Krupa weighs in on impatience with the rebuild-on-the-fly

The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa expresses some dissatisfaction with the Red Wings’ slow-but-steady approach to “rebuilding on the fly,” suggesting that the Wings should have been more cutthroat regarding players with bigger contracts:

What does it all mean for the Red Wings, trade deadline 2018?

It means they are rebuilding and not going fast enough, with enough results.

Signs of some acceleration and greater effect are perceptible. But the reconstruction still lags.

They became sellers in 2018, just as they were in 2017, and did a nice job of collecting cherished and critical draft picks, the resources integral to rebuilding given the state of the personnel rules.

This year, by trading Petr Mrazek and Tomas Tatar, they also have finally begun moving out some salary.

That is a good, but overdue, development.

Meanwhile, Mrazek and Tatar were producers, and far from the top choices for the rummage sale the Wings are best advised to endure. But some fans are learning what management already knew: Beggars cannot be choosey.

Krupa continues, and it’s not easy to raise one’s voice in dissent, but I also don’t really know what the Wings are supposed to do with the players on bloated contracts other than endure them for a couple of years…along with the rest of us.

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

5 thoughts on “Krupa weighs in on impatience with the rebuild-on-the-fly”

  1. Unfortunately there isn’t much to do but wait and hope that Helm and Nielsen and Abdelkader and Glendening are the right complementary forwards up front to help lead the rebuild.

    I’m not including Zetterberg in the bloated contract list because he is leading and I think he’ll be all right. He may have to go IR before the end of his contract, but he may not. Just the price to pay for believing in him and not understanding how the cap really works at the time of his signing. I’ll give Holland that one.

    DeKyser needs to settle down and simplify and be the player who earned that contract. No different than Ericsson keeping things simple and playing within himself. Both can be very good defensemen when they adhere to KISS.

    DK only has a full NTC through ’19-’20 (two more years) and then a modified NTC the final 2 years of his deal. He’s only 27 and while I don’t expect him to get better I do think he can return to the player we were all excited about a few years ago.

    Ericsson (is he a solid defensive defenseman or a giveaway machine or both) has two more seasons with a modified NTC. That means maybe he can be moved as early as the next deadline. We know what he is and if he eliminated the giveaways we’d want to keep him around as long as possible but not re-sign him if he cannot be traded before his contract runs out.

    Oullet has to go this summer. I just don’t see him being an impact player on defense this team needs. He’s the one who is blocking the younger defensemen with better potential right now. And some of his mistakes have been mind blowing. Even he does settle back into that solid third pair defenseman he’s just not what the Wings need during the rebuild. He’s young and has one year left. Trade him for a 7th just to clear the roster space.

    Kronwall is heading into his final season. Either he plays or goes on IR next season. Whatever he did this summer helped tremendously and if he can do it again he’ll be fine for one more year. I have very reliable source (I know people say that sometimes but my source got me a signed puck just because I asked for one at the end of last season) that tells me his only option for his knee is career ending surgery and he wants to finish his contract if he can and then address the knee so he can live a normal life. The Wings can live with Kronwall for one more season, especially if he can duplicate his performance this year. He won’t be back after that. He can’t.

    I was surprised there was interest in Daley at the deadline with two more years left. He has a full NTC next season and a modified NTC his final season. He’s been a good stopgap and I think he can be traded at the next deadline, the following draft, or his last deadline. After his contract his done or gone the Wings may need not need to find an outside stopgap, they may have a home grown veteran who has learned from Daley how to play a better two-way game in DeKeyser. And that would be nice.

    I’m only addressing the big contracts here, not the whole situation. I think Holland doesn’t understand this rebuild is going to take longer than he thinks. I don’t think he understands that Larkin could be 25, Mantha, AA and Bertuzzi 27, before the Wings are not only back in the playoffs but also good enough to make a run. Teams have returned to the playoffs after missing for a few years like they have been shot out of a cannon and that’s what I’d like to see the Wings do, but I think it’s going to be 3 or 4 years because the defense will take time to rebuild into something good enough to support the talent up front.

    No idea who the goalie will be, probably a 38 year old Howard, but if he can stay healthy and in form it’s not unheard of. I hope the Wings will have a young, legitimate number one or potential number one by that point. I have no issue with Howard sticking around for his entire career if when the Wings are ready he’s either the stopgap working with the kid or the backup.

    And that’s the real issue. This will take time. So getting all these picks this year is great, and getting some more the next two years will be great too, but some of those picks need to players who are either ready or a year or two out from making the team, not long term projects. Drafting needs to be a mix of taking chances on short term success vs long term development.

    Once the Wings get back into annual contention they can go back to longer term development like the college players who need all four years, but right now they need players who will either step in or bomb at the NHL level and just be minor leaguers.

    I can’t help being optimistic even with Holland at the helm because he’s done well the last two deadlines and it looks like he is drafting well, too. Maybe he can get it done after all. I still think bringing someone into the front office perhaps as an adviser who has been through this before would be a huge help but I don’t know if his ego will let him.

    Still, I think this team might be good in 3 or 4 years, and that’s about right.

    1. Thanks for pointing me to this—valid analysis. Also, you touched upon NTC— KH does have a tendency to pass these out too freely.
      But I must say again, we should all ‘fear’ more albatross contracts [AAV, term, possibly NTC]—since history often repeats, why take that chance! KH just doesn’t appear to comprehend the mid-to-long term impacts of what he has done contractually, and it’s quite likely to recur.
      I believe it’s time for a different set of eyes, specifically replace KH and let a new GM assess the coaching needs.
      And, yes, 3-4 years, possibly more, in large part due to the need to get out from under the albatross. In addition, as I believe you addressed, the albatross players themselves fill roster positions the prospects need to fully develop.

      1. Thanks!

        I’d love a new GM who knows how to rebuild but I have to live in reality. I’m hoping Holland has learned from his NTC handouts but I have no faith in that, though he’s gotten good at lessening protection over the course of a contract. If he could save money with the NTC trick I’d be less concerned, but he overvalues his own players and that’s a big problem.

        Still, trading Tatar was a big step in the right direction for Holland and could be a sign he is learning. So I’m going to stay positive and hope this all works out like I think it can.

        Yes, the Wings might be The Little Engine That Could with Holland at the helm (no pun intended with helm). But it takes time to climb the hill, and I think it is a hill, not a mountain for the Wings to get back into the thick of things.

  2. Sorry for some of those typos. I hope they don’t confuse my points where they pop up. I’m usually better at catching them before posting.

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