A half-dozen Grand Rapids Griffins have graced the Detroit Red Wings roster already this season, but one of their best will have to wait for his turn.
Second-year pro Landon Ferraro has been one of the driving forces behind the Griffins’ run to the top of the American Hockey League’s Midwest Division, playing in all situations while sitting third in team scoring with 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points in 47 games.
Just 21, Ferraro — who has missed the past two games with an injury — is starting to look like the player who was ranked a consensus first-rounder back in his draft year back in 2009.
“Landon’s certainly been a big part of our team and any success we’ve had,” said Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill. “Landon plays in all situations — five-on-five, power play, penalty kill and last minute, up a goal and down a goal, and that speaks to the versatility in his game.”
The Red Wings drafted Ferraro in the second round, 32nd overall, in 2009 after trading down from 29th. They got an extra pick in that deal to take Andrej Nestrasil at No. 75. At the time, Ferraro was coming off a 37-goal WHL campaign with the Red Deer Rebels and was ranked as high as 17th overall by International Scouting Service.
The next two seasons, he dealt with a number of injuries and struggled to score, producing just 73 points in his final 94 major junior games.
But he immediately got on track with the Griffins, scoring nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points in 56 games as a rookie in 2011-12 before seizing a key role this season.
“Landon has a great asset of speed and a great ability to shoot the puck,” Blashill said. “As he continues to build his game, and we’ll continue to talk about doing everything right every shift, I really believe he becomes an NHL prospect.”
Blashill said he has been impressed with Ferraro’s ability to “self-create” offense as well as play both centre and wing. Ferraro, who has always had good hockey sense, is also mastering the finer details of playing smart defensive hockey.
“He’s working hard to become that well-rounded player and understanding that that’s going to give him his best chance of playing in the NHL, to be somebody counted on offensively and defensively,” Blashill said.
NOTES: The Griffins have won 29 of 49 games (29-16-2-2) and have 62 points, third in the Western Conference … Griffins forwards Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson, defensemen Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff and goaltender Petr Mrazek have all played for the Red Wings this season. “I feel real happy for those guys that they’ve been able to go up and do a real good job,” Blashill said. “Real excited for those guys.” … Tatar is making a strong case to stay in Detroit for good. He’s been all over the ice while averaging 12:03 per game and scoring two goals and two assists. “I don’t know how long (his production is) going to last, but as long as it lasts, we’ll keep riding it,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. “Maybe he’s one of those guys who just decides he wants to be a Red Wing and he’s going to take someone’s job.” It certainly looks that way … Not to be outdone is Lashoff, fourth among Red Wings defensemen with 18:38 of ice time per game along with 17 hits and 18 blocked shots. Nobody saw that coming … Nyquist has been re-added to the statistical watch as a result of his extended stay in Grand Rapids … Forward Rasmus Bodin, the Red Wings’ final-round sleeper pick last June, is back at Sweden’s third level with Tranas. He’s battled knee and back injuries and had some “adaptation issues” with HV-71 at the J-20 SuperElit level, according to Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson. “He’s struggling,” Andersson said. “There’s no other way to put it. But he’s got one more year to show something.”
Following is this week’s statistical report.
SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT
|Nyquist, Gustav||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||48||17||28||45||24||+8||140|
|Ferraro, Landon||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||47||16||17||33||31||-1||100|
|Andersson, Joakim||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||36||10||17||27||55||+1||84|
|Parkes, Trevor||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||32||3||6||9||35||+7||35|
|Lashoff, Brian||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||36||2||4||6||23||+4||38|
|Tatar, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||44||19||20||39||44||+13||147|
|Almquist, Adam||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||46||6||15||21||26||+3||59|
|Nicastro, Max||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||9||1||1||2||5||+3||7|
|Raedeke, Brent||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||30||3||5||8||36||+1||51|
|Sheahan, Riley||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||47||14||12||26||25||+12||73|
|Aubry, Louis-Marc||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||40||1||4||5||40||-1||54|
|Callahan, Mitchell||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||44||8||7||15||82||+3||73|
|Jurco, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||47||6||7||13||16||-3||64|
|Fournier, Gleason||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||18||1||2||3||23||0||12|
|Coetzee, Willie||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||1||0||0||0||0||-1||0|
|Jensen, Nick||St. Cloud State||WCHA||NCAA||30||3||20||23||12||+9||45|
|De Haas, James||Penticton||USHL/JR-A||BCHL||47||5||18||23||19||–||–|
|Sproul, Ryan||Sault Ste. Marie||CHL||OHL||39||18||40||58||35||+5||–|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Swift Current||CHL||WHL||60||5||18||23||87||-13||–|
|Marchenko, Alexey||CSKA Moscow||EUR||KHL||44||4||5||9||6||-2||46|
GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT
|McCollum, Thomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||21||12||8||1||2||2.81||.898|
|Pearce, Jordan||Grand Rapids||AHL||4||0||3||0||0||4.32||.847|
|Mrazek, Petr||Grand Rapids||AHL||25||16||7||1||1||2.26||.916|