June 23, 2016
Red Wings heading north again – but
not before some important business
By KEITH GAVE
The Detroit Red Wings will be spending a lot of time in Northern Michigan again this summer, but it’s what they accomplishein the next few days at the NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo that could shape the franchise for years to come.
By virtue of their finish last season – squeaking into the Stanley Cup playoffs on the final day of the season – the Wings have the 16th overall pick. General Manager Ken Holland insists, as always, that his team will select the best player available, this time hoping it’s a franchise defenseman. But if Holland has his way he’ll be making headlines in other ways.
Although he’s said he is not “overly optimistic” about moving Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5 million salary cap hit in a salary dump to open some space to sign a free agent or two, the smart money says he’ll find a way to do it. The price will be high, since few teams are in a position to take the contract. Early indications are those teams want Detroit’s first-round draft pick, or a high-end prospect like Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha, or last year’s No. 1 pick (19th overall) Evgeny Svechnikov.
Holland has said he’s unwilling to pay that steep a price, so he’ll have to get creative. That might include a trade involving Jimmy Howard and his $5.2 million cap hit. If, by some small miracle, Holland is able to do both, he’ll open up the space under the new $73 million salary cap to make a splash on July 1, when free agent season opens.
Meantime, if the Wings retain their first-round pick, here are some names to watch for – keeping in mind that an offensive defensemen and a dominant center are their two most pressing needs:
Dante Fabbro, Penticton, British Columbia, right-shot defenseman, not overly big for today’s NHL at 6-foot, 195 pounds, but he has tremendous puck-moving skills. He can quarterback the power play and he’s responsible on the defensive end as well. Rated as high as 10th overall on some boards, so the Wings would be thrilled if he fell to 16.
Mike McLeod, Mississauga, Ontario. Big at 6-2 and 187 pounds and fast and extremely competitive – just what the Red Wings look for in their new-age center ice-men (read Riley Sheahan). He plays a strong, 200-foot game, another attribute the Wings regard highly. Rated as high as 14th, so he’s certainly within Detroit’s range.
German Rubtsov, Vityaz Podolsk, Russia, 6-foot-1, 183 pounds. The top Russian in the draft, according to by Red Line Report, an independent scouting review, as a physical and skilled two-way center.
Kieffer Bellows, Edina, Minnesota, a 6-foot, 192-pound left wing who inherited his father Brian’s wicked wrist shot and deadly scoring touch.
Mark Your Calendars
The Red Wings will hold their annual Development Camp, NHL Prospect Tournament and Training Camp at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Mich., as well as the 18th Annual Training Camp Golf Classic at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, Mich.
DEVELOPMENT CAMP – July 6-10. The camp is comprised of drafted or signed Red Wings prospects, and will include several of the team’s selections from the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, in addition to undrafted free agents. Attendees receive daily on-ice instruction and skill development from a team of coaches, take part in NHL-level off-ice workouts and attend classes designed to help players transition to professional hockey, while receiving feedback from Red Wings coaches and management. All practice sessions are open to the public. Tickets are available in-person only at Centre Ice Arena for $5 per day on each day of the event.
NHL PROSPECT TOURNAMENT -- The 18th annual event runs from Sept. 16-20. The eight-team field consists of prospects from the Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. Over the tournament’s history, 522 players have moved on to play in at least one NHL game, including 24 players who played for Detroit in 2015-16.
TRAINING CAMP GOLF CLASSIC -- The Red Wings will open their camp with the 18th Training Camp Golf Classic, presented by Eitel Dahm Motor Group, on Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Proceeds from the tournament benefit Involved Citizens Enterprises (I.C.E.), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing affordable skating programs to Northern Michigan.
Golf participants will enjoy a pre-round lunch before teaming up with a member of the Red Wings roster, coaching staff or management team for a 1 p.m. shotgun start on one of the resort’s pristine golf courses. Following the round, attendees will have dinner at the resort at a table with their Red Wings teammate and have the opportunity to bid on unique sports memorabilia, vacation packages and much more during the silent and live auctions.
The information for registration, sponsorship opportunities and pricing can be found at the following link: http://www.centreice.org/page/show/521797-drw-golf-outing
RED WINGS TRAINING CAMP -- The 2016-17 Red Wings hit the ice for the first time the morning of Friday, Sept. 23, and continue daily through Monday, Sept. 26. Red Wings players, prospects and tryouts will be divided into teams that will practice and scrimmage throughout camp, leading up to the annual Red and White Game on Sept. 26 at 12 p.m. A full camp roster and the complete training camp schedule will be announced at a later date.
The Training Camp Alumni and Celebrity Game will also return for a fourth consecutive season, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. Last year’s game included numerous Red Wings front office staff and coaches, including general manager Ken Holland and head coach Jeff Blashill; former players such as Dino Ciccarelli, Kris Draper, Jiri Fischer, Joe Kocur, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty; and Red Wings television color analyst Mickey Redmond.
TICKET INFORMATION – Tickets for all September events go on sale in person at Centre Ice Arena on Saturday, July 9 from 1-4 p.m.., while any remaining tickets will be available via fax starting Monday, July 11 at 12 p.m. Prices for practice sessions are $10 for standing-room only, $15 for reserved seating and $20 for the mezzanine. Red and White Game and Training Camp Alumni and Celebrity Game tickets will start at $20 for standing-room only, $25 for reserved seating and $30 for the mezzanine. Select 2016 training camp merchandise will also be available for purchase. For additional information, please call (231) 933-7465 or visit www.centreice.org.