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Abel to Yzerman

Justin Abdelkader Signs A PTO With Grand Rapids Griffins

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday signed left wing Justin Abdelkader to a professional tryout.

The 14-year-pro competed with the Griffins for two seasons from 2008-10 before moving on to the Detroit Red Wings, where he ultimately played parts of 13 seasons. The Muskegon, Mich., native became the first West Michigan native to suit up for Grand Rapids when he made his AHL debut on Oct. 11, 2008. Abdelkader skated in 109 games for the Griffins and totaled 76 points (35-41—76) and 188 penalty minutes, earning AHL All-Rookie Team honors during the 2008-09 season when he logged 52 points (24-28—52) in 76 contests.

Should Abdelkader play on Saturday when Grand Rapids hosts Milwaukee at 7 p.m., he would set the new standard for longest time span between Griffins appearances at 4,305 days, or 11 years, nine months and 12 days (April 10, 2010 to Jan. 22, 2022). The record is currently held by Jonathan Ericsson at 3,888 days, or 10 years, seven months and 22 days (March 1, 2009 to Oct. 23, 2019).

Abdelkader earned a full-time roster spot with Detroit in the 2010-11 season and concluded his NHL career with 739 games, 252 points (106-146—252) and 608 penalty minutes. The left winger wore the “A” on his Red Wings jersey from 2016-20 while also captaining Team USA at two World Championships (2014, 2021). Abdelkader spent his entire North American career in the Red Wings organization and appeared in eight Stanley Cup Playoff runs.

Before being selected 42nd overall by Detroit in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Abdelkader was named Mr. Hockey of Michigan in 2004 when he amassed 80 points (37-43—80) in 28 games with Mona Shores High School. He then went on to win the USHL’s Clark Cup with Cedar Rapids in 2004-05. After one year of junior hockey, Abdelkader played for Michigan State and registered 95 points (44-51—95) in 124 outings. He was named the NCAA Tournament MVP in 2007 when he helped lead the Spartans to a national championship.

Most recently, Abdelkader won a Switzerland National League Title with EV Zug in the 2020-21 season. Through 22 combined regular season and playoff games, the 34-year-old accumulated 17 points (10-7—17) and 69 penalty minutes.

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Comments

ilovehomers's avatar

BAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/21/22 at 11:45 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

Good for Abby! Not sure about the snark above when this will at most result in a leadership role in GR.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 01/21/22 at 11:52 AM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

How is this possible? His buyout contract is still on the books. I guess it does not matter?

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 01/21/22 at 12:25 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 01/21/22 at 11:25 AM ET

There’s no way he should be able to come back to the Wings? Certainly a modicum of cap circumvention would be alleged.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/21/22 at 01:04 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

A compliance buyout stipulated that the bought out player cant sign with the team or be traded back to the team for a year. But that’s a compliance buy out, so who knows if it’s the same terms.

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/21/22 at 01:11 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Wait, I think I’ve seen this before somewhere?

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 01/21/22 at 01:18 PM ET

Avatar

Welcome home, JA. People may have been disappointed with wings production at the end, but the guy’s effort was always there (imo). He was a good soldier with some great moments for the wings. I hope they treat him with the respect he has earned and embrace him in the organization as long as he wants to be there. The world needs piano movers.

Posted by nolan33 on 01/21/22 at 02:20 PM ET

Paul's avatar

HSJ posted a video with Abby today.  Watch here.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/21/22 at 02:24 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/21/22 at 12:11 PM

Thanks Homer. Maybe since his contract is with the Griffens it’s allowable and he cannot be called up?

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 01/21/22 at 02:32 PM ET

Avatar

Weird how the previous 9 guys to sign PTO’s and play for GR (and NOT get called up to Detroit because they signed with GRAND RAPIDS) didn’t get people this worked up. They’re basically scrambling for warm bodies. IF he gets a contract out of the PTO it’ll be a one way to stay in GR.

Posted by MZ2215 on 01/21/22 at 02:45 PM ET

Avatar

Setting up for a trade to Edmonton!

Posted by evileye on 01/21/22 at 02:52 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by MZ2215 on 01/21/22 at 01:45 PM ET

Like Dan Cleary?

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 01/21/22 at 03:27 PM ET

IndigoChildren59's avatar

Abs talks to press today

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOMJ7oPDoJE

Posted by IndigoChildren59 from Windsor on 01/21/22 at 03:52 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

it’ll be a one way to stay in GR.

Posted by MZ2215 on 01/21/22 at 01:45 PM ET

Agreed

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 01/21/22 at 03:54 PM ET

Avatar

Like Dan Cleary?

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain’s Ship on 01/21/22 at 02:27 PM ET

Yes, just like Dan Cleary, who hasn’t played for Grand Rapids since 2016. Meanwhile, the Grand Rapids Griffins have signed 9 players to PTO’s *THIS YEAR*

https://griffinshockey.com/news/griffins-attempt-to-stay-hot-in-january

Going with the Flow: It has been a busy season thus far for head coach Ben Simon and general manager Pat Verbeek, as players on professional tryouts have been plentiful for the Griffins this year. Nine PTO skaters have seen action so far this season and have totaled 68 games played; both numbers surpass any full season since Simon joined the team as an assistant coach in 2015-16. On average, 10.4% of Grand Rapids’ lineup has been tryout players, yet the team sits in third place in the Central Division with a 0.548 winning percentage through Jan. 17.

Posted by MZ2215 on 01/21/22 at 04:01 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I’m really disappointed it took 12 comments for Dan Cleary to be mentioned. You all should be ashamed!

Posted by TreKronor on 01/21/22 at 07:28 PM ET

Avatar

I’m really disappointed it took 12 comments for Dan Cleary to be mentioned. You all should be ashamed!

Exactly what I was thinking when I saw the title of the article:)

Posted by VPalmer on 01/21/22 at 07:42 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

What about:

‘There are too many vets in Grand Rapids!’

Posted by ilovehomers on 01/21/22 at 08:13 PM 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