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Veteran Red Wings forward Kirk Maltby will remain with the organization after signing a one-year, two-way contract with Detroit.
Maltby will head into training camp with very little shot of making the team, as Detroit is already carrying 15 forwards. But Maltby has no problem with going down to Grand Rapids, which will only pay $105,000 to a 17-year veteran. If Maltby makes the team, the deal will be worth $525,000.
“I’d be one of the older guys down there, but it’s not like I’d be the first (NHL veteran) to ever do it,‘’ Maltby said. "I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it, what it would be like to be down there. But at the same time, it’s something I’ll deal with if that comes to surface.’’
In training camp Maltby will face stiff competition for a spot on the fourth line. Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller will all be vying for a spot on a team with a plethora of talented forwards. All those guys are young players with a ton of upside that will have a huge leg up on the 37-year-old Maltby.
Also playing in his decision to essentially take less money to stay with Detroit was his family. Maltby didn’t want to have to move his family this late in his career, and playing in Grand Rapids gives him an opportunity to see them frequently.
“It is a bit of a hassle, especially in the winter, having to drive a couple of hours to be able to come home and see family and the kids, but it’s better than being out in Manitoba or something like that,‘’ Maltby said. "To take my family and go somewhere for a year wasn’t appealing to me.’’
It makes sense for Maltby at this point in his career to not want to uproot his entire life. At 37, he has about two to three years of solid hockey left in him. He probably could have found a full-time NHL job somewhere else, but it was clear that moving his family for a year or two was not an option.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said on Wednesday that a deal with Kirk Maltby is expected to be finished "within 48 hours." Maltby has been weighing an offer from the Wings for about a week now and has been contemplating whether or not to take the one-year, two-way deal. The way Holland sees it, the best thing to do is sign the contract, go to training camp and see what happens from there.
“Let’s come to camp,” Holland said of his outlook for Maltby. “He wants to see where he’s at when we have more information, based on him and a whole lot of other people. Then he and I will have more information at our disposal for the next decision to be made.”
Barring an injury bug that goes through camp, it isn't expected that Maltby will make the team right now. If that is what ends up happening when camp and the preseason finish up, then Maltby will have to decide if he wants to play in the AHL and be there as a contingency plan for the Wings in case injuries happen at some point. Chances are he would spend most of the season in the AHL no matter what, so that may not be something he wants to do at this point in his career.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland met with Kirk Maltby on Wednesday, and it appears that an offer is on the table. For now, though, Maltby is deciding on whether or not he should accept that offer, as it is presumed to be a two-day deal that would likely put him in Grand Rapids for most of the season.
“We’ve had an ongoing dialogue since early June,’’ Holland said Thursday. “I still think he’s got some hockey left in him, but obviously, we’ve got some good players here that are younger. And when you get to a different stage in your career, there’s different roles, different responsibilities. Things change.’’
If Maltby does decide to take the offer, the fact that it would be a two-way deal allows him to freely move back and forth from Grand Rapids and Detroit. That gives the Red Wings the flexibility to bring him up to the NHL club if there are injuries or an extra need for depth. More likely than not, Maltby would spend most of his season in Grand Rapids earning an AHL salary, but with injuries bound to happen, it's definitely possible he would be called up to Detroit every now and again.
Maltby’s agent, Anton Thun, said earlier this week that be believed the sides could come to a mutually agreeable contract. But it’s not an easy decision for Maltby because of all the factors involved.
What Maltby has to decide is if taking a deal that will keep him in Grand Rapids for most of the season is worth it. At this point in his career, it may be a better idea to just retire rather than spend a season in the minors. Then again, if he still has a desire to play hockey for another season, playing in Grand Rapids is better than nothing.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland was looking to add a veteran defenseman to the team, and it appears he’s found one.
According to multiple reports, the Wings have signed defenseman Ruslan Salei to a one-year, $750,000 contract. (Terms include a potential $350,000 in bonuses, according to the Detroit Free Press.) The 35-year-old played the last two seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, and also with the Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers in his 13-year NHL career.
Back injuries restricted the 6' 1", 212-pound Salei to just 14 games last season with Colorado, but he recovered to captain the Belarus hockey team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. In 842 career NHL games, Salei has 43 goals, 151 assists, and 1,017 penalty minutes.
Salei has previous experience with Wings coach Mike Babcock, playing for him in Anaheim from 2002 to 2004. He also has some history with fellow new Red Wing Mike Modano, as MLive.com's Ansar Khan points out:
Salei (6-foot-1, 212) brings a rugged, physical element to the defense. He was suspended for 10 games in October 1999 for checking Mike Modano, then with Dallas, from behind into the boards face-first. Modano sustained a concussion, strained ligaments in his neck and a broken nose.
One might assume that there are no hard feelings between the two, and the past is prologue (not to mention more than 10 years ago).
Salei is expected to be in Detroit's third pair of defensemen, teamed with Jonathan Ericsson.
While the Red Wings wait for Mike Modano to decide if he is going to sign with Detroit or not, they are staying in contact with free agents Kirk Maltby and Andreas Lilja.
Maltby's situation appears to be directly related to what Modano does. If the Wings end up signing the former Dallas Star, then there will be even less roster space than before, likely leaving Maltby without a spot to even compete to make the team, let alone end up on the final roster.
The other issue with Maltby is whether or not he would receive a one- or two-way contract. Maltby obviously would prefer a one-way deal, but the Wings want the flexibility a two-way contract would offer. The problem is that Maltby likely won't want to end up in the minors, so if he can't get an offer elsewhere or a guarantee to be part of the Red Wings' roster, retirement may be his only option.
"We've discussed a one-way contract and a two-way contract and there's advantages and disadvantages to both," Holland said. "He's also exploring the open market and I believe there is some interest. But Kirk has been a great role player for us, he's done a lot of winning here and we think he's got some hockey left in him."
As for Lilja, the Wings are staying in contact with him in case he doesn't get an offer to his liking from another team. Ansar Khan reports that Lilja wants a deal worth $1.5 million per year, but the Wings do not have the room for a contract that large, nor would they likely be willing to pay him that much even if they did.
Detroit does want to add another defenseman to compete for the sixth D-man spot in the lineup, but they aren't going to break the bank to do that. Basically, if Lilja can't find a deal that he likes and is still a free agent in the summer, the Red Wings will try to re-sign him for something more in their price range. Lilja may not want to consider that option right now, but if the free agent market isn't all that receptive to him, then returning to Detroit could end up being the best option.
A few names have been tossed around as veterans the Red Wings could sign, including Mike Modano and Doug Weight, who both are from Michigan. One name that stuck out to me, however, is that of Slava Kozlov.
The Red Wings know they aren't major players in the free agent market this year, but that doesn't mean they won't be actively pursuing certain athletes.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland has spoken with veteran center Mike Modano and is also believed to be interested in former Wing Slava Kozlov.
Kozlov was part of the Red Wings' organization from 1991-2001 and was a member of both of the teams that won the Stanley Cup during that time. Since leaving Detroit, he has played for Buffalo (only one season) and Atlanta (for seven seasons).
Andreas Lilja offered $1m/1yr in Detroit. For those who haven't forgiven his gift OT goal to Selanne in Game 5/07WCF, offer is 996,000 high.
Ah yes, thanks for bringing that up.
Anyways, as far as whether or not Lilja will accept that offer, it will depend on what interest he generates on the open market. Lilja has made it known that he would prefer a better deal and an opportunity where he has a chance to crack the top four, but there's no telling whether or not a team that brings both of those things will express interest in him. The Wings would like to bring Lilja back to add depth to their defense, but as the offer shows, they aren't going to give him a ton of money to return.
Below is an update on where Kirk Maltby and the Red Wings stand, via Ansar Khan.
"He's going to shop the market until early next week,'' Holland said. "If something doesn't come of it, we'll talk.
"I'm open to bringing him back. They also understand there's (Patrick) Eaves and (Drew) Miller and (Darren) Helm and (Justin) Abdelkader and (Mattias) Ritola and (Kris) Draper. If (Maltby) does come back, he's competing for a spot.''
In a recent interview, it certainly sounded like Maltby wants to return to the Red Wings, so it's probably only a matter of time until a deal is worked out. One thing that will be interesting to watch is if he ends up with a one- or two-way contract. At this point a two-way deal makes more sense since roster spots are so limited, but at the same time, would Maltby be alright with the possibility of playing in Grand Rapids? At this point my guess is that he would, but that's just pure speculation.
Goaltender Joey MacDonald, who was with the Red Wings organization from 2001-07, has been signed once again by Detroit. During his first stint with the Red Wings, he mainly was in Grand Rapids and Toledo, as he played in only eight games for Detroit. His second stint will be very similar, as this signing was strictly to add a veteran goalie to the Griffins.
The Detroit Red Wings added the goaltending depth they were seeking for AHL affiliate Grand Rapids on Friday by bringing back a familiar face, signing Joey MacDonald. [...]
He will compete with Thomas McCollum for the starting job in Grand Rapids. The Red Wings also have young Jordan Pearce in their system.
That should pretty much do it as far as any moves at goalie are concerned. Jimmy Howard and Chris Osgood are basically locked in as the Wings' two goalies, and now the Griffins have MacDonald, McCollum and Pearce.
When Kirk Maltby had shoulder surgery in March, ending his season, the belief held by many was that his career was coming to an end. The injury itself wasn't career-threatening or anything, but Maltby is getting older and his skills are diminishing. With many younger players set to join the Red Wings' roster in 2010-11, it's no surprise that most just believed there would be no room for Maltby, essentially forcing him to retire.
As it turns out, don't close the book on Maltby's career just yet. There's no guarantee that he will come back for another season with the Red Wings, but Wings general manager Ken Holland does believe that Maltby's got something left in the tank.
"I think he has some hockey left in him," Holland said of Maltby, who has been in Detroit since the 1995-96 season.
The Wings are pretty much set at forward right now, but perhaps Holland will bring back Maltby if there is enough cap room to do so after addressing the team's more pressing needs.
Defenseman Andreas Lilja has been offered a deal to re-sign with the Red Wings, but it was not good enough for him to take it, according to his agent. In fact, Lilja's agent made it sound like the two parties have not been communicating very much at all, as Lilja is probably going to test the free agent market and try to sign with another team.
"I made them an offer a month ago and haven't heard back from them. I'm assuming they didn't like it," Holland said. "I'll touch base with them (on Wednesday). Maybe Lils will get a better deal (on the market). You can always get together after July 1."
Diamond doesn't see that happening.
"He enjoyed his time (in Detroit)," Diamond said. "It was a great situation. He had plenty of friends on the team.
"The organization treated him well, especially when he had the concussion. They gave him all the time he needed. It's a first-class organization. That's why it doesn't bother me they didn't call."
Detroit is in the market to add another defenseman for depth purposes, and speculation suggested that Lilja could fit that role. That doesn't seem like something Lilja would be interested in, though, so if Detroit does bring in another defender, he will likely come from the pool of free agents.
The Red Wings have signed forward Ilari Filppula, a free agent from Finland and the older brother of current Wings player Valtteri Filppula, according to MLive's Ansar Khan.
"He adds some depth to our organization,'' Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. "His career has blossomed in the last 2-3 years. He was one of the better players in Finland. It's time to see if he can play in the best league in the world.''
Ilari Filppula's deal is worth $500,000 for one year. He is being brought in to compete for a spot on the Wings' roster, although he apparently has no problem playing for Grand Rapids if he doesn't make the NHL club.
Per Khan, Filppula has played in the Finnish League his entire career and was the playoff MVP this past season.
MLive blogger George Malik revealed Doug Janik’s cap hit a couple days ago, via Capgeek.com:
According to Capgeek.com, the Wings gave part-time defenseman Doug Janik a two-year contract extension at an average salary cap hit of $512,500. He’ll earn $500,000 at the NHL level during the 2010-2011 season or $105,000 if he plays for the Grand Rapids Griffins, and his one-way deal for the 2011-2012 season salary is pegged at $525,000
This isn’t really surprising, as Janik will make the league minimum both years of the contract (in 2011-12 the minimum salary jumps to $525,000 from $500,000). The difference is that Janik will make $525,000 in the second year of the deal, no matter where he plays, be it in Grand Rapids or Detroit.
NHL teams can buy out the contract of players they no longer want starting today, but the Detroit Red Wings won’t be using the opportunity. They don’t have to, according to Wings GM Ken Holland.
“I think all our contracts are pretty good,” general manager Ken Holland said Monday. “Put our players on the open market, they’d get what they make — or in some cases get more than what they make.”
Players 26 years and older can get bought out at two-thirds the cost remaining on their deals. Those under 26 get one-third. Teams get double the time amount to absorb the cap hit in both cases, meaning if a player has a two-year deal they can spread the hit out over four years.
With $52.7 million committed to 17 players, the Wings really don’t need to buy out anyone. They’re still looking at re-signing free agents Todd Bertuzzi, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Derek Meech, Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves and possibly Andreas Lilja. The only scenario where the Red Wings would have considered a buyout was if a player like Jason Williams, who is not being offered a new contract, had a year left on his deal.
Janik, 30, is described by Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland as a stay at home defenseman that kills penalties. Janik was mainly signed for depth, and is not expected to play this season full-time with Detroit, unless a rash of injuries hits again. From Holland:
"He gives us good depth. We'll see what he can do in training camp. We think we'll have good competition. You need more than seven defensemen over the course of 82 games.''
The first year of the deal is two-way, meaning Janik will spend 2010-11 in AHL affiliate Grand Rapids if he doesn't earn a spot on the Wings' roster in preseason. The second year is a one-way salary (NHL only). Janik's best shot at cracking the lineup may be next season, especially if Nicklas Lidstrom decides to call it quits.
Janik is capable of contributing offensively, netting six goals and 31 assists last season in Grand Rapids, but he's not expected to do so at the NHL level. In 174 NHL games, he has just three goals and 15 assists.
Holland hasn't decided whether to offer a deal to defenseman Brett Lebda, but it's unlikely he will. Lebda has been entertaining offers from the KHL in Russia, but he reportedly asked for too much money. Jason Williams, who had an injury prone and unproductive year, was officially told he won't be brought back.
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