Ice time is suddenly a lot harder to come by with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
With the Detroit Red Wings assigning what amounts to an entire NHL line — Patrick Eaves, Jordin Tootoo and Cory Emmerton — to their top American Hockey League affiliate this season, the moves have no doubt put a squeeze on a number of young forwards trying to establish themselves with the reigning Calder Cup champion.
That’s not even mentioning Gustav Nyquist, who — deserving of an NHL job long ago — is stashed in the minors and leading the Griffins in scoring due to his cap hit and waiver-exempt status.
While the moves probably won’t hurt top-line talents such as Calle Jarnkrok and Tomas Jurco, they will most assuredly take ice time from players lower on the depth chart, including top-10 prospects Riley Sheahan and Landon Ferraro as well as sniper Teemu Pulkkinen and Tootoo-type grinder Mitchell Callahan. Perhaps the biggest impact is on fringe AHLers such as Martin Frk, Marek Tvrdon and Andrej Nestrasil, who will barely get a sniff in Grand Rapids as long as four NHLers are in town.
“Every player brings different things to the table, so we try to do our best to put them in a position to be successful,” Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill told MLive.com, regarding how he approaches fitting players into the lineup.
It’s not all bad news: the reassignments give the Red Wings tremendous depth if injuries strike and create heavy competition among prospects to earn their ice time with not just their talent but hard work. As the old adage goes, the cream always rises to the top.
NOTES: Right-winger Anthony Mantha (Val-d’Or, QMJHL) is making his pitch for a spot on the Canadian world junior team during the CHL-Russia Super Series. He had the game-winning goal and an assist in the QMJHL’s 3-2 win over Russia on Nov. 18. The two teams square off again on Nov. 20 … Red Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin apparently had this advice for Mantha after training camp ended, per NHL.com: “In order to play in the NHL you need to be a 200-foot player, so that’s what you’ll have to go back and work on and do all the little things.” … High praise for Luke Glendening from Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock, per MLive.com: “He plays good every time he’s (in Detroit). He’s just smart. Good player, good faceoff guy, real good penalty kill guy. We don’t hide him when we play him. He goes right on the penalty kill. He does good things for us. We think he’s an NHL guy.” … Jurco is on a hot streak, with four goals and three assists in his past four games, including a hat trick on Nov. 15. Said Blashill to MLive.com: “I liked his effort and attention to detail (on Nov. 15). Sometimes the puck goes in and sometimes it doesn’t, but when he plays like he did tonight, he’s going to get lots of chances to score.” … Jarnkrok is also coming around offensively as many have hoped he would, with three goals and three assists in his past seven games … Left-winger Andreas Athanasiou (Barrie, OHL) signed his three-year entry-level contract this week. No surprise there, and the speedster is coming alive lately: five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in his past 12 games … Left-winger David Pope (West Kelowna, BCHL) has been sidelined with an undisclosed injury. He’s played in just 10 of 21 games this season … Defenseman Marc McNulty (Prince George, WHL) is also sidelined with a leg injury … Right-winger Trevor Parkes (Toledo, ECHL) is making the most of his stint with the Walleye and has a team-leading 14 points in 12 games.
Sarah Lindenau contributed to this report.
SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT
|Almquist, Adam||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||13||0||8||8||14||-2||29|
|Callahan, Mitchell||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||16||5||4||9||18||+7||35|
|Jurco, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||16||9||10||19||6||+7||42|
|Marchenko, Alexey||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||16||1||8||9||2||+6||2|
|Sheahan, Riley||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||13||2||3||5||8||+1||19|
|Sproul, Ryan||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||16||5||7||12||6||+9||36|
|Glendening, Luke||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||9||3||3||6||14||+6||12|
|Jarnkrok, Calle||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||16||5||5||10||4||+8||38|
|Pulkkinen, Teemu||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||16||7||6||13||12||+7||36|
|Frk, Martin||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||6||0||0||0||6||-3||3|
|Tvrdon, Marek||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||1||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|Ferraro, Landon||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||13||3||3||6||8||0||38|
|Aubry, Louis-Marc||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||1||0||0||0||5||0||1|
|Fournier, Gleason||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||3||0||0||0||0||+2||2|
|Nestrasil, Andrej||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||16||2||3||5||10||+4||17|
|Ouellet, Xavier||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||14||0||3||3||+6||20|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||2||0||0||2||-1||1|
|Nastasiuk, Zach||Owen Sound||OHL||CHL||24||9||11||20||10||-7||–|
|McNulty, Marc||Prince George||WHL||CHL||21||4||6||10||40||0||–|
|De Haas, James||Clarkson||ECAC||NCAA||14||2||3||5||10||-2||20|
|McKee, Mike||W. Michigan||BIG-10||NCAA||7||0||0||0||40||-1||0|
|Pope, David||W. Kelowna||USHL/JR-A||JR-A||10||6||4||10||2||–||–|
GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT
|Coreau, Jared||Grand Rapids||AHL||1||0||1||0||0||3.82||.846|
|Mrazek, Petr||Grand Rapids||AHL||7||4||2||1||0||2.79||.904|