Could the Wings be looking at Lukas Krajicek for defensive help?

lukaskrajicek.jpgWhile the buzz around signing Mike Modano in Detroit has appropriately died down, attention now turns to other needs in the Motor City. While they’re still working on a contract for restricted free agent Justin Abdelkader, the Wings are in the market for another experienced defenseman to play on the third pairing with Jonathan Ericsson. While Willie Mitchell has been rumored as a potential candidate for the job,’s Ansar Khan throws another name out there for consideration while taking Willie Mitchell’s case for a job in Detroit down a peg.

Among free-agent defensemen the Detroit Red Wings have inquired about, Lukas Krajicek seems like a more realistic possibility than Willie Mitchell for that sixth spot.

Krajicek is not nearly as good as a healthy Mitchell, but Krajicek is more affordable and more apt to accept a third-pair role than Mitchell.

How much can Mitchell command? That’s tricky, since he was shelved for the season with a concussion in mid-January. He earned $3.5 million last season in Vancouver and probably is seeking more than the Red Wings can afford under the salary cap, even if it’s $2 million a season.

And consider this, too: In Detroit, Mitchell would have no chance of cracking the top four (Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart, Niklas Kronwall) this season, barring an injury. Would he want to go somewhere knowing he’s cemented as the No. 5 or No. 6 defenseman and won’t get as much playing time? It’s doubtful.

Krajicek isn’t exactly an exciting name and while he was able to get some ice time for the Flyers during the Stanley Cup finals thanks to Ryan Parent’s inconsistent play, he wasn’t the Flyers top option to use on the blueline initially. Beggars can’t be choosers and when you’re hemmed in by the limits of the salary cap, sometimes decisions get made for you by how the market turns out.

Of course, Khan’s opinion is just that and The Chief at Abel To Yzerman disagrees just a little bit with Khan’s potential dose of salary reality/takedown of Mitchell. Slightly rough language straight ahead.

Well, here’s a frigging storyline for you Ansar…if Willie Mitchell comes to Hockeytown it’s not because he wants to “crack the top 4”.  It’s because he wants a Cup.  And if he’s playing for a contract, if he signs here for cheap, for one year, he’ll get that deal here or elsewhere if he contributes to the mission.  Get it?

Brett Lebda sucks [synonym for posterior], but he’s gonna get nearly 1.5. Yeah, he’s gonna make it in Toronto…where the Leafs aren’t exactly known for redolent decision making, but he’s getting it.  Why Ansar?  Not because of his startling abilities to rove the blue line or move the puck.  He’s getting that money because of his pedigree, because of his association with the Wings.  Toronto’s not paying for the baby Jesus-given talents of Brett Lebda. They’re paying for what he’s learned in our organ-I-zation and the Quincey-like possibility that those lessons translate into success.

The Chief’s take is an interesting one and one that’s got a track record. Marian Hossa used his year in Detroit to get a boost and a long-term deal with the Blackhawks, Kyle Quincey was lost via waivers to the Los Angeles Kings and then ended up in Colorado where he now makes over $3 million a season. Brett Lebda, as he mentions, got a sweet deal from the Maple Leafs based on years of success in Detroit. Is Mitchell looking to get a boost to a bigger contract or does he want to go somewhere that he can just win? His rumored options for where he’s wanted are all intriguing as they’re all very good teams in San Jose, Detroit, Vancouver and Washington. Washington could use a defenseman of his ilk, San Jose is in need of a replacement for Rob Blake, Detroit could use the snarl on their blue line and Vancouver is a situation he’s already familiar with.

While Detroit could go with Krajicek if the market demands it be so (since Washington and San Jose have a bit more money to offer Mitchell) there’s a distinct difference in quality. That being Willie Mitchell is a highly-regarded defensive defenseman and Lukas Krajicek couldn’t lock down consistent minutes for Tampa Bay last season and was a sixth or seventh defenseman for the Flyers. Mitchell is coming off a bad concussion last season and that’s a situation Detroit is familiar with as Andreas Lilja lost a ton of time due to a concussion. The Wings are still talking with Lilja about returning, but they’ve got other options and are exploring them. Whether that means they’ve got actual interest in Lukas Krajicek remains to be seen.

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    Flyers’ Dale Weise suspended three games

    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 15:  Dale Weise #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 15, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be without forward Dale Weise for the next three games as a result of a suspension handed out by the NHL’s department of player safety on Friday evening.

    The league announced that Weise has been suspended due to an illegal check to the head of Anaheim Ducks forward Korbinian Holzer during their game in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

    Weise was not penalized for the hit.

    The incident happened midway through the second period of the Ducks’ 3-2 win, and came just as Holzer was skating with the puck in his own zone.

    Here is a look at the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension.

    Holzer was not injured as a result of the hit.

    The Flyers have been hit hard by suspensions so far this season. They played the first three games of the season without forward Brayden Schenn as he served a suspension that carried over from the 2016 playoffs. Defenseman Radko Gudas is still sidelined as he serves a six-game suspension for a hit this preseason.

    Weise has yet to record a point in four games for the Flyers this season. He scored 14 goals and added 13 assists a year ago for the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.

    This suspension will cost him $39,166.68 in salary.

    He will be eligible to return to the Flyers’ lineup on Oct. 27 when they host the Arizona Coyotes. He will miss games against Carolina, Montreal and Buffalo.

    Douglas Murray calls it a career

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    One of the more unique blueliners in recent memory is hanging up his skates.

    Douglas Murray, the big-bodied Swedish rearguard that appeared in over 500 NHL contests, has decided to retire.

    “Thirty general managers do not want me,” Murray told Alftonbladet (translation per Yahoo). “I know that I can still play, but it’s over now.”

    Murray, 36, is best remembered for his time in San Jose, where he used his 6-foot-3, 245-pound frame to become one of the hardest hitters in the league.

    His best years came between 2009-11, when he helped the Sharks advance to a pair of Western Conference Finals, and represented Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

    Murray also spent time with Pittsburgh and Montreal, before joining German League side Kolner Haie in ’14-15. He also had a brief stint with the Calgary Flames, though things never progressed beyond the professional tryout stage.

    As mentioned above, Murray was a pretty interesting guy. A late bloomer, he was 25 upon making his NHL debut but quickly endeared himself to Shark fans.

    Ivy-league educated, Murray and friends also created a beer dispensing system called the UberTap while at Cornell University.

    A few years ago, Murray was rumored to be dating Elin Nordegren, the ex-wife of Tiger Woods. Murray later shot down the reports, saying he and Nordegren were just friends.

    Goalie nods: Domingue has ‘got to play better’ for Coyotes tonight in Brooklyn

    Louis Domingue
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    Pressure’s on, Louis Domingue.

    Domingue, now Arizona’s No. 1 goalie with Mike Smith (lower body) shelved indefinitely, will get another chance to prove himself when the Coyotes visit the Isles at Barclays on Friday night.

    Things haven’t gone great for Domingue thus far.

    Since coming on in relief of Smith in Ottawa, the 24-year-old has allowed seven goals on 30 shots in just over 36 minutes of action — leaving him with a ghastly .767 save percentage and 11.35 GAA.

    (Not a typo. Eleven. Point. Three. Five.)

    “He’s gotta play better,” coach Dave Tippett said, per the Arizona Republic. “He’s gotta play better than these two games he’s played. We’ll give him another opportunity, and hopefully he responds.”

    The Coyotes haven’t provided a health update on Smith, who was flown back to Arizona earlier this week to be examined by team doctors. Justin Peters was recalled from the minors to serve as Domingue’s backup and looked sharp in relief of Domingue last night in Montreal, stopping 23 of 24 shots faced.

    As such, Domingue has plenty on the line tonight. Peters is a 30-year-old veteran with over 80 games of NHL experience, so the Coyotes could turn to him if Domingue struggle yet again.

    For the Isles, Jaroslav Halak gets the call in goal.


    Corey Crawford starts yet again for the Blackhawks, who are in Columbus to face the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky will be in the opposing goal.

    Pekka Rinne, sporting a 2.04 GAA and .934 save percentage thus far, gets the nod as the Preds head to Detroit. Petr Mrazek will be in goal for the Red Wings, after Jimmy Howard played well in a Wednesday win over the Rangers.

    Brian Campbell won’t be a healthy scratch, after all

    CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01:  Brian Campbell #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks participates in warm-ups before a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues at United Center on October 1, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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    It seems Brian Campbell won’t be a healthy scratch, after all. According to the Chicago Tribune, the veteran Blackhawks defenseman is likely to be in the lineup tonight in Columbus.

    It had previously been reported that Campbell would sit against the Blue Jackets, making way for the return of Trevor van Riemdsyk. Instead, the Tribune believes van Riemsdyk will replace either Michal Kempny or Gustav Forsling, though it’s also possible the ‘Hawks could dress seven defensemen.

    As for winger Marian Hossa, he will definitely not play tonight due to a lower-body injury suffered Tuesday against the Flyers, the same game in which he scored his 500th career goal. Hossa is also questionable for Saturday’s home game against Toronto.

    At this morning’s skate, Jonathan Toews was centering Tyler Motte and Richard Panik, with Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, and Patrick Kane sticking together on the second line.

    Here’s Coach Q’s scrum from yesterday: