Grand Rapids Griffins forward David McIntyre made it 2-0 with 3:53 remaining in the period when he lifted a backhander into the net in a goal-mouth scramble on a delayed penalty.

Henrik Zetterber’s slapper from the high slot off a feed from the left wing by Pavel Datsyuk made it 3-0 at 3:28 of the second period and Danny DeKeyser made it 4-0 at 9:17 when he snapped a shot past Subban from down low in the right circle.

Jarome Iginla finally got the Bruins on the board with 8:13 left in the middle period. Matt Bartkowski sent the puck from the left wing to the front of the net and Iginla redirected it past Howard with his skate.

Daniel Cleary started Detroit’s four-goal third period on a two-on-one with Tomas Tatar. Cleary grabbed a loose puck in the Detroit zone and carried it the length of the ice down the right wing before cutting to the net and shoveling a backhander past Subban.

Nick Johnson would score the only goal against McCollum with 8:28 remaining, taking a pass in the high slot and faking around Datsyuk to cut to the front of the net and roof a backhander over the goaltender.

Niklas Kronwall would respond with a power play goal just 1:24 later, firing a blast from the blue line that deflected off the stick of Daniel Paille in the slot on its way past Subban.

Only 32 seconds after that, Joakim Andersson golfed the rebound of a Gustav Nyquist shot in behind Subban to make it 7-2.

Datsyuk would round out the scoring with 5:47 remaining, taking a long stretch pass from Zetterberg to break in on Subban all alone and beat him top shelf.


The Red Wings were without forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen, who were allowed to rest minor injuries… Earlier in the day Patrick Eaves suffered a leg injury in practice… Jakub Kindl left the game early with a hip flexor… Before the game, forward Teemu Pulkkinen was suspended for four preseason games for boarding in Tuesday’s game in Chicago.

Free Agent Preview Redux

A couple days ago I took a look at possible Red Wings free agent targets. Things have changed a little bit since then so I figure I’ll go over it again with just hours remaining before NHL free agency.

Centers
Vincent Lecavalier is now off the market after agreeing to a five-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers but a surprise addition is Mikael Grabovski, who was waived on Thursday by the Toronto Maple Leafs in order to be bought out. He’d be a great fit in Detroit, having had success playing with Pavel Datsyuk in Russia in the past. The two also share an agent, so there’s an “in” there. The issue is that his current $5.5 million cap hit – while more than the Red Wings would probably want to spend – really isn’t that bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a team that claims him on waivers before the Leafs even get a chance to buy him out, meaning he never hits the free agent market.

The Wings are supposedly still in on Valtteri Filppula but the local reports state he’s all but gone. I think he’s the best available fit for Detroit’s second-line center but I really don’t think he’s worth the money he’s supposedly asking ($5.5 million for five years).

Stephen Weiss plays a similar game to Filppula and he’s my third choice for the second-line center spot. He’s older and has accomplished less, and is supposedly asking for more money ($6 million/year), which he’s not worth. I wouldn’t pay him more than $4 million but given that his actual salary last season was $4.1 million, I don’t see him going for that.

Mike Ribeiro‘s name keeps coming up as an option for the Wings but I don’t see the fit. He probably wants a raise from his previous $5 million salary and his wife has been ranting about having to leave Washington, so he probably doesn’t want to move as far away as Detroit.

For some reason Matt Cullen’s name has come up as well. If the Wings sign him, it will be because they whiffed on all the other centers. He’s 36 and can probably be had for short term (two years) in the $3 million range. This signing would disappoint me so much. I’d rather see Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg split up (again), Johan Franzen shifted to center (again) or one of the kids being given a shot centering the second line than see Cullen signed.

Wingers
The Red Wings have been linked to Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson in recent days. I’ve long coveted him but would be shocked if he actually leaves the Senators. No idea what money he’s asking but it would be a one-year deal for the 40-year-old. I’d rather see Alfredsson signed for a year than Daniel Cleary brought back. Boston is also interested.

Damien Brunner is reportedly asking for $2.5 million per year, which I’d give him in a heartbeat. The concern is what he can do over a full season but I think he’s worth the risk at that relatively low amount. If he gets up to $3.5 million, then it’s something to worry about.

Daniel Cleary is apparently looking for a three-year, $9 million deal ($3 million cap hit). That just seems obscene to me. Given the Wings’ ability to fill his role from within via someone like Tomas Tatar, I don’t see a fit here anymore.

The Wings are reportedly among the many teams interested in ex-Flames captain Jarome Iginla. He’s another I’d love in Detroit (having hated him in Calgary for years) but I don’t think it’s a fit. Unless the Wings lose out on Brunner, they’re not looking for a scoring winger (I know, I said I want Alfredsson anyway) and Detroit wasn’t on Iginla’s list of acceptable trade destinations when he moved on from Calgary at the trade deadline. Maybe the prospect of a whole season with the Wings would be better than just closing out last season, but I don’t see it.

Defensemen
The Red Wings have seven defensemen under contract already after cutting loose Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo but for some reason Tom Gilbert’s name has come up. The Minnesota Wild buyout is a right-handed shot, which the Wings could use, but it’d necessitate Detroit moving one of their current d-men and I don’t see a move available.

Similarly, both Marek Zidlicky and Andrew Ference have been rumored as targets for the Red Wings. Specifically, it’s been stated that bringing in one of them would make Kyle Quincey expendable. I don’t see a market for Quincey so I don’t know how the Wings would dump him. I’d be very confused if Detroit signed a defenseman, I think they’ll look to make a trade if they want to upgrade.

Flat Red Wings Fall to Flames

The Detroit Red Wings dug themselves a hole early and could never get out of it, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames Tuesday night.

Johan Franzen had the only goal of the night for the Wings, scored on a power play with 7:23 remaining in the second period. After Niklas Kronwall held the puck in the zone along the left wing boards, Henrik Zetterberg backhanded a pass down to Franzen on the inside edge of the left faceoff circle, where he flung a backhand shot past Miikka Kiprusoff to make it 2-1.

The Wings lost the momentum that goal gave them with 24 seconds left in the period when Matt Stajan won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Dennis Wideman, who sent a seeing-eye shot through traffic and past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard to put the Flames back up by two.

Mark Giordano’s power play goal with 4:02 left in regulation sealed the deal for the Flames.

Calgary captain Jarome Iginla had opened the game’s scoring just 3:24 in, knocking a loose puck past Howard during a goal-mouth scramble.

At 10:35 of the opening period, Curtis Glencross made it 2-0 with the Flames on a five-on-three. Mike Cammalleri sent a pass to Glencross at the edge of the Detroit crease for an easy tip-in past Howard.

The Flames scored their two power play goals on five chances with the extra attacker. The Red Wings were one-for-four with the man-advantage.

Howard finished the night with 19 saves on 23 shots. Kiprusoff stopped 19 of twenty shots before leaving the game with a lower-body injury after the second period. Leland Irving stopped all six shots he faced to close out the game.

Datsyuk, Howard Selected by Team Chara for All-Star Game

Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk and goalie Jimmy Howard were selected by All-Star team captain Zdeno Chara at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft on Thursday.

Datsyuk was the first overall selection of the draft. Howard was the last goalie selected, going in the tenth round (the round by which all goalies were required to be selected).

Team captains were Boston’s Chara, with Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul as an assistant, and Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson, assisted by Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.

The full draft list is as follows:

Round 1
Team Chara: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
Team Alfredsson: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa

Round 2
Team Chara: Tim Thomas, Boston
Team Alfredsson: Jason Spezza, Ottawa

Round 3
Team Chara: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh
Team Alfredsson: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles

Round 4
Team Chara: Marian Hossa, Chicago
Team Alfredsson: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia

Round 5
Team Chara: Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia
Team Alfredsson: Kris Letang, Pittsburgh

Round 6
Team Chara: Corey Perry, Anaheim
Team Alfredsson: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay

Round 7
Team Chara:Carey Price, Montreal
Team Alfredsson: Brian Elliott, St. Louis

Round 8
Team Chara: Phil Kessel, Toronto
Team Alfredsson: Shea Weber, Nashville

Round 9
Team Chara: Ryan Suter, Nashville
Team Alfredsson: Daniel Sedin, Vancouver

Round 10
Team Chara: Jimmy Howard, Detroit
Team Alfredsson: Dan Girardi, NY Rangers

Round 11
Team Chara: Brian Campbell, Florida
Team Alfredsson: Keith Yandle, Phoenix

Round 12
Team Chara: Patrick Kane, Chicago
Team Alfredsson: Milan Michalek, Ottawa

Round 13
Team Chara: Dion Phaneuf, Toronto
Team Alfredsson: Henrik Sedin, Vancouver

Round 14
Team Chara: Jarome Iginla, Calgary
Team Alfredsson: James Neal, Pittsburgh

Round 15
Team Chara: Dennis Wideman, Washington
Team Alfredsson: Alexander Edler, Vancouver

Round 16
Team Chara: Marian Gaborik, NY Rangers
Team Alfredsson: John Tavares, NY Islanders

Round 17
Team Chara: Jordan Eberle, Edmonton
Team Alfredsson: Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia

Round 18
Team Chara: Tyler Seguin, Boston
Team Alfredsson: Jason Pominville, Buffalo

Round 19
Team Chara: Jamie Benn, Dallas
Team Alfredsson: Logan Couture, San Jose

Howard, Datsyuk Named to NHL All-Star Teams

The National Hockey League announced the list of 36 players selected to the 2012 All-Star teams on Thursday, joining six player voted in by the fans.

The Red Wings will be represented by goaltender Jimmy Howard and forward Pavel Datsyuk.

It will be Howard’s first All-Star appearance. In his third full NHL season, he has a league-leading 24 wins, with a .924 save percentage and a 2.05 goals-against average.

Datsyuk will make his second trip to the All-Star Game, having previously appeared in the 2004 contest. He was also selected to the 2009 roster but skipped the game with an injury. He currently leads the Red Wings in points with 43.

A notable omission from the roster is Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who reportedly requested the weekend off.

The All-Star Game will be played on January 29, hosted by the Ottawa Senators.

The full list of selected players is as follows:

Forwards
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins
Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Defensemen
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers
Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Dan Girardi, New York Rangers
Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers
Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
Alex Edler, Vancouver Canucks
Dennis Wideman, Washington Capitals
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

Goaltenders
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues

Holmstrom Leads Red Wings Past Flames

Tomas Holmstrom scored twice on the power play Wednesday night, helping the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-3 win over the visiting Calgary Flames.

The goals lifted Holmstrom into a tie with Brendan Shanahan for fifth place all-time in Red Wings power play goals scored.

Holmstrom opened the game’s scoring at 6:14 of the first period, deflecting a shot intentionally fired wide of the net by Nicklas Lidstrom past Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff midway through a Detroit power play.

Jarome Iginla evened things back up just 44 seconds into the second, getting the puck on the right wing on a three-on-two and wristing a shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Brendan Morrison put the Flames up 2-1 2:12 later, getting into the left faceoff circle untouched and blasting a shot past Howard.

Former Flame Ian White, appearing in his first game since blocking a shot with his face on November 12, tied things back up at 7:38 of the middle frame. White drifted from the high slot to the right wing boards with the puck, finally flinging a shot on net that found its way through past Kiprusoff.

Holmstrom’s second of the night put the Red Wings back into the lead. At 2:42 of the third he took a Pavel Datsyuk pass at the edge of the crease and spun around, backhanding a shot past Kiprusoff from in close.

Calgary’s Olli Jokinen replied 2:24 later, snapping a shot from the left faceoff circle past Howard for a power play goal.

Pavel Datsyuk put the Red Wings in front yet again with 7:21 remaining. With the Red Wings on a two-man advantage, Datsyuk sent the puck to the front of the net and it deflected off the skate of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, bouncing through Kiprusoff’s pads.

Valtteri Filppula made it 5-3 1:14 later when his backhand attempt deflected off the stick of defenseman Chris Butler and past Kiprusoff just three seconds after the close of a power play chance.

The Red Wings finished the night three-for-four on the power play. The Flames scored on one of their four tries with the extra attacker.

Howard made 19 saves on 22 shots against while Kiprusoff stopped 25 of the 30 Detroit chances he faced.

The Red Wings, winners of three in a row, next play in Boston in the inaugural Thanksgiving Showdown on Friday.


With Ian White’s return to the Detroit lineup, Brendan Smith was a healthy scratch. Smith was kept in Detroit in case Brad Stuart was unable to play but with both White and Stuart healthy, Smith was returned to the Griffins after the game… Fabian Brunnstrom was sent to the Griffins for the night to make room for Smith on the roster. He returned to Detroit when Smith was sent down… Patrick Eaves and Mike Commodore were healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Postgame: Flames @ Red Wings – 11/23

Tonight’s win wasn’t the cleanest the Wings have had this season but it had a lot of good points, including the two points in the standings that the team will take regardless of how they played.

I said after the first period that it was a bit slow but that the Red Wings had managed to limit Calgary’s chances so it was good. To start the second period, Detroit continued to play slow while the Flames came out with jump and took advantage. Detroit can’t expect to coast and it could have bit them in the ass tonight.

Jarome Iginla‘s goal was textbook execution of an odd-man rush, aided by the fact that there seemingly was miscommunication on whether Nicklas Lidstrom or the backchecking Detroit forward would be covering him. Brendan Morrison’s goal was in part a rookie/lazy mistake by Jakub Kindl, who ended up covering no one on the play. The Wings need to make sure they don’t make a habit of plays like those.

That said, three out of four on the power play (and one just after the expiration of the man-advantage) is a very good thing to see from special teams that haven’t been great this season. Tomas Holmstrom had a dominant night in front of Miikka Kiprusoff, with his two power play goals moving him into a tie with Brendan Shanahan for fifth place all-time in Red Wings power play goals.

I said that Calgary’s third goal came off them taking advantage of the opportunity given to them when Darren Helm lost his stick. The Wings returned the favor with their fourth and fifth goals. Stupid penalty by Curtis Glencross put the Wings on the five-on-three and they made it work.