Posts tagged “Jason Williams”

Whoa: Gator In For Willy

These are the things you miss when slammed at work: Babcock was listening. Or on the same page independently, more likely. Williams sits for Abdelkader for Game 2. And he may actually get a shot at Doan, with the Coyotes having the last change.

Cap Talk

Update (8:17 PM): Just realized I left a hole in this post: if Lilja can’t make it back in a meaningful way, the Wings will only be about $650,000 over the cap, which means Leino’s the most likely odd-man out. The question becomes much, much easier in that case.

Easy’s good, but I can’t hope for that. I want Lilja to get back to hockey. Weber’s fists can’t be the way he goes out. - Matt

So, according to Ken Daniels last night, the Wings will be about $1.9 million over the cap assuming everyone comes back with no further injuries to anyone else.

That may be a big assumption on Lilja’s part, as he still has to prove he can take the daily grind of being a hockey player again. The projected conditioning stint in Grand Rapids is going to be hugely important and the Wings are going to have to make a decision based on a scant two weeks. Not a whole lot to go on.

Just for fun, let’s assume Lilja’s going to be healthy and everyone else is going to come back. No more injuries. Isn’t that a fun fantasy?

The Wings need to ship off some cap space, either through waivers or a trade. And I tend to agree with Daniels’ analysis that they won’t be looking to move defensemen. You can’t have too much depth at D and the guys everyone talks about, Lebda and Meech, are dirt cheap. That means two things: their movement won’t mean much and they’re a steal.

And we have a couple guys in Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves that no one wants to see shafted. So we’re looking at forwards, but, I hope, not those two.

May’s a given, I would think. But he’s only pulling in $481,865. More guys have to go. Some possibilities:

Scenario A:

May ($481,865) + Maltby ($883,333) + Leino ($800,000) = $2,165,198. (Roster: 22)

This one bothers me. I don’t care about May and Leino, who have been busts by just about any definition. Leino’s upside would normally make dumping him tough, but he’s shown so little promise in delivering that upside that I’m not attached to him in any way. I like May on a personal level and thing he’s great in front of a camera with a mic in his face. But other than that, he’s dead weight on this team. So no problems there.

It’s, predictably, the Maltby part of the equation that gets me. Maltby is a shadow of his former self. He’s no longer so integral on the PK and is nowhere near the SHed threat he once was. He’s a fourth liner at best these days. But he’s Kirk Maltby and he’s put in years of service for an organization that values that above little else. I would hate to see his career ended on anyone’s terms but his. And it should end with him as a Red Wing.

The math may work here, but if that’s not bad math, I don’t know what is. I know this is a business, but I don’t want to see the Wings become the Tigers and make decisions like that with so little regard for loyalty and character. They’ve painstakingly built a reputation as a team that takes care of its people. I think they value that reputation quite highly, given the return on investment they’ve seen, so I’d be fairly shocked if they unceremoniously dumped Maltby off.

On a tangently-related sidenote, some of my attitude over the Osgood/Howard situation comes from being surprised an organization with such a reputation of even-handedness in the veteran-to-new-guy transition has been so heavy-handed in this scenario. Anyway. Update: By the way, I’m not trying to start another Osgood/Howard debate here. My focus is the cap situation. Unfortunate toss-away comment on my part. - Matt

Scenario B:

May ($481,865) + Jason Williams ($1.5 million) = $1,981,465 (Roster: 23)

This would slide the Wings in just under the cap, presumably. And at first glance, isn’t likely. Williams is meant to be a top six guy on this team, you say. True. But they went without him for nearly half a season. You might respond that the Wings didn’t exactly tear it up in his absence, so maybe they need him. I’d say I doubt the absence of Jason Williams is the reason the Wings haven’t done better this season.

Think about it: which of the injuries was the biggest, accounting for talent and length (so, not Zetterberg)? Franzen, followed closely by Kronwall. So maybe the Wings win a few more games with Williams around, but I wouldn’t call him critical like those two. Maybe it’s highly unlikely, but this scenario has the benefit of the Wings already seeing how they might do without one of the guys. Not very well, you’d think, until you remember Franzen and Kronwall are back in the picture.

Maybe I like this scenario because I’m not a Williams fan. And maybe I like it because they’ve already traded him in the past. They may just do it again.

Scenario C:

May ($481,865) + Leino ($800,000) + Lebda ($650,000) = $1,931,865 (roster: 22)

I’m sure this is one a lot of people could get behind. Not my wife, who’s a big Lebda supporter, but all of his detractors. This one may be the most likely, which is unfortunate for those of us (Megan and I, and some others) who believe Lebda can be a strong third pairing guy given the right partner (i.e. not a rookie). I think Daniels is right and that the Wings will try not to move a defenseman, but if they are, Lebda’s salary may make bring him forward in Holland’s mind.

Scenario D:

May ($481,865) + Leino ($800,000) + Eaves ($500,000) + Miller ($413,472) = $2,195,337 (Roster: 21)

Yeah, this one’s a mixed bag, eh? Two players we’d love to be rid of and two players we’ve all grown attached to over the course of this screwball season. Two guys who’ve been bright spots through the crap. I hate this option. As I’ve already said, I want to be talking about Helm and Eaves for years to come. And Miller has really shown himself to be a great combination of incredible work ethic and surprising hand-eye coordination that has serious potential for some big goals over a career here. I really don’t want to see either of them traded or waived. Someone would claim them on the wire.

Scenario E:

May ($481,865) + Leino ($800,000) + Meech ($483,333) + Miller ($413,472) = $2,178,670 (Roster: 21)

If, as I hope, Holland finds Eaves too valuable, here’s a possibility. Of the two, Miller’s likely more expendable. And if Holland decides Lebda worth of sticking around, Meech could get the nod. I’ve felt for a while that Meech is a bit of a deadman in the organization as his development’s seemingly been mothballed and he’s been relegated to spare part status when he could have been a Quincey-level player. But he does come at a bargain-basement price and that makes him a handy asset to have.

Scenario X:

Chances are, Holland’s going to figure something out no one else thought of. That’s how he works. So in some days, this is a pointless exercise. But it’s definitely an interesting one.

Of course, it may turn out that Lilja’s can’t make it work.

What do you think?

(numbers via CapGeek).

Kronwall Back Tuesday, Other Injury Updates

Big news: The team has confirmed media reports that Niklas Kronwall will return tomorrow night against Phoenix. The injury excuse weakens…

Also, Andreas Lilja may actually be closer than Ken Holland led on in the wake of Redmond’s supposedly ill-conceived comments on Lils’ status. Khan claims he’s gone 13 days without headaches and unless he has one in the next day or two, he could be cleared to play relatively soon.

Tomas Holmstrom is telling the media he plans to be back Sunday against Pittsburgh, but include some salt when you ingest that one. Same deal with Johan Franzen, who’s trying his hardest to be back before the Olympic break. We can only hope, but I’d be surprised if the Wings don’t take the full break to be sure he’s set to go.

Oh, and Jason Williams may be back Friday. Before you say you don’t care, remember would need to happen if he and Homer are healthy this weekend: no more Justin Abdelkader thanks to roster size limitations (for once, not the cap).

On the bright side, if we’re we’re also looking at the “best” case scenario (a healthy Lilja, Williams and Holmstrom by the weekend), we face the forced ditching of Meech or Leino.

Williams Breaks Leg in Toronto

Update (10:11 PM): Elliotte Friedman, via Twitter:

Jason Williams out at least 6 weeks with broken ankle.

Six weeks is better than a bad knee injury’s six months. – Matt

Jason Williams will miss some time with a broken right fibula after falling awkwardly as a result of a fight for the puck at the endboards. It looked like a major knee injury on replays, but Ken Daniels received word from the team that it’s a break.

The good news is that a broken leg has a shorter recovery time than a blown out knee.

I’m no Williams fan, but this is definitely bad news for the Wings, who are already down two forwards due to injury. They really didn’t need to lose another, even when the guy lost is someone who is as big a liability as Williams is.

The team now only has 11 healthy forwards, with Eaves, we can hope, close to healthy as a 12th. Chances are they’ll call someone up from Grand Rapids to give them some roster flexibility even if Eaves is healthy by Wednesday. Ritola is probably first in line, but because whoever comes up may not play much, it could be someone like Jeremy Williams.

By the way, the Wings played a game that ranks among their worst this season tonight. I don’t know if I’ll have anything more to say about it. Horrible effort. They took the Leafs for granted and paid for it with a fricking 5-1 loss. Awful.

Get back in the saddle Wednesday, guys.

Williams Returns

Update (4:30 PM): George’s got his take on the deal up.

As he suggests, another deal’s more likely than a non-Abdelkader call-up or Abdelkader remaining in Detroit, but it will probably be a while. The Wings can afford to give Lilja time to see if he can recover before being placed on the LTIR next month.  - Matt

Update (2:10 PM): Bruce MacLeod has a good post up on the cap situation with the Williams signing here. Looks like another forward isn’t out of the question, but if Lilja’s healthy, Abdelkader’s down.

Since a healthy Lilja’s not looking likely and since signing someone else for cheap enough may be tough, let’s hope Kenny’s flexible on the whole 13 forwards thing. - Matt

Update (1:29 PM): Scratch that Abdelkader bit below. I mistakenly counted McCarty as the 13th forward on NHLNumbers, but really it’s Abdelkader. Assuming Holland’s 22-man, 7-D ideal as related to MacLeod is what we’re dealing with.

So, as Garth says in the comments,

The question to me is, do you keep Abdelkader up and have him, Williams and Eaves rotating in and out of the lineup or do you look for another player with a contract in between Eaves’ and Williams’ numbers and have Abdelkader play 15-20 minutes a game, every day in GR?

Another player, please. Abdelkader shouldn’t be sitting in the luxury box at all this season. - Matt

Update (1:10 PM): George Sipple has Williams’ salary at $1.5 million, which is overpaying a bit, in my opinion.

Good news, though, is the team isn’t over the cap, if NHLNumbers is right. But Meech will still have to go (or Lilja will have to go on LTIR) if the Wings want 13 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goalies. - Matt

Update (12:52 PM): Bruce MacLeod tweets:

Williams signing likely has Wings over cap limit with 23-man roster. Holland said 22 is the ideal number with 7 defensemen.

So, trade coming, unless Lilja’s on the LTIR in Hollnd’s 22-man, 7-D scenario. See ya Meech.

Oh, and this signing obviously means Abdelkader’s in Grand Rapids, barring a Filpullian camp performance on his part and a sucky one on someone else’s. - Matt

Update (11:30 AM): So the team’s release on the signing is dated August 4th. If that’s not some kind of mistake, this news went two days before being picked up. For my part, it must have been some kind of self-defense blackout. - Matt

Jason Williams is back, reports Michael Zuidema. Thankfully, it’s just for one year. No word yet on how much the Wings will be paying him to turn the puck over at the blueline when he inevitably gets placed there on the power play by Babcock.

On paper, this is a nice acquisition because Williams can produce when he wants to. But it’s that last phrase, “when he wants to,” that makes me unhappy with it. Williams’ history in Detroit is not exactly sterling as he was the prime underachiever on the team for years.

The circumstances of his departure weren’t so hot either. It’s not exactly a highpoint in the career of a guy when he’s the player leaving a team like the Wings in a deal for Kyle Calder.

Williams is an underachieving gripe and I’m disappointed no Siberian KHL team took him off our hands. I’m wishing Holland hadn’t made him that offer. “In Kenny We Trust” doesn’t work for me on this one.

On the bright side, we have an early favorite for Team Goat, Wings fans! With Samuelsson gone, and Lilja on reprieve with a brain injury, Williams can now be our anger outlet on a team that doesn’t provide many other opportunities.

3/3 Notes

Update (10:43 PM): Just a clarification on my last update: Holmstrom’s last shift ended around the 14 minute mark of the third period. I apologize for wording it so ambiguously before. Thanks to Justin for pointing that out.

Also, Ansar Khan informed me via email that neither Robert Lang nor Tomas Holmstrom practiced today. Mike Babcock told him there were no injuries during the game against the Hawks, however. - Matt

Update (6:35 PM): I just remembered something I’d meant to mention earlier: Tomas Holmstrom left the game around the 14 minute mark and didn’t return, as pointed out by the FSN crew, who had noticed he wasn’t on the bench.

I haven’t seen anything indicating he has an injury, so it may have just been a case of Mike Babcock resting his top line, as neither Pavel Datsyuk nor Valtteri Filppula took any shifts from about 16:00 on, after they had helped kill of a penalty with Danny Markov and Nicklas Lidstrom. (via the shift chart) – Matt

So, I got home on the Detroit side of the state last night (for “Spring Break”) at around 2:30 AM after watching the game in Holland, thanks to terrible weather until around Lansing. Then I slept about four hours longer than I meant to, and now I’m way behind the eightball on the day. So, some links to people more on top of things than me, with a little commentary:

… The Wings won last night, 6-2 over Chicago. I watched the game but don’t have a heck of a lot to say about it, except that it’s nice to see the Wings can produce offense without Henrik Zetterberg in the lineup. However, as Dave at Gorilla Crouch has pointed out today, the Blackhawks aren’t exactly a Grade “A” opponent, so the jury’s still out.

For a reaction to the game from someone who was there, see Steph’s report at No Pun Intended.

… Jason Williams scored twice on his former team, prompting Mike Babcock to give the quote of the year:

“It’s good to see him score, too. What the heck.”

(via. Abel to Yzerman)

… It looks like the Wings having taken such a vested interest in rejuvenating the second line has awakened Robert Lang, who had four-point night and was as involved in the offense as he’s been all season. The Free Press wins the award for most lame headline today, with their story on the game: “Lang time coming: Center leads Wings past Hawks.”

… Nicklas Lidstrom scored his 200th career goal (finally) in the third period, and Christy Hammond of Behind the Jersey was there to cheer him for it.

… The FSN crew made a big deal out of the fact that Jiri Hudler came out for warmups wearing his red helmet last night. Apparently, he was thrown off by the fact that the Wings usually wear red at home, but were wearing white so that the Hawks could use their black jerseys. Ansar Khan reports that Robert Lang finally told him, after the whole team had a good laugh. Jiri scored a nice breakaway goal later in the game, making that the most memorable thing he did last night, rather than than the helmet thing.

… It looks like Chris Osgood will get another start, as Dominik Hasek will not be able to return tomorrow against the Avalanche, according to Ansar Khan. The Wings, needless to say, are taking every precaution with Dom and will not be rushing him back. Khan also says that Chris Chelios will be a game-time decision tomorrow.

… The Free Press reports that Mikael Samuelsson skated yesterday, though not with the team. He’ll still take some time to get back into game-shape so don’t expect to see him too soon.

… Lastly, non-Wings related: James Mirtle has been blogging about the Cam Janssen elbow on Tomas Kaberle last night, a vicious hit which knocked Kaberle unconscious and out of the game. Janssen has been suspended for three games, a verdict with which I wholly agree, as those kinds of hits should have no place in the game. However, it’d be nice if the League were more consistent in dealing out such penalties for those types of hits. A shoulder to the head is about as bad as an elbow, NHL.

3 Way Trade Yields Kyle Calder for Jason Williams

Update (Matt, 27. Feb, 12:03 AM): One last thing tonight: what number will he wear? He can’t have #19, which he had in Philly, nor can he have #16 or #9, both of which he has worn at different points in his career. He wore #25 his first year in Chicago, but I would think that’s also untouchable. Hopefully he won’t go fo #91 or else I’ll be pissed. He’s worn #32 before and could wear it again, even though it seems like a goalie’s number. Steve Thomas wore it during his time in Detroit so it actually might be fitting for Calder to take it. Anyway, it’s all speculation. We’ll find out tomorrow. (thanks to Sarah for doing the detective work on the numbers). - Matt

Update (Matt, 11:48 PM): Here’s what Ken Holland has to say about Calder, via the Freep:

“He chases the puck, he’s a forechecker. Come playoff time, that’s an ingredient you need. He’s not pretty, but he’s a gritty, greasy type of player.”

Sounds good to me. I’m very interested in seeing Calder play and it looks like we’ll get our chance tomorrow night as he’s expected to be in the lineup. - Matt

Update (Sarah, 10:53PM): Just a little more info on Calder for those (like me) who weren’t too familiar with him. He’s a 28-year old forward currently making $2.9 million a season. I spent a little time reading over his stats page on TSN and was pleased to read that he, “Provides his team with a bundle of energy every shift. Has a propensity to step it up in key situations. ” Sounds pretty good to me. Most sources seem to feel that he’s a gritty player (something there has certainly been a major outcry for…). One thing that stood out to me is that the guy hasn’t missed a game due to injury since October of 2005. Durability – there’s something to add to your list of pros. As for cons – well, this season’s stats top that list. +/- has never been stellar (though -31 is far below the norm). Personally I’m feeling pretty good about it at this point. I think once this guy gets on a winning team and starts having some fun, he could start putting up good numbers again. I bet Ken Holland does too. -Sarah

Update (Matt, 10:14 PM): Okay, the more I read about Calder, the better I feel about him. The general concensus seems to be that he’s a good player who’s just having a bad year. And if he’s a grittier player than Williams with a strong work ethic and good hands, I’m thinking he’ll fill the Wings’ need pretty well. Of course, we’ll have to see how he actually gels with the team, but I’m optimistic. - Matt

Update (Matt, 10:05 PM): Here’s James Mirtle’s take, plus the tidbit that the Wings are rumored to be close to getting Bill Guerin. I still find that hard to believe, but I could be wrong. Can the price have gone down that much? - Matt

Update (Matt, 10:00 PM): First of all, I’m unsure about how I feel about this deal. I know very little about Calder except that his stats are probably deflated from having been on a bad team, as Sarah pointed out below. I’m not sure what we gain by the trade, but perhaps Calder will be jumpstarted by a change in scenery. We’ll just have to see.

It’s a little hard to believe that Williams is no longer a Red Wing. It had to be awkward tonight when he got the call in Chicago. It will be strange if he’s on the ice tomorrow night for the Hawks, that’s for sure.

No comment from the Wings yet, but Jason Williams had a parting shot that struck me as a little odd, via the TSN article:

“I’m happy to be going to a team that wants me and I’m looking forward to helping the Blackhawks.”

From that I’ll assume he means he was Mike Babcock’s boy, not the front office’s. Interesting. Well, good luck in Chicago, Jason. - Matt

I’d be surprised now if anything else happens for the Wings on the trade front.

Paul Kukla is reporting a three way deal between the Blackhawks, the Flyers and the Red Wings

Apparently Chicago dealt Lasse Kukkonen and a third round pick to Philadelphia for Kyle Calder. Then Chicago traded Calder to the Wings in exchange for Jason Williams.

Hey, now we don’t have to worry about Babs putting Willy on the point anymore! That alone makes the trade worth it in my eyes (sorry Jason…).

TSN says Calder has 9 goals and 12 assists in 59 games with a +/- of -31

I was a little stunned by the -31 at first but then I remembered he’s been playing for the bottom-feeding Flyers. I expect that will improve playing with the defensive-minded Wings. We’ll see how he does in Willy’s spot on the 2nd line. Hopefully he’ll provide the offensive spark we’ve been looking for.