Goalie Calvin Pickard could be a big help in helping the Grand Rapid Griffins make the AHL playoffs. But it is unclear whether he will recover from his injury in time to rejoin the team.
“I don’t know the answer whether he’ll get back in the action or not,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said.
Pickard has out of action since injuring himself while playing for the Red Wings against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 27.
Meanwhile, the Griffins are fighting for their playoff lives. The top five teams in the AHL Central make the playoffs, and the Griffins are sixth in points, one point behind the Texas Stars. But teams are not playing a balanced schedule. Thus, the standings are determined by points percentage. That means the Griffins are in seventh at .485. Iowa is sixth at .500 and Texas fifth at .516.
“He’s doing his rehab in Grand Rapids where his family is, so I don’t know that answer to if he’ll get back or not,” Blashill said. “He’s running out of runway down there, too. We’ll see.”
Pickard has had strong AHL season, posting a 2.58 goals-against average with .918 save percentage. His Griffins’ record is 21-16-5.
Goalie Victor Brattstrom did come up with a critical 35-save performance in a 2-1 win against the Cleveland Monsters. Brattstrom survived a 12-round shootout. But Brattstrom is 7-13-3 with 3.33 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.
Getting Grand Rapids into the playoffs is important for the rebuilding Red Wings. They want to see their prospects play meaningful games in May.
The Griffins are getting some help because the Red Wings have returned Taro Hirose to the Griffins to make room for Mitchell Stephens’ return from injury. Hirose has been one of the Griffins’ top offensive players this season with 45 points in 52 games. He had four points for the Red Wings in 12 games. The Griffins have struggled to score recently and Hirose is a table setter.
The Griffins are trying to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Their next game is Saturday at Toronto.