With 18 hours to go before the Detroit Red Wings change the course of a franchise that needs some new direction, there’s only one thing to do.
No seriously, start drinking. It’s the only way you’ll get through a night with whoever you decide to hang out with without completely pissing them off. Dinner with the wife/husband? I guarantee they’ll call you out for staring wistfully at that 20 ounce margarita on the menu. First date? They’ll send you packing because it’s really “weird” how often you mention the number 9.
So do yourself a favor. Crack open a can of something good. Pop the cork on the nicest bottle of wine you’ve got. Pour yourself a tall one and let the nerves melt away. Me? 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat. It’s a gorgeous summer day here in San Francisco, so why not drink something light and refreshing, but still manly enough to feel like I could pick up the Brinks truck that the Wings should be backing up to Parise and Suter’s front doors.
And if the night goes well, maybe I’ll find myself in a perfectly tailored suit (who knows why, but hey, does it really matter?), knocking back a Woodford Old Fashioned and puffing on a Lucky Strike.
Here’s the key: I’ll have enough social lubricant coursing through my veins to completely forget about my concerns on the eve of one of the most important days in Red Wings hockey history. That is until I see my buddy Zach, who then introduces me to his friend Ryan.
Garcon, bring me another.
Tomorrow’s gunna be a fucking crazy one. Don’t worry though: we got this.
*Disclaimer: If you’re going to drink away your worries, don’t fucking drive. Also, drink some water and some Gatorade before bed. Gotta be up in time for the TPL Live Free Agent Chat.
If the chat client (which is directly below these few sentences) is slow to load, please re-load TPL. We’re experimenting with a new format. The chat will begin at 11am Eastern as we prepare for the news to start flowing at noon (if we’re lucky).
On Monday morning, Anaheim Ducks draft pick Justin Schultz became an unrestricted free agent, thanks to a loophole in the CBA that allows players who went to college after playing minor juniors decide their own fate (for some reason). It had become clear he was not interested in joining the Ducks and that there would be plenty of interest from around the league for the player many describe as “the best player not yet in the NHL.”
Since he’d be signing an entry-level deal with any team that’s lucky enough to snag him, the money was to be no issue. He’ll receive the rookie maximum $925,000 (which includes a signing bonus of $92,500) — plus he’d be eligible for an additional $2.85M in performance bonuses, making his total cap hit $3.775M. That offer will be identical from every team that sends him one.
And nearly all thirty teams did. According to Bob McKenzie, 26 of the NHL’s 30 clubs made contact with his agent and offered him a deal. Schultz was in a unique position where he’d be able to choose the team of his liking based on geography and the promise of playing time in the NHL right away. Not bad for a kid who’s a week shy of his 22nd birthday.
The Red Wings had never made promises of playing time to free agents. But Justin Schultz isn’t your average free agent. The Wings are in a state of flux, with Nicklas Lidstrom hanging up his skates and Brad Stuart being traded to (and subsequently signed by) the San Jose Sharks, there are a few spots open on the blueline — whether or not Detroit can swing Ryan Suter. If ever there was a time to roll the dice and take a shot at a young stud, this is it. If you’re going to make promises once, why not now? And that’s exactly what General Manager Ken Holland did, stating, “We’re prepared to give him the opportunity to be on our team.”
No matter which team Schultz chooses, he won’t be able to sign a contract until July 1st, but it is expected that he’ll make his decision well before Sunday. The front-runners for the Canadian’s services have long been rumored to have been the Toronto Maple Leafs (Brian Burke originally drafted him), Vancouver Canucks (he’s from British Columbia), and Edmonton Oilers (perhaps he wants to be the stud D they’re lacking).
The former Detroit Red Wing was named the newest head coach of the Washington Capitals this morning. A few hours later, he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Pretty excellent day.
In other Hall of Fame news, Brendan Shanahan was passed over in favor of Pavel Bure, Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, and Oates. Shanahan will be eligible again next year, and he’ll be joined by Chris Chelios on the ballot.
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Each year, after the NHL Draft, the Red Wings (and all the other teams in the league) invite a handful of undrafted free agents to their rookie and/or main training camps. It’s via this method that the Wings signed undrafted talent like Brian Lashoff, Willie Coetzee, Trevor Parkes, and Brent Raedeke. You shouldn’t expect this year to be any different, and there are a couple of guys that I’ve got my eye on who were on my list, but didn’t get selected over this past weekend’s seven rounds.
Denis Kamaev – F – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
Mock drafts had him as high as the second round, and some early mocks even had him going in the first. His biggest downfall is that he’s Russian, and if we learned anything in this year’s Draft, it was that NHL teams were terrified of their prospects jumping ship and chasing dollars in the KHL — despite the fact that most of the ones in question, including Kamaev, are doing their best to show dedication to staying in North America by coming to play in Canadian Junior leagues. He’s not a big guy, but he scored nearly a point-per-game in the Q.
Anton Slepyshev – F – Metallurg Novokuznetsk (KHL)
Building on the “Russian Factor” mentioned above, Slepyshev’s situation is compounded since he’s already playing in the KHL. He was Russia’s captain at the 2012 World Junior Championship and was ranked tenth among European skaters heading into the Draft, making him the highest ranked player not to be selected. But the KHL thing was clearly a turnoff for all thirty clubs. But there’s no harm in offering him an invitation to training camp, since those players don’t count against your salary cap, your reserve list, your 50-man contract limit, or anything else until they’re officially signed to an NHL contract.
Gustav Rydahl – F – Frolunda (Sweden)
Another big body (6-3, 198), Rydahl was the 36th ranked European skater available. Described as a fierce competitor, he’s a two-way guy that has excellent ice-vision, the kind of qualities that the Wings love in their forwards.
Matt Rupert – F – London Knights (OHL)
When the sixth round came around, the Maple Leafs had back-to-back picks (156 and 157). I thought for sure that Brian Burke would take a pair of twins, as he had in Vancouver several years ago. Instead, Burke selected one twin, Ryan, while the other went undrafted. Matt will get an invitation to Leafs training camp, it sounds like, but I’m sure he’s disappointed he wasn’t selected like his brother was. They’re teammates with Wings’ fourth round pick Andreas Athanasiou in London, and were relied upon very heavily during the Memorial Cup playoffs. They’re both excellent hockey players, so Burke may have been wise to select them both with those back-to-back selections. Maybe he’s not interested in following his brother to Toronto and will be looking for his own opportunity somewhere. UPDATE: Will attend Maple Leafs camp.
Andrew Ryan – F – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
The Wings’ first pick, Martin Frk, is Ryan’s teammate in Halifax. And like Frk, Ryan missed a good chunk of this past season with an injury, which — I’m sure — played into his being passed up among NHL teams. He was ranked above a lot of kids that were selected in the late rounds, so someone’s going to invite him to camp, to be sure.
Kristoff Kontos – F – Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (OHL)
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because his father — Chris Kontos — played for four different NHL clubs. The younger Kontos split last season between the Sudbury Wolves (where papa also played) and the Majors, but had his best offensive season in the OHL yet. He’s one of the older guys that was available in the Draft (having missed the cutoff for the 2011 Draft by a couple months).
Austin Czarnik – F – University of Miami
Don’t expect him to be signed, since he can’t do so without leaving school, but he’s a Detroiter and went undrafted, so he’ll be looking for somewhere to skate this summer.
Dane Fox – F – Erie Otters (OHL)
You may be able to scratch him off the list already. The 46th ranked North American skater was invited to Rangers camp. UPDATE: Will attend Rangers camp.
Nathan Walker – F – Viktovice (Czech Republic)
How’s this for a story: Nathan Walker, who had a storybook Spengler Cup, was attempting to become the first Australian player to be drafted in NHL history. Unfortunately, he fell short, despite being ranked 25th among European skaters (he plays in the Czech Republic). Maybe teams were turned off by the fact that he doesn’t play against big-time talent, but here’s hoping he gets a chance with an NHL club.
Michael Houser – G – London Knights (OHL)
Another teammate of Andreas Athanasiou, Houser has been passed over in three separate NHL Drafts. We were hoping that someone would call his name over the weekend because he’s a Pittsburgh native and that would have been an awesome story to tell. The truth of the matter is that goaltenders are a little more easily available after the Draft than other position players, particularly when they’re 20. Someone will have him camp, you can bank on it.
Nikita Tryamkin – D – Yekateringburg (Russia)
The Wings took the tallest player drafted over the weekend (Rasmus Bodin) after Jim Nill said they were going to go bigger than usual. Tryamkin is playing for Datsyuk’s hometown in Russia (RED FLAG!), but he’s absolutely gigantic at 6-6, 220. He’s not afraid to drop the gloves, so maybe it’s a dynamic teams felt they could get without using a pick on it.
Max Iafrate – D – Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
With three picks in the seventh round, I thought for sure that the Washington Capitals would swoop in and take Al’s boy with one of them. Alas, they didn’t. And neither did anyone else somehow. The 70th ranked North American skater is from Livonia, and grew up playing for Belle Tire before hopping to the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers (he’s since been traded). He’s 6-2, 220… I simply don’t have any idea why he wasn’t picked. UPDATE: Will attend Washington Capitals camp.
Cody Corbett – D – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
An American kid with decent size (6-0, 210), his top quality is a great outlet pass. With the retirements of both Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom, the Wings are going to be doing an awful lot of outlet passing in practice. Obviously, this guy won’t be taking over anytime soon, but when it’s time to restock, it’s time to restock.
Alex Gudbranson – D – Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
His brother Erik was drafted third overall in 2010, but he was no lock to hear his name called in Pittsburgh. He came into the Draft ranked 161st among North Americans, and despite excellent size (6-2, 206), he was passed over for seven rounds. Maybe he ends up in Florida camp along side big brother.
Photo Credits: Kamaev: Francis Vachon; Slepyshev: KHL; Rydahl: Okand; Rupert: London Community News; Ryan: Mike Dembeck; Kontos: OHL Images; Czarnik: Dave Arnold, USA Hockey; Fox: Aaron Bell, OHL Images; Walker: Blick.ch; Houser: Mathieu Belanger, Reuters; Tryamkin: Lelikus; Iafrate: OHL Images; Corbett: Amber Bracken, Edmonton Sun; Gudbranson: Simon Seguin-Bertrand, Ledroit
It was an eventful weekend in Pittsburgh. Not necessarily for the Detroit Red Wings, but for the league as a whole, and for me personally. I love the Draft and spend far too many hours getting acquainted with as many guys as possible just in case they’re selected by the Red Wings. I had a list of 212 players (there were 211 picks this year) and familiarized myself with them, hoping that we’d nab a handful. When all was said and done, we took three players on that list: Martin Frk (my 19th ranked), Andreas Athanasiou (my 54), and Mike McKee (113).
MARTIN FRK (selected in the second round, 49th overall) Halifax Mooseheads winger, 6-0, 198, must sign by June 2014, @frky91
In the end, this is an unbelievable pick for the Red Wings. Many mocks had him in the first round, and all of them had him going before #49. Despite a concussion that cost him most of the season, I was pretty sure he’d be off the board before Detroit got to their first selection, especially considering all of the devastating injuries sustained by so many of the top players available. That was not the case, and the hard-shooting winger was snatched up in what was likely a “value” pick. You simply weren’t going to get more of it at #49.
Frk (pronounced “Firk”) boasted arguably the hardest shot of any player available in the 2012 Draft, and he loves to work the power play. He shares a team with 2013’s top prospect Nate MacKinnon, so the Halifax Mooseheads might be a force in the QMJHL next season — particularly if Frk can remain healthy. If they do well, expect to hear more and more about the newest Future Red Wing since he will be relied upon in what will be his third season in Canadian Junior. He wears #91 because of his childhood hero, who you probably can name.
JAKE PATERSON (selected in the third round, 80th overall) Saginaw Spirit goaltender, 6-0, 178, must sign by June 2014, @JakePaterson57 Paterson was the third ranked North American goaltender heading into the Draft, and was Chris Osgood’s first foray into scouting. Osgood presented the jersey to Paterson, who was excited to join the team he grew up rooting for. Ozzie, evidently, traveled to Saginaw to watch Paterson play on nearly a dozen occasions and was impressed with his composure, particularly in big games. While his numbers may not be terribly impressive, it’s important to note that the Canadian Junior leagues are unbelievably offense-happy.
He was selected because the Wings depth in goaltending is getting a little thin. After Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald, the team is going to let (at least) three goaltenders fight it out for playing time on the farm: Jordan Pearce, who is entering the final year on his contract but has played quite well in Grand Rapids; Thomas McCollum, who has had a really rough pro career since being drafted by the Wings in ’08; and Petr Mrazek, who is turning pro this season and should be an exciting prospect for Wings fans to keep an eye on. Beyond that, there was nobody… until Jake Paterson was selected.
ANDREAS ATHANASIOU (selected in the fourth round, 110th overall) London Knights winger, 6-0, 165, must sign by June 2014, @AndreasA86
Here’s your raised eyebrow pick of the day. Athanasiou was very clearly one of the fastest — if not the fastest — skater available in the Draft, and was — for a long time — considered to be a first round pick, maybe even a top 15 pick. He had what you might call an up-and-down season in London, and there were questions about his actual hockey ability outside of his world-class skating. He found himself a healthy scratch down the stretch and in the playoffs, despite scoring twenty goals on the season. With a number of players “graduating” from the Knights, his role should be expanded, and hopefully he’ll blossom into the player that the Red Wings need him to be.
At the moment, his hockey sense is lacking and the rest of his skill needs to catch up to his feet. One scout went so far as to say that if players were selected solely on their skating, he’d #1 or #2 this season… but that “his brain and hands need to catch up to his feet.”When all is said and done, finding a guy of this (raw) talent available in the hundreds is special. He’s a project, but he could be a gamble that pays off like crazy.
MIKE MCKEE (selected in the fifth round, 140th overall) Lincoln Stars defenseman, 6-4, 230, must sign by August 2016, @mikemckee23
I’m very excited about the Wings’ fourth selection, Mike McKee. In my opinion, he’s the most likely player to eventually play on — and make an impact for — the Detroit Red Wings. He’s an absolute beast of a human being, already standing 6-4 and weighing 230 as a teenager. He’s committed to Western Michigan, where he’ll be playing next season, so the Wings have up to four years to sign him to a contract.
He’s not a big scorer, but he’s a bruising blueliner that is no stranger to the penalty box and projects to be a third pairing defenseman. If he can refine that size of his into something lethal while on patrol and learn to control his impulses while playing collegiate puck, he’ll be an interesting prospect in a few years. The Wings said they were going to draft bigger than usual, and they weren’t joking.
JAMES DE HAAS (selected in the sixth round, 170th overall) Toronto Lakeshore Patriots defenseman, 6-2, 197, must sign by August 2017, @Jdehaas3
Another guy who’s a few years away from consideration is James de Haas. He is committed to Clarkson University (who have housed Red Wings draft picks Bryan Rufenach [may he rest in peace] and Julien Cayer — neither of whom were signed by the Wings before their exclusive rights expired), but won’t arrive in the collegiate ranks until 2013-14. As a result, the Wings have five years to sign him to a contract.
Though he’s currently playing in a lower tier Junior League than most of the players drafted, he was a first team All-Star within it. He’s a long way out, and there’s not a lot of information available about him (I certainly hadn’t heard of him prior) so keep your fingers crossed for another late-round gem.
RASMUS BODIN (selected in the seventh round, 200th overall) HV-71 center, 6-6, 207, no signing deadline, @mrBoda10 A classic Red Wings pick with a quintessentially non-Red Wings twist. The Wings looked to Sweden for their last pick (NO WAY!), relying on super-scout Hakan Andersson to find some guy no one else in the world is familiar with. However, instead of finding an undersized and underdeveloped European stickhandler, like usual, he found King of the Scandanavian Titans. Homeboy was the tallest player selected in any of the seven rounds of the Draft, and he may very well get bigger.
Anderson secured a tryout from the Red Wings’ favorite SEL team, HV-71, and it looks like that’s where Bodin will be playing next season.
DAMIEN BRUNNER Zug forward, 5-11, 187, @damienbrunner
Though he wasn’t a draft pick, the Wings seemed to have secured a guy from Switzerland that Mike Babcock believes will be a top six forward on next season’s incarnation of the Red Wings. Brunner, who was sought after by as many as a dozen NHL teams, was the leading scorer in the Swiss League.
He was already turning heads and attracting attention from teams like the Lightning and Penguins, but the Wings braintrust was convinced at the most recent World Championships. Mike Babcock got a few glimpses of him and asked Holland to fly in and check him out. Though he can’t officially sign a contract until July 1st, it sounds as if Damien Brunner and the Detroit Red Wings have agreed in principal to terms and that he is no longer in contact with other teams. He will be in training camp and will try to earn a roster spot, but it’s beginning to sound like it won’t be a problem if Mike Babcock’s to be trusted (although… he said the same of Fabian Brunnstrom, Ville Leino, and so on).
Photo Credits: Halifax Mooseheads; Jamie Sabau, Getty Images; Saginaw Spirit; London Knights; Graig Abel, Getty Images North America; Toronto Lakeshore Patriots, Ostersunds IK; EV Zug
The Red Wings took care of their most important restricted free agent on Tuesday morning. Darren Dreger reported the following, via Twitter:
Without scouring the twitterverse to see if this is already out…Darren Helm agrees to 4 year, $8.5 deal in Detroit.
The averages out to a cap hit of $2.125M until the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, when he’ll become an unrestricted free agent at the age of 29. The deal makes him the sixth highest paid forward (behind Dan Cleary’s 2.8; but in front of Todd Bertuzzi’s 2.075). Of players currently on the NHL roster, only Henrik Zetterberg (’21), Johan Franzen (’20), and Niklas Kronwall (’19) are signed beyond the term that Helm now has, leading us to believe that the team views him as an essential component.
The Wings have two restricted free agents left to deal with in the coming weeks: Kyle Quincey — who will likely command a similar term but will come in around the 3M mark — and Justin Abdelkader — who will take a deal smaller than Helm’s.
As of right now, the Detroit Red Wings have 19 players under contract for next season and have spent just a shade over $46M to do it. If the salary cap goes up to $70.3 (as it’s expected to do, pending the new CBA), they have a little more than $24M to spend on the four remaining roster spots. Quincey and Abdelkader will likely eat up two of those.
Last night, the Detroit Free Press’ Jamie Samuelsen posted an entry on his blog, that – in short – examines whether numbers should be unretired as a method for honoring those players who have meant so much to an organization. The Red Wings have a handful of sweater numbers hanging in Joe Louis’ rafters – players whose digits may never be worn again because there’s simply no way anyone could ever live up to Steve Yzerman’s #19 or Gordie Howe’s #9. You can go ahead and add Nicklas Lidstrom’s #5 to the ceiling, since no one will dare ask for it anytime soon.
Joining 19 and 9, are Terry Sawchuk’s #1, Ted Lindsay’s #7, Alex Delvecchio’s #10, and Sid Abel’s #12. Although not officially retired, no one wears Larry Aurie’s #6 or Vladimir Konstantinov’s #16. That’s a lot of numbers – a lot of low numbers – that are out of circulation and forcing newcomers to pick (or stick with) sweater numbers in the 20’s, 40’s, and even 50’s.
I understand both sides of the argument. On one hand, these players’ contributions need to be honored and jersey retirement (at least, in Detroit) isn’t something taken lightly. All of the men listed above were extraordinarily valuable to the Red Wings, to Detroit, and to the game of hockey. Sawchuk is legitimately a top-five goaltender all-time, Howe is legitimately a top-two hockey player all-time, Lindsay is one of the most important figures in hockey history, Delvecchio played over 1500 games (all of them for the Red Wings) before stepping behind the bench, Abel was the third member of the fame Production Line that this space is named after, Yzerman may as well have been the second coming when he came to Hockeytown at a time when he was needed most.
Aurie and Konstantinov are two men whose contributions were cut short – the former’s broken leg didn’t allow him to regain the form that made him a fan (and organization) favorite, the latter’s devastating limo accident three days after the 1997 Stanley Cup victory has served as an inspiration for 15 years.
Samuelsen offers the following:
If a Red Wing player wears the No. 9 for a game or for a season, maybe it is a chance to honor Gordie Howe once again.
Maybe that’s true. Or maybe it’s being said right now because two of the guys near the top of the Wings’ wish list wear numbers that wouldn’t be available to them. Zach Parise, the Devils captain has worn #9 since breaking into the NHL; and Justin Schultz, the Wisconsin defenseman who is very unlikely to sign with the Ducks, has helped to make #6 famous in Madison. Would a uniform number be a deal breaker for either of these gentlemen? I can’t speak for them, but decisions have been made based on even less in this league, so who knows.
With sixty percent of the first 10 digits unavailable for newcomers, Brendan Smith rocking #2, Jakub Kindl in #4, and Justin Abdelkader wearing #8, one of those guys would have to settle for #3… or else they’re going to be in something like #28 (which has pretty much been assigned to Tomas Jurco) or #36 (last worn by Jordan Pearce).
Obviously, there’s a lot of speculation going on here. But is taking numbers that have been retired out of circulation wise for a team like the Red Wings? The Maple Leafs “honor” numbers, allowing current players to wear them while also hanging them in the rafters. Is that where we’re heading in Detroit – or will they honor their history with the finality of never allowing another to wear what has been so proudly and deftly worn in the past?
I’ll leave the answer to you. Is Samuelsen onto something… or is this a political play at a time during which the Wings will be fighting and clawing for both of these young potential superstars?
Since the Red Wings’ season came to an unceremonious end, we’ve trotted out the second year’s worth of Pro/No profiles, in a joint venture with our brothers at Winging it in Motown. We’ve asked you, our dear readers and members of the best damn hockey community on the interwebs, to give their vote — should the Wings keep their upcoming free agents or allow them to walk in search of greener pastures? We did our best to lay out the details — reasons they’d be welcomed back, reasons they may no longer have a place in Detroit, and any intangibles that certainly weigh into any general manager’s decisions. Unfortunately, any decisions that were left to be made…. have been made… but it’s certainly interesting to see how the fan-base voted, especially since voting closed long before any retirement or trades were announced.
For most of us, the writing was on the wall. We all new he wanted to be back in California with his wife, step-daughter, and two sons. As we mentioned, he was a good soldier for much longer than most of us would have lasted in his situation, and he certainly earned the right to play closer to home and be happy — but he might have to take less than he would make on the open market to make that happen. Alas, his exclusive negotiating rights were traded to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, so the votes were pretty much for naught.
It’s pretty clear that nearly 43% of fans thought that the Wings should bring him back, all things equal. If it was strictly a hockey decision, it would have been an easy one, especially with Nicklas Lidstrom announcing his retirement on May 31st. Voters thought it may have been possible to convince him to stay in Detroit, or that if he was able to be re-signed to a reasonable contract, he should be.
Kyle Quincey, defenseman, #27
26 Years Old (August 12, 1985)
6’2″, 207 lbs
4 Full NHL Seasons
Born in Kitchener, Ontario
Clearly, acquiring Kyle Quincey was a contingency plan in case Brad Stuart departed and Nicklas Lidstrom retired. Both of those things happened, and it may be completely devastating to lose a third member of the season-ending blueline. Voters felt the same way, with just under 64% of ballots cast in favor of keeping Quincey for another go-around with the Red Wings. Despite our admission that his play was erratic during the play0ffs, the thought of losing another defenseman with the unknown fates of the aforementioned guys was too overwhelming and the majority hopes Q sticks around.
What’s interesting to acknowledge is that among the three players we’re focusing on at The Production Line, Quincey had the highest “pro” vote, but also had the highest “unsure” vote. Perhaps that’s a symptom of his late-season acquisition, or perhaps it’s a symptom of people hoping to have more facts (Stuart’s departure, Lidstrom’s retirement, new acquisitions via trade or free agency) before committing to a significant payday for Kyle Quincey.
Ty Conklin, goaltender, #29
36 Years Old (March 30, 1976)
6’0″, 184 lbs
8 NHL Seasons (2 with Detroit)
Born in Phoenix, but raised in Alaska
Well, there’s no doubt about this one. Conklin had a rough year in Detroit and played his way into Grand Rapids. With the excellent play of Joey MacDonald, Conklin was viewed — with no question — as completely expendable, despite the uncertainty of Joey Mac’s back. Nevertheless, there are a few guys who are intriguing that will be hitting the open market, and the Wings have been clear that they’re comfortable heading into training camp with Howard and MacDonald if they don’t land one of them.
The fans have spoken, too: they’re perfectly comfortable with that, too. With over 93% of voters voicing their distrust of Conklin’s play and — despite his class act-ness — thought his time with the Red Wings should come to an end on July 1st. Like JJ mentions in his write-up of Darren Helm (who waited the longest for someone to vote “no”), Conklin was the guy on this list who waited the longest for a vote to go against the grain. It was 12 minutes of No votes before a Pro vote hit the wire and that’s significant in our digital age. Truth be told, he only received 4 Pro votes in 48 hours, in what was — by a mile — the lowest vote-gathering player profile.
Photo Credits: Getty Images; Dave Sandford, Getty Images; Getty Images