One of the Detroit Red Wings’ offseason objectives was to make sure their Grand Rapids Griffins farm team was more competitive this season. If you are a rebuilding team’s general manager, you want a farm team to be competitive enough to give top prospects a playoff experience. The grind of the American Hockey League postseason is similar to the NHL gauntlet.
The Griffins missed the playoffs for the past two seasons. That trend appears to be coming to an end.
Grand Rapids beat the Belleville Senators 3-0 Friday for their ninth win in their last 12 games. The Griffins are 18-14-4-1 and are in third place in the Central Division. They are only four points out of second place. It seems likely the Griffins will be among playoff qualifiers.
The key has been steady goaltending, strong coaching from Dan Watson and prospects like Jonatan Berggren, Carter Mazur, Simon Edvinsson, Marco Kasper and others stepping up. Berggren had two goals an an assist Friday to lead the offense in the win over Belleville. He leads the team with 31 points in 29 games. Mazur already has 11 goals and Edvinsson and Kasper have 21 and 20 points respectively. Other veterans, such as Austin Czarnik and Zach Aston-Reese, are also making significant contributions.
The Grand Rapids team plays Belleville again tonight looking for its fifth consecutive win. Game-time is 7 p.m.
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) January 27, 2024
Red Wings In Case You Missed It
- Ville Husso looks sharp in his conditioning start for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He posted a 25-save shutout against the Belleville Senators.
- Alex Lyon‘s composure has been critical in helping Detroit climb back into the playoff race.
- Behind Paywall: Valtteri Filppula is almost 40, but he is still helping teams win in Europe.
Red Wings Next Game
This is not the best time for the Red Wings to meet the Vegas Golden Knights (tonight, 8 p.m., Little Caesars Arena). The Golden Knights have earned points in six consecutive games (5-0-1) and seven of their last eight games. Jonathan Marchessault had a hat trick last night as Golden Knights hammered the New York Rangers 5-2 Friday night. Adin Hill played in goal for Vegas. That could mean Logan Thompson could face Detroit tonight. Coming off a shutout, Alex Lyon should be in net for Detroit.
Hockey Now Network
Buffalo: Trading Erik Johnson makes sense for the Buffalo Sabres.
Pittsburgh: Former Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic turned in another sterling performance for the Pittsburgh Penguins, highlighted by a memorable poke-check.
Montreal: Marco D’Amico takes a look at the Montreal Canadiens youngsters who could be leveraged before the trade deadline.
San Jose: Mike Grier offers a state of union address on the San Jose Sharks. He talked about the rebuild timeline, trade deadline strategy and David Quinn’s performance.