The Detroit Red Wings’ front office is holding its second set of organizational meetings this week, re-examining the team’s draft rankings post-scouting combine and discussing the team’s outlook for both its own free agents-to-be and the UFA marketplace.
The Free Press’s Helene St. James spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding the front office’s docket…
“The object of the meeting is to bring the staff together and talk about what we are going do with team over the next month and beyond,” Holland said. “We’ll go through our team in detail, talk philosophy for ’18-19 and ’19-20. Then we’ll go through all the other teams and talk about what opportunities exist, if any with other players.”
The group also includes special assistant Kris Draper and assistant general manager Ryan Martin, who are part of the group spearheading plans for the June 22-23 draft.
Whoever the Wings select with their sixth overall pick — options could include defensemen Evan Bouchard, Noah Dobson and Quinn Hughes — figures to be in the group of prospects club personnel hopes to see challenge for a spot with the Wings during exhibition season this autumn. Those prospects include 2017 first-round pick Michael Rasmussen, 2016 first-round pick Dennis Cholowski, 2015 first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov, as well as Filip Hronek, Libor Sulak, Joe Hicketts and Dominic Turgeon.
“Part of our plan is going to be youth,” Holland said. “We are going to training camp and on defense, Sulak, Hronek, Cholowski, Hicketts — we want to see how those players are. Same with Svech, Rasmussen, Turgeon, and the sixth pick in the draft, whether it’s a forward or defenseman. Part of the decisions won’t be answered until camp, but we are hoping that one or two of those names are going to be grab a couple spots.”
General manager Ken Holland, senior-vice president Jimmy Devellano, assistant GM Ryan Martin and coach Jeff Blashill, along with members of the pro scouting staff, among others, will meet and finalize a plan to attack the next several weeks.
The NHL Draft is June 22-23 in Dallas, the development camp for the team’s prospects and draft picks is June 26-30, and unrestricted free agency begins July 1.
“We bring the staff together and talk about what we are going to do for the next month,” Holland told The Detroit News. “We’ll go over every player in our organization, then go through every player in other organizations. We’ll see if there are any opportunities (for trades).”
Holland said he wants to keep at least two spots available for players among that group to break into the lineup.
As for free agency, the Red Wings aren’t likely to be active other than short-term deals with players who could be dealt again at the trade deadline for more draft picks.
The Red Wings do need a veteran backup goaltender and must decide whether to pursue re-signing defenseman Mike Green.
Restricted free agent forwards Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha all must be re-signed.
Note that Martin Frk didn’t make the list. Both Kulfan and St. James innate and then say out loud that Frk may not be re-signed.