Sportsnet’s McIndoe issues “hopeful thoughts” for non-playoff teams, including the Red Wings

Sportsnet’s Sean McIndoe, a.k.a. “Down Goes Brown,” has posted, “Hopeful thoughts for non-playoff teams,” including the Red Wings:

Detroit Red Wings

The issue: The core is old and locked into long-term contracts. But they can’t do a full rebuild, partly because management doesn’t want to and partly because they’re never bad enough to end up with a top draft pick.

But just look at: The Wild. Neither team has had a top-five pick in the cap era. Both teams have a challenging long-term cap situation. Both teams have a questionable path to contention. But the Wild have managed to be consistently good for years. Not great, but good. Maybe we’re damning with faint praise here, since most teams aspire to be more than first-round fodder for the real contenders. But if the Red Wings don’t want to bottom out, maybe that’s the best they can hope for.

I hate to say it, but I firmly believe that the Red Wings’ destiny for the next 3-5 years is to “max out” by making the playoffs and possibly win a round or two. Until the team strikes a home run or two at the draft–perhaps in the later rounds thereof–fans like you and me are going to have to deal with mediocrity.

McIndoe continues at length, of course…And don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that “the kids are coming,” but until then, it’s gonna be rough sledding.

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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.

20 thoughts on “Sportsnet’s McIndoe issues “hopeful thoughts” for non-playoff teams, including the Red Wings”

  1. I have to say I agree with every word that “Down goes Down” has said.

    Delayed rebuild, partial rebuild, etc.

    Many years ahead of at best Playoff fodder. Oh Boy!

  2. My worry is that the kids are coming…but they aren’t anything special. So Larkin seems on the path to be a 1C, but not at an elite superstar level. Maybe Mantha tops out as an inconsistent 20-25 goal scorer. Meh. Rasmussen can’t play center and is another Mantha clone. Meh. AA gets driven out of town. Svech is a bust. Cholowski tops out as a 3/4 d-man, similar to a Dekeyser. Same with Hronek. Saarijarvi never makes it. Hello Almquist. Guys like Turgeon, Hicketts, Smith, etc…are nothing more than replacement players. Let’s say we draft Boqvist or Bouchard or Dobson and they become nothing more than another 3/4 d-man. The rest of the 2018 picks may end up being as underwhelming as the other 10 guys we selected in 2017.

    So yeah, kids are on the way, but they may be very, very, overvalued by both the organization, the media, and the fanbase. I’m not being negative here, just putting forth a realistic scenario.

  3. The only hope for future success is another year or two of bottom six standings to build prospects. After that, the players in the system should result in improved standings. Unfortunately, we currently do not have the talent pool to be truly competitive.

  4. We definitely need to hit on more than 1 draft pick in the next year or two, and probably need to hit one out of the park. It sucks that we don’t have a top 3 pick this year but we do have 4 picks inside the top 36 picks of the draft. Last year our 2nd pick of the draft was the 38th overall selection. We are better set up heading into the draft than we have been in 25+ years, so I have hope.

    1. Yes better set up than the past, but our drafting and developing has been pretty awful. For a long time now. We’ve found some nice complimentary players in later rounds (ie Helm, Nyquist, AA) but look at the guys we’ve selected in rounds 1 and 2 where you are most likely to hit a home run. It’s terrible:

      2005 – Kindl, Abby
      2006 – Emmerton, Matthias, Axelsson
      2007 – Smith
      2008 – McCollum
      2009 – Ferraro, Tatar
      2010 – Sheahan, Jarnkrok
      2011 – Jurco, Ouellet, Sproul
      2012 – Frk
      2013 – Mantha, Nastasiuk, Bertuzzi
      2014 – Larkin, Turgeon
      2015 – Svech, Saarijarvi
      2016-17 – too early to judge

      This is a wasteland of failure. Yet the myth prevails about how successful we are at drafting and developing…

      1. Valid point, no home runs in there. A few decent picks in Mantha, Larkin and Tatar. In the 11 years you listed we had 9 picks in the top 36. This year we have 4 picks in the top 36. I very much doubt that more than a couple of them turn out, but we do have more swings at fastballs this year than we’ve had in a long time.

      2. So Fatty, what quality of player do you expect at any pick above #15 (a question I’m sure you will evade)? Personally,I don’t expect too much. Sure, the pick should swing for the fence, but, every team strikes out WAYYYYY more at picks above #15 then they hit a home run. So, it’s easy to point at Detroit as a failure, but when you look at the statistics there is little chance that a player selected at round #15 and above will become more than a 2nd line player. If we take Detoit’s best pick at #15 and look at all the #15 picks from 2006 to 2016 only one Eric Karlsson becomes a generational type player. Arguably the 2nd best player taken at pick #15 in that decade is probably Derek Forbert followed by either Larkin or maybe JT Miller (splitting hairs). So, at pick #15 over this period of time you hold very dear to you there is only a 10% chance of landing a “stud”. That’s not very good. I imagine it only gets worse as the picks get further down the draft. in fact, I would wager that over the life time of drafting all picks after the first round have a 1-2% chance of becoming a “stud”. This is where a majority of Detroit’s picks have been over this decade.

        So, if all Detroit has is some good role players then I’d say they’ve had a pretty successful decade of drafting. Were they able to pick up a player to build around, nope. Only a few teams can make that claim. I bet if you ask their GMs they will all say something like we didn’t expect them to develop as good as they did but we did see a lot of potential in that player (high reward, high risk) and hoped for some luck.

        Here’s a stat to chew on……16 of 21 (76%) of the Detroit’s 1st and 2nd round picks between 2006 and 2016 have played games in the NHL and 21 out of 31 (68%) 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks have played games in the NHL. I’m sure there are teams that have done better and that have done worse, but, I would wager all of them have had picks closer to #1 then Detroit did during that decade. Is it really fair to call Detroit’s drafting a failure when they’re best odds for a stud at any pick was a measly 10% chance? Did they do well choosing NHL capable players with their sucky picks?

        1. Having a player appear in an NHL game is a very low bar. It’s super neat that Ferraro, Sproul, McCollum, etc…played in the NHL. But that’s not helping us is it.

          While the probability of a single selection after #15 becoming an impact player may be low…you should expect to hit on something when you have dozens of picks over time. We haven’t. I’d suggest you look harder at how successful franchises have done. Start with the remaining playoff teams…where did Tampa draft Kucherov, Point, Palat? Hint. Nowhere near top 15. Josi, Ellis, Subban, Arvidsson. We picked Sheahan and let Kuznetsov slip to Washington.

          Bottom line. Do your own research. Elite talent exists outside the top 15. Every year. Some teams seem to find these guys pretty regularly. Not us. Total wasteland. But I guess your bar is so low that we should just be thankful Tom McCollum played in the NHL. Phew, for a second I thought he was a bust. But he made it. Neat.

  5. “Having a player appear in an NHL game is a very low bar.”
    Yes, you are right. A single NHL game is not a good measurement that’s why I was measuring the number of players who reached the NHL level, not the number of games they played in. My measurement show how Detroit is able to identify players who can get to the NHL. Nowhere did I say I was measuring how successful those players were once they got there. Nice try…..

    “While the probability of a single selection after #15 becoming an impact player may be low…you should expect to hit on something when you have dozens of picks over time.”
    No, that shouldn’t be expected that way. It’s simple probability not compound probability. Each pick is only valued at it’s single probability. A 1% chance on 12 picks is only a 1% chance 12 times and not a 12% chance that a good player will be generated. This is were you are misunderstanding probability. Think of it as rolling a 6 sided die 12 times. Each roll only has a 1 in 6 (17%) chance of rolling a 1. If you have 3 chances to roll a 1 that doesn’t increase your chances to 50% on each roll it only means you get 3 times to roll at 17% to get a 1. Probability is hard to understand but it’s not harder then drafting. Since you can’t get probability right I certainly don’t expect you to understand drafting.

    “I’d suggest you look harder at how successful franchises have done….”
    Yes, I have. Most teams, if not all NHL teams, have had multiple draft picks below the top 15 since 2006 while Detroit has not. This increases their chances of finding stud players by moving into picks with better probability. I stated that above in my previous post, a fact that you are neglecting to accept.

    “Kucherov, Point, Palat….Josi, Ellis, Subban, Arvidsson.”
    All those players support my point, not yours. Sorry, but those guys are all exceptions and represent the small chance of success and not exceptional scouting. Otherwise, you have to lump ever team into the poor drafting category as well as, even the teams who drafted those players and passed over them picked worse players ahead of them.

    Yes, every team does well drafting for a few years. Drafting ebbs and flows. Remember when Detroit was drafting awesome and Nashville and TB really stunk? I do.

    “Elite talent exists outside the top 15. Every year.”
    Not really. Maybe one or two per year, but the probability of finding one is slim not bountiful as you are claiming (You recently pointed to what the 2013 draft as being really sucky). Identifying good players in later rounds is hard. Finding studs is even harder. I just don’t know how many different ways I can put that for you to understand.

    “Phew, for a second I thought he was a bust. But he made it. Neat.”
    Sad, there you are again, taking something out of context and placing it in your own way. I do love your gift for passive aggressive insulting. You’ve got that going for you. I sure hope you pass that along. The world needs more people like you. Sike! It doesn’t.

    1. OK kewl. You win. Wings are awesome at finding guys outside the top 15 who make it to the NHL. Like Ferraro and Sproul and McCollum. Jurco and Ouellet and Kindl too. Maybe there is an award for that?
      Meanwhile teams like Tampa and Nashville and Winnipeg have benefited from top 15 picks (I never denied that) but have gone over the top because they find ELITE talent outside the top 10. Far more frequently than we do. But yeah, you win OK. Seriously.

    2. Please, the semantics & word games are as counterproductive in this blog as dismissiveness & name calling.
      Clearly, a prerequisite to success is getting to the NHL, but success is measured by longevity.
      IMO, the likelihood of successfully mining a gem doesn’t tightly correlate to draft level.
      But, yes, some teams do seem more adept mining the lower draft levels, a Wings’ former strength. Was that skill or merely luck?

      1. Haha. I’m not the one boasting about 76% of our early picks have made the NHL. That criteria credits us for McCollum just as equally as it does Larkin.

        Most people making this argument reference games played as a measure of success.

        That’s better, but still flawed. Because 500 games of Kuznetsov is much better than 500 games of Sheahan.

        So it’s a complex topic. But to say we’re good at finding guys who make it to the NHL is pretty laughable when we’re credited for McCollum, Sproul, Ouellet, Ferraro, Jurco, etc…

        1. It is complex. And there is a wide range of inherent capability for NHL’ers.
          Sheahan may be at the lower end of that range, but with the Pens he was a ‘near-regular’ who might play a couple hundred or so total career games—none of the four mentioned (McCollum, Sproul, Ouellet, Ferraro, Jurco) have a real chance at that, IMO.

          1. Sometimes you just don’t know with guys until they do hit the stage. Unfortunately, it happens too much for my liking, but so it goes.

            All told, Kenny has been doing somewhat better at one of my criticisms – actually getting value out of the players that won’t make it.

            Sproul…an AHL level defenseman, was traded for an AHL forward, that helped in small part clear a defense log jam in GR. It’s small, but at least he did it. (Or Martin did it? whatever).

            Sheahan/Wilson…got picks for these two. And not a 7th. haha.

            Jurco…Kenny raked ole bowman over the coals with that one.

            The past couple years are a new leaf, not losing young players like janmark and jarnkrok (bottom six players anyway) in trade for another run at a first round exit!

            It’s a slower re-build, it will take time to build it back up and these annoying older vet contracts will cease in the coming years. It sucks, it’s not the way I’d do it, but I can at least appreciate the thought process that goes into it.

            Think of this time period as a bridge. Young players too young and not ready, get/keep some vets to place hold until some of the kids are ready. Once again, it sucks (HELM) and I wouldn’t do many of these signings (HELM) but this is what we are stuck with.

          2. “All told, Kenny has been doing somewhat better at one of my criticisms – actually getting value out of the players that won’t make it.”
            My point exactly. It’s one thing to just swing for the fences hoping for an elite talent (which isn’t just a reasonable expectation anymore) after the 1st round and an entirely different to pick out players who are going to make it to the NHL level, be some what useful, and have a chance to be a bigger player.

            While yes, some teams are finding good players after the 1st round none are finding them regularly. Looking as Nashville, who has been placed by some as a good team at drafting. They have only picked up two players in the past decade outside the 1st round that have become very good players. None are superstars and neither, if added to Detroit, are going to make them a playoff team. Looking at Nashville’s 1st round picks they have been down right awful finding elite talent. Ryan Jones (picked 11th) is good, but not elite. Even Seth Jones (picked #4) had 3 years in Nashville and ended up being used as trade bait – even he took five years to really begin to show his true potential. In 77 picks outside the 1st round, Nashville has only found two very good players and no elite team changing talent.

            Looking at Tampa’s drafting since 2006, they’ve only found one player outside the 1st round who has become elite (Kucherov). They’ve also had a #1 and #2 overall picks – which those should be more expected to become elite, and did. And, they had a #3 (Drouin) overall which ended up being trade bait because of cap issues (I’d like to point out that Mantha has more goals then Drouin in 90 less games). Beyond those picks Namaesnitkov, a roll player is their best pick. So out of 71 picks outside the 1st round TB found 1 elite player.

            Briefly, looking at Montreal, who found a single elite player (outside the 1st round) in all their draft picks, including a #3 pick.

        2. Now that I’ve commented just previously, I looked up Sheahan’s stats—he has already played 350+ NHL games incl. 70+ this year with the Pens–about a .4 ppg–certainly not a Malkin/Crosby, but respectable.
          BTW, I still hold out some hope for Jurco.

  6. I like how the goal posts just changed. First it was picks after the top 15. Now it’s after round 1. So now late 1sts like Carlson, Kuznetsov, Vasilevsky, Namestnikov, Connor, etc…dont count anymore.

    As for Nashville…they found Josi, Ekholm, Arvidsson, Smith outside of the first round.

    As for Tampa, you claim aside from Kucherov that Namestnikov was the only other notable pick. Umm, Braydon Point from round 3 says hello. So does Vasilevsky before you changed the goalposts.

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