The Detroit Red Wings’ struggles are having a trickle down negative impact on the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffins (27-30-6) are in sixth place in the American Hockey League’s Central Division.
Only the top five Central Division teams qualify for postseason. As a result, the Griffins are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12.
With 11 games left, the Griffins have 62 points, leaving them three points behind both the Rockford IceHogs and Texas Stars. But the IceHogs have six games in hand and the Stars have three. Grand Rapids has two games remaining with Iowa and one with Rockford.
Making matters worse, seventh place Iowa Wild (58 points) also have five games in hand. As is often the case for AHL teams, NHL call ups have played a role in Grand Rapids’ predicament. Goalie Calvin Pickard is having a quality AHL season, owning a 21-16-5 record with a .918. Since he was called up March 25 and then injured himself, the Griffins are 1-4-1 in the past six. Taro Hirose, one of Grand Rapids’ top point producers, has also had an extended stay in Detroit.
It’s important to the Red Wings that the Griffins be involved in the Calder Cup playoffs. They want their prospects playing in AHL playoff games, Joe Veleno will also likely be sent back to Grand Rapids if they make the playoffs. It’s also tradition for NHL teams to sign top prospects after their college or junior season and send them Immediately to their AHL club.
One of the reasons why the Red Wings appreciate the Griffins is their organization has a history of postseason success.
The Grand Rapids Griffins lost 3-1 to the Milwaukee Admirals Sunday.
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Nate Brown provides five takeaways about the Detroit Red Wings’ second consecutive loss to the Senators.
Michael Rasmussen is one of the few guys on the team that has embraced his role and taken big steps in developing as a player. He’s made himself a better checker, a more physical player and has contributed 10 goals.
Adam Erne has scored one goals in his past 28 games. He hasn’t been the player he was last season.
Around the NHL
Boston: Craig Smith “questionable” against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Calgary: Now we know why Sean Monahan hasn’t been the same player.
Florida: The Florida Panthers‘ only focus is on the Stanley Cup.
Philadelphia: With Claude Giroux gone, Kevin Hayes has filled the leadership void.
Pittsburgh: Jason Zucker “feeling better.” He hopes to return soon.
Vancouver: Vancouver Canucks playoff hopes are slipping away.