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Red Wings Benefit From Griffins Playoff Berth



Sebastian cossa, detroit red wings

Famed writer and director Orson Welles once made a wine commercial famous by proclaiming the company would never sell a wine “before its time.” Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has a similar approach when it comes to Red Wings draft picks.

The Hall of Fame player won’t promote prospects before their time. Yzerman has said he believes it is detrimental for a prospect to go back and forth from AHL to the NHL. When he calls them up, he wants them ready to stay up. He wants them to gain the full benefit of a minor-league experience, including playing in the postseason.

That’s why the Red Wings organization is pleased to have the Grand Rapids Griffins playing their first home playoff game since 2019. The puck drops at 7 p.m. tonight at Van Andel Arena for Game 2 of their five-game series against the Rockford IceHogs.

“We’re somewhat pleased with the development of our organization, the play with some of our younger players, not only in Detroit but in Grand Rapids and some of the younger players that haven’t turned professional yet,” Yzerman said in his season-ending press conference.

The key player for Grand Rapids against Rockford might be goalie Sebastian Cossa. He was 5-2-1 with a 1.98 GAA and a .920 SV% in eight games. Mazur netted three goals against Rockford this season.

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The Red Wings have three first round picks (Simon Edvinsson, Marco Kasper and Sebastian Cossa) and three second-round picks (Antti Tuomisto, William Wallinder and Albert Johansson. And that doesn’t count Jonatan Berggren, Carter Mazur and Elmer Soderblom who combined for 54 goals this season. Kasper netted 14 goals.

This should be a competitive first-round matchup, evidenced by Game 1. The Griffins won that game 3-2 on Berggren’s overtime goal. Grand Rapids won the regular-season series 6-4-2-0.

The Griffins started to come together under first-year coach Dan Watson around Christmas.  At that time, Griffins were tied for the fourth-lowest points percentage in the AHL with a 9-13-3-1 record (.423). Grand Rapids then started to pile up the points. The team owned the fifth-highest points percentage in the AHL since Dec. 27 with a 28-10-5-3 mark (.696). The Griffins, in sixth place at the holiday break, quickly climbed into second place in the Central Division, which was their best finish since the 2017-18 season.