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Abel to Yzerman

On The College UFA Players The Wings Signed Yesterday

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Red Wings signed forwards Ryan Kuffner of Princeton and Taro Hirose of Michigan State to two-year entry-level contracts.

The pair of skilled wingers will be with the Red Wings for the remainder of the season and are expected to join the lineup in the next week to 10 days. The Canadian natives need to get their visas changed from academic to professional status. Kuffner is flying to Detroit Wednesday. Hirose will arrive Thursday.

“They were the top two free agent players we liked as a staff,” Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings’ director of player evaluation, said. “I don’t want to put who was No. 1 and who was No. 2 because they are different-type players. Ryan plays a little bit lower in the O-zone and Taro generally is the flank guy. (Hirose) would be more of a set-up guy, playmaker, whereas Ryan likes to be a little bit more of a shooter. They’re very complementary to each other.”

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Primis's avatar

Both are good signings.  They’re “free”, and there’s no real downside, only potential upside.  Worst case scenario is the two become good AHLers, which still makes them valuable .

DET has a pretty good track record with undrafted FA’s though.

Posted by Primis on 03/13/19 at 10:25 AM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

Larkin played 35 games and had 15 goals and 32 assists at UM so even though they weren’t drafted they might turn out better than some of the defensive only players the Wings have. Larkin is a great skater however so had an advantage when he started. Different roles for different players.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 03/13/19 at 11:36 AM ET


Interesting signings, I look forward to seeing them play.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 03/13/19 at 12:00 PM ET


Larkin had three years? four years? less development than Hirose, I think. Hirose is already 22. Larkin is 22. Hirose is actually a month older than Larkin. I think it’s safe to say Larkin would have set the NCAA record for scoring if he had played this year at Michigan.

All college freshmen are not the same.

Posted by teldar on 03/13/19 at 12:28 PM ET

duhduhduh's avatar

would have set the NCAA record for scoring if he had played this year at Michigan.

Uh, Dave Debol in 1977:

As a senior, Debol led the WCHA in scoring with 43 goals and 56 assists.

Posted by duhduhduh on 03/13/19 at 12:41 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

I love how our team is turning into a bunch of (sort-of) Michigan guys.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 03/13/19 at 12:54 PM ET


Duh, impressive and unanticipated. I should have said that a 22 y.o. Larkin as is would probably have been the best ever college hockey player. Debol put up some crazy stats. What would Larkin have done this year against college competition? And I still think it’s possible he would have set NCAA scoring records, as he is.

Posted by teldar on 03/13/19 at 12:59 PM ET


Whats with all the whining over these signings?  These are good signings.  All upside, no downside.
Both players are 22yo and are both in Larkin’s draft/age class. So still young.  They get signed to 2 yr ELC’s and can be cut loose after that if they don’t pan out.  Or they could be good depth signings for GR if they can’t make the NHL.

MSU’s Hirose is the more interesting player to me.  He was good on a bad MSU team, not just good, but he was really good this year on a poor team.  That’s a good sign.  BUT, he’s small.  5-10 and 160.  BUT, hes a play maker and a hell of a good passer so could be a good setup guy.

Kuffner is bigger at 6-1 and 195, but not quite as exciting to me.

Holland says both guys will finish out the season on Detroit so they can get a sniff of the NHL and we can see where these guys are…  Then they can go help GR on their playoff run. 

I fail to see any downside to these signings.  Chances are that neither amounts to anything and even if that holds, we aren’t out any picks or current players so its no loss to us. 

If nothing else, a couple new players on the team brings a little interest when it might be lacking during a 11 loss in 12 game stretch here at the end of this (bad) season.

Posted by Matt_in_MI on 03/13/19 at 01:15 PM ET


Whats with all the whining over these signings?

What whining?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 03/13/19 at 01:17 PM ET


Interesting signings, I look forward to seeing them play.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 03/13/19 at 12:00 PM ET

Me too. It’s reported Hirose turned a lot of heads during camp. At the very least he replaces Holstrom in GR.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 03/13/19 at 02:22 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Zero downside signings, actually nothing but positive can come out of them, no reason to complain whatsoever, unless of course your looking for any and all excuses to bash Holland…

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 03/14/19 at 11:48 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com