Of disparate Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. In the hypothetical news department, part 1: The Hockey News’s Jared Clinton wonders aloud whether the Red Wings might deviate from their Blashill plan now that Barry Trotz is available as a coaching unrestricted free agent:
DETROIT RED WINGS
The Jeff Blashill experiment in Detroit hasn’t worked out as well as the Red Wings had hoped. Sure, Detroit lost Pavel Datsyuk and some of the Red Wings’ top talent began to enter into the twilight of their careers, but Blashill’s 63-75-26 record over the past two seasons is underwhelming and there’s been little sign that things are getting better. In fact, Detroit actually took a six-point step backwards last season, which isn’t exactly the direction the franchise wants to be moving in. And while there aren’t many coaches who could get this underachieving group back on track, Trotz may be one of them. After all, he had some success with arguably less-talented rosters during his time in Nashville.
The door seems wide open for Detroit to find Blashill’s successor, too. With the departure of Todd Nelson, who joined the Dallas Stars’ staff this summer, there’s no readymade in-house candidate to replace Blashill. Trotz, though, could be just what the doctor ordered for the Red Wings. But the biggest question might be one of money. CapFriendly lists Blashill’s salary at $800,000 per season, so bringing Trotz aboard at his reported top-tier asking price would mean a sizeable increase in spending behind the bench. If they were willing to attempt to keep Mike Babcock, though, the Red Wings might also be willing to spend to bring a comparably successful coach to town.
I don’t see Ken Holland deviating from his plan, but that’s just my opinion…
2. In the hypothetical news department, part 2: the Ottawa Sun’s Chris Stevenson spun some trade scenarios regarding Erik Karlsson, including possible trades to New York or Detroit…
For the record, the NHL teams with the largest current stockpiles of top picks include the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings
The Rangers hold three first-round choices, two second-round selections and two third-round spots in this weekend’s draft. They also have a first-round selection and two second-round picks next summer. They also have the bankroll to sign a marquee name.
Detroit also has seven picks in the first three rounds this weekend, including two first-round choices. Come 2019, they, like the Rangers, own three selections in the first two rounds.
Karlsson to the Red Wings is an intriguing idea, if only because Detroit was the long-time home of Swedish superstar Niklas Lidstrom, the seven-time winner of the Norris Trophy as top NHL defenceman. He was also a role model for Karlsson.
3. In the charitable news department, Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard is holding a home run derby in Brighton on Friday to kick off his charitable foundation’s community outreach, and Howard spoke with CBS Sports Radio’s “Ferrall on the Bench” on Monday to discuss the event and some Red Wings-related topics:
A) NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman, Mike G. Morreale and Guillaume Lepage made their final “mock draft” picks, and all three believe that the Wings will draft University of Michigan defenseman Quinn Hughes:
6. Detroit Red Wings
Kimelman — Quintin Hughes, D, Michigan (BIG10): His ability to control the game far exceeds any questions about his size (5-10, 173). He’s a dazzling skater and puck-handler with a hard, accurate shot from the point. And Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill got a chance to see him up close for the United States during the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
Morreale — Hughes: He’s great in transition and is a strong skater with good poise and puck skills. He can play at any pace and rarely is overpowered by bigger players. He has begun to understand how to be more effective in all three zones, and likely will continue that development at Michigan for another season.
Lepage — Hughes: He has a few shortcomings, mostly his defensive play, but has the potential to become a star. Detroit fans will appreciate his on-ice vision and instincts.
B. Jimmy Devellano spoke with the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby regarding the Red Wings and Maple Leafs’ respective floor positions for the draft in Dallas as indications of “where the respective franchises are”:
“We’re now where the Leafs were three or four years ago,” Wings’ senior vice-president Jim Devellano acknowledged. “We’re a team badly in need of a rebuild. We realize it’s not an accident we’re picking sixth. Obviously, we hope to get a player who can make it in a year or two. And we have Vegas’ pick at 30th and 11 picks in the seven rounds.
“It’s what the Leafs did a couple of years ago (strip down the roster for picks). We’ve kind of copied that and hope we can get some players. Toronto is drafting 25th, so whatever they do in Dallas, it ain’t helping them for three or four years. They know that.”
The aforementioned players — Samuelsson is a big U.S.-born defender and son of former NHLer Ulf Samuelsson, while Guelph’s Noel and Oakville’s Merkley are an OHL winger and defenceman, respectively, who have shown up on various mock drafts as the first round looms Friday at American Airlines Center. The Red Wings won’t get top-rated Buffalo-bound rearguard Rasmus Dahlin, but if it’s a defenceman they crave, CHLers Noah Dobson and Evan Bouchard might still be there.
“It’s always been my theory you take the best player available,” Devellano said. “For 25 years we never picked in the top 15. Eventually that bites you in the ass. This draft is suddenly more important to us because we have a lot of picks.”
C. In the “Further Reading” sub-category, the Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma penned a profile of Evan Bouchard, and The Athletic’s Max Bultman profiled the Hughes family;
5. The Athletic’s Craig Custance answered a boatload of reader questions in a member Q and A early this morning;
6. On Twitter:
With Dan Bylsma ending up on the Red Wings staff looking like a real possibility, good time to bring back this @TheAthleticDET Q and A with him on his Michigan roots: https://t.co/qIIcW3IvTk pic.twitter.com/dTD5IyLgQ7
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) June 19, 2018
Don’t be surprised if veteran NHL coach Dan Bylsma re-surfaces this week behind an NHL bench as an assistant coach. DET is the most likely landing spot.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 19, 2018
We are less than a month away from the beginning of the Third Annual Larkin Hockey School! There are limited spots still available in Group 2 of Block 1 (’04-’06s) and in Group 1 of Block 3 (’07-’08 ELITE). Head to https://t.co/IkTbW8Zkx9 for last minute registrations!
— Larkin Hockey School (@LarkinHockey) June 19, 2018
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) June 19, 2018
The 2017-18 Men’s Freshman is…Quinn Hughes from @umichhockey!
— Michigan Athletics (@UMichAthletics) June 19, 2018
Update: Among Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff’s notes:
The Detroit Red Wings must draft a defenseman with the sixth overall pick of Friday’s opening round of the NHL entry draft. You know it. They know it. Everyone in hockey knows it.
“I’m a big believer that if you can’t get the puck out of your own zone – I don’t care how good your forwards are, how good your scoring on the wings are – if you don’t have defensemen who can move the puck out of your own zone, if you’re spending too much time in your own zone, you can forget about it,” TSN draft analyst Craig Button said. “To me, the success of (the Red Wings’) Stanley Cup teams was on the blue line. Until they get that moving forward in a significant way, they’re not going to return to that level. I’m not saying anything that (Detroit general manager) Kenny Holland doesn’t know.”
What is also known is that there are several high-end defense prospects available in this year’s draft. It’s unlikely that all among Quinn Hughes, Noah Dobson, Evan Bouchard and Adam Boqvist will be there when the Wings are on the clock at No. 6, but it’s a certainty that some of them will be. And the Wings absolutely need to get one of them.
“I think if the Red Wings want a defenseman, there’s going to be options for them at 6,” Button said. “Will all the defensemen be there? Maybe not, but there’s certainly going to be some there that can really add to their team.
“When I look at those defensemen – Hughes, Bouchard and Dobson I think are top-pair defensemen, and Adam Boqvist might be the guy who has the greatest offensive upside, because of his abilities. When you start to look at those four defensemen, those are hard to obtain and pretty important to success.”