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Tatar leads Griffins into AHL semifinals

Published Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 10:11 a.m. under 2012-13 RWC Reports
Tomas Tatar

Tomas Tatar (Credit: Mark Newman/Grand Rapids Griffins)

The Grand Rapids Griffins are in the AHL’s Final Four.

The Griffins finished off the Toronto Marlies in the AHL’s Western Conference quarter-finals on Tuesday night, taking them down 4-2 in the best-of-seven series with a 4-3 victory.

The last time the Griffins made it this far it was 2005-06, when they did it with a roster featuring Jimmy Howard, Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler, Tomas Kopecky, Kyle Quincey, Matt Ellis, Derek Meech and Brett Lebda.

Winger Tomas Tatar and goaltender Petr Mrazek have been among those leading the way. Tatar is tied for seventh in AHL playoff scoring with eight goals and three assists in 11 games while Mrazek has started every minute of every game as a rookie and is 7-4 with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.

Also among the league’s top 20 scorers are centers Landon Ferraro (two goals, seven assists) and Riley Sheahan (one goal, eight assists). Rookie winger Tomas Jurco has four goals and four assists in 11 games.

The Griffins will face the Oklahoma City Barons in the Western Conference final. The Barons, the top minor-league affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, had two fewer wins and one fewer point than the Griffins in the regular season.

NOTES: Defenseman Mattias Backman (Linkopings, Swedish Elite League) has agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract with the Red Wings. It’s valued at $2.1525 million at the NHL level over three seasons. Backman, who had a breakthrough season with two goals and 24 assists in 52 games, is expected to return to Sweden for the 2013-14 season … Center Calle Jarnkrok got bumped from Sweden’s gold-medal-winning lineup in the playoff round at the IIHF world championship after the arrival of NHL reinforcements such as Daniel and Henrik Sedin. He finished with one assist in 10 games … Right-winger Martin Frk (Halifax, QMJHL) is second in scoring at the CHL’s Memorial Cup with four goals and two assists in three games. The Mooseheads have been steamrolling teams, including a 9-2 thumping of the London Knights on Tuesday, and have clinched at least a bye in the semifinals.

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
Jurco, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL AHL 11 4 4 8 6 0 36
Tatar, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL AHL 11 8 3 11 13 +3 40
Ferraro, Landon Grand Rapids AHL AHL 11 2 7 9 4 0 21
Sheahan, Riley Grand Rapids AHL AHL 11 1 8 9 4 +4 24
Almquist, Adam Grand Rapids AHL AHL 11 3 4 7 6 +7 21
Aubry, Louis-Marc Grand Rapids AHL AHL 11 0 0 0 0 +2 13
Callahan, Mitchell Grand Rapids AHL AHL 11 1 1 2 8 -3 11
Fournier, Gleason Grand Rapids AHL AHL 6 0 1 1 2 +2 3
Pulkkinen, Teemu Grand Rapids AHL AHL 11 3 2 5 6 +2 22
Lashoff, Brian Grand Rapids AHL AHL 5 0 0 0 0 -1 4
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 17 13 20 33 32 +13 68
Frk, Martin Halifax MEM CHL 3 4 2 6 8 +5
Hudon, Philippe Victoriaville QMJHL CHL 9 6 1 7 6 +1 24
Ouellet, Xavier B.-Broisbriand QMJHL CHL 15 7 9 16 22 +7 54
Sproul, Ryan Sault Ste. Marie OHL CHL 6 2 3 5 0 -4
Athanasiou, Andreas Barrie OHL CHL 22 12 13 25 11 +6
Quine, Alan Belleville OHL CHL 17 8 7 15 6 +9
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 5 0 4 4 18 0 4

GOALIES: PLAYOFF REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP W L SO GAA SV%
Mrazek, Petr Grand Rapids AHL 11 7 4 2 2.19 .906
Pearce, Jordan Toledo ECHL 4 2 0 1 1.95 .936
Paterson, Jake Saginaw OHL 4 0 4 0 5.36 .860
103 Comments
  1. John P says:

    I still don’t understand the hatred by some fans towards Filppula, the entire Wings teams was playing badly for a good part of the year. I would not judge any player on this season, it was just too messed up. Babcock has never been a fan of Filppula but yet he just said he was the teams 4th best forward. He is a solid two way forward, versatile in that he can play forward or wing. Strong defensively, good on face offs, strong on the puck, great passer. Nyquist or Tatar can’t replace him, they don’t have the versatility. Even though Filppula has always been a hard worker, he has always been Babcock’s whipping boy, Every year he seems to call him out in public, yet he puts him out there when the game is on the line. This year he criticized him for not shooting more, when at the time Fil had a shoulder injury which was limiting his ability to shoot. After that I noticed Filppula’s game was not the same. Even now Babcock just said that he would like to keep Filppula, saying the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. Strange statement if your trying to keep him. I think Filppula is gone, if it wasn’t for Babcock’s badgering I think he would have signed for a discount, but I think he will move on to a team that will appreciate him.

  2. John P says:

    Oh, the original reason i came hear, I got sidetracked by all the Filppula talk. The Grand Rapid Griffins Will be in the Calder Cup Finals for the first time in their history. This has to be great news for the Wings. I think there are a lot of future NHL players on the Griffins, but I wonder if any of these players will turn out to be an elite NHL player. I think to go this far in the playoffs there has to be something special about this team and some of the players. I personally think Nyquist and Mrazek will be elite NHL players. To go this far they have to have a strong D and I think someone slipping under the radar is Adam Almquist, he seems to be dismissed by a lot of people because of his size, even though he is the same size as Erik Karlsson. Just wondering who everyone thinks about this team and the players potential.

  3. iNcHicORe says:

    To be fair, Babcock rides on everyone’s coattails. I don’t expect that to be a big factor in Filppula’s decision, but he’s made it clear he wants to shop around.

    Thank you, KRSmith for your analysis. I was factoring in the lowered cap hit when I gawked at four million, but given the names on that list, I’d take him for four. It’s a shame he got beat up all year, but it does lower his asking price, so it helps us in the long run (if we resign him).

    I agree that Almquist gets overlooked (because of his size AND because of guys like Sproul, Dekeyser, Jensen, Ouellet, Backstrom, etc.), but scouts have compared him to Brian Rafalski, and his frame is only slightly slighter than his was. I don’t get to see many Griffins games, but I watch the highlights, and Almquist impresses me a lot.

  4. Patrick Johnson says:

    I have always liked Almquist.. but as with many Griffins, because of depth and such tremendous skill in drafting, I doubt he will get a chance with the Wings other than an injury call up… as it is we are set at 8 defenseman. Next on the call-up list might be Almquist… but that likely depends on who gets injured and how the team is doing…

  5. Patrick Johnson says:

    As for Hudler and Filppula… i like them both, but because of cap restrictions and the fact that the time is now for many of our young forwards, Holland and Babcock should realize it is time to move on from Cleary, Miller, White, and Filppula…

    Filppula has long been the subject of criticism for his lack of shooting the puck, and like many other fins, it isnt likely to change. Other than Teemu, what fin shoots the puck first? I cant think of any… not Mikko, not Saku, not Miettinen, not Tuomo, not Jarkko, not Jussi (maybe the closest to a shoot first)…… etc…

  6. Patrick Johnson says:

    Uh oh KR… Babs just said he likes Miller… I guess that means he gets re-signed too…..

  7. Robert Goulet says:

    “Oh, the original reason i came hear, I got sidetracked by all the Filppula talk. The Grand Rapid Griffins Will be in the Calder Cup Finals for the first time in their history. This has to be great news for the Wings. I think there are a lot of future NHL players on the Griffins, but I wonder if any of these players will turn out to be an elite NHL player. I think to go this far in the playoffs there has to be something special about this team and some of the players. I personally think Nyquist and Mrazek will be elite NHL players. To go this far they have to have a strong D and I think someone slipping under the radar is Adam Almquist, he seems to be dismissed by a lot of people because of his size, even though he is the same size as Erik Karlsson. Just wondering who everyone thinks about this team and the players potential.”

    I agree with this…I believe both Ny and Mraz…have the potential to reach great heights…and I believe Almer is the sleeper

  8. Patrick Johnson says:

    I feel that of our players in GR, Nyquist and Mrazek will be elite, but not far behind I feel Jurco, Sheahan, Ferraro, and Pulkinnen… (Jarnkrok isnt playing with them right now)

    Also I want the team to take a close look at signing Luke Glendening this offseason to a Pro contract…

  9. krsmith17 says:

    I agree 110% on John P’s assessment of Filppula. Well said. As for all the Filppula haters, only time will tell what will happen with Fil so let’s put that topic aside and discuss the more important topic that we should all agree on… the future in HockeyTown is extremely bright! I’ve probably only watched a dozen Griffins games all year and that was during the lockout but I’ve watched almost every game during the playoffs and I’m really liking what I’m seeing from our guys.

    It’s quite obvious that Nyquist is a future star with the Red Wings, he reminds me so much of Datsyuk in the way he stick handles and picks the pocket of opponents. If he can become half the player Datsyuk has been for us, I will be happy but I really think he is going to surprise a lot of people. He will, without a doubt be a top line player in the NHL for many, many years.

    Then there’s Tomas Tatar. I will be very honest, I have been very skeptical of Tatar for years, mainly because of his lack of size. But he has really impressed me this year. He plays a big body game, is really hard on the puck and competes and works his *ss off every shift. I still don’t see him as a top line guy in the NHL but a very solid 2nd or 3rd line winger for sure.

    One player that I’m extremely excited about is Tomas Jurco. He had a really slow start to the season but that is to be expected for a young European in his first year pro. But every game I’ve seen him play in these playoffs, he has stood out to me. He is another guy that tries to model his game after Datsyuk but he really reminds me of a cross breed between Hossa and Malkin. He is deceptively quick for his size, has silky smooth hands and a quick release. I’ve been following him closely for the past two seasons and he has scored some beautiful goals with the Sea Dogs and Griffins but for anyone that didn’t watch his game winning goal from lastnight, I highly recommend you check it out. He comes through center ice with a full head of steam and splits two defenders and snaps a shot short side for the win. What a beauty. I think he is going to be a very solid 1st or 2nd line winger in the NHL in 3 years from now.

    I really like Joakim Andersson and love what he brings to the team, but I think he is going to be a 3rd line center or maybe a 2nd line winger at best, as well as a great penalty killer.

    For all the hype on Riley Sheahan, I really am not impressed. In the games I’ve seen he has been a non-factor. I know he has 11 points in 18 playoff games, which is pretty solid but his overall game has not impressed me. People keep talking about him like he will be a top line player for the Wings in a couple years. I just don’t see it, but I really hope I’m wrong. I see him as a 3rd or 4th line guy that can kill penalties at the NHL level.

    I really like what I’ve seen from Landon Ferraro and Francis Pare. They both play with a lot of energy and I think either of them have the potential to make the NHL, although probably nothing more than a 4th line, penalty killing role.

    I’ve always liked Jan Mursak and think he has played really well this year for the Griffins but unfortunately he is signed to play over in the KHL next year.

    Brian Lashoff has really come a long way since signing with the Griffins as a free agent back in ’08. I never expected him to mature into such a solid defenseman, but he has really impressed me. I think he will be a solid 3rd pairing shutdown guy in the NHL for years to come.

    I definitely agree on Adam Almqvist. I think he is going to turn out to be another great, late round find for us. He has unbelievable mobility and vision for such a young defenseman in his first year in North America. I agree on the comparison to Rafalski and if he can be anything like Rafi was in his prime he will be a solid 2nd or 3rd pairing guy in the NHL.

    Petr Mrazek has been great all year and into the playoffs. He still has a lot to work on in his game, he has some games when he looks like nobody in the world would be able to put the puck past him and then he has other games where he looks very mediocre. He still lets in the scattered weak goal but every goalie does, and his compete level is second to none, so I’m not worried. He should definitely be a starter in the NHL in a few years from now.

    The Griffins are now in the Calder Cup finals for the first time in their history but they’re definitely in tough against Syracuse. They have a really good team but hopefully we can pull off a championship. As great as this team has been, I think they’re going to be even better next season. We will lose some great players, but there are a lot more due to fill in next season. Calle Jarnkrok, Teemu Pulkkinen, Marty Frk, Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, etc, etc… The future of the Red Wings is a lot brighter than a lot of people realize. Go Wings!

    On a side note, I’ve been paying $10.99 on AHL live for every individual playoff game… is there a cheaper way to watch the games or a FREE site that anyone knows about? It would be greatly appreciated. I’ve spent around $100 dollars to watch Griffins hockey during the playoffs this year…

  10. krsmith17 says:

    @Patrick Johnson – I get what you’re saying about Fins not having a shoot first mentality but that’s pretty common in Europeans in general. Most of them are set-up guys and they are needed on a team just as much as the snipers are. Filppula is a set-up guy and a damn good one. I understand that we have enough of that variety and we do need a pure goal scorer but there isn’t much available in that. Like Ken Holland often says, there isn’t a goal scorer store or a power forward store is there? It isn’t as simple as picking up the phone and you have the player you want / need. You need to build through the draft so yes, we need to draft a couple big body, pure goal scorers.

    But I should point out that your list of players is pretty vague… What about Olli Jokinen, Jari Kurri, Jere Lehtinen? Also, as I would consider Saku more of a pass first guy, Mikko is definitely a shoot first guy.

    And why was “Babs just said he likes Miller… I guess that means he gets re-signed too…” directed at me? I didn’t say anything about Babcock saying anything about Filppula, that was John P…

  11. Patrick Johnson says:

    Kurri and Lehtinen are retired but i will eat my words on those 2…and Olli nor Mikko are not a shoot first type guys…
    Olli- 299 career goals 398 career assists
    Mikko-119 goals 279 assists…
    I am hoping our other Fin turns out to be un-like the others… (Pulkinnen)

    Holland HAS drafted pure snipers over the last couple years… Ferraro (2009), Pulkinnen(2010), Jurco(2011), and Frk(2012)

    Your assessment on Jurco is great other than the player he plays like. He has long been compared to a mix between Hossa and Gaborik (not Malkin). I think most people talk a lot about Sheahan because he is a big body player… something no one else in our forward prospect corp has. Who knows though, his youtube stick handling could have been just a snapshot of anything. I heard a guy on NHL network today compare Mrazrek to a young Dom Hasek… we can only hope…

    the only one i really disagree on is Landon Ferraro…the only thing that is going to hinder his top 6 potential will be his size… but the same could have been said of other small top 6 players throughout the history of the NHL (Zach Parise, Scott Gomez, Steve Sullivan, etc.) he has a great scoring touch and I think could make an excellent call-up at some point next season

  12. Patrick Johnson says:

    he is compared to Gabby more often because of his accuracy and power on snap/wrist shots while in stride

    Guess i should have clarified that**
    Bleacher report compares him to Blake Wheeler when he was drafted



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