McKenzie: Justin Abdelkader’s not quite done yet

Here’s hoping that Justin Abdelkader finds NHL employment, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

After winning a Swiss League championship in Zug and captaining Team 🇺🇸 to a bronze medal at the World Championship, veteran NHL forward Justin Abdelkader is still hunting for an NHL job. He’s getting $1M+ for each of the next 5 years on a buyout from DET.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 28, 2021

More Audio from the WJSS: Eemil Viro discusses a wacky game

Team Finland won an absolutely wacky game at the World Junior Summer Showcase on Tuesday, defeating the U.S. 7-6 in a shootout.

After the game, Red Wings prospect Eemil Viro spoke with me and the Detroit News’s Nolan Bianchi regarding the utterly insane result, his hope that Finland can win a tournament that everyone is taking very seriously, his goal scored for the Finns, whether he’s staying with TPS Turku of the Liiga for another season (he isn’t sure at this time, but he wants to stay home for one more year) and the skills that he feels he has to improve upon:

Viro was the most impactful player on the ice in terms of the Red Wings’ prospects; there’s no doubt that he needs to add more strength and physicality to his game, but he’s mobile as all hell get out, he has experience playing against men with TPS Turku, and he did score a long-bomb goal that gave Finland a very brief lead in a game where the lead was a hot potato.

Carter Mazur looked strong and solid as a penalty-killer and shift disturber for the U.S. While he wasn’t able to earn a ton of ice time due to the oodles of special teams play during the game, when he did get a regular shift, he looked like the heart-and-soul player that the Wings envision him to be;

And Cross Hanas continued to earn looks on the U.S. penalty-kill, which is something new for the Portland Winterhawks winger. Hanas still has to work on his skating a bit as he can be caught flat-footed transitioning from defense to offense, but he possesses strong two-way instincts, he can shoot and pass well, and his all-round ceiling is fairly high as a second-line forward who can provide a good two-way game.

Detroit News’s Bianchi speaks with Mazur, Hanas and Niederbach at the WJSS

The Detroit News’s Nolan Bianchi was at USA Hockey Arena yesterday for a day of team practices at the World Junior Summer Showcase, and he spoke with Wings prospects Carter Mazur, Cross Hanas and Theodor Niederbach about their respective journeys as prospects hoping to make the Red Wings one day.

For Hanas, who’s playing on Team USA Blue, playing in the USHL while the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks were on hiatus served as an educational process:

The 19-year-old Hanas was forced across the border to get playing time in the USHL. His point production dipped considerably over 27 games, as the prolific scorer netted just three goals. The reason, he said, was apparent almost immediately.

“It was way more defensive-oriented teams,” Hanas said. “Right away, it was like, ‘Oh man, this is different.'”

That was a far cry from the goal-happy WHL and hindered the style of game he’d become accustomed to. But as far as fulfilling his NHL dreams, it was the exact shift in perspective that he needed.

Anybody who watched Jeff Blashill’s Red Wings in 2021 — and the unceremonious end to Evgeny Svechnikov’s tenure in Detroit — could tell you that was never going to fly at the next level. He was told that bluntly by the Red Wings development staff, and seems to have taken it to heart.

“In Portland, I’ve never even been a penalty killer, and it’s going to be my fourth season, so I’m hoping to get there this season,” he said. “It does feel pretty good” to come up with stops instead of making the highlight-reel play. Sometimes it’s like, well this is — I can get used to this a little bit.”

Bianchi continues, and Hanas has been used as a penalty-killer this week by Team USA–and he looks good doing it.

Kulfan discusses the Wings’ free agent needs…which might be filled by re-signing their UFA’s-to-be

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan wonders aloud what exactly the Red Wings are looking for in terms of unrestricted free agents, starting tomorrow, and Kulfan suggests that the Wings’ greatest need may be filled from “within”–by re-signing some or all of their respective free agents (i.e. Luke Glendening, Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner and/or Darren Helm):

If negotiations with any, or all, of those forwards don’t produce results, then the Wings will aggressively hit the market looking for replacements.

“We’ll talk to our own free agents for sure,” general manager Steve Yzerman said after the NHL Entry Draft. “We’ll continue to stay in touch with them.”

Ironically, Glendening, Gagner and Ryan were the only right-shot forwards in the Wings’ lineup.

Without them, it creates a further imbalance and would force the Wings to work the free-agent market.

All three, especially East Grand Rapids native and alternate captain Glendening, have shown an interest in returning to the Wings.

“Right shots are a bit of a concern for us,” Yzerman said. “Our three right-shot forwards are unrestricted free agents, and we have definite interest in all three of them. Between now and (start of free agency), we’ll decide if we can get something done. Can we get something done with any of those guys or do we go beyond the 28th (Wednesday) and see what else is out there?”


Allen ponders the Wings’ eventual cap situation

Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen offers a day-before-the-start-of-free-agency glance at the Red Wings’ salary cap situation, including an estimate as to how much money it might take to re-sign Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Hronek, Jakub Vrana, Adam Erne and Givani Smith:

Detroit Hockey Now’s Estimate salary cost for RFAs: $15.9 presuming that none of the players get a long-term deal. If the Red Wings tied up Vrana long-term it might increase the salary cap hit by up to $2 million.After RFAs are signed, the Red Wings will be $21.7 million under the cap with 19 players signed.

Other additions: The above estimates include Moritz Seider because it is highly likely he will play in Detroit this season. It doesn’t include Joe Veleno. DHN projects he will be on the roster. His  salary is $894,000. That would put the Red Wings with $20.8 million in salary cap space left with 20 players signed.

Projected cost of four free agent veterans: Unless Yzerman decides to make a trade for a higher salaried player, the best guess is that Yzerman will sign four $1 million players. That’s essentially what he did last season. That would give him a 24-person roster with $16.8 million in salary cap space remaining.


Audio from the WJSS: Shai Buium, Theodor Niederbach and William Wallinder

Team Sweden lost for the third straight game at the World Junior Summer Showcase, dropping a 4-1 decision to Team USA White on Tuesday.

None of the Red Wings’ prospects taking part in the game took part in the scoring, but Theodor Niederbach served as Sweden’s #1 center, looking a little more comfortable on the “small ice” as he continues to adjust to playing against bigger, stronger players than he ever faced in the Swedish J20 league with Frolunda;

William Wallinder played in his second game for Sweden, and displayed superb three-direction skating, good gap control, excellent reads and a steady demeanor;

And Team USA White’s Shai Buium looked a little more like the player the Red Wings drafted 33rd overall on Saturday, playing steadier, stronger hockey and displaying much more maneuverability on his skates as he worked in on the Americans’ second defensive pair.

After the game, the trio spoke with myself and the Detroit News’s Nolan Bianchi:

Continue reading Audio from the WJSS: Shai Buium, Theodor Niederbach and William Wallinder

Roughly Translated: Lucas Raymond, HSJ speak with Rakapuckar’s Henrik Leman

Red Wings prospect Lucas Raymond spoke with Rakapuckar’s Henrik Leman regarding his recovery from elbow surgery and his decision to head over to North America this upcoming season, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James spoke with Leman regarding the Wings’ plans for Raymond.

What follows is a rough translation of Leman’s article:

The 20-21 season has somehow never ended for Lucas Raymond. The injured (and operated upon) elbow kept him away from the end of Frolunda’s season, but he had hoped to make a comeback–but that hope died when his teammates crash-landed vs. Rogle.

“I wanted to be in game shape, so I trained pretty hard until the season ended. Then I felt that I should just as easily continue doing so…Ha ha.”

His first skate after a while was skating on the ice with Andreas Larsson (Hockey PT), who was in Kungsbacka last week, where Raymond was one of the many stars who kept skating.

It was a good test for Raymond’s operated-upon elbow. One that has turned out so well that the subject can be deleted.

“Yes, you can see that we trained quite hard; I feel safe, I don’t feel it at all. It’s very-nice,” says the ex-Frolunda winger.

Continue reading Roughly Translated: Lucas Raymond, HSJ speak with Rakapuckar’s Henrik Leman

Red Wings re-sign Hirose

Good depth re-signing here:

UPDATE: The Detroit #RedWings today agreed to terms with left wing Taro Hirose on a one-year contract extension.— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 27, 2021

Here are the terms, per PuckPedia:

The #LGRW re-signed 25 y/o F Taro Hirose to 1 year $850K Deal:

NHL $850K
Minors 190K
Guarantee $220K

2P in 6 NHL GP, 28P in 29 AHL GP

Rep’d by Allain Roy @royhockeygroup— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 27, 2021

Update: Here’s the Wings’ press release:

Continue reading Red Wings re-sign Hirose

Jamie Daniels Foundation to roast Brett Hull this fall

From the Jamie Daniels Foundation’s Twitter account:

Join us as we Roast and toast former @StarNhl and Stanley Cup winner, Brett Hull. Guests to include @BlueDarrenPang Dennis Hull, Steve Yzerman and many more! For more info:— Jamie Daniels Foundation (@JDanielsFund) July 27, 2021

Khan ponders Wings’ possible free agency options

MLive’s Ansar Khan ponders what the Red Wings might do during the upcoming free agent period, which begins tomorrow at 12 PM EDT:

General manager Steve Yzerman will be active, seeking to fill a few holes on the roster. The Red Wings need two or three right-shooting forwards and a depth defenseman, preferably a left-shooter.

Yzerman likely will look to sign players on short-term deals (one or two years) at relatively low cap figures.

The Red Wings had only three right-shot forwards last season – Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner and Luke Glendening – and all are free agents.

“Right shots are a bit of a concern for us,” Yzerman said. “Our three right-shot forwards are unrestricted free agents, and we have definite interest in all three of them. Between now and (today), we’ll decide if we can get something done with any of those guys or do we go beyond the 28th and see what else is out there.”

Continued; Khan believes that Ryan, Gagner and Glendening are all legitimate options at forward, as are some of the more notable names out there at forward, but he suggests that the Wings will look at an Alex Biega-type defenseman to shuttle between Detroit and Grand Rapids, and stand pat in goal.