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Griffins poised for playoff push

Published Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 9:30 a.m. under 2012-13 RWC Reports
Tomas Jurco

Tomas Jurco (Credit: Mark Newman)

The Grand Rapids Griffins are back in the playoffs and the Detroit Red Wings sound pretty happy about it.

Under the guidance of head coach Jeff Blashill, the Griffins ended a run of three straight non-playoff finishes, winning the Midwest Division title and placing fourth in the Western Conference with a 42-26-8 record and 92 points. They open the AHL first round against the Houston Aeros on Friday.

Not only have the Griffins continued to win after graduating Brendan Smith, Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Brian Lashoff to the NHL, they also have a handful of other youngsters who could be wearing Red Wings jerseys in the next couple of seasons.

“They’ve got a lot of kids down there that we (like),” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said on CBC’s After Hours program on Saturday night. “Landon Ferraro, Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar … We’ve got some kids, some forwards, coming through the organization. I’m not going to tell you they’re going to be superstars, but we think we’ve got a lot of real good, solid players who can develop into real good pros. And in the meantime, you hope one or two players turn out better than you (projected).”

Tatar, second in Griffins scoring with 23 goals and 26 assists for 49 points in 61 games, is clearly ready to graduate to the NHL next season — if not sooner. Sheahan, a big, strong rookie who had 36 points in 72 games, and Ferraro, a two-way center who was third on the team with 47 points in 72 games, are likely another season away. Jurco, a highly-skilled rookie who closed out the year with seven goals and seven assists for 14 points in his final 22 games, will need another two full seasons on the farm.

Not to be forgotten is Petr Mrazek, who is showing signs of becoming a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL. As a pro rookie, he appeared in the AHL All-Star Game, made his NHL debut, and was stellar in the Griffins’ net with a 23-16-2 record, a 2.33 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.

“The future is brighter in Detroit than maybe a lot of people think,” Holland said.

NOTES: Defenseman Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) won the Max Kaminsky trophy as the OHL’s defenseman of the year last week. Sproul led the league in defense scoring with 20 goals and 46 assists for 66 points in just 50 games. Current Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl was runner-up to Marc Staal for the award in 2006-07. Greyounds GM Kyle Doubas said in a press release that Sproul’s combination of “elite skating and shooting ability” made him one of the “biggest scoring threats in our league.” Sproul, who can play in the AHL without burning a year off his entry-level contract, has no points and seven shots since joining Grand Rapids … Winger Teemu Pulkkinen. in the first season of a three-year entry-level contract, has an assist and three shots in two games since joining the Griffins … Goaltender Jake Paterson was released from his amateur tryout with the Griffins, while defenseman Richard Nedomlel remains … Winger Martin Frk (Halifax, QMJHL) scored the overtime winner to lift the Mooseheads to a 5-4 win over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Sunday. The Mooseheads are up 3-0 in the QMJHL semifinal and Frk has 21 points in 11 post-season contests, fourth on the team … Defenseman Mike McKee (Lincoln, USHL) has four assists in four playoff games, tied for the league lead among defensemen.

SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE LEVEL GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Jarnkrok, Calle Grand Rapids AHL AHL 9 0 3 3 0 +3 10
Sproul, Ryan Grand Rapids AHL AHL 2 0 0 0 2 -1 7
Pulkkinen, Teemu Grand Rapids AHL AHL 2 0 1 1 2 -1 3
Nyquist, Gustav Grand Rapids AHL AHL 58 23 37 60 34 +10 169
Ferraro, Landon Grand Rapids AHL AHL 72 24 23 47 44 +6 156
Andersson, Joakim Grand Rapids AHL AHL 36 10 17 27 55 +1 84
Parkes, Trevor Grand Rapids AHL AHL 36 3 6 9 35 +5 43
Lashoff, Brian Grand Rapids AHL AHL 37 2 4 6 23 +6 40
Tatar, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL AHL 61 23 26 49 50 +8 205
Almquist, Adam Grand Rapids AHL AHL 68 10 21 31 34 +13 93
Nicastro, Max Grand Rapids AHL AHL 25 1 2 3 10 0 18
Raedeke, Brent Grand Rapids AHL AHL 38 3 6 9 43 +1 29
Sheahan, Riley Grand Rapids AHL AHL 72 16 20 36 33 +5 115
Aubry, Louis-Marc Grand Rapids AHL AHL 64 4 8 12 60 -2 80
Callahan, Mitchell Grand Rapids AHL AHL 71 11 9 20 93 -3 136
Jurco, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL AHL 74 14 14 28 22 +6 119
Fournier, Gleason Grand Rapids AHL AHL 30 1 5 6 23 -1 24
Nestrasil, Andrej Grand Rapids AHL AHL 25 3 3 6 2 +1 28
Coetzee, Willie Grand Rapids AHL AHL 1 0 0 0 0 -1 0
Coetzee, Willie Toledo ECHL ECHL 64 28 40 68 22 +6 260
Nestrasil, Andrej Toledo ECHL ECHL 40 11 30 41 26 +17 113
Fournier, Gleason Toledo ECHL ECHL 15 1 0 1 12 +8 19
Parkes, Trevor Toledo ECHL ECHL 19 14 16 30 6 +6 86
Jensen, Nick St. Cloud State WCHA NCAA 42 4 27 31 14 +19 76
Marshall, Ben Minnesota WCHA NCAA 40 8 11 19 20 +8 73
McKee, Mike Lincoln USHL USHL/JR-A 42 3 18 21 292 +15 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 31 18 11 2 2 2.63 .904
Pearce, Jordan Grand Rapids AHL 4 0 3 0 0 4.32 .847
Mrazek, Petr Grand Rapids AHL 42 23 16 2 1 2.33 .916
Mrazek, Petr Toledo ECHL 3 2 1 0 0 2.02 .944
Pearce, Jordan Toledo ECHL 31 15 11 3 2 2.76 .899

SKATERS: PLAYOFF REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE LEVEL GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Coetzee, Willie Toledo ECHL ECHL 6 0 4 4 2 -4 6
Parkes, Trevor Toledo ECHL ECHL 6 3 2 5 6 -1 26
Nestrasil, Andrej Toledo ECHL ECHL 4 1 2 3 0 -3 17
Nicastro, Max Toledo ECHL ECHL 4 1 0 1 0 -2 3
Marchenko, Alexey CSKA Moscow KHL EUR 7 0 0 0 0 -1 5
Jarnkrok, Calle Brynas SEL EUR 4 0 0 0 6 -3 7
Backman, Mattias Linkoping SEL EUR 10 2 4 6 4 +6 15
Pulkkinen, Teemu Jokerit FIN EUR 6 2 3 5 2 +2 38
Frk, Martin Halifax QMJHL CHL 11 9 12 21 20 +6 50
Hudon, Philippe Victoriaville QMJHL CHL 9 6 1 7 6 +1 24
Ouellet, Xavier B.-Broisbriand QMJHL CHL 11 3 8 11 18 +9 36
Sproul, Ryan Sault Ste. Marie OHL CHL 6 2 3 5 0 -4
Athanasiou, Andreas Barrie OHL CHL 11 6 9 15 2 +10
Quine, Alan Belleville OHL CHL 13 3 7 10 9 +6
Nedomlel, Richard Swift Current WHL CHL 5 0 1 1 2 -2
De Haas, James Penticton BCHL USHL/JR-A 15 3 6 9 8
McKee, Mike Lincoln USHL USHL/JR-A 4 0 4 4 16 +2 3

GOALIES: PLAYOFF REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP W L SO GAA SV%
Pearce, Jordan Toledo ECHL 4 2 0 1 1.95 .936
Paterson, Jake Saginaw OHL 4 0 4 0 5.36 .860
22 Comments
  1. YVR says:

    Thanks Downey20 for the lesson on the status of DRW goaltending situation. I had no idea that it was that complicated (sic), but now it is crystal clear. But when you used Gustavsson and capable in the same sentence, I lost all respect for your essay. Sure glad I did not pose a real problem.

  2. Downey20 says:

    YVR,

    I can certainly understand your sentiment toward Gustavsson, but in my opinion his “sampling” as a Red Wing isn’t large enough to write off his capability. He’s had only four starts this season. He peformed satisfactorily in all but one of them. His three other appearances were all in relief of Jimmy when the team in front of him was already playing like garbage.

    My earlier response was purely in speculation. I could always be wrong. I used a knowledge of Holland’s usual approach with young players and a couple of past situations to illustrate a possible outcome. The condescending nature of your last comment hardly seems called for… Just sayin’.

  3. iNcHicORe says:

    Downey20,

    Your incites are appreciated. We don’t all have to agree, but I think your argument makes sense considering Jimmy’s new contract. Also, with the upside Mrazek has, it would be a shame to sit him on the bench all year when he could be boosting his play down in GR (and by extension helping a lot of other prospects along).

  4. Huss says:

    “But when you used Gustavsson and capable in the same sentence, I lost all respect for your essay.”

    This is why you can’t have nice things, YVR. Downey20 gave you a very clear and concise rundown of our goaltending situation, and you respond with snark. Grow up, man.

  5. Stevie Y says:

    Here is the way I see the goaltending situation. Howie is the #1 until his contract runs out. Gustavsson backs up next year then Mrazek is the backup in 2014-15. He will take over as the #1 when Howie’s contarct is done as long as he continues to develop into a legitimate #1. McCollum may return to Grand Rapids to share the job with Mrazek and then get the #1 in 2014-15. By then Paterson will push McCollum for games in Grand Rapids. Its anyones guess what happens from there.

  6. Tom Rady says:

    Mcollum had a much better year this year and has put himslef back in the conversation. My understanding is that Coreau will play at Toledo next year and get some games at Grand Rapids. Remember, the wings share Toledo with the Hawks so the other Toledo goalie has to be Chicago property.

    I think Pearce has decided to go to medical school. He has not been the same after being injured two years ago.

  7. dickered says:

    Mccollum is brutal, hes barely capable in the AHL and definitely isnt starter material at that level. Hilarious how weird goalies are, first rounder is garbage and Mrazek has turned into one of the best goalie prospects out there



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