The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/13/13 at 05:54 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings' brass is doubtlessly pleased with the Grand Rapids Griffins' progress given that the team's one win away from a Calder Cup championship. After Game 3, Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that Luke Glendening will play at the NHL level at some point (and he praised Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan, too) we already know that the team's planning on accommodating Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Danny DeKeyser and probably Brian Lashoff as full-time NHL players next season...
And this afternoon, Wings GM Ken Holland told MLive's Peter J. Wallner that a combination of strong player development and the boost that the Griffins players' confidence levels are receiving from their Calder Cup run could yield ten or more current Griffins playing for the Red Wings at some point in the future:
“Success breeds confidence and that’s what we’re seeing,” said Ken Holland, the Red Wings general manager who watched the Grand Rapids Griffins defeat Syracuse 4-2 on Wednesday to take a 3-0 lead in the Calder Cup Finals.
Holland has high hopes.
“We look at the age of this team and we’re hoping half of them end up in the National Hockey League, and lots of them are going to be in Detroit,” he said.
Wallner says that Holland, de-facto assistant GM and now Grand Rapids Griffins GM Ryan Martin and Wings coach Mike Babcock attended Wendesday's game, just as the trio took in Games 1 and 2 in Syracuse, and the trio believe that the Griffins' playoff run should allow some players to skip a developmental step along the road to becoming well-rounded professional hockey players...
“This is an experience where there’s no other way to get it other than to experience it,” Holland said. “Look at our series with Chicago. There were players there who were on Rockford and we had players who had been here.”
Nyquist, Andersson and DeKeyser were with the Red Wings throughout the playoffs. After the Red Wings were eliminated by Chicago in seven games in the conference semifinals, the three were returned to Grand Rapids. That experience is paying off for Grand Rapids.
“After what they’ve been through (in Detroit) and then playing in this, it speeds up the process,” Holland said. “Now, it’s not going to speed it up by a year or two, but it’s certainly going to help.”
And while it's not likely that the team will sign Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan or the team's other AHL-only-contracted veterans to NHL deals, Martin tells Wallner that Hoggan, Brennan Evans, Nathan Paetsch,
Jeff Brett Skinner or Triston Grant have done a helluva job in terms of mentoring the next generation of Red Wings players:
“I think they have been just incredible character players in the locker room for us,” Martin said. “They have been a fabulous to the mix.”
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.