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Hextall and Holland


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The season is here!! Almost. Thank god.


The Wings had a wild summer (at least for them, having lost Datsyuk to Russia, thanking Kyle Quincey and giving him a copy of the home game, saying goodbye to Richards, resigning Darren Helm to an absurd contract and importing Vanek, Nielsen and Ott to the forward ranks.

As usual, the Wings post Lidstrom chose to stand pat on defense. Again. Frustratingly so.


  Last year we finally added a solid player on the back end in Mike Green and then chose to misuse him, but since Lidstrom rode off into the sunset other than a few games from a Commodore here, a Huskins or a Colaiacovo there, the team continues to attempt to build from within which is not a bad idea, but only if you have the talent in the system to do so. Of course a Lidstrom is a generational talent and cannot be replaced but they didn't try. They just continued to role one overrated prospect after another into place and getting no results and then keeping them forever.


  This is a Flyer dominated forum and I will use Homgren as an example of the opposite, he treated the Flyers as I treat my fantasy team, rolling players in and out left and right, while Kenny Holland slowly, plodding along continues to maintain the course. Holmgren's way works sometimes, often it blows up in the teams face, a Richards for a Simmonds or a Voracek.Couturier deal for a Carter work wonders, but the opposite can occur with a Hartnell for a Umberger, a team that follows the path the Flyers have been on takes two steps forward and one step back.

  A team like the Wings where trades are a foreign language slip back to mediocrity like a sea shore eroding. Instead of going for the home run ala Holmgren sometimes knocking one out of the park and others striking out and looking foolish, the Wings have slipped into mediocrity by letting key players age, by not making the hard decisions early and replacing them at their peak instead allowing the likes of Kronner, Ericsson and Zetterberg to drag the payroll down while their skills deteriorate, guys like Howard and Helm are overpaid and under delivering, kids who are no longer kids such as Abdelkader, Tatar and Nyquist are good but not as good as hoped for and instead of replacing them they are out there every night in the same roles that they have proven to be unfit for year after frustrating year. Other kids such as Jurco and Pulkinnen are following suit, talented but lacking but their shortcomings dismissed by a front office that is loyal to a fault, Hell Dan freaking Cleary is in camp again albeit destined for Grand Rapids because he wants to keep playing.

  It is time to say to Cleary, sorry bub, we want to give your spot in GR to a prospect to see what they have. Go away.


  Holmgren had no such loyalty and if anything was the opposite. Jagr came and went. Home grown heroes Richards and Carter were shockingly dispatched, no cohesion was formed, a wildly successful season would be followed by one of crashing and burning. Wholesale roster changes would occur year after year, not due to a cap problem, but changes for changes sake.


  I have enormous respect for Ron Hextall who tutored in Los Angeles during their glory days and is building the flyers in the same way that Lombardi did the Kings, build from within but do not be afraid to go after the missing pieces in a deal if you need to. This year he more or less sat the frenzy out and avoided the panic button trades this offseason, doing some slight tinkering on the lower lines and planning on calling up a top tier defensive prospect or two and seeing what he has. Homer would have had none of that, he would have dealt a Provorov for a aging vet blueliner as he did with Sbisa for a Pronger, short term gains for long term depth, sometimes it works, other times it does not. Flyer drafts under him were usually poor and when someone was developed they were usually shipped out, a Sbisa here, a Maroon or JVR there were dispatched.

  No more. Hextall wouldn't trade a Gostisbehere or a Sanheim or Provorov or a Konecny for anything, but is willing to tinker elsewhere. Dean Lombardi taught him well.

  But back to the Wings. The Salary cap has crippled the team, previous to the cap the Wings could and did buy a cup (2002) or be aggressive in their signings adding a Rafalski to put them over the top in 2008. Not anymore.

  The signings we have made are maddenly poor, a mediocre year from an Alfredsson, the mistake that was Stephen Weiss. Tootoo and Gustafsson. one after another poorly thought out. Many argue that Mike Green was a bad signee, I think it was okay the problem isn't Green it is the fact that so many holes have sprung up waiting for help that Green is too little too late and looks like the problem. Nielsen will be a good player but is not Pavel. Vanek? Yeah, why not, see what he has left on the cheap. Ott? Sad joke.

 I think I lost the where I was going with this along the way, I guess what I am saying is if you look at Hextall and Holland, a lot of folk will say that Hextall is taking the patient approach ala Holland but instead I would say Hex is more like Lombardi, patient but aggressive at the same time, whereas Holland is allowing his team to erode, Hextall is building. The Flyers may be the East coast version of the Kings within a few years, built from within but with pieces brought in to supplement properly, whereas Holland refuses to acknowledge the limitations of his own homegrown players and simply throws a dart at the free agency dartboard every few years. Of the two, the Flyers way is the way that will work in the post cap era. The game has passed Kenny Holland by. We could have and should have retired him years ago and kept a Jim Nill (Dallas) or Steve Yzerman (Tampa) to guide the club. Making the postseason and losing in the first round year after year is not good enough.

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Salary cap was introduced in 05, so we have seen success since then, just not as much. I'm okay with the risk that Holland took on Weiss, it is just unfortunate that it didn't work out. Green was actually a nice surprise for me in that he provided good offense but also wasn't horrible defensively. 


This offseason was kind of odd. I'm not sure why we added so many forwards when what we needed was defense, either through trade or free agency. I think that Nielsen is actually a decent Datsyuk replacement, even if he isn't as talented. I am not sure there was better value available at C. Should have let Helm go, I don't understand giving long term contracts to 3rd line players.


Overall our offense looks pretty good, but it won't get the support needed from the defense. Our transition game will not be very good as the defense isn't built for it. I don't think Kronwall will ever been healthy enough at this point to be a proper puck moving D, so all that we have left in that role is Green. And then to compound on that, none of them are that great in their own zone either. It's a giant bag of below average at everything. I honestly don't think I've ever seen Detroit's defense this bad, it might be the worst in the league.

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yave - your Wings had one hell of a very impressive run. The problem with that is you're drafting after almost everyone else. Eventually it's going to catch up to you.


The days of grabbing Lidstrom/Datsyuk/Zetterberg in later rounds are gone for the most part. Scouting has become better and every team realizes in a capped league picks are important (ok, almost everyone). Sure someone will grab the off Ghost or a Marchand in the 3rd but it's not often you'll see hall of famers go in the 7th anymore.

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I can't read an article like that and not respond on behalf of the cockeyed optimists of the DRW Forum (an army of one!).  Here's how I look at the offseason.  


Lost: Datsyuk, Richards, Quincey

Gained: Nielsen, Ott, and Vanek


As you say, Quincey and Richards were jettisoned like a moldy tomato.  The hope was they would be good, but never really found a sweet spot, and in the end just stagnated.  Datsyuk was obviously the real highlight, but his production has been way down lately either due to age or his heart being on another continent.  He certainly wasn't worth hanging onto or his 7 million dollar contract.  Holland, to his credit, took care of that better than pretty much anyone could have asked for.  Nonetheless, as @Haliax mentioned, Nielsen is a great pickup in replacement, inasmuch as one can replace Pavel Datsyuk.  So I consider that taken care of.  


Vanek is a tough goal scorer, though a bit on the slow side (skating, that is).  He's bounced around the league the last few years looking for a home.  This year's roll of the dice moved him past Marvin Gardens to the Red Wings, so we get a shot at him.  He'll be a wild card, but think of it this way, all he has to do is be as good or better than Brad Richards was last year, and how hard can that be?  So I consider that taken care of.


Steve Ott (and I think I mentioned this before) seems to me like the free soda you get when you buy two sandwiches with a coupon.  He was a one-off that brings a bit of fresh spirit, along with rough-grit sandpaper to the locker room.  So I consider that taken care of.


Kronwall, as many have mentioned, is the big hole now, along with Ericsson who admitted he's not having any fun.  Ken Holland doesn't live in a bubble and he knows these Swedes are slowing down.  If it were me (and I know it's not), I'd move Green and DeKeyser into more important roles, something both blueliners deserve.  Move the heavy loading to the North Americans, keep the Swedes for the second pairing (Kronwall can still head a second-unit power play), and the third pairing will be Marchenko and Smith (or some other youth as performance and injuries dictate).  So I (would like to) consider that taken care of.


@yave1964, I respect the hell out of you, man, but it seems that you've been persecuting Ken Holland for not picking up a strong, young, right-handed, puck-moving defenseman who can step right in and head a first-shift power play.  Every team wants one of those, and I applaud Holland for not selling half the farm just to get one, salary cap or not.  You can make your best pitch, but in the end, the guy has to accept the offer.  A lot of folks on this forum chided the Red Wings last year for not picking up Matt Niskannen.  They offered, but he signed elsewhere.  Same thing for Ryan Suter...they offered but he signed elsewhere.  What can you do?      


The responsibility for this season is going to fall squarely on the forwards.  We don't have a solid defense and we don't have a cracker-jack, everyday goaltender, so the Wings will get scored on.  That means the forwards have to score more often.  Let's all write off last season as a fluke for guys like Tatar and Nyquist, and erase the scoreboard and give them a fresh start.  But they need to shoot the puck.  Dirty goals win hockey games.  Ken Holland, for his part, needs to shop them quickly if they start drifting again, and not wait until February.  


Don't forget, Blash has also overhauled his coaching staff, and brought in people of his own ilk.  This is no longer Mike Babcock's team.  Blash aims to make a splash of his own and get out of his mentor's shadow.


Of course, on everyone's mind is the potential for this new generation of Red Wings to make it to a 26th straight playoff appearance.  Speaking for the blue-sky-and-sunshine people, I consider that taken care of.  


Drop the puck!!


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I am critical of Holland for not addressing the defense since the retirement of the perfect human. All that he has done is:


Sign Green three years later and:


Not much else.


 We got very lucky with Danny DK coming out of school but the truth is he is a second pair guy, bodies like Huskins, Commodore, Colaiacovo have came and went, Ericsson and Kronner have aged and their game is a shadow of their former selves.

  If the only way to pick up a solid young top four or higher blueliner is to over pay, by God do it.

Several links have pointed out that earlier in the summer the Wings and Jets were close on a Trouba deal but Holland backed out because he did not want to give up one of his home grown forwards and a prospect. He has lost objectiveness with his own players, they are like his own children and he is loathe to pull the trigger on a deal.

  I imagine it had to have been either Tatar or Nyquist plus one of our prospects for Trouba. Is it overpaying? Yes, of course it is, young back end guys are at an all time premium in todays game and if you don't pay it the next guy will. The Hall for Larsson deal set a new level of absurdities in dealing for someone to shore up your back end. The Oilers have been in desperate need for longer than the Wings, they bought a guy who they hope will fill a top pair slot for a decade along with all the juicy young forwards they still have.

  The Wings do not have a McDavid but the team is deep with young forwards, Dylan Larkin is going to be special, Nyquist and Tatar are proven young wingers, Glendening used right as a 4C is solid, Mantha looks faster and is throwing his weight around this preseason and Athanasiou is as fast as anyone in the game, Pulkinnen still has the boomer and may yet get it together. Martin Frk has been slow developing but had a great year at Grand Rapids and has had a brilliant camp. Evgeney Svechnikov may be the best pure goal scorer of the bunch by the time it is all over. And throw in Tyler Bertuzzi who is a bottom six goal scorer with a nasty streak. Dylan Sadowy is a couple of years away as is Givani Smith but both will be middle six NHLers.

  And then throw in the vets, Z, Vanek, Ott, Nielsen, Sheahan, Helm and Miller.

That is what, 17, 18 real forwards. Not counting guys like Callahan and Nosek who are useful call ups.


  And on defense, sigh, our most glaring need we as usual did nothing. Zip. Nada. Another year older for Kronner and the Big E, Brendan Smith is what he is, Green in all honesty was not ad last year but is no spring chicken. Dekeyser is going to fine, Marchenko is likely a solid bottom pair guy but not much more. Kids on the farm, Oullet, Sproul and Russo are all solid in areas but weak in others.


  Yes I am critical of the refusal to be objective and make a move for a Cam Fowler or a Trouba. We have forwards to burn and glaring deficiencies on the back end.

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I certainly wouldn't mind tossing Nyquist or Tatar for Trouba, and we certainly have a number of good prospects to sweeten the deal.  But my understanding was that the Jets were interested in Dylan Larkin, who I would NOT allow to be moved.  The same is true for a lot of other teams looking to deal defensemen to Detroit.  I think if Holland were to deal Larkin for, really, anybody, would result in a mob with torches and pitchforks.

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3 hours ago, WingNut722 said:



I certainly wouldn't mind tossing Nyquist or Tatar for Trouba, and we certainly have a number of good prospects to sweeten the deal.  But my understanding was that the Jets were interested in Dylan Larkin, who I would NOT allow to be moved.  The same is true for a lot of other teams looking to deal defensemen to Detroit.  I think if Holland were to deal Larkin for, really, anybody, would result in a mob with torches and pitchforks.


It's very simple:


Larkin = untouchable

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