Chase Pearson, 24, has spent parts of four seasons in the AHL trying to prove he belongs in the NHL and tonight his perseverance will be rewarded.
With Filip Zadina ill and Givani Smith injured, the Red Wings called up Pearson to play against the New York Islanders.
“I guess you could say stereotypical dream come true,” Pearson said. “I grew up wanting to play in the NHL and finally get a chance. I’m really excited.”
The Red Wings signed Pearson in 2019 after he played three seasons at the University of Maine. Pearson is the son of Scott Pearson who played 292 games in the NHL. Scott scored 19 goals for the Edmonton Oilers in 1993-94.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 24, 2022
“(Chase is) a guy who can play center,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “That allows for some flexibility. He’s got good size. When he plays good he’s aggressive and he’s a big body. Against a team like the Islanders, the bigger the bodies the better. So bring`ing the big body up helps.”
Chase Pearson is 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and this could be a good opportunity for him to audition for a bottom six spot on next season’s Detroit squad.
“Great for him,” Blashill said. “That’s what happens after the trade deadline lots of times, guys get opportunities, especially if you end up with injury situations. I think it’s great for him. He gets a chance to have the opportunity.”
Blashill will be looking for Pearson to be assertive.
“You go out and play great and play great within your skill-set,” Blashill said. “He brings elements to our team. Can bring defensive responsibility for sure. He can bring a big body, he’s strong on the puck, be a net presence, be physical. I don’t think he’ll get an opportunity tonight but he’ll eventually be a good penalty killer. If he can do those things, then he starts to show that he can be a guy who can make his way into our lineup. From there, you try to build your way up.”
Dad Coming to NY
Pearson said his dad, stepmom and a couple of buddies will be in New York for his NHL debut. His dad played a couple of games for the Islanders (1999-00) late in his career.
“To be able to play, especially in front of him,” he said. “(Dad) played a few games himself. Having him here will be special for me.”
Chase Pearson has seven goals and 17 points in 47 games for Grand Rapids. Coming into the season, Pearson was considered a candidate for a fourth line spot. But the offseason additions of Carter Rowney and Mitchell Stephens hurt his chances.
Pearson said his dad is just as excited he is.
It’s an interesting coincidence that Pearson will launch his NHL career playing on a line with Gagner whose dad dad Dave Gagner also played in the NHL.
“I know a few players around my age and their dads also played in the NHL,” Pearson said. ” Having people like that around me helped and I’m sure it helped Gags.
Pearson is a little older than most first-timers. He feels some added pressure to make something happen.
“There’s obviously that added pressure a little bit,” Pearson said. “I think spending a few years down there before I get that chance will ultimately help me tonight.