Belated: The Wright man for the job?

I’m kind of late to the party on this one, but the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples penned a rather harsh look at Tyler Wright’s drafting while working for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings, and while making some cogent points, Staples concludes something that Red Wings fans are already aware of:

Overall, I can’t see how any kind of strong argument can be made that Wright did better with his picks than [Oilers chief scout] Bob Green and Keith Gretzky did in Edmonton in the last five drafts.

Of course, while Wright is taking over, Gretzky is staying on and will do some amateur scouting, while Green may also stay on. So perhaps the combined efforts of this group will get it right.

Of course, Wright will have seven or eight scouts working under him. The Oilers scouting staff has had a lot of turnover in recent years, but that trend needs to continue. Wright should bring in one or two new scouts per year in each of the next few seasons, then continue with that kind of churn. A handful of Oilers amateur scouts have been around too long already with decidedly mixed or poor results.

It’s evident that there’s no harm in constant turnover in scouting ranks, and that some of the best scouting teams fell off, both in Edmonton in the 1980s and Detroit in the early 2000s, when formerly successful scouts were kept on well past their “best before” dates. Holland’s biggest mistake in Detroit may well have been not turning over his scouting department quickly enough after 2004.

In the end, I can’t say I’m thrilled with Wright coming in. He’s not obviously excelled as a scout in Columbus or Detroit. He’s got plenty to prove. Of course, I wish him well, as will all Oilers fans.

Staples continues, and all I can politely say is, “He’s your problem now. Good luck!”

The Red Wings own the title of owning the worst contracts in the NHL? You don’t say…

According to The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn, the Detroit Red Wings are the proud owners of the NHL’s worst contracts on a team-wide basis, and they captured the title by a country mile’s worth of Ken Holland’s bad contracts:

Last, and certainly least, it’s Detroit. How could it be any other team? With four contracts in the D-range on the books, the Red Wings are in a four-way tie for the most bad deals in the league. Where Detroit differs is that the other teams have a few more above average deals to offset the pain. Not Detroit who have as many toxic deals as above-average ones. Those belong to Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Andreas Athanasiou – four forwards that provide the bulk of the team’s on-ice value. Without them, this team would be cooked.

The biggest issue for Detroit is how much the team is spending for a marginal win over the remainder of their contracts. It’s not just the alarming number of poor deals, or the certainty in how bad those deals are, but the fact that those deals are mostly for players that bring huge negative value. The team is spending $14.5 million per win, the league’s second-highest mark. That contributes to the team’s 35 percent average for positive value probability which is the league’s lowest mark, stemming from seven deals sitting at an under 20 percent success rate.

The team signed a replacement level forward to a two-year deal worth $3 million per, and it’s somehow not even close to being the worst deal on the books. That honour could go to Trevor Daley or Danny DeKeyser or Jonathan Ericsson or Darren Helm or Frans Nielsen or Justin Abdelkader and the fact the team has this many options is why they’re ranked so low.

Continued (paywall), and, as Luszczyszyn concludes, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has his work cut out for him…

Toledo Walleye re-sign Mike Moffat

From the Toledo Walleye:

Toledo, OH – Defenseman Mike Moffat has agreed to terms with the Toledo Walleye for the 2019-20 season.

Moffat, a native of Waterloo, Ontario, joined Toledo on March 1 for his pro debut playing in 10 games while collecting four assists. Since 2014, the 26-year-old defenseman has appeared in a total of 128 games with the University of Waterloo accruing 25 goals, 63 assists and 89 penalty minutes. Moffat posted a college best 10 goals in the 2015-16 season when he also set a high in assists with 17 and points (27).

“We really liked Mike’s game from what we saw late in the year,” said Head Coach Dan Watson. “He fits right in with the style we want to play.”

Prior to his colligate days, the 6’1”, 220 pound defenseman spent four years in the OHL between London and Kingston. Moffat posted 120 points (17G, 103A) with 225 penalty minutes in 238 career games.

On Kaden Fulcher’s rookie season ‘By the Numbers’’s Arthur J. Regner examines prospect netminder Kaden Fulcher’s 2018-2019 campaign “By the Numbers” this morning. Regner examines Fulcher’s stats from his rookie season, which was spent with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, and Wings goaltending coach Brian Mahoney-Wilson weighs in on Fulcher as well:

“In his 28 starts in Toledo, it was a step forward in his development. Maybe he didn’t want to finish the year the way he had with numbers per se, but he had a good record. He came up a couple practices in Grand Rapids, I worked with him closely there, worked with him probably 30 times in Toledo heading down there throughout the year. I expect more from him in the summer, make sure I give him the right drills and tools with his goalie coach so that he comes and gives Filip Larsson a push come camp time. Definitely saw improvement with Kaden’s game. He’s ready to make that next push so that he can try to earn a spot in Grand Rapids.”


Red Wings pay tribute to the passing of Noah Gochanour

Sad news from the Wings:

Kulfan: Givani Smith on the pro learning process

Red Wings prospect Givani Smith tells the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan that his first professional season was something of a crash course in adjusting and adapting from playing major junior hockey to learning how to play the professional game. As a result, Smith believes that he’s better-equipped to push for a spot on the Wings’ roster this season:

Smith made his professional debut last October with the Griffins, the Red Wings’ minor-league affiliate, and the season turned out to be one long class on pro hockey.

Smith, 21, had plenty to learn. More than he expected.

And though Smith didn’t pass with flying colors, he certainly didn’t fail. It was a passing grade, so to speak, with the expectation Smith will keep adjusting and thriving to the professional game.

“Just learning many small things,” Smith said, of what he learned in particular in the American League.

“Like sleeping habits, and small techniques you have to learn. Practice. You have to focus on many things that translate into the pro game.

“Coming from junior, it’s different playing against men, guys who’ve been there 10-plus, or 5-plus years. It’s a transition — and that’s what I did (transition).”

Kulfan continues

One more reminder: Tickets for the Wings’ prospect tournament and training camp go on sale today at 10 AM EDT


The tickets are waiting in the “wings” to be sold TODAY starting at 10 am for @DetroitRedWings Training Camp and NHL Prospect Tournament! Online only – @RedWingsCamps @CentreICEArena— Centre Ice Arena (@CentreICEArena) July 16, 2019

A pair of articles from The Athletic: a Wings lineup of the future and sports arena funding

Of note from The Athletic this morning:

  1. The Athletic’s Max Bultman takes part in a thought exercise today, considering what the Red Wings’ lineup might look like in 2022-2023:

There was a moment at the Red Wings’ development camp last month when Moritz Seider, Joe Veleno, Jonatan Berggren and Robert Mastrosimone were all introduced together before a scrimmage at Little Caesars Arena. All of them were first- and second-round picks from the two most recent NHL Drafts, and two more such picks — Filip Zadina and Jared McIsaac — probably would have been out there, too, if both hadn’t been withheld due to injury.

These types of scrimmages happen everywhere in the NHL. But in Detroit, a sight like that means just a little bit more right now. The Red Wings have missed the playoffs three years running. Draft day has become the most important date on the calendar. The future is everything.

So when fans get to see that collection of talent finally play together, it’s understandably exciting. It’s a reminder that all this waiting really should pay off someday.

This article is about that “someday.”

Continued (paywall)

2. And The Athletic’s Bill Shea, formerly of Crain’s, wrote a remarkably thorough article discussing the public funding of sports stadiums as it applies to the lessons learned from the construction of Joe Louis Arena, the Palace of Auburn Hills and Little Caesars Arena:

The owners of the Red Wings had quietly worked on getting a replacement arena for Joe Louis and by 2012 those efforts bore fruit when the state approved a bond deal on the city’s downtown development agency to finance a new building. Municipal bankruptcy, which likely would have killed a publicly financed arena deal in any other city, didn’t slow Detroit’s new facility. The financing happened outside the traditional city government by using an economic development property tax already on the books for downtown landowners. The team owners would pick up less than half the construction cost, which fell outside of the overall national financing trend.

“It looks extremely distasteful in most cities outside of Detroit to hand over billions of dollars to billionaire owners and millionaire players while laying off public workers,” said [Holy Cross’ Victor] Matheson, the sports economist.

Shea continues at extensive length (paywall)

Mickey Redmond has a summertime Wings talk with

Stuff you can only post when it’s your own blog: a sentence with a link to a website and no actual content on yours.

Mickey Redmond spoke to Michigan Sports Now’s John Bucek prior to serving as the grand marshal of Traverse City’s Cherry Royale parade earlier this month, and posted a non-embeddable 6:45 video of Mickey talking about the parade, Steve Yzerman’s return to the team as the Wings’ GM, the rebuilding timeline given the Wings’ youth movement and the tumult taking place in the Eastern Conference, his opinion as to when Dylan Larkin will assume the captaincy, and Jeff Blashill’s job as a player development catalyst.