Tag: Jakub Kindl

Jakub Kindl

Red Wings’ Kindl will begin conditioning stint

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Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl took a big step towards returning from an elbow injury by reporting to AHL Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint. Detroit announced that Kindl is expected to be in the Grand Rapids’ lineup against the AHL Chicago Wolves on Sunday.

The 28-year-old has nine points, including seven with the man advantage, in 28 contests with Detroit this season. He hasn’t played since Dec. 27.

Since being taken with the 19th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kindl has gone on to record 11 goals and 58 points in 241 career games. He’s in the second season of a four-year, $9.6 million contract.

After barely squeaking into the playoffs last season, the Red Wings have stood out in 2014-15 with a 31-13-9 record that puts them in the running for the Eastern Conference title.

Detroit holds early scouting meeting, ‘absolutely’ wants ‘two or three more right shots’

Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings

Make of this what you will, from the Detroit Free Press:

In an unusual move, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland gathered all his scouts for brief meetings this week.

“It’s the first time we’ve done it for just one day, and here in early December,” Holland said. The trade deadline isn’t for another three months, and Thursday night’s game against Dallas was only the 26th of the Wings’ season.

“Just thought it would be good to touch base now,” Holland said, “instead of waiting till late January.”

The pro scouts regularly turn in reports on players who could help the Wings and who are deemed to be available via trade.

Holland went on to say he’s still keen to add right-handed shooters, an area of weakness he tried to address during free agency (at Mike Babcock’s behest).

“Would I like two or three more right shots? Absolutely, whether up front or on defense,” Holland said. “But there’s not a hockey store I can go.”

On defense, Detroit is loaded with left-handers: Danny DeKeyser, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, Niklas Kronwall, Brian Lashoff, Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith. Babcock’s affinity for left-right defensive pairings is well known; at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Babcock-led Canadian team built its blueline on the L-R philosophy, and achieved great success.

Because of this, you’ll probably keep seeing Washington’s Mike Green attached to any rumors coming out of Detroit. Aside from being a right-handed shooter and good offensive weapon, Green is a pending UFA. The Caps, meanwhile, already have some hefty contracts on their back end (Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik) and might be unable to retain Green in a year when they need to deal with fellow UFAs Joel Ward and Eric Fehr, and RFAs Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby.

Rangers spoil Red Wings’ dramatic comeback bid

Derick Brassard

The Detroit Red Wings overcame two New York Rangers leads, but in the end the Rangers still earned a 4-3 victory in overtime.

Detroit will at least walk away with one point though thanks to a Tomas Tatar’s goal with just 7.7 seconds left in regulation time.

Derick Brassard spoiled the Red Wings comeback though with a power-play overtime marker. With that, the Red Wings have now lost three straight games, although they managed to pick up a point in two of those contests. The Rangers have needed more than 60 minutes to settle their last three games, but this is their first win over that stretch.

It initially looked like this game might be more one-sided as a shot from Brassard bounced off what appeared to be Rick Nash’s gluteus maximus to gave the Rangers an early lead. Although that marker was a case of Nash parking himself in the right place at the right time, he has been on fire this season with 10 goals in just 12 games. Martin St. Louis padded the Rangers’ lead in the second frame.

Nash nearly got his second goal of the night towards the end of the second period, but Jonas Gustavsson made a huge save that kept the Red Wings’ in the contest.

Perhaps more troubling than the loss itself is the fact that Gustavsson might have been hurt himself on the final play of the game. A trainer attended to him after the deciding goal and he appeared to be in pain as he skated off the ice, per MLive’s Ansar Khan.

Jakub Kindl and Daniel Cleary, who was making his season debut, each chipped in his first goal of the season.

Risk Factors: Detroit Red Wings edition

Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson

From the same bunch of pessimists who brought you“Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup,” PHT presents a new series called “Risk Factors,” i.e. three reasons to be worried about each NHL team in 2014-15.

Detroit Red Wings 

1. Who steps up if Daniel Alfredsson retires?

It hardly seems like a good idea to rest your goal-scoring hopes on a 41-year-old to begin with – Alfredsson was tied for the team-lead in points last season (49) along with defenseman Niklas Kronwall – then there’s the concern over the health of Alfredsson’s back, which has kept him out of camp and predominantly off the ice. If one had to guess, at this point, it seems as though the 18-year NHL veteran has played his final game. So where does the offence come from? Obvious choices are Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, but Datsyuk will start the season injured reserve nursing his shoulder injury suffered in the preseason and Zetterberg is coming off an injury plagued 2013-14 campaign (more on that below).

Detroit finished the 2013-14 season second in the league with 421 man games lost due to injury. As a result, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Luke Glendening were all given significant looks by the Red Wings last season. Nyquist, Tatar and Sheahan finished in the Top 10 in Wings scoring. However, the five aforementioned players are all 24 years of age and younger. As is always the case with young players, growing pains occur.

Detroit finished 16th last season in both goals-for per-game (2.65) and total goals scored (217) – only the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens finished with less total goals scored and wound up in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference last season. With veteran players such as David Legwand, Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson not returning for 2014-15, it’ll be interesting to see whether the five youngsters can take another step forward. Otherwise Detroit’s streak of 23 consecutive seasons in the playoffs could be in serious jeopardy.

2. Finding a puck-moving defenseman

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock recently told MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, “I like when we move the puck. I like when the puck gets going in a hurry. I like guys who can make good decisions and move it. We’re going to do everything we can to upgrade our D, so is that the guys who’ve been here in the past? Is that someone new? I don’t know the answer for sure but I got two more opportunities to watch before we got to make decisions.”

The Wings still have Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko and Nick Jensen on their roster, but asking too much from, or relying on a young defenseman to make an immediate impact, is a recipe for disaster. The trio have a combined five NHL games played on their respective resumes.

As Khan points out in his piece, Ouellet, who leads all Red Wings in average ice time (over 24 minutes) in the preseason is the furthest along in his development.

“He’s just kind of an old-time player; he’s got great hockey sense,” Babcock said. “The sum of the parts add up greater than anything. He just thinks so good. You look at him, he’s not huge (6-1, 190), he’s not an elite skater, he’s just an elite thinker and plays right all the time.

“He just looks like a hockey player to me, looks like he’s played here 10 years.”

But before Red Wings fans go pondering the idea of placing someone like Brian Lashoff or Jakub Kindl, who despite putting up career-highs in assists (17) and points (19), was a minus-4 last season, on waivers consider that Ouellet has just four career NHL games under his belt.

Losing a veteran like Lashoff (106 NHL games) or Kindl (213 career NHL games) could be a disaster down the road should the injury bug hit. And if anyone knows how bad the injury bug can bite, it’s Detroit.

3. How will Henrik Zetterberg’s back hold up? 

One of the hardest hit by the injury bug was Zetterberg. The Wings captain was limited to just 45 games in 2013-14 due to an on-going back injury which finally needed surgery causing him to miss the final 24 regular season games and first three playoff games.

Zetterberg has had a slow start, albeit in preseason action, but even Babcock called out his top dogs this week.

“They’ve got to get going, just like everybody in exhibition. A lot of your veteran players, it takes them awhile to get going; the urgency isn’t quite there, even though they know they’ve got to be ready to go,” Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. “Our kids have won three, our big dogs 0-1. That’s all part of whether you’re engaged or not.”

Zetterberg turns 34 next week, is he on the decline? Its difficult to say that since he still managed 48 points in 45 games last season, but the key for Zetterberg will be to stay healthy. He’s only played 82 games once in his career (2011-12).

Despite being without both Zetterberg and Datsyuk for 16 of the final 24 regular season games last spring, the Red Wings still managed to cobble together a 13-8-3 record to snag the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

This season Detroit’s young stars won’t surprise anyone. If the Red Wings are going to make the playoffs, both Datsyuk and Zetterberg will need to stay healthy and contribute regularly. If not, like Babcock’s reign in Detroit, the Wings’ playoff streak could come to a screeching halt. Babcock of course is heading to the final year of his contract and says he’s not interested in negotiating once the season begins.

Interesting, or should we say concerning, times could be ahead in the Motor City.

All-in on Niskanen? Red Wings out of Ehrhoff hunt

Buffalo Sabres v Nashville Predators

The Detroit Red Wings are going to be hot after a defenseman when free agency opens at noon ET, but one they won’t be after is Christian Ehrhoff.

Ansar Khan of MLive reports the Red Wings are still in on Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle — two right-shooting d-men — but out on Ehrhoff, a lefty, as the former Buffalo Sabres blue-liner is seeking a five-year deal. Detroit was apparently only willing to go three years for the 31-year-old German.

Detroit is looking to add a top-four defenseman as they’re letting Kyle Quincey go to market. With a top pairing consisting of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, the Wings need help as they have Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, and Brian Lashoff under contract for next season. Danny DeKeyser is a restricted free agent.

One way or another the Wings will be adding to the blue line, but chasing after 27-year-old Niskanen means they’ll have to cough up big money and term to land him in what’s going to be a very competitive market. Boyle makes for a good option, but at almost 38 years old there are questions about how much he’s got left in the tank.

The fun subplot here? Detroit’s stiffest competition for both players comes from the Tampa  Bay Lightning and GM Steve Yzerman.