Tag Archives: wings

Holland gets four-year deal keeping him with Wings through 2017-18 season

DETROIT >> Ken Holland is back to having some job security.

Heading into the final year of a contract, plus an option year, Holland has agreed to a four-year extension that will keep him as the Wings’ general manager through the 2017-18 season.

“Ken is regarded as one of the premier executives in the National Hockey League and has been instrumental in the success of the Red Wings over the last two decades,” Wings owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement.

In all 17 seasons in Detroit, the Wings have qualified for the playoffs every season and have won the Stanley Cup three times.

“Marian and I are extremely pleased that he will continue to lead our hockey club over the next four years,” Ilitch continued in the statement. “We feel strongly that stability is key to the success of any organization and having this new agreement in place with Ken is important to the organization and its future.”

Since Holland, 58, took over as general manager in 1997, the Wings have won more games in the regular season (746) and playoffs games (115) than any other franchise.

Holland, who’s been with the organization for the past 31 seasons, began working as a scout before becoming the director of amateur of scouting and then assistant general manager.

Now the focus will be getting coach Mike Babcock signed to an extension.

“We work well together,” Holland said at the end of last season. “He and I we want to go farther.”

Babcock is heading into the final year of a contract that pays him roughly $2 million a season.

“I’m real comfortable with the owner and the manager,” Babcock said at the end of the season. “That’s not a concern for me one bit.

“When you’re at the stage of my career that I am, I’m real comfortable with whatever they want,” Babcock continued. “I want them to be happy. If they’re not happy then I’m not happy. I have no problem. I can go year to year.”

Babcock just wrapped up his ninth season with the Wings after they were eliminated in five games in the first round of playoffs by the Boston Bruins.

It’s the second time in the past three seasons Detroit hasn’t made it out of the first round. They haven’t advanced past the second round the past five postseasons.

Asked if he thought he would talk about a contract extension over the summer Babcock said, “I doubt it. I just told you I’m comfortable. If I was uncomfortable, if this was my gig I’d want an extension, it’s not, I’m good.”

Babcock, 51, set a franchise record this season with his 415th win, passing Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams in the process. He’s led the Wings to a Stanley Cup and a two conference championships.

“I want him back behind the bench,” Holland said. “I respect the job he does for us. I respect his work ethic. I respect the job he did putting the young players into our system and sticking with them. I think if you write down a list of the best coaches in the National Hockey League he’s on that short list. I think many would have him on the top of that list.”

Babcock has also led Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals.

There had been rumors circulating awhile back that Babcock could eventually take over for Red Berenson as the head coach at the University of Michigan.

“I never even thought about it,” Babcock said when asked if he had a few more years in him to coach in Detroit. “My daughter’s going into her grade 12 year. I’m either going to be the coach of the Red Wings or, I haven’t had a talk with Red Berenson yet, either that or I’ll be Red’s assistant coach for a year.

“For sure I’m staying in Detroit,” Babcock added. “I haven’t thought about going anywhere else. I’m real comfortable. I know Scotty Bowman went year to year sometime here and I’m real comfortable with that. I can get a job. I’m not worried about that. The owner has been better than great to me. They do things right. They treat people right. The GM is a driven guy who can’t stand losing and I like to be around ultracompetitive people.”

Wings GM Ken Holland on Tomas Tatar: “His best years are still ahead of him.”

DETROIT >> Tomas Tatar became an every-dayer last season.

And on Monday the Detroit Red Wings forward got paid like one.

Tatar, who was a restricted free agent, signed a three-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $2.75 million.

In his first full season in the NHL, Tatar, 23, scored 19 goals, had 20 assists and was a plus-12 in 73 games.

“His best years are still ahead of him,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during a phone interview. “He plays hard and goes to the hard areas. He’s a very important player on our team.”

Tatar, along with a number of other young forwards, was thrust into the spotlight last season due to the overabundance of injuries the Wings suffered.

“He’s probably one of our top line forwards,” Holland said. “We’d like to roll three lines out there that can score. That’s the way we’ve built our team for a lot of years.

“We need to continue to get offense from a lot of our kids with Tats being one of them,” Holland added.

Tatar, whose salary cap his was $630,000 last season, will still be a restricted free agent when the deal expires in 2017. Players don’t reach unrestricted free agency until the age of 27. Tatar will be 26.

When the season began, Tatar could not find his way into the lineup, playing in just one of the Wings’ first nine games of the season.

“I like him,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said at the time. “I think he’s a good player. He’s a very usable player, has a knack for the net. But early going in the season, tie goes to the veteran not to the kid. That’s just life. It’s amazing how that works. We’ll get it worked out.”

Tatar was coming off being named the American Hockey League MVP after leading the Grand Rapids Griffins to win the 2013 Calder Cup, scoring 16 goals to go with five assists in 24 games.

“We couldn’t have done it without them,” Babcock said when asked about how the youngsters helped the club qualify for the postseason for a 23rd consecutive season. “They came here and took jobs, they’re not going anywhere. They’re real good players that keep getting better and will be part of us for a long time.”

Tatar, who was the Wings’ 60th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, has played 100 games with Detroit, totaling 24 goals and 23 assists.

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser is the lone restricted free agent left to sign and Holland doesn’t see getting a deal done to be a problem prior to training camp.

The Wings now have 14 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies signed to one-way contracts, which brings their payroll close to $64 million, leaving them just over $5 million in cap space. This year’s salary cap is $69 million.

That money will be used to sign DeKeyser and possibly Daniel Alfredsson, who won’t know if he’s returning to the team until a couple weeks before training camp that begins Sept. 18 in Traverse City.

Ferraro knows he’ll have to excel on the PK if he has any chance to make Wings

DETROIT >> Landon Ferraro got an opportunity last season with the Detroit Red Wings.

The young center will get another opportunity to stick in the NHL this year, signing a one-year contract on Friday.

It’s a two-way contract. He’ll make $550,000 if he plays in the NHL and $85,000 if he’s assigned to the American Hockey League.

Since he’s out of minor league options, Ferraro will have to make the club out of camp or he’ll have to clear waivers in order to be assigned to Grand Rapids.

Due to an abundance of injuries Ferraro, 22, was just one of a number of forwards that made their NHL debuts last season with Detroit.

He had no points in four games. He had two shots on goal and two penalty minutes.

Once restricted free agent Tomas Tatar is signed the Wings will have 14 forwards, the number they want to carry into the season, on one-way deals.

They could also add Daniel Alfredsson prior to training camp.

Ferraro, who was taken in the second round (32nd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, knows his only chance of making the team will how well he can kill penalties.

“(Penalty kill is) where I’m going to have to try and make this team,” Ferraro said after a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. “And be solid five-on-five and then being really good on the PK. That’s where I’m going to have to try and earn my ice time and earn a spot.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock liked what he saw in his brief audition.

“He did a real good job (on the penalty kill),” Babcock said. “I like his speed. He’s got to get stronger, but he’s quick.”

In three seasons with the Griffins, Ferraro, who’s the son of long-time NHLer Ray, has 38 goals and 60 assists.

He scored a career-high 24 goals two years ago.

The Wings still have restricted free agent Danny DeKeyser to get a deal down with prior to training camp.

Callahan, Nestrasil each get one-year, two-way deals to return to Wings’ organization

DETROIT >> Mitch Callahan and Andrej Nestrasil are coming off their best seasons as pros.

On Thursday, the two forwards got rewarded with one-year, two-way contracts to remain in the Detroit Red Wings system.

Callahan, 22, totaled 26 goals and 18 assists in 70 games with Grand Rapids last season. He was also a plus-23.

In 70 games, Nestrasil had 16 goals and 20 assists with the Griffins last season.

Callahan, who was fourth on the team in scoring, will earn $555,000 if he’s with the Wings and $90,000 in the AHL.

Nestrasil, 23, will earn slightly less – $550,000 in the NHL and $82,500. He was fifth on the Griffins in scoring.

Both players are heading into their fourth year in the organization and will be restricted free agents after their deals expire.

If they don’t make the Wings out of training camp they’ll have to clear waivers to be assigned to Grand Rapids.

Callahan made his NHL debut last season, playing one game and not registering a point in just over nine minutes of ice time.

“He creates havoc around the other team’s goalie,” Riley Sheahan said last season of Callahan. “Other teams don’t like playing against him. He’s a great guy to have on the team and he brings a lot of character and I think he’s going to be good for us.”

Callahan has 247 penalty minutes in 189 career games with the Griffins.

His 26 goals last season were a career high. His previous high was 11 in 71 games.

“It’s kind of funny because you look at all the goals, none of them are real pretty,” Callahan said when he was called up. “(I’m) just screening in front of the net, working hard in front of the net. I think I got four or five where the D shot it and it hit me. Just from working hard in front of the net and stirring it up and working hard.”

The Wings still have restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar to get deals down with prior to training camp.

Renney could be leaving Wings for position with Hockey Canada

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings search for an assistant coach may soon be doubling.

According to Wings general manager Ken Holland, Tom Renney is in the final stages of landing a position with Hockey Canada.

Renney spent two years as a coach with Hockey Canada, serving as the head coach of the Canadian National Team that went on to capture a silver medal at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

“Mike (Babcock) has been talking to a number of people,” Holland said during a phone interview.

Renney is up for the vacant position as president and chief executive officer, which was formerly held by Bob Nicholson.

One of the candidates the Wings have interest in is also interviewing with a few others teams before making his decision.

According to a source, one person Detroit has interviewed is Tony Granato.

Granato, who played 13 seasons in the NHL, spent the last five seasons as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins under head coach Dan Bylsma, who was fired after last season.

Granato, who’ll turn 50 at the end of this month, also has head coaching experience, serving two stints behind the bench with Colorado (2002-04 and 2008-09) compiling a 104-78-17-16 record.

“Mike has done a fantastic job finding assistants,” Holland said. “I’ll sign off on his decision. A number of his assistants have turned out to be NHL coaches.”

The latest assistant coach to land a head coaching job in the NHL is Bill Peters, who took over in Carolina.

Todd McLellan was the first to leave, taking over in San Jose in 2008. He was followed by Paul MacLean, who was named the head man in Ottawa in 2011.

Brad McCrimmon also left the same season MacLean departed to coach in the KHL, but tragically lost his life in a plane crash prior to his first game of the season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

The Wings stopped another coach from perhaps leaving for a head coaching job in NHL when they gave Jeff Blashill a “significant” salary increase to stay in the organization for three more seasons.

Blashill spent one season in Detroit, where he was in charge of the power play, after leaving Western Michigan University.

Renney was brought in to help fix the team’s woes on the power play, which ranked 22nd prior to him being hired.

Renney’s Edmonton Oilers had the third-best power play after the 2011-12 season.

In his two seasons in Detroit the power play ranked 15th and 18th respectively.

“The expectations are probably the biggest difference right now,” Renney after he signed a three-year deal to become Babcock’s assistant coach. “Coaching in Edmonton you go in with the expectations of winning, but also with the realization of sometimes you’re just not going to. It was a rebuild, trying to redefine a team and playing with a younger lineup. Never was the work habit lost. There is a great group of people there.

“Detroit is the standard bearer in terms of how the game gets played at the highest level, how it gets coached and how it gets managed,” Renney added. “Expectations are high in Detroit as they should be and I know as an organization certainly they don’t want it to be the other way. That sets you up for failure for sure, but what impresses me most about the Detroit Red Wings is seldom do they. If they have a tough season, tough stretch, there are usually extenuating circumstances for that.”

Renney had three consecutive 40 win seasons while the head coach of the New York Rangers.

He knew Babcock through Hockey Canada and coaching with him at the World Championships in 2004.

Red Wings are no longer one of the big fish in a little pond

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings are no longer one of the big fish in a little pond.

If more proof was needed, look at how things have gone through the first two days of NHL free agency.

The Wings went into this period with one major need, a right-handed shooting defenseman, making pitches to a number of them. And once the dust finally settled, they came away with none of them.

“The game has changed,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “It’s free agency and players can go wherever they want.

“We all have the same money,” Holland added. “We made some pitches. Those players chose to go elsewhere.”

The leveling of the playing field is due to a salary cap.

Teams can spend up to the maximum of $69 million and must meet at least a minimum $51 million in payroll.

So the days where there were six big money teams all competing for all the big time guys are over.

“There are 30 teams that are destinations now,” Holland said. “Don’t know the reasons why we weren’t able to get players we targeted. The main reason is the cap.”

Defensemen Dan Boyle, their top priority, and Matt Niskanen both chose to sign with other teams within the Eastern Conference.

Boyle, who turns 38 on July 12, signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers for $9 million instead of a better deal Detroit had on the table, three years at $12.5 million.

Niskanen informed the Wings a couple hours into free agency that they were not on his list of teams he was considering to sign with. He finally chose the Washington Capitals, getting a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million.

Detroit was in the ballpark with its offer, seven years at $38.5 million, for the 27-year old defenseman.

“There are still lots of players out there that could be good one-year bargains,” said Holland, who wound up having to re-sign Kyle Quincey (two years, $8.5 million). “We’ll keep kicking tires. Ideally we’d like to have a right-handed shooting defenseman.”

While their two main right-handed targets on the blue line decided to go elsewhere, the second tier also got deals done with other teams.

Tom Gilbert inked a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens at $5.6 million.

Stephane Robidas chose to take the three-year deal at $3 million offered by Toronto instead of a similar offer the Wings had structured for him, choosing the Maple Leafs for family reasons.

Finally, Anton Stralman was given a five-year deal worth $22.5 million by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The length of a deal turned off the Wings.

“I was hoping to get one and hoping to come up with two,” Holland said. “They signed elsewhere, that’s their prerogative. That’s going to happen more and more with the cap ceiling and floor going up.”

Christian Ehrhoff, a left-handed shot, signed a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins. A source said Ehrhoff’s agent had told the Wings he was seeking a five-year deal at roughly $5 million a season.

The Wings were never given a second chance by Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, to better the Penguins’ offer.

Ehrhoff said during his introductory press conference that he felt Pittsburgh was the best place for him to win a Stanley Cup.

Holland shrugged off the idea that free agents are not willing to play for Wings coach Mike Babcock, who was behind the bench for Canada’s last two Olympic gold medal-winning efforts.

“I think we’ve got a fabulous coach,” Holland said. “Steve Yzerman has picked him for two Olympic teams and the results speak for themselves.”

With close to $60 million tied up in 20 players for next season, and still in need of signing restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar, the Wings have close to $6 million to spend on other free agents.

“All I can say is we targeted right-handed shot defensemen,” Holland said. “There were a few on the market. We didn’t land one.”

Wings GM Ken Holland: “Other teams are after these players, too. Last year we got the guys wanted.”

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings had high hopes of landing at least one and quite possibly two premier right-handed defensemen on the first day of free agency.

They wound up with neither.

Instead, they ended up having to turn to a familiar face, Kyle Quincey, who Tuesday returned to Detroit for two years at $4.25 million a season.

Quincey, who’s a left-handed shot, struggled in the first half of last season, but finished strong.

He was one of two players to play all 82 games a year ago, totaling four goals and nine assists.

Dan Boyle, their top priority, and Matt Niskanen both chose to sign with other teams within the Eastern Conference.

“We had hoped to sign a right-shooting D-man,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We made offers, but for a variety of reasons they chose elsewhere to go. That’s the reality of the cap world. There are a lot of reasons why players go in different directions.”

Boyle, who’ll turn 38 next month, signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers for $9 million instead of a better deal Detroit had on the table, three years at $12.5 million.

Niskanen informed the Wings a couple hours into free agency that they were not on the list of teams he was considering and he finally chose the Washington Capitals, getting a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million.

Detroit was in the ballpark with its offer, seven years at $38.5 million, for the 27-year old defenseman.

While their two main right-handed targets on the blue line decided to go elsewhere, the second tier also got deals done with other teams.

Tom Gilbert inked a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens at $5.6 million.

Stephane Robidas chose to take the three-year deal at $3 million offered by Toronto instead of a similar offer the Wings had structured for him, choosing the Maple Leafs for family reasons.

Finally, Anton Stralman was given a five-year deal worth $22.5 million by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The length of a deal turned off the Wings.

“It’s free agency, it’s wide open,” Holland said. “Other teams are after these players, too. Last year we got the guys wanted.”

Christian Ehrhoff was the head scratcher of the afternoon, signing a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Detroit was told by Ehrhoff’s agent that he was seeking a five-year deal at roughly $5 million a season.

The Wings were never given a second chance by Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the final seven years of a 10-year deal with Buffalo, to better the Penguins’ offer.

The Wings could now turn to trading for a right-handed defensemen – Buffalo’s Tyler Myers, Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Edmonton’s Jeff Petry or Toronto’s Cody Franson – but the asking price is quite steep – Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco.

Arizona’s Keith Yandle, who’s a left-handed shot, is also rumored to be on the trading block.

“There are still a lot of players out there that could be good one-year bargains,” Holland said. “We’ll keep kicking tires. I was hoping to get one or two right-shot defensemen, but they signed elsewhere, that’s their prerogative. That’s going to happen more and more with the cap ceiling and floor going up.”

Detroit did sign two of its own: Riley Sheahan and Petr Mrazek.

Sheahan, who was a restricted free agent, inked a two-year deal at an average salary cap hit of $950,000.

Mrazek got a one-year extension, taking his deal through the 2015-16 season, at a cap hit of $737,500.

With close to $60 million tied up in 20 players for next season and still need to sign restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser and Tomas Tatar, the Wings have close to $6 million to spend on other free agents.

Daniel Alfredsson and Daniel Cleary, who was promised a possible extension after signing a one-year deal on the first day of training camp, could also be back.

Detroit added depth at center signing Kevin Porter to a two-way deal.

Porter split time last season with the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester of the American Hockey League.

Porter, who played four seasons at the University of Michigan, has also played parts of seasons with Colorado and Phoenix and had 29 goals and 26 assists in 206 games.

He won the Hobey Baker Award in 2008, awarded to the top collegiate player in the NCAA.