Red Wings of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them as they advance through the Detroit organization. Today, we look at center Chase Pearson.
How Acquired: Selected 140th overall in 2015 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: (GP G-A-Pts) 50-7-11-18 (with Grand Rapids Griffins)
Contract Status: One-year deal for $917,831, $70,000 in the minors
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
The Detroit Red Wings brass may believe Chase Pearson can play in the NHL. What they don’t know is whether he can make a difference in the NHL.
Grand Rapids coach Ben Simon told Pearson at his season-ending meeting that his focus coming into the 2022-23 season must be on proving he has the drive to take that next step. Two seasons ago, Pearson had a strong AHL season. He posted eight goals and 22 points in 28 games. But last season, Pearson had less of an impact for the Griffins.
“We just have to make sure he’s ready to go next season,” Simon said.
— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) October 2, 2021
Pearson, 24, did get three games with the Red Wings and didn’t look out of place. Even if he’s a bottom six forward, the Red Wings need him to do more than just blend in.
He’s a 6-foot-3 center with a strong understanding of how he needs to play to be effective.The Red Wings believe in him enough to sign him for another season. But they want to see more from him, more consistency and more production.
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
Ben Simon clearly appreciates Pearson’s potential. But Pearson will be 25 on Aug. 23. If he doesn’t earn more time with the Red Wings this season, he may need a fresh start with another organization. That could come this season because Pearson is no longer waiver-exempt. He will have to be put through waivers to be sent to Grand Rapids.
It’s possible he would be claimed by another team.
Pearson has already played parts of four seasons with Grand Rapids. His resume shows 147 games with the Griffins.
Another issue that will impact Pearson is Steve Yzerman’s draft classes are also moving closer to being NHL-ready. Competition for jobs in Detroit is becoming intense. It’s growing harder for Pearson to stake his claim for a roster spot.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he goes on to have a career, whether it’s with Detroit or someone else, and plays another 15 years as an NHL player because he has a lot of the tools and physical attributes to become an NHL player,” Simon said. “He’s got to hunker down and have the desire to want it.
Added Simon: “He’s got qualities that you can’t teach.”