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Keith Gave's Northern Sports Desk

 

 

 

June 20, 2017

 

Ch-Ch-Changes are coming, 

and the Tigers are not alone
 
By KEITH GAVE
Sports Director
 
While all the talk lately has been about an imminent and dramatic deconstruction of one of the most expensive rosters in baseball, two other professional Detroit franchises may be soon be grabbing headlines for similar makeovers.
 
Because the NHL is adding the 31st team, the Golden Knights in Las Vegas, the Red Wings are obliged to begin retooling their roster this week. It will start Wednesday when they lose one of their players in the expansion draft. 
 
Smart money has Vegas selecting either Petr Mrazek, who started last season as the Wing’s No. 1 goaltender, defenseman Xavier Ouellet, who quietly became a regular on the Detroit blue line last season, or forward Riley Sheahan, who a few years ago looked as though he would develop into the prototypical second line center the Wings desperately need.
 
This represents a hard fall for Mrazek, who a year ago was rewarded with a two-year, $8 million contract. Then he couldn’t stop a beach ball when it mattered and lost his starting gig to veteran Jimmy Howard, who when he wasn’t injured was posting some of the best numbers of his career.
 
After watching Jared Coreau lead top minor league affiliate Grand Rapids to the franchise’s second Calder Cup in five seasons, Wings general manager Ken Holland can feel comfortable about Detroit’s goaltending depth even without Mrazek, should the Golden Knights claim him. Coreau was also left unprotected, but his inexperience at the NHL level would make him a risky choice for the expansion franchise.
 
Each of the NHL’s other 30 teams will lose one player. The new franchise must take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
 
Holland has announced he will not make any side deals with Vegas to avoid losing a player the Wings would like to keep. Other players left unprotected by Detroit include regulars like forwards Darren Helm, Luke Glendenning and forwards Jonathan Ericsson.
 
The Wings’ protected list: forwards Justin Abdelkader, Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha, Frans Nielsen, Gus Niquist, Tomas Tatar and Henrik Zetterberg; defensemen Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green and, in somewhat of a surprise, Nick Jensen; and Howard. First and second-year professionals, such as Dylan Larkin, are exempt, meaning the Red Wings did not have to protect him.
 
So the Wings will lose one player this week, but the horse trading around the league is just beginning. They have the ninth overall pick in the first round of the NHL entry draft this weekend in Chicago. That represents their highest selection since they took right wing Martin Lapointe with the 10th overall pick in 1991. 
They have 11 picks in the seven-round draft, considered among the weaker talent pools in the last several years. There are no generational players topping the list, like Auston Matthews last year, or Connor McDavid the year before. And the talent drops dramatically after the top 20 players – so not every team in the opening round will even get a player considered a bona fide first-rounder in most other years.
 
So while it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see Detroit deal some assets to move up few slots to ensure they get the defenseman or center they hope to build around in a few years, it would be shocking to see them move down. Holland’s biggest task is to rebuild the blue line. The Wings have one of the weakest defense groups in the league. He wants a top-pair, puck-moving defenseman, but so does everyone else – so the price will be ridiculously high.
 
The NHL draft starts Friday and concludes Saturday.
 
Meantime, if the rumors are true Stan Van Gundy is willing to pull the trigger on a deal involving either of the two biggest names on his team: forward Andre Drummond and point guard Reggie Jackson ahead of the NBA draft next week.
 
“Would we like to make changes this summer? Absolutely. Is it a priority to be out trying to make changes? Absolutely. We need to make improvements,” Van Gundy told a Detroit radio interview last month. “The part where I stop short is saying we’re committed to making changes. You need partners to make those deals.”
 
In other words, as much as the Pistons would like to make a deal like that and – like the Wings – create some excitement and momentum going into the new Little Caesars Arena this fall, it won’t be easy.
 
The Pistons, who like the Wings failed to qualify for the post-season, select 12th in the NBA’s draft next Thursday in Philadelphia. They won’t likely get a household name who can create the kind of buzz they’re looking for, but they should be able to get a good piece to the puzzle as Van Gundy strives to build a winner.
 
The Tigers need a good month of June to fend off the wolves willing to pick the bones of a team that so far has been a confounding disappointment. They’re not having it. They’re 7-8 for the month, 3-7 in their last 10 heading into seven-game road swing out west through Seattle and San Diego, four games below .500, fourth in the five-team Central Division and, most alarmingly, 4 ½ games behind Cleveland, which has gotten on a bit of a roll lately.
 
Clearly changes are coming – and not just to the Red Wings and Pistons.
 
-30-
 

    --- ARCHIVES ---

-   June 12th, 2017: When the Red Wings finally brought home Stanley Cup

 

--   JUNE 6TH, 2017: Tigers begin June surge while other  Detroit clubs prepare to make news, too 

 

-   May 30, 2017: Tigers hitting critical stretch drive early this season: Win now or else

 

-    May 24, 2017: Now we know whats ailing the Tigers, and it ain't pitching

 

-   May 19, 2017: MAILBAG; You've got Questions, We've got Answers ... 

 

-   May 16, 2017: The Masters of Relief Pitching Endure ... 

 

-   May 8, 2017:  Tigers' GM Al Avila Faces Huge Crisis ...

 

-   May 5, 2017:  Red Wings Amongst the Losers in the NHL Draft ... 

 

-    May 3, 2017: Lions Tap into more character with first-round pick Davis 

 

-   April 27, 2017: Can "Santa" Quinn deliver again as Lions Head to Draft.....

 

-   April 24, 2017:  In a Moment of Inspiration When The Tigers Need it Most ... 

 

-   April 21, 2017: Hall of Fame needs to recognize one more...

 

-   April 17, 2017:  No Yzerman or Gallant to Rescue Wings...

 

-   April 13, 2017:  As The Joe is Set to Become a Pile of Dust ... 

 

-   April 10, 2017:  A Voice That Refuses to be Stifled Can Use Our Help in Epic Battle ...  

 

-   April 3, 2017: All the Experts are Wrong; Tigers will be good this year ...

 

-  March 31, 2017: Red Wings 25 Year Playoff Streak Somthing To Behold....

 

-  March 28, 2017:  While Pistons waive the white towel, Red Wings Show Self Pride...

 

-  March 23, 2017:  Red Wings Expected to Fire Blashill .... 

 

-  March 21, 2017: (Article Untitled)

 

-  March 17, 2017: Our Cups Runneth over with Memories of The Joe...

 

-  March 13, 2017:  Enjoy Wolverines Fairy-Tale ...

 

-  March 6, 2017:  As Big Ten Tournament Begins...

 

-  March 4, 2017:  Tigers to Scatter as Spring Training is Interupted...

 

-  March 2, 2017:  Wings rebuild under way after stockpiling 5 Draft picks ....

 

-  February 24, 2017:  Pistons Follow Tigers' Lead and Stand a Pat at Trade Deadline; Red Wings Next...

 

-  February 22, 2017:   Inspired by Late Owner, can Wingsand Tigers Deliver a Memorable Ending...

 

-  February 17, 2017:  .... Highlight Uncertainty of NHL Draft.

 

-  February 13, 2017:  "Pizza Guy" Mike illitch, Always Kept Fan Happy ...

 

-  February 11, 2017:  Tigers Pitchers Set to Head to Lakeland for Spring Training ... 

 

-  February 7, 2017:  Good Teams Make Own Breaks, but Patriots got Two Stunners...

 

-  Februaary 3, 2017:  Super Bowl Pools ...

 

-  February 1, 2017:  Mr Holland's Opus with Three Goalies...

 

-  January 26, 2017:  Red Wings are not alone amongst once great teams at the bottom ... 

 

-  January 24, 2017:  Life is a bowl of bubbles for local sports fans ...

 

-  January 23, 2017:  Wings GM Holland still has a few options...

 

-  January 17, 2017:  Tigers Slumber through the offseason; Is long expected change still coming?... 

 

-  January 13, 2017:  For Red Wings Fans its time to learn how the NHL Draft Lottery works ... 

 

-  January 6, 2017:  Lions Kicking Out Some Deafening Jams Preparing to Invade Seattle ... 

 

-   January 3, 2017:  Its January and there is still football in the "D" ...

 

-   December 31, 2016:  Lions must prove themselves against the Packers ...

 

-   December 29, 2016: All is right as Wings Honor 1997 Red Wings

 

-  December 23, 2016:  Lions vs. Cowboys, a precursor to things to come?

 

-  December 20, 2016: Lions still control their fate ....

 

-  December 19, 2016: Weather Injuries Threaten Lions' threaten run of wins....

 

-  December 14, 2016:  Nothing is certain yet, but Lions are 1 and 0 in most important .... 

 

-  December 9, 2016: WARNING! Anything goes in Lions Bears Rvalry

 

-  December 5, 2016:  Detroit Lios Didnt Quite Punch Their Playoff Ticket 

 

-  December 3, 2016:  Lions Might be in Drivers Seat but ... 

 

-  December 2, 2016:  Hockey's New FIxation with Numbers in Inexplicable Casualties ... 

 

-  November 28, 2016: Michgan-Ohio State: Preemininent Rivalry ... 

 

-  November 22, 2016: Downtown Detroit wins big as Pistons Announce Homecoming...

 

-  November 18, 2016:  A Model Argument:  Verlander got Robbed...

 

-  November 14, 2016:  Lions and Red Wings Toy with Expectations ... 

 

-  November 11,  2016:  Howard's Brilliance, Mrazek flops ...

 

-  November 7, 2016: Stafford, Prater ,keeping us tuned into the Lions ....

 

-  November 4, 2016:  Cubs Indians Game 7...

 

-  November 2, 2016: Red Wings Know What Needs Fixing ... 

 

-  October 28, 2016: Players Answered Houghton Lake for second shot at Roscommon in Playoffs...

 

-  October 21, 2016:  Close Cousins: Skins QB vs Stafford ... 

 

-  October 13, 2016: History Shows not give up on Red WIngs Playoff hopes ... 

 

-  October 11, 2016:  Happy Thanksgiving Canada! ... 

 

-  October 7, 2016:  For Detroit Sports Fans, Hope is a Muscle as their teams grapple with issues ... 

 

-  October 3, 2016:  Baseball, football seasons efectively over with in hours in Detroit ... 

 

-  September 29, 2016:  Former Spartan Hoyer Eyes Reunion with the Lions ...

 

-  September 27, 2016: Party at Comerica, Tigers not Invited....

 

-  September 23, 2016:  Red Wings Head to Camp With More Questions Than Answers...

 

-  September 19, 2016:  Same Old Lions? Not Quite....

 

-  September 12, 2016:  September's Shameful Surrender...

 

-  September 9, 2016: Who knows what to expect from this Lions' season .... 

 

-  September 7, 2016:  Lions and Tigers and Playoff OH MY ...

 

-  September 1, 2016:  Jonesin' for a special moment in a very long season ... 

 

-  August 29, 2016:  Good Sports: When the Dog Days of our Lives have a golden hue...

 

-  August 25, 2016: Tigers maddening, wonderful ride to continue through the week .... 

 

-  August 23, 2016:  Ugly Americans Steal Feelgood headlines from worthy Olympians...

 

-  August 17, 2016:  Dombrowski gone but not forgotten ... 

 

-  August 16, 2016:  Sports Fans, these are doggone good days ... 

 

-  August 10, 2016:  Ausmus overcomes pitching woes ... 

 

-  August 8, 2016: While TIgers are riding high, brass deals with pitching headache...

 

-  August 2, 2016: Tigers GM Al Avila stands pat at MLB deadline ... 

 

-  July 28, 2016:  Homegrown paddler living in Alaska compares Iditarod to Marathon...

 

-  July 25, 2016:  With no big plans for trade dealine The Tigers, Ready to throw in the towel...

 

-  July 21, 2016: Don't be fooled VIP for greuling spectator race hasn't changed ... 

 

-  July 18, 2016:  Orr: "our game has become dangerous"....

 

-  July 14,  2016:  Next two weeks will fix Tigers' fate...

 

-  July 12, 2016: A weeping nation needs its sports stars more than ever...

 

-  July 8 2016: Tigers' Ian Kinsler not an Allstar?

 

-  July 7, 2016: Wings' Mrazek seeking arbitration could make a difficult summer more challenging...

 

-  July 1, 2016: Red Wings Shore up the Middle by landing Nielson ... 

 

 -  June 30, 2016:  With Priority 1 Free Agent...

 

-  June 27, 2016:   After Dumping Datsyuk...

 

-  June 23, 2016:  Red Wings head North again ...

 

-  June 16, 2016:  Lions offer more than just hope... 

 

-  June 10, 2016:  A tribute to Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe.

 

-  June 9, 2016:  Tigers finally have their swagger back.... 

 

-  June 6, 2016:  Muhammad Ali Tribute 

 

-  June 2, 2016: ... Theres a lot to like about these Tigers.

 

-  May 31, 2016:  Red Wings troubled with Russian Radulov...

 

-  May 26, 2016:  ...The Joy of Baseball and Need for a Father's Approval

 

-  May 23, 2016:  Tigers show signs of escaping the abyss...

 

-  May 16, 2016 : "What Me Worry"? Ausmus still on the job...

 

-  May 9, 2016:  Tigers' Ausmus knows he has a target on his back ... 

 

-  May 5, 2016:  Get Over it , Illitches Can Call Arena Whatever They Want...

 

-  May 2, 2016:  Lion's GM, Quinn, drafts to rebuild franchise...

 

-   April 29, 2016:  Lions optimistic heading into the draft...

 

-  April 21,2016:  Datsyuks last day epitomize  end of a Red WIngs era....

 

-   April 18, 2016: Red Wings Coach Makes Alright Moves...

 

-  April 15, 2016:  Have Fun While You Can...

 

- April 11, 2016: Red Wings and Pistons make the playoffs...

 

-  April 8, 2016: Red Wings need to address inexperienced coaching staff

 

- April 6, 2016: Sports Writers So Called Experts ... By:  JC

 

- April 4, 2016: Frigid Opening to Baseball's opening...

 

- March 28, 2016:  Happy Birthday Mr. Hockey....

 

-  March 24, 2016:  A River Runs Through Us... 

 

-  March 21, 2016 Spartans shocked....

 

- March 17, 2016: In a hour of post season peril, WIngs' captain,Zetterberg, needs to step up ... 

 

- March 14,2016:  Surprise- Beilein's Wolverines Join Izzo in the Big Tournement....

 

- March 8, 2016:  No regrets here regarding my Heisman snub of Peyton Manning...

 

-March 7,2016: Mrazek falters again....

 

- March 3, 2016.  Amped up Wings prepare for old time rilvalry...

 

-March 1, 2016: Wings stand pat at deadline; Howard steals two points in Dallas...

 

-Feb.22, 2016: Amped up Red Wings ready for trip down memory lane...

 

-Feb.22, 2016: Big Decisions loom for Holland, Wings as trade deadline Approaches...

 

-Feb. 15,2016: Trade Jimmy Howard? Enough of these delusions

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