Tag Archives: ken holland

Wings won’t try and influence Dylan Larkin to turn pro

DETROIT >> While the Detroit Red Wings await a decision on whether or not coach Mike Babcock will return, they’re also waiting to hear on one from their one of their top prospects … Dylan Larkin.

Larkin will make it known sometime after the World Championships in the Czech Republic if he’ll return to the University of Michigan for his second season or turn pro.

And the Wings aren’t going to try and sway him either way.

“I’ve told Dylan we have no role in his decision,” general manager Ken Holland said prior to leaving to take in a few games at the tournament. “It’s different when your junior eligibility is over. Players in Europe and college want to know when they’re turning pro, like where they stand in the organization.

“It’s competition,” Holland continued. “If you don’t win that competition you go to Grand Rapids. I don’t believe in guaranteeing roster spots. My philosophy in player development is you’ve got to compete for a roster spot.”

In six games for the United States, Larkin has one assist with eight shots on goal and a minus-one rating.

“I think whatever decision he makes is a great decision,” Holland said. “Going back to Michigan for another year, playing with your age group is a positive. If he turns pro, there’s no doubt he can play at the AHL level. The question is can he play at the NHL level. You don’t know that until he gets to training camp in Traverse City. He’s still pretty young. The Detroit Red Wings will support his decision.”

The Waterford native was the unanimous winner of the Big Ten’s freshman of the year award, leading the conference’s first-year players in goals (15), assists (32) and points (47) in 35 games with the Wolverines.

He was second at Michigan in goals scored Zach Hyman and tied with him in assists. He did lead the team with 15 power play points (six goals) and with 151 shots on goal.

“He’s a good skater and can transport the puck,” Holland said. “He’s very competitive. He plays a 200-foot game. He back checks hard and he’s conscientious defensively.

“He needs to get physically stronger, like most young players,” Holland continued. “With strength you get heavier. He needs to put on weight and strength.”

Larkin, who’s a two-way center, is the Wings’ highest draft pick, selected 15th overall last year, since 1991.

“He can play the power play, penalty kill, four-on-four,” Holland said. “He can play in every different situation.”

It’s kind of uncommon for the collegiate players the Wings draft to leave the school after one season. Justin Abdelkader, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Jimmy Howard all stayed three years.

Danny DeKeyser did as well, while Luke Glendening played four seasons at Michigan.

DeKeyser and Glendening both went undrafted.

“Some are ready sooner than others,” Holland said. “We’re not swaying him one way or the other. I like players to be mature and have a lot of experiences before they hit the NHL because the NHL is a tough league.”

Larkin had a very good World Junior Championships, leading the United States with five goals, seven points and a plus-seven rating.

“He’s a very good prospect,” Holland said. “I like his determination, his passion. He has the intangibles. He competes and doesn’t mind going to the hard areas. He’s got intangibles as part of his skills.

“When you’re building a team, you like to be strong down the middle,” Holland added. “We’re very pleased with the year he’s had.”

Babcock in ‘driver’s seat’ when it comes to where he’ll coach next season

DETROIT >> Will he stay or will he go?

That’ll be the question lingering around Mike Babcock and the Detroit Red Wings until a decision on his future is made either by the coach himself or the organization.

Babcock is scheduled to meet with general manager Ken Holland on Friday morning prior to the team photo and locker cleanout at Joe Louis Arena.

Will a decision be announced after that?

That seems highly unlikely.

Babcock, who turned 52 on Wednesday, wants to weigh his options, and with coaches still in place at his possible landing spots, he can do that.

“He’s in the driver’s seat,” Holland said. “He’s one of the top coaches in the game, if not the top coach and he’s in the prime of his career.
“Our hope is that Mike wants to stay,” Holland continued. “He’s positioned himself to have the option to explore.”

His contract doesn’t expire until June 30, which means he can’t talk to any other teams until then. He’s searching for a deal that would pay him close to $5 million a season.

The only thing that would speed up the process is the Wings deciding to not give him a contract and pursue his replacement, which could come within the organization in Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill.

Babcock said after the Wings were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for a second straight season Wednesday that he wasn’t going to discuss his future until he meets again with the media after locker cleanout.

He just wrapped up his 11th season in Detroit, earning roughly $2 million a season.

The Wings have not made it out of the second round of the playoffs since losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final in the 2008-09 season, the year after Babcock won his only Cup in Detroit.

They’ve also been eliminated in the first round three of the last four seasons.

“We want him back, I’ve expressed that,” Holland said. “He’ll have a lot of say in how it all plays out.”

Babcock wants to win.

He’ll be the first to tell you that.

“I just thought our team played hard and we gave ourselves an opportunity but you want to win,” Babcock said after the Wings’ 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7. “I want to win. In order to do that, you’ve got to score more goals and you got to find a way to win the series, bottom line right there but we didn’t get it done.”

And with that said, Babcock shed some light on how he perceives the Wings’ current roster and that their future looks like.

“I would tell you this, that our team isn’t as good as it was,” Babcock said. “It was very evident we battled our butts off to get in the playoffs. They picked us, whether you guys know what you’re talking about or not, they picked us to miss the playoffs and then no one even picks us to win in the playoffs. I thought we gave (Tampa Bay) a real good run for their money to say the least.”

His main focus appears to be on the core group – Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall – which isn’t getting any younger.

“You are what you are and (the Lighting) have a young team that they were bad here for long enough that they were able to rebuild it,” Babcock said. “Good, young players and they’ve got young players in key positions. Three of our best players are 34, 35, 37, so any way you look at it, we’re a team that’s changed a bunch of players. We’re a team that’s added a lot of youth to the lineup. Right now on the outside they don’t pick us as a Stanley Cup contender.”

Datsyuk turns 37 in July, Zetterberg turns 35 in October and Kronwall turned 34 in January.

The Wings began the process of incorporating young talent and needed to do so rapidly because of injuries two seasons ago to extend their playoff streak.

They also have a number of highly talented players in the minors.

Babcock, who has led Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals, was offered a four-year deal in excess of $3 million a season that would have made him the highest paid coach in the league.

Babcock said if a deal wasn’t in place before the season began he would not discuss a contract until after the season.

Abdelkader ruled out Tuesday; Ferraro recalled for either Datsyuk or to give offense a spark

DETROIT >> Wings general manager Ken Holland doesn’t expect Justin Abdelkader (hand) to play Tuesday, but hasn’t ruled him out returning before the end of the regular season.

Abdelkader, who has a career-high 23 goals and 44 points this season, blocked a shot on Saturday of Minnesota’s Marco Scandella 1:06 into overtime and didn’t return to the game.

The team recalled Landon Ferraro from Grand Rapids as an insurance policy just in case Pavel Datsyuk can’t go or Babcock wants to juggle up his lineup.

Holland also had no injury updates on Erik Cole and Tomas Jurco.

Helm, Marchenko out a week to 10 days

DETROIT >> Both are expected to miss a week to 10 days according to Wings general manager Ken Holland.

“It’s nothing serious, but they’ll both be out for a short period of time,” Holland said.

Helm was injured in the first period on Saturday.

Holland said his MRI Monday came back negative.

Marchenko finished the game after tallying his first NHL goal.

With the acquisition of veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky from the New Jersey Devils, the Wings are likely to assign Marchenko to the Grand Rapids Griffins once he is healthy.

Holland: “I’m confident we’re a better team”

DETROIT >> General manager Ken Holland made two moves prior to the NHL trade deadline Monday with one thing in mind … to make the Wings a better team.

And he didn’t have to part with much to make them.

The Wings dealt for defenseman Marek Zidlicky, a right-hand shooting power-play specialist, after obtaining Erik Cole, a physical, offensive winger, on Sunday.
“I’m confident we’re a better team,” Holland said. “I’m confident we can go on a playoff run. We’re doing the deals thinking we’re a deeper better team than we were 48 hours ago and now over the (rest of the regular season) we’re hoping they can fit in and Mike Babcock can find exactly where they fit in.”

The Wings have not made it out of the second round of the playoffs the last five years.

“We’re right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference and if we can add a piece or two leading up to the deadline to make us a little deeper, a little better prepared for a playoff series and a price we could live with we wanted to do it,” Holland added. “I think our team has played pretty well. These guys have to come in and win a job.”

Both players are expected to make their debut with the Wings Wednesday against the New York Rangers.

In all Detroit parted with a conditional pick or two for Zidlicky, 38, and a second-round pick and two mid-level prospects to get Cole, 36. Both are unrestricted free agents after this season.

“When I look back at some of the deals we’ve made here over the years you never really know which deals will be the perfect fit or which deals don’t quite work out the way you want,” Holland said. “The price that we paid it was an opportunity to make our team a little bit better and ready for the playoffs.”

Holland expects Cole to play on a line with Henrik Zetterberg, who’s expected to return Wednesday after missing four games with a head injury, while Zidlicky will give a boost to a power-play unit that’s already the best in the league, converting 25-percent of the time.

“I think that’s huge,” Niklas Kronwall said when asked about them not having to give up much in return. “I think we’ve got a really good thing going. We’ve got really good chemistry in the room. So I think that was very important.

“I think we still have a long way to go (before the playoffs),” Kronwall continued. “I haven’t really started talking or thinking about that yet. We just have to focus on these next few games ahead.”

Both Zidlicky and Cole, who had 18 goals and 15 assists in 57 games with Dallas this season, have a decent amount of playoff experience as well.

Cole has six goals and eight assists in 46 playoff games, while Zidlicky, who had four goals and 19 assists in 63 games this season with New Jersey, has appeared in 38 playoff games with a goal and 15 assists.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Jimmy Howard said. “The pieces that Kenny added are a positive for our club. Got that right-handed, offensive defenseman they were seeking and we also added some depth up front with Erik, bringing in a tenacious guy that goes to the net hard and likes to play rough.”

The Wings did inquire about Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf, but could not get the Maple Leafs to take pick up nearly $2 million annually in his salary. Phaneuf has six years remaining on a $49 million contract that he signed in the middle of last season.

For Cole, Detroit parted ways with a pair of prospects – Mattias Janmark (center) and Mattias Backman (defenseman), who are both playing in Sweden – and a 2015 second-round pick. The Wings will receive the Stars’ third-round pick next season unless they reach the conference finals.

The Devils will receive Detroit’s third-round pick in 2016 for Zidlicky. If the Wings reach the Eastern Conference finals this year they’ll also send a 2015 fifth-round pick to New Jersey and the 2016 third rounder moves up to the second round.

Wings GM Ken Holland: “I would love to make a deal to make us a little bit better.”

DETROIT >> For Wings general manager Ken Holland, his approach to this year’s NHL trade deadline is set in stone.

“If there’s a player that can upgrade us, whether it’s up front or on defense we’ll do something, but obviously we have a lot of people playing at a high level,” Holland said during a phone interview Sunday.

The deadline is Monday at 3 p.m.

“There’s a small list of players we have some interest in that we think would be a good fit for our team, but I understand there’s other teams in the buyers category and sometimes the price is too high,” Holland said. “But sometimes the price is the same, but the other team’s pick might be higher or they like the other team’s prospect over ours.”

The player they would bring in has to provide an important element and dimension to the roster. A top four defenseman that shoots right handed or a winger that can provide offense could fit that bill.

It appears the asking price for any of the players Detroit, which has close to $9 million in cap space, has on its list is a prospect and second-round pick in return.

“I would love to make a deal to make us a little bit better, to upgrade us a little bit, but I also feel with the way, not only with the way our players are playing here in Detroit, but the development of our young players in Grand Rapids I feel good about the depth,” Holland said. “I understand they’re young players and when we get into the Stanley Cup playoffs that you’re not sure how they’re going to react, but as you look at other teams out there, the league is younger. Because of the cap there are lots of good young players. We might have a lot of young players on our team, but do the other teams.”

Besieged by injuries last season, mainly at center, the Wings made a last minute deal for David Legwand. They gave up Patrick Eaves, Calle Jarnkrok and what turned into a second-round draft pick after they reached the playoffs for a 23rd straight season.

“Would we like to make an addition? Yes,” Holland said. “Do I feel we have to make an addition? No. But we’re going to explore the market place and if we can do something, we’d always like to do something.”

Heading into play Sunday, the Wings were a point behind Tampa Bay for second in the Atlantic Division with three games.

They have the best power play in the league and ninth best penalty kill.

“We think we’ve got a pretty good team,” Holland said. “We’ve played all of the best teams in the East and West and we seem to hang in there on a night to night basis, whether we win or we lose the games are really close.

“If we can make a move, I would love to, but if we have some conversations and some of the teams choose to go in a different direction and we don’t make a move I’m comfortable when three o’clock rolls around and we don’t make a move,” Holland continued. “Would I like to make a move? Yes, if it’s for a player we think, at a price that we can live with.”

Helm could miss ‘a bit of time’ with upper-body injury

DETROIT >> Darren Helm’s injury free life appears to be no more.

Helm was injured in the first period of Saturday’s over the Nashville Predators.

“It appears he’s out for a bit of time,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “I have no idea until we know the severity of the injury.”

Helm is scheduled to have an MRI performed Monday.

Holland said it’s an upper body injury.

Helm was hit by Nashville’s Seth Jones behind the net and his head hit the top of the dasher boards.

Helm, who has missed time over the past few seasons with numerous injuries, including groin, concussion, forearm, back and knee, had appeared in all 61 games this season.