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Callahan ‘the type of player you win with’

Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:10 a.m. under 2012-13 RWC Reports
Mitch Callahan

Mitch Callahan (Credit: Mark Newman)

Jeff Blashill admits he didn’t fully appreciate Mitchell Callahan at the start of the season.

“I was wrong about the type of player he is,” the Grand Rapids Griffins first-year head coach said. “He’s a much better player than I gave him credit for at the beginning of the year.”

The gritty 6-foot, 200-pound right-winger came to camp for his American Hockey League sophomore campaign and had to battle — perhaps more than most — to win his new coach’s trust. He eventually earned it, and now receives regular ice time at even strength and on the penalty kill. He has 10 goals and nine assists along with 82 penalty minutes and an average of almost two shots per game in 57 contests.

“Mitch is the type of player you win with,” Blashill said. “He’s very, very strong on the puck, he wins puck battles, he goes to the net hard, he’s got good hands, he’s physical, he’s an agitator and he’ll fight when needed. Those are all assets, that, when you put them all together, that makes you a real good hockey player.”

Callahan, a 2009 sixth-round pick from Whittier, Calif., who played for the 2011 American world junior team, has just four fighting majors this season after recording 62 in four previous seasons according to HockeyFights.com. That might be a sign he’s becoming a more well-rounded player.

“He’s been a real important part of our team,” Blashill said. “He’s just a more effective player than I realized at first. That’s just getting to know your players and maybe just giving him more opportunity … and he took off with it.”

Along with defenseman Mike McKee, Callahan is far and away the grittiest prospect in the Red Wings system, something that could give him a unique advantage in the next two seasons when the Red Wings are looking for call-ups.

NOTES: Defenseman Nick Jensen (St. Cloud State, NCAA) was named WCHA defensive player of the year and an all-WCHA first-team selection, an impressive achievement for the junior. His 19 assists led the WCHA and his 23 points were second, while he recorded a plus-15 rating and 27 blocked shots. The Red Wings often sign their top college prospects after their junior seasons, but Jensen is a late-round pick who might benefit from one more season in college … TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Tuesday the Red Wings will sign free-agent goaltender Jared Coreau out of Northern Michigan. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound junior went 15-19-4 with a 2.70 goals-against average along with a .919 save percentage. He is described as “smooth and athletic” by Red Line Report, which said he “displayed strong mental focus and an ability to steal games” on a weak team. With Jordan Pearce set to become a Group 6 unrestricted free agent, Coreau will give the Red Wings good goaltending depth next season along with Petr Mrazek and Thomas McCollum … Defenseman Ryan Sproul found his way into four categories in the OHL Western Conference coaches poll. He was runaway winner for hardest shot and best offensive defenseman and was runner-up for best skater and best shot … Forward Calle Jarnkrok (Brynas, SEL) was held off the score-sheet in a four-game sweep at the hands of Skelleftea … McKee (Lincoln, USHL) is sitting out four games due to a suspension for racking up too many major penalties. He now has 292 PIMs in 40 games — 115 more than any other player in the league — and his lack of discipline appears to be bothering his head coach. “If this (suspension) doesn’t get the message across to him … He sat in that penalty box for three goals against Fargo the other night. We need him on the ice for 25-plus minutes, as opposed to in the penalty box for 15 minutes,” head coach Chad Johnson told the Lincoln Journal-Star.

Following is this week’s statistical report.

SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE LEVEL GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Nyquist, Gustav Grand Rapids AHL AHL 58 23 37 60 34 +10 169
Ferraro, Landon Grand Rapids AHL AHL 59 18 19 37 39 +2 122
Andersson, Joakim Grand Rapids AHL AHL 36 10 17 27 55 +1 84
Parkes, Trevor Grand Rapids AHL AHL 34 3 6 9 35 +6 39
Lashoff, Brian Grand Rapids AHL AHL 36 2 4 6 23 +4 38
Tatar, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL AHL 48 22 20 42 46 +12 160
Almquist, Adam Grand Rapids AHL AHL 55 6 17 23 30 +5 69
Nicastro, Max Grand Rapids AHL AHL 22 1 2 3 10 +1 16
Raedeke, Brent Grand Rapids AHL AHL 32 3 5 8 36 +1 26
Sheahan, Riley Grand Rapids AHL AHL 60 16 19 35 27 +14 92
Aubry, Louis-Marc Grand Rapids AHL AHL 53 3 7 10 40 0 68
Callahan, Mitchell Grand Rapids AHL AHL 57 10 9 19 82 +1 108
Jurco, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL AHL 60 10 10 20 18 -1 93
Fournier, Gleason Grand Rapids AHL AHL 21 1 3 4 23 -2 15
Nestrasil, Andrej Grand Rapids AHL AHL 20 3 3 6 2 0 22
Coetzee, Willie Grand Rapids AHL AHL 1 0 0 0 0 -1 0
Coetzee, Willie Toledo ECHL ECHL 58 24 34 58 18 -2 242
Nestrasil, Andrej Toledo ECHL ECHL 40 11 30 41 26 +17 113
Fournier, Gleason Toledo ECHL ECHL 14 1 0 1 12 +7 17
Parkes, Trevor Toledo ECHL ECHL 13 11 11 22 6 -1 64
Jensen, Nick St. Cloud State WCHA NCAA 38 4 25 29 12 +21 63
Marshall, Ben Minnesota WCHA NCAA 38 8 11 19 20 +10 70
McKee, Mike Lincoln USHL USHL/JR-A 40 3 18 21 292 +13 60
De Haas, James Penticton BCHL USHL/JR-A 53 5 19 24 19
Frk, Martin Halifax QMJHL CHL 56 35 49 84 84 +31 180
Ouellet, Xavier Blainville-Boisbriand QMJHL CHL 50 10 31 41 44 +14 166
Hudon, Philippe Victoriaville QMJHL CHL 65 15 20 35 63 -1 139
Sproul, Ryan Sault Ste. Marie OHL CHL 50 20 46 66 45 0
Athanasiou, Andreas Barrie OHL CHL 66 29 38 67 30 +13
Quine, Alan Belleville OHL CHL 52 23 44 67 30 +13
Tvrdon, Marek Vancouver WHL CHL 18 8 14 22 16 +2
Nedomlel, Richard Swift Current WHL CHL 72 7 21 28 105 -13
Jarnkrok, Calle Brynas SEL EUR 53 13 29 42 12 -2 136
Backman, Mattias Linkoping SEL EUR 53 2 24 26 34 +5 67
Pulkkinen, Teemu Jokerit FIN EUR 59 14 20 34 49 +5 260
Marchenko, Alexey CSKA Moscow KHL EUR 44 4 5 9 6 -2 46
Bodin, Rasmus Tranas SWE-3 EUR 6 0 3 3 0 -5
Bodin, Rasmus HV-71 SWE-J20 EUR-JR 13 0 1 1 10 -1 11

GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP W L O/S SO GAA SV%
Paterson, Jake Saginaw OHL 50 25 18 5 1 3.53 .901
McCollum, Thomas Grand Rapids AHL 25 14 10 1 2 2.76 .899
Pearce, Jordan Grand Rapids AHL 4 0 3 0 0 4.32 .847
Mrazek, Petr Grand Rapids AHL 34 21 11 1 1 2.32 .918
Mrazek, Petr Toledo ECHL 3 2 1 0 0 2.02 .944
Pearce, Jordan Toledo ECHL 29 15 10 3 2 2.71 .901

SKATERS: PLAYOFF REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE LEVEL GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Marchenko, Alexey CSKA Moscow KHL EUR 5 0 1 1 0 -1 8
Jarnkrok, Calle Brynas SEL EUR 4 0 0 0 6 -3 7
Backman, Mattias Linkoping SEL EUR 4 1 2 3 0 +3 10
De Haas, James Penticton BCHL USHL/JR-A 4 2 2 4 0
19 Comments
  1. Stevie Y says:

    Martin Frk scored 5 goals and added 3 assists tonight in their playoff game against St. John.

  2. dickered says:

    Nhlrick… Mitch is a better fighter than Abdelkader. Hes not going to be a heavyweight but he always fights guys up a weight class from him. In junior he only lost like 3 fights. Hes gritty and great on the forecheck but hes good with the gloves off too. The last 4 years before this one he had 9 or more fights including 20, 19 and 14. Hes just not fighting as much this year because hes got a bigger role and there are more enforcers on the team

  3. sammy says:

    Mitch Callahan = the next Jordin Tootoo

    What’s with McKee? I love that he is more than willing to throw down but he’s hurting his team doing it so often. Needs to learn to pick his spots better. Almost 300 PIM’s?!?! That’s absurd. Hopefully he follows through on his plan to attend Western so he can actually work on his development.

    Also, don’t sleep on Richard Nodemlel. He’s a very physical, tough D-man with top 6 NHL upside.

  4. Stevie Y says:

    Jake Paterson faced 70 shots in a 3-2 double overtime loss on Sunday night. Paterson was named 2nd star for his efforts. Ryan Sproul has 3 assists tonight in game 3 of SSM playoff game 3 against Owen Sound.



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