Archive for August, 2005

Wings, Datsyuk still no closer to deal

John Niyo of the Detroit News reports today that Pavel Datsyuk has turned down each of the multiple offers made to him by the Wings on Saturday. Niyo says the biggest stumbling block at this time is the length of the deal. Pavel, 27, is seeking a two- or three-year deal so he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2007. Detroit would obviously prefer to lock Datsyuk up for longer than two years and have been making offers varying from 1 to 5 years, with most of their emphasis on the 4 or 5 year contract length.

Money remains an issue in the negotiations and it’s looking more and more likely as it winds down to September 1st (Greenstin’s deadline) that Pavel will play for Moscow Dynamo this season. He is expected to meet with his agent today in Moscow but unless he has a sudden change of heart, I wouldn’t expect him to play in the Winged Wheel this season.

According to Niyo, Datsyuk has not been practicing with Dynamo. Instead, he has been practicing with the Russian national team in preparation for the EuroTour tournament in the Czech Republic. So maybe there is some optimism to be found in that he hasn’t already committed in all but word to Dynamo.

Niyo also has some news on Zetterberg. Apparently, they are going slightly better than the talks with Pavel but Niyo rightly points out that this is more because Henrik has less leverage to make demands. It sounds like the issue with Hank is the money and not length of the deal. He earned just $650,000 last season and is looking for a considerable raise (say, $2 million a year in a long term deal). If Hank really wants a longer deal, he’s on my good side, since he’ll be tying himself to the deal and the Wings won’t have to struggle to sign him again in a couple years. He obviously deserves a raise but I think $2 million a year would be a little steep for now.

Wings reportedly sign Kronwall

Swedish media, DN, is reporting that the Wings have signed Niklas Kronwall to a two year deal for $2 million. Below is the Swedish article followed by a Kuklas Korner’s vistor’s translation.

Kronwall, som skrapade ihop 20 NHL-matcher med Detroit säsongen 2003/04, är den sjätte svensken som kontrakterats av klubben och kontraktet är värt 15 miljoner kronor.
– Niklas dubblar lönen. Han fÃ¥r tvÃ¥ miljoner dollar för tvÃ¥ säsonger, säger hans agent Claes Elefalk till Aftonbladet.
Övriga svenskar med kontrakt i Detroit är Nicklas Lidström och Tomas Holmström samt de nya Johan Franzén och Andreas Lilja. Henrik Zetterberg ligger i förhandlingar om en fortsättning.

English translation thanks to Daniel:

Kronwall, who played 20 NHL games for Detroit during the 2003/04 season, is the sixth Swede to sign a contract with the team, and the deal is worth 15 million Swedish crowns.

“Niklas is doubling his salary. He gets $2 million for two seasons,” says his agent Claes Elefalk to Aftonbladet (*Swedish newspaper*)

Other Swedes contracted by Detroit are Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, as well as newcomers Johan Franzén and Andreas Lilja. Henrik Zetterberg is currently in negotiations for a new deal.

[ UPDATE: (Matt, 27. Aug 05) The above has been confirmed. They now have 19 players under contract and over $30 million committed in salary. Kronwall’s salary may or may not be $1 million a year. The official number has not been released yet. ]

Gary Greenstin, Pavel Datsyuk’s agent, wrote a letter commenting about the contract negotiations.

In our negotiations we came to the finish line. I announced to the Detroit’s General Manager Ken Holland that he needs to make up his mind relatively to Datsyuk by September 1st. Pavel is willing to play in the NHL. Red Wings’ first priority right now is to sign a contract with Datsyuk. As you can see, we have the same goal.

September 5th is a deadline to get players on a roster in Russian Super League. It’s clear that Datsyuk can’t wait the entire month in uncertainty. He would play in Dynamo.

What salary is Datsyuk expecting? I and Mr. Holland decided not to announce any numbers. But it’s well-known that Detroit signed 18 players already for 31 million dollars. So, there is a room, especially that each club may have an over-budget of the cap of 39 million dollars until October 1st.

Next week I’m flying to Moscow to sit down with Datsyuk and discuss all of the possible variants of the career’s continuation. As a reminder, in two years Pavel will become an unrestricted free agent. Detroit proposes us a five-year contract, but we agree only for two-three years. Negotiations with Holland are going pretty hard, but there is no, and won’t be, any animosity between us. I do what is better for Datsyuk, and he does what is better for the club.

Regarding the rules, Detroit has a right to sign a contract with Pavel before December 1st. Up to now, Detroit excluded any possibility to trade him to another team. And we didn’t ask for it. Though, I know that many teams are dreaming to see Pavel in their lineups and proposed some tempting offers to the Red Wings.

Wings Sign Matt Ellis, Jimmy Howard

The Wings have signed prospects Matt Ellis and Jimmy Howard, as talks continue to progress with Griffin goaltender Joey MacDonald. Matt Ellis, 23, recently had a breakout season with 18 goals and 23 assists in 79 games with the Griffins. The center has yet to make an appearance with the Wings, but has moved up the depth chart over the past few years.

As for Jimmy Howard, the University of Maine goaltender will skip his senior season to join the Griffins. Howard recently posted a 1.92 GAA in 39 games played for the Maine Black Bears. Howard was Detroit’s first choice (64th overall) in the 2003 draft, and has the potential to become a #1 goaltender in the NHL. The Wings had been pressuring Howard to forego his senior year, with the potential of the Griffins needing him this season if MacDonald is called up by the Wings.

Wings sign Lilja and MacLean

The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Andreas Lilja and center Don MacLean today.

This afternoon on 1270AM, head coach Mike Babcock announced the signing of Lilja to a one year contract. Lilja, 30, has played for the LA Kings and most recently, the Florida Panthers. Lilja rounds out the defensemen group at seven players (Lidstrom, Schneider, Fischer, Chelios, Rivers, and Delmore). “Lilja brings NHL experience along with the size and toughness we needed on our blueline,” said Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. In his 180 NHL games, Lilja had 186 penalty minutes and 27 points (8 goals and 19 assists).

MacLean will most likely be playing for the Griffins this fall with the opportunity to come up to the NHL. He was drafted by the LA Kings, traded to Toronto, signed by Columbus, and is now heading for Detroit. MacLean has played a total of 29 NHL games scoring six goals and got three assits. In 2001-2002 on St. John’s, MacLean led the AHL in assists and points. “MacLean gives us depth on offense and will have a chance to compete in training camp. We’re happy to have both players signed and look forward to seeing them in the Red Wings’ jersey,” Holland said.

UPDATE: (Matt, 7:49 PM ET) : Here’s a little more information on these guys (via. TSN):

Andreas Lilja

Size: 6’3″ 228 lbs.

Assets: Has good stay-at-home qualities from the back end. Plays the game
with smarts and possesses excellent size for an NHL blueliner.

Flaws: Doesn’t have a lot of offensive upside. Must make better use of his
huge frame in order to improve his overall NHL game.

Career potential: Top six defenseman.

Don MacLean

Size: 6’2″ 199 lbs.

Assets: Can line up at all three forward positions. Has good offensive
instincts and a nice scoring touch. Is sound defensively.

Flaws: Must play with more consistency. Could help himself by using his 6-2
frame more to his advantage. Needs to start avoiding serious injury.

Career: potential Fourth-line forward.

These look to be decent signings, based on that but we’ll have to wait and see how they gel with the team. They certainly bring some much needed size. I’d like to know whether they bring speed, though. Are we still getting slower?

Datsyuk, Delmore, and Legace news

The Detroit News reports that the Wings still have a long ways to go to sign Pavel Datsyuk. Moscow Dynamo needs to hear a commitment from Datsyuk by September 1 when all European contracts must be registered. Apparently, he has been working out with the Dynamo team and scored a goal in Finland while at a tournament. Datsyuk’s agent, Gary Greenstin, has told Dynamo that Datsyuk would rather play for the Wings, but if a deal can’t be reached he will return for a second year in Moscow. “A beautiful, highlight goal from what people told me,” Greenstin said.

In a nutshell, a decision should be made within a week regarding Datsyuk’s future. For the future of the Detroit Red Wings, I sure hope Holland can work something out.

“It’s up to Ken Holland (Wings general manager) and myself to work on this and come to some sort of an agreement,” Greenstin said. “It’s a slow process. We’re going to continue to work. As we’ve said, Pavel’s first priority is to remain with the Wings.”

Besides Datsyuk, Holland still has to sign Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg, and one other player (probably a defenseman). The Wings have $7 million left to sign those players.

Delmore grew up idolizing Yzerman
The Detroit News ran an article regarding Andy Delmore’s excitement to play for the Wings. Last week, the defeseman signed a contract for one year worth $450,000 (the league’s minimum). Even if Delmore doesn’t make the Wings roster, he’s excited for the opportunity to be just a phone call away. He grew up in Windsor cheering for the Red Wings.

“Let’s face it, a lot of players don’t get an opportunity for their hometown team,” Delmore said. “The chance to come back home, and play for the Wings, it really is exciting. Definitely a guy like Steve Yzerman, for everything he’s accomplished in his career, the way he carries himself on and off the ice,” Delmore said. “Then guys like Bob Probert (another Windsor native) and Joe Kocur. There were so many good memories and moments. But I was always a Wings fan, not the (Toronto Maple) Leafs.”

Holland believes Delmore could give the Wings depth especially with some of the new rule changes. “He’s got skill, and he gives us depth,” general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s a guy who could help us.”

Over the lockout, Delmore played for Adler Mannheim (a Germany team) alongside the Sabres’ Jochen Hochet and the Flames’ Rene Corbet. In his 50 games, he scored seven goals and had 16 assists.

“No doubt, it was a little different,” he said of having games twice a week, on weekends. It really was like a college (hockey) schedule. We’d play on Friday and Sunday, have Monday off, and practiced the rest of the week. The atmosphere and intensity was real good because you’d only (have) those two games, and the crowds were really into it. It was good hockey, as good as any of the other leagues (in Europe). Our team made it into the finals, and there were quite a few NHL players (in Germany). It was a good experience.”

Since the Wings want a minimum of seven defensemen and money is tight, Jason Woolley will probably be playing another year with the Wings. “They’re giving me an opportunity,” Woolley said.

Legace’s golf charity event next Monday
Next Monday at the Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville, Manny Legace will be holding a charity golf event with proceeds going towards breast cancer research. Legace’s mom along with a close family friend have fought breast cancer. “This (the golf outing) is something that I’ve wanted to do for some time,” Legace said, “and everything has worked out.” The Wings that are scheduled to attend include Chris Osgood, Jason Williams, Kirk Maltby, and Darryl Bootland. Legace is encouraging fants to attend for autograph opportunities. Donations will be accepted.

I hope to attend the event since it’s about 5-10 minutes from my house. I’ll call the golf club tomorrow to see when the event starts. If I am able to attend, I plan on getting some autographs and taking pictures to be posted here. If you can attend, come support the fight against breast cancer along with watching our beloved Wings players golf! Hope to see you there!

Jason Williams and Darryl Bootland Accept Qualifying Offers

The Wings have re-signed forwards Jason Williams, 25, and Darryl Bootland, 23, to one-year deals. Terms were not released, but at a 10% increase over their 2004-2005 salaries they would both be at the league minimum of $450,000.

Williams appeared in a career-high 49 games in 2003-2004, adding 6 goals and 7 assists. During the lockout, he led Assat Pori in scoring in the Finnish League with 26 goals and 17 assists in 43 games. Williams always hustles on the ice and can be used at both center and on the wings.

Darryl Bootland played in 22 games during the 2003-2004 season with the Wings. After starting out aggressive and dropping the gloves on numerous occasions, the Wings coaching staff asked him to tone it down and not cost the Wings unnecessary penalty minutes. This is where he later struggled with defining his role on the Wings, and was moved down the list of call-ups.

In other prospect news, former Wings prospect Nathan Robinson signed a one-year deal with the Bruins.

Wings Sign Defenseman Andy Delmore

The Wings have signed defenseman Andy Delmore to a one-year, $450,000 contract. The contract is two-way, meaning the Wings could send him down to the Griffins. The 28-year-old Windsor native potentially becomes the Wings’ seventh defenseman, joining Nicklas Lidstrom, Jiri Fischer, Chris Chelios, Jamie Rivers, Niklas Kronwall (unsigned), and Mathieu Schneider. Says Delmore:

“It’s been a dream of mine to play for Detroit. I used to go to every Red Wings game. Having a chance to play there is very exciting for me and my family. Growing up here, it was Detroit, Detroit for me.”

Says GM Ken Holland:

“We’re thrilled because of his experience, skill and mobility. I think he’s a great addition. The style of the new NHL is geared towards skill and Andy has got skill…He’s got to make the club. He understands the possibility he may end up in the minors, but that was a chance he was willing to take.”

Delmore was considering joining the Coyotes, but ultimately chose Detroit for its skill-oriented play and the chance to fulfill a childhood dream of wearing the Winged-Wheel. Delmore had a rough stint in Buffalo last season, but prior to that racked up 34 goals and 72 points in 144 games with the Predators. He is not known for being a physical defenseman, but is regarded as one of the better offensive defensemen in the league. Says Holland:

“He’s not a big, physical, guy but we’ve had a number of defencemen here through the years like that who have played well. I think he’s going to be a real find for us.”

And as for progress with signing Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Kronwall, Holland says “I can’t say we’re close to anything on any front.” Great.