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Red Wing News - June 1999

6\30 Wendel Clark has officially been informed that the Wings will not pick up the $2 million
option on his contract. I was really hoping they'd resign him and Samuelsson, but what the hell 
do I know.
     I've noticed lately that a lot of high profile players are asking for no-trade clauses in 
their contracts. I do not understand why team management always refuses these. Yes, in some 
circumstances they are a bad idea. But, Colorado is trying to keep Theo Fleury, and are 
refusing the no-trade clause. What the heck are they thinking? Fleury has been producing ever 
since he was a rookie. He plays hard and is hard to play against. So why would you not want to 
give him a little security in exchange for his services? If I remember right, a large part of 
Brett Hull leaving St. Louis was the no-trade clause. Seems silly to me, but what do I know.
     And this from the Free Press: "Kirk Maltby is set to sign a new four-year deal Thursday, 
leaving Nick Lidstrom, Aaron Ward and Darren McCarty as Detroit's unsigned restricted free 
agents. Deals for Lidstrom and McCarty are unlikely to come before September. Ward rejected an 
initial offer and little progress has been made to this point. The Wings remain optimistic that 
Steve Yzerman's three-year contract extension will finally be signed this week. The sides have 
been near a deal for months but have been unable to complete the details. Yzerman's deal would 
keep him a Wing through 2003, giving the captain 20 years in the organization. The deal is worth 
about $8 million a season, making Yzerman the team's highest-paid player. Talks with associate 
coach Dave Lewis are ongoing. With backup goaltender Norm Maracle lost to Atlanta in the 
expansion draft and Kevin Hodson traded to Tampa at the March trade deadline, the Wings now are 
focused on signing two goalies. Minor league goalies Jason Elliott and Aren Miller are still at 
least a year away from being ready for the NHL. So Holland is seeking an NHL backup and a keeper 
to place in the IHL as a third goalie, ready to fill in with the Red Wings should injuries occur.
     The list of unrestricted free-agent goalies is thin (the likes of Kay Whitmore, Rick 
Tabaracci, Wade Flaherty), so Holland might opt for experienced minor-leaguers. Holland also will
be checking out the future of the organization this week at the Wings' annual development camp 
Thursday-Monday at the Troy Sports Center. Key players to watch are defensemen Jiri Fischer and 
Jesse Wallin, forwards Yuri Butsayev and Ryan Barnes, and Elliott." That about wraps it up.

6\29 I just noticed something. The Wings ended the regular season by winning 6 straight and 
then losing the last 4. In the playoffs, the Wings again won 6 straight, then dropped the last 
4. Am I reaching for news or what?

6\28 It seems that Uwe Krupp is unlikely to return. There has been little progress healing 
his back injury. Todd Gill will likely be saught after to help fill the void. Wendel Clark is
reportedly going to be told that the Wings will not pick up his option for next year. A few of 
the free agent Wings are expected to sign soon (Yzerman, Maltby, McCarty, Ward, among others.)
Don't look for the Wings to make any bold moves after Thursday when free agent season opens. 
The budget is already swelling around the $50 million range, tops in the league. A backup 
goalie and possibly a 5th or 6th defenseman may be picked up.
     Scotty Bowman is looking at changing the team's system from the left wing lock, which 
teams have adjusted to and are exploiting the weaknesses of, to a style more similar to what 
the Dallas Stars are using, which is more puck pursuit then puck possesion. Also look for major 
line changes and more ice time for guys like Slava Kozlov and Mathiew Dandenault.

6\27 The Draft Picks: 4th round - Jari Toulsa, Center, Swedish Jr. League
                      5th round - Andrei Maximenko, LW, Krylja Sovetov, Russia 
                      6th round - Kent McDonell, RW, Guelph, OHL
                      7th round - Henrik Zetterberg, LW, Timra, Sweden 
                      8th round - Anton Borodkin, LW, Kamloops, WHL
                      9th round - Ken Davis, RW, Portland, WHL

  Clearly, the Wings were looking to add depth at forward. Ken Holland's fingers are crossed 
that one of these guys will turn into a Tomas Holmstrom, who was a 10th round pick in 1994.
     Now for the good news. (From The Detroit News) "Nicklas Lidstrom is open to returning to 
the Red Wings. He has instructed his agent, Don Meehan,  to open talks with the Wings. In fact, 
Meehan and Wing's General Manager Ken Holland have each exchanged initial contract proposals 
within the past two weeks. According to Meehan, Lidstrom is flexible to consider a short or 
long term offer. Holland said his proposal to Meehan contained offers of one, two, three and 
four years. Salary negotiations won't be easy. The Wings had the highest payroll in the NHL 
last season and likely will do so this season. The Wings are close to extending Steve 
Yzerman's contract, which will pay Yzerman approximately $8 million per season and are either 
tied into, or have other prospective free agents who will command huge salaries. Holland said 
the opening numbers exchanged between the Wings and Lidstrom are apart, but not "ridiculously" 
     And finally, Fedor Fedorov, younger brother of Sergei, was selected by the Tampa Bay 
Lightning in the sixth round (182nd overall). 

6\26 A few new wrinkles since last night: It was revealed that the Wings traded the rights to 
Ulf Samuelsson to the Thrashers. In exchange, they would not select Igor Larionov in the 
Expansion Draft. The Wings can still sign him, but Atlanta now would get the compensatory pick 
in the 2000 draft from the league (likely no higher than a third-rounder.) Also, the teams 
agreed on home-and-home exhibition games this fall.
     This is from the Free Press: "The Wings also are very close to finalizing a deal to place 
their minor league players. Sources say the Wings will place eight players with Cincinnati of 
the American Hockey League -- Anaheim's top affiliate -- barring an unforeseen breakdown in 
talks. The Wings likely would place four forwards (including Phil Audet and Darryl Laplante), 
three defensemen (including Jesse Wallin and Maxim Kuznetsov) and one goalie (likely Miller) in 
Cincinnati. Elliott likely would play in the IHL."

6\25 Expansion Draft update: Norm Maracle was selected by the Thrashers. They also got former 
Wing Jamie Pushor from Anaheim. Look for the Wings to deal for a decent goaltender to backup 
Osgood, as Jason Elliot is not deemed ready for the NHL yet.

6\25 Tommy Ivan, who coached the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup championships in the 1950s, 
died Thursday morning at the age of 88.
     Nick Lidstrom didn't win any awards last night, losing the Norris to Al MacInnis and the 
Byng to, who else, Wayne Gretzky. Nick was named to the first team all-stars though. Nick 
should make his plans for the future known very soon.
     The Wings have a very busy weekend coming up with the expansion draft and several free 
agents to sign. On Saturday the NHL will hold it's Entry Draft, but the Wings do not pick until 
the 4th round. I'll try to keep things updated this weekend.

6\23 Ken Holland surprises many by leaving Igor Larionov unprotected for the expansion draft
while at the same time protecting Kris Draper. It is highly unlikely Atlanta will pass over
Norm Maracle. Man, expansion sucks, and we get to do it again next year.

6\21 The Wings will turn in their protected list for the expansion draft today. It looks like 
Norm Maracle or Kris Draper are most likely to be taken by Atlanta (per The Free Press.) The 
Wings can protect one goalie, 5 defenseman, and 9 forwards.

6\17 A Swedish newspaper is reporting that Nick Lidstrom is talking with officials from his old 
Swedish Elite League team, Vasteras. I don't know what this means, but Lidstrom reportedly said 
he'd make a decision in about 3 weeks, when he returns from vacation.

6\15 Ken Holland is said to be ready to resign Ulf Samuelsson and Todd Gill, if they'll keep 
their salary demands about where they were last year. Samuelsson made $2 million and Gill $1.3.
Talks are underway to resign Dave Lewis and Barry Smith, which would bring back the entire 
coaching staff. Both are seeking 2 year deals I hear.

6\14 The Kings hired former NHL assistant Andy Murray, who spent last year coaching a high 
school team. I guess Dave Lewis will be back next year. ESPN's NHL page has a nice flashback to 
the 97 Stanley Cup Champs (that us, remember?)

6\8 (From the Detroit Free Press) "Ken Holland will meet today with Barry Smith to offer him a 
one-year contract extension that would keep him alongside head coach Scotty Bowman, who 
signed for a seventh season last month. The Wings' other associate coach, Dave Lewis, 
interviewed Thursday for the Los Angeles Kings' coaching position. Lewis is competing against 
former NHL coach of the year Ted Nolan, Long Beach (IHL) coach John Van Boxmeer, Montreal 
assistant Dave King and former NHL assistant Andy Murray. Holland is still waiting to hear from 
defenseman Nick Lidstrom about his future with the team. In the meantime, Holland isn't killing 
time by trying to add or subtract from his team. Trade-bait New York Islanders forward Zigmund 
Palffy "is not going to end up in Detroit," Holland said Monday. He also said Brendan Shanahan 
isn't about to get booted from the Wings."

6\3 Jamie Macoun will not be brought back for next season. I really liked Jamie, as he's a 
fellow Ohio State boy. That's all I know for now, except:

June 24 -- NHL Awards Television Special -- Toronto 
June 25 -- Expansion draft and Top Prospect Preview -- Boston 
June 26 -- NHL entry draft -- Boston 
July 1 -- Eligible players transferred to free agent list

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