Tag Archives: nhl entry draft

Mantha still confident he’ll be with the Wings sooner rather than later

TRAVERSE CITY – No one will ever say that Anthony Mantha isn’t a confident kid.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to be there,” Mantha after the Wings selected him with the 20th selection at this year’s NHL Entry Draft. “I’ll show everyone, every team, and the Red Wings that they did not take the wrong guy.”

Detroit was able to trade down in the draft, from 18, to get the big left winger at No. 20.

And his confidence level hasn’t subsided after taking part in the Wings’ prospects tournament and training camp.

“It would be close to the top right now,” Mantha said Monday when asked where his confidence level is at. “I live for the moment and I’m just playing how I should play. I think the details are coming in and that’s why I’m still here and I’ll keep playing that way until the end.

“I wasn’t expecting that much from the prospects camp, but it was great hockey out there,” Mantha continued. “We had fun at the same time, with us winning. It was a great week. Then, I enjoyed the training camp with all the veterans. It’s been incredible, just a few years ago I was watching these guys play and I was hoping one day that would be me out there. The day came and it’s really exciting for me.”

Tonight in Pittsburgh he’ll get to show off his talents against the likes of Sidney Crosby.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Mantha said. “I’m playing in Pittsburgh tonight, it’ll be a dream coming true for me. I’m pretty excited.

“We were laughing about yesterday, like I’ll ask (Crosby) for an autograph at the faceoff, just kidding about it,” Mantha added. “He’s one of the greatest players out there and playing against, even if he’s not on my team, just watching him I can learn a lot off it just watching him play. I’ll try to manage not get scored on by him tonight.”

The left winger, who’s 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, had 50 goals and 39 assists in 67 games last season with the Val d’Or of the Quebec Major Junior League. He was also a plus-21.

He was the only 50-goal scorer in the draft.

“You need to learn every day you’re out here on the ice,” Mantha said. “There are such good players out there that every day you can learn something new. I just watched at the end (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Jakub) Kindl play one-on-one, he has one of the best pair of hands in the league and he still practices it. It’s all the details that make the difference.”

Mantha, who grew up a Montreal fan, is going to do whatever it takes to get in a Wings jersey as soon as possible.

“My approach is really to make the big team next year, if not, in the next two years,” Mantha continued. “I will show them everything that I can to be there without having to go to the minors.”

Mantha, who has two years of junior eligibility remaining, will likely return to juniors next season and will turn pro the following year.

“I’m close, but at the same time I’m so far,” Mantha said. “There are so many players out there. If it’s not this year I’ll go back to my junior team and work on every detail that I can so when they call me up anytime they’ll have confidence in me to play here one day.”

Mantha, who helped lead Team Canada to capture a bronze medal at the 2012 Under-18 World Championship, recorded five hat tricks last season and was named to the QMJHL Second All-Star Team.

He understands how the Wings like to have their talent mature at the American Hockey League level before bringing them up to the big club.

“It’s kind of tough because every guy wants to play in the NHL right away,” Mantha said. “I mean, they carry their youngs in hope that they’re ready to play some day. You need to take your chance out of that. The learning process for them is going through the AHL, for me if I can play in the NHL one day I’ll do that process with no problem.”

It was the fourth straight year the Wings have taken a forward with their top pick – Martin Frk (2012), Tomas Jurco (2011) and Riley Sheahan (2010).

Mantha is the grandson of four-time Stanley Cup champion Andre Pronovost, who played 556 games for Montreal, Boston, Detroit and Minnesota between the 1956-57 and 1967-68 seasons.

Weiss not coming in to be Filppula’s replacement

DETROIT – Stephen Weiss may have already said the one thing that Red Wings fans are going to love to hearing, “I don’t want to be Valtteri Filppula’s replacement, I want to be Stephen Weiss and do what I do.”

Weiss skated for the first time with a number of his teammates Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena in preparation for training camp that opens up next week in Traverse City.

“I don’t want to feel like I’m coming in here replacing anyone,” Weiss said. “I’m going to come in and do what I’ve done over my career and take care of my play on the ice. Hopefully that’s good enough.”

Weiss got a five-year deal with the Wings at $4.9 million a season on the opening day of free agency.

He’s the second-line center Detroit coveted in free agency when it became apparent that Filppula had priced himself out of the Wings’ plans.

“It’s going to be great,” Weiss said. “I want to learn as much as I can from those guys. They’ve all played in some big hockey games, won Stanley Cups before. I’ve been around for a while, but haven’t had too much of a taste for playoff hockey. I’m going to follow their lead, go out and do my thing and help out as much as I can. To play with players of that kind of caliber will be a nice change for me for sure.”

Oddly enough, Weiss is in Filppula’s only stale next to captain Henrik Zetterberg.

“Just walking in this morning, seeing the pictures and all the history here is something you don’t have in Florida so right away it hits you,” Weiss said. “Seeing that arena again was something special. I’ve only played here a few times in my career and I’ve enjoyed it, playing in this arena. It’s one of the older arenas in the league, it’s so awesome. To think in a month or so to be suiting up in regular season games will be something special.”

Weiss, 30, was the fourth overall pick by the Florida Panthers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and spent his first 11 seasons there.

“We basically flipped Weiss and Fil,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock, who was on hand Tuesday to watch the informal skate. “Fil was a really good player, did everything right every day. With the exception of the one year, got 40 points, one year he got 60 playing on the wing with Zetterberg.

He made the playoffs just once with Florida, which what made Detroit that much more appealing.

“I’m just trying to get used to the new drills, I haven’t seen those before,” Weiss said. “Just getting the feet wet and getting to know the guys is important. This week is important for me. Get to know the guys, get on the ice and see what some tendencies are and just get comfortable. It was a good first day and looking forward to the rest of the week.”

In 654 career games he has 145 goals and 249 assists.

“We’re looking for a guy to generate more in the middle,” Babcock said. “So can Weiss generate 50 points playing in the middle on the second line, I’m going to watch and see. We think he’s going to be a way better player here. Over time the demand is high. We explained the situation to him very clearly. Told him if he wasn’t ultra-competitive he couldn’t come here. If he didn’t bring it every day he couldn’t come here because he was going to hate it if he didn’t. Dislike the coach and dislike playing here. It’s real straight forward. If you don’t do it right, you’re not happy here.”

Weiss, who normally trains in Toronto with Gary Roberts and a number of other players, said was nervous for his first day on the ice with teammates.

“It kind of felt like game day,” Weiss said. “I was up early. I couldn’t sleep last night. I was nervous about meeting all the guys. You don’t get that much anymore. I’ve been in the same spot for so long. It’s kind of ground hog day over and over again, going to camp. Getting those juices going was neat and something I haven’t felt in a while.”

Former Panther teammate Todd Bertuzzi picked Weiss, who has also played with Mikael Samuelsson, up for practice Tuesday.

“I didn’t know where I was going, I still don’t know,” Weiss smiled. “The little things like that help, when you know a couple of guys that can do things like that to make the transition easier.
All the guys have been great. I feel very welcome already. It’s been awesome.

“You kind of picture yourself maybe getting a chance to play here one day, but to honest with you I would have liked to have stayed in Florida, turned that place around and be a playoff team every year, but it wasn’t to be,” Weiss continued. “To have a chance to sign with an organization like this is above and beyond of what I could have every dreamed of.”

Devellano on Shawn Burr: “He was a good human being. He was too young.”

DETROIT – Former Detroit Red Wing Shawn Burr died Monday evening from head trauma.

According to a source, Burr fell down a flight of stairs at his home and suffered massive trauma to his brain and was placed on life support.

He was taken off life support early Monday evening.

“On behalf of the Detroit Red Wings we’re very saddened by the news,” Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano said in a phone interview. “He was a good human being. He was too young.”

Burr was 47.

“It’s very, very sad,” said Devellano, who was the Wings’ general manager when they drafted Burr. “Shawn was a friend of mine. I liked him very much, drafted him in the first round in ‘84. He played a long time for us. I remember the overtime goal he scored for us against Chicago in the playoffs (that clinched the four-game sweep in the first round in 1987).

“He was our first pick in my second draft, when we were trying to get to the Detroit Red Wings from the Dead Wings,” Devellano continued. “He was a good guy, a pretty good player for us. He was always an upbeat kid with a good sense of humor.”

In 2011, Burr was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, which required a bone marrow transplant.

He had successfully completed chemo therapy and was declared cancer free.

“When he was fighting cancer I would call once in a while to encourage him and chat,” Devellano recalled. “He had a very good attitude.”

Burr, a resident of St. Clair County, founded the Shawn Burr Foundation which served charities in St. Clair County. It most recently was supporting blood cancer research.

The Wings drafted Burr in the first round, seventh overall, in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

He played 16 seasons in the NHL, 11 of which were with Detroit. He also played with Tampa Bay and San Jose.

Burr, who scored an astonishing 60 goals in his final season with Kitchener before joining the Wings, had his best season with the Wings in 1989-90, scoring 24 goals and assisting on 32 in 76 games.

“He was a big scorer with Kitchener,” Devellano said. “I was hoping that might translate to the NHL.”

However, Burr, who totaled 181 goals and 259 assists in 878 games, was more of a grinder during his time in the league.

“He had the ability to score and was a pain to play against,” Devellano said. “He played hard. He was a good, motivated and fun-loving kid. He turned out to be a pretty good NHL player.

“He had a long career and was a bona fide NHL player,” Devellano continued. “He was a good, solid player who was a good Red Wing, a good guy, brought a little life to the team. I’m very, very saddened by this news.”

UPDATE: Cleary not close to re-signing with Wings

DETROIT — The Wings would like Daniel Cleary back, but as of now there’s nothing close to being done.

Detroit has not agreed with Cleary on a three-year contract that will pay him roughly $2.6 million a season.

The sticking point is the salary cap.

They’d like to have Cleary back, but only if they’re able to shed some salary first.

Teams can go 10-percent over the salary cap during the offseason, but that’s something they don’t want to do.

In the meantime, Cleary is free to sign with any other team if he gets the deal he’s looking for.

The Wings, who signed Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss on Friday, currently have 14 forwards under contract and two more restricted free agents – Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson – that will be resigned sometime this summer.

Cleary, who had nine goals and six assists in 48 games during the lockout-shortened season last year, has flourished since he joined the Wings for the 2005-06 season.

He’s spent eight seasons in Detroit and has reached the 20-goal plateau three times.

He was also the team’s second leading scorer in last year’s playoffs with four goals and six assists in 10 games.

Cleary was a first round draft pick, 13th overall, by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.

Wings add the second line center they were looking for in Stephen Weiss

DETROIT – The Wings got their second line center they coveted when free agency began.

Former Florida Panther Stephen Weiss will be spending the next five seasons in Detroit after agreeing to reportedly a five-year deal worth $4.9 million a season.

With the signing, Weiss in all likelihood could center the second line with another newcomer Daniel Alfredsson and Henrik Zetterberg.

That would make the top line consist of Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Justin Abedelkader.

Weiss, 30, was on the top on the Wings’ second line center shopping list.

Weiss, who played for the Plymouth Whalers, had spent his entire career with the Florida Panthers where he’s their all-time leader in games played.

Weiss made $4.1 million last season.

He was the fourth overall pick by the Panthers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Weiss, who has only played in the playoffs once in his career, does lack size (5-foot-11, 190 pounds), but has an offensive upside, scoring 20 or more goals four times in the past seven seasons. He’s also stronger in faceoffs compared to Ribeiro.

He missed the final 26 games last season with a wrist injury.

In 654 career games he has 145 goals and 249 assists.

Early in Weiss’ career he was referred to as “Weisserman” because of his similarities to former Wings captain Steve Yzerman.

Weiss, like Alfredsson, will have to face his former team four or five times next season with at least two of the meetings taking place in Florida.

Detroit jumps to the Eastern Conference next season to compete in a yet-to-be-named division with the Panthers, Ottawa, Boston, Toronto, Montreal, Buffalo and Tampa Bay.

The Wings never closed the door on having Valtteri Filppula return, but with the signing of Weiss that meant his days in Detroit were over.

“I haven’t thought about (leaving Detroit), but obviously it’s a possibly that could happen,” Filppula said during the Wings’ end-of-season locker cleanout. “It’d be tough. It’s been a really great place to be. I’ve been so happy here. We’ll see if we go … if that’s what’s going to happen.”

The Wings did make offers to Filppula in August and September before talks broke down.

Filppula, who made $3 million last season, is believed to be asking for about a $2 million raise a year.

The Wings also had some interest in centers Mike Ribeiro, Matt Cullen and Mikhail Grabovski.

Wings have interest in upgrading blue line with the likes of Ference or Zidlicky

DETROIT – The Wings are also possibly looking into bolstering up the blue line.

Two names they appear to have interest in are Andrew Ference and Marek Zidlicky.

Ference, 34, would slot right in and would provide a veteran presence along the Wings’ youthful blue line.

He made $2.25 million last season and may cost the Wings a year-deal at $3.5 million to obtain his services.

Zidlicky, 36, may bit a bit costlier since he’s coming off a deal that paid him $4 million last season in New Jersey. He could be looking for a two- or three-year deal at $4 to $4.5 million to sign.

His point-per-game average has been on a decline and his play in the defensive zone has made him a liability.

On Wednesday, Detroit placed defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo on unconditional waivers with the intention to buy out the final year of his contract.

Colaiacovo, who was drafted 17th overall by Toronto in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, has one year left on a two-year deal he signed last offseason.

If he clears at noon Thursday, the Wings will use one of their two amnesty buyouts to shed his $2.5 million salary-cap hit next season.

Teams are permitted two amnesty buyouts that can be used this summer or next summer.

They would be able to buy out a player at two-thirds of the remaining value of the contract and not have any of the salary count against the salary cap.

Colaiacovo’s actual salary is $2.85 million next season, which means the Wings will pay him roughly $1.9 million over the next two seasons.

Detroit currently has six defensemen under contract for next season – Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Jakub Kindl, Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff.

Brendan Smith is a restricted free agent and will get a deal done bringing the total to seven on the blue line heading to training camp.

Detroit just re-signed Kindl, who was a restricted free agent, to a four-year extension worth $9.6 million.

The Wings also have a number of defensemen coming up through the ranks, including Ryan Sproul, Xavier Oullette and Mattias Backman.

Wings’ second-line center possibilities include Weiss, Ribeiro and Filppula

DETROIT – The Wings’ shopping list on Friday appears to be a very short one.

Their top need is a second line center.

And as of now there are three players they’re quite interested in and another one they’d be willing to settle for.

The free agency signing period begins Friday at noon.

The most notable player on that list is Valtteri Filppula.

Just as his days in Detroit appeared all but over there’s a possibility Filppula, 29, could return to the team.

Filppula’s agent continues to talk with the Wings.

“I haven’t thought about (leaving Detroit), but obviously it’s a possibly that could happen,” Filppula said during the Wings’ end-of-season locker cleanout. “It’d be tough. It’s been a really great place to be. I’ve been so happy here. We’ll see if we go … if that’s what’s going to happen.”

The Wings did make offers to Filppula in August and September before talks broke down.

Filppula, who made $3 million last season, is believed to be asking for about a $2 million raise a year, but may have lowered his asking price.

The other two unrestricted free agent centers the Wings have had discussion with are Mike Ribeiro and Stephen Weiss.

Ribeiro, 33, made $5 million last season with Washington.

The problem with signing him could be the number of years on a deal since he reportedly rejected a three-year extension offered by the Capitals. A five-year deal seems to be what he’s looking for.

He was second on the team in points last season with 13 goals and 36 assists in 48 games.

His strengths are his playmaking abilities as well as leadership on the ice, while his weakness tends to be in the faceoff circle.

Ribeiro was traded to Washington from Dallas during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He’s also played for Montreal.

Weiss, 30, seems to tops on the Wings’ shopping list.

Weiss, who played for the Plymouth Whalers, has spent his entire career with the Florida Panthers where he’s their all-time leader in games played.

Weiss made $4.1 million last season.

But just like Ribeiro, the length of a deal could be a sticking point.

It’s believed Weiss is looking for a four- or five-year deal worth between $4.5 and $5 million a season.

Weiss does lack size (5-foot-11, 190 pounds), but has an offensive upside, scoring 20 or more goals four times in the past seven seasons. He’s also stronger in faceoffs compared to Ribeiro.

He missed the final 26 games of the season with a wrist injury.

If the Wings are unable to land one of those three, Matt Cullen would be next on the list.

Cullen, 36, made $3.5 million last season with Minnesota and could be had for a one- or two-year deal.

Detroit also seems a bit interested in wingers Jarome Iginla, 36, and Brenden Morrow, 34, if they’re unable to bring back either Daniel Cleary or Damien Brunner.

However, there are concerns with both players on whether they fit in the Wings’ plans as they’re in the midst of building a team that likes to get up-and-down the ice.