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Prospect news: OHL/WHL round-up; Larsson commits to Denver; Setkov re-signs with Malmo

Of prospect-related note:

In the OHL, Jordan Sambrook had 1 shot in the Erie Otters' 3-2 OT loss to London;

In the WHL, Lane Zablocki took 2 shots and a penalty in his Lethbridge Hurricanes debut, a 5-3 Lethbridge loss to Saskatoon;

And Dennis Cholowski missed the Prince George Cougars' 5-4 win over Victoria as Cholowski's attending Hockey Canada's World Junior selection camp.

In the USHL, Tri-City Storm goaltender Filip Larsson made his college commitment, choosing to attend the University of Denver. Per the USHL's website:

Tri-City Storm goaltender Filip Larsson announced his commitment to the University of Denver on Tuesday, making him the 20th player on the Storm to commit to play college hockey.

“I’ve been pretty sure that I was going to commit to Denver for a long time now," Larsson said. "I’ve been thinking and talking with my family and some friends and I just knew that it was the best decision for me to make. I felt that now was a good time to formally make an announcement."

"Denver has a great hockey program, the city is great, and when I was there I felt good knowing that this is where I would be living. This year has helped me a lot. I feel that I have made progress this year and I am ready to play Division I hockey.”

The Stockholm, Sweden native is playing in his first season in North America and has been the top goaltender in the USHL all season long, as he currently leads all USHL goaltenders in wins (14), GAA (1.45), SV% (.946) and shutouts (5). He has not lost back-to-back starts through his 18 appearances this season, has only allowed two goals or more twice in those appearances, and has been named USHL Goaltender of the Week twice (Oct. 23, Dec. 4) through the first 10 weeks of the 2017-18 campaign.

Larsson was selected eighth overall by the Storm in the 2017 USHL Phase II Draft and was also selected in the sixth round, 167th overall by the Detroit Red Wings at the 2016 NHL Draft. Prior to his time with Tri-City, Larsson played for Djurgardens in his native Sweden. Additionally, he has represented his home country at the U18 World Junior Championship and the World Junior Summer Showcase, and was named to Team Sweden for the 2018 World Junior Championships.

The University of Denver is led by former Dubuque Fighting Saints head coach and two-time Clark Cup champion Jim Montgomery. The Pioneers currently have 11 USHL alumni on their roster, including former Storm goaltender Dayton Rasmussen.

In Sweden, defenseman Malte Setkov signed a two-year "A League" contract with the SHL's Malmo Redhawks, and you can read the press release in Swedish or watch him speak with the Redhawks' website. Setkov is going to the Danish World Junior selection camp.


Finally, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins posted their weekly press release:


This Week’s Games
Iowa Wild at GRIFFINS // Wed., Dec. 13 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m.
Watch: AHLLive.com  
Season Series: 0-0-0-0 Home, 0-2-0-0 Overall. Third of 10 meetings overall, first of five at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 11-3-0-1 Home, 23-8-0-1 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild
Noteworthy: Grand Rapids has points in nine of the last 10 meetings between the teams at Van Andel Arena (8-1-0-1).

Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS // Fri., Dec. 15 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m.
Watch: The U Too (Chicago), AHLLive.com  
Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Home, 2-1-0-0 Overall. Fourth of eight meetings overall, third of four at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 40-23-2-4-2 Home, 81-52-2-6-2 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Vegas Golden Knights
Noteworthy: Under third-year head coach Todd Nelson, the Griffins are 16-4-1-0 (0.786) in their last 21 regular season games against Chicago, including an 8-2-1-0 mark (0.773) in their last 11 at Van Andel Arena.

Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS // Sat., Dec. 16 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m.
Watch: AHLLive.com  
Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Home, 2-0-0-0 Overall. Third of 10 meetings overall, second of five at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 49-37-2-1-2 Home, 87-59-7-6-7 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators
Noteworthy: Since the 2013-14 season, Grand Rapids posts a 28-13-1-0 (0.679) regular season record against Milwaukee, including a 16-5-0-0 mark in 21 games in West Michigan.

Last Week’s Results
Fri., Dec. 8    Rockford IceHogs 4 at GRIFFINS 1    9-11-0-3 (21 points, 6th Central)
Sat., Dec. 9    GRIFFINS 2 at Rockford IceHogs 7    9-12-0-3 (21 points, 6th)
Sun., Dec. 10     GRIFFINS 1 at Iowa Wild 2    9-13-0-3 (21 points, 6th)

Opening Faceoff: The defending Calder Cup champion Griffins place sixth in the Central Division with a 9-13-0-3 (0.420) record. Grand Rapids will look to snap a three-game losing streak this week, as the Griffins host three home contests in four nights beginning on Wednesday against Iowa.

Follow the Leaders:
Matt Puempel (9-12—21)
Goals: Puempel (9)
Assists: Puempel (12)
PIM: Dylan McIlrath (48)
Plus-Minus: Turner Elson (+6)
Goaltender Wins: Jared Coreau (6)
Goals Against Average: Coreau (2.88)
Save Percentage: Coreau (0.905)

Last Week’s Notes: The Griffins finished with three losses during last weekend’s three-games-in-three-nights stretch…With a 4-1 loss to Rockford at Van Andel Arena on Friday, the Griffins experienced their first regulation loss at home in the month of December since Dec. 5, 2014…Matt Puempel scored his ninth goal of the season and eighth with the Griffins to open Friday’s scoring…Eric Tangradi and Matt Lorito both picked up their 10th assists of the season on Puempel’s goal…The Griffins had two penalty minutes on Friday, their fewest this season…Grand Rapids successfully killed Rockford’s one power play, the second time this season a Griffins opponent had only one opportunity on the man-advantage (Nov. 10 at TEX)…Grand Rapids dropped a 7-2 decision at Rockford on Saturday, suffering a five-goal loss on the road for the first time since Oct. 30, 2015 at Toronto (1-6 L)…Veteran Corey Elkins picked up his 100th career AHL point while assisting on Dylan McIlrath’s second goal as a Griffin…Rookie Dominik Shine scored his second pro goal on Saturday…Grand Rapids fired off a season-high 41 shots in Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Iowa…The Griffins’ 21 shots in the second period were the most in a single frame since tallying 23 in the third period on Nov. 25, 2016 versus Cleveland…Zach Nastasiuk, who was making his season debut with the Griffins, recorded the team’s lone goal.

This Week’s Promotions: Wednesday against Iowa will be a Winning Wednesday presented by Farm Bureau Insurance. Every time the Griffins win at home on Wednesday, each fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday game. Friday’s game against Chicago is presented by MedExpress Urgent Care and fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs/$2 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last. Saturday against Milwaukee is Arcade Night and, thanks to Fifth Third Bank, the first 2,500 fans will receive a Griffins 2017 Calder Cup championship team photo.

Holiday Hustle: By the time this weekend’s back-to-back against Chicago and Milwaukee is complete, the Griffins will have played six games in the last nine days.

Bertuzzi Assigned Back to Grand Rapids: The Detroit Red Wings today assigned forward Tyler Bertuzzi to the Griffins. Recalled last Friday by the Wings, Bertuzzi made his season debut last Saturday in the team’s 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Little Caesars Arena. Detroit’s third choice, 58th overall, in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the 22-year-old has played eight career games in a Red Wings uniform. Bertuzzi has nine points (5-4—9) and 22 PIM in 12 games with the Griffins this season.

Last Week’s Transactions: On Wednesday, the Red Wings reassigned defenseman Vili Saarijarvi to the Griffins from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye while the Griffins recalled Mike Borkowski from Toledo. Saarijarvi skated in two games last weekend and recorded four shots and a plus-one rating. A 2017 Calder Cup champion with Grand Rapids, Borkowski made his season debut with the Griffins on Friday against Rockford and skated in all three of the weekend’s contests. On Friday, the Wings reassigned forward Zach Nastasiuk to Grand Rapids from Toledo. In his third full season as a pro, Nastasiuk made his season debut with the Griffins on Sunday at Iowa and notched the team’s lone goal. After Saturday night’s game at Rockford, the Griffins recalled rookie forward Luke Esposito from the Walleye. Esposito skated in Sunday’s game, his eighth as a member of Grand Rapids, and picked up his second career AHL point while assisting on Nastasiuk’s goal.

Iowa Notes: The Wild have won the first two meetings of the season, with both matchups coming in Des Moines…Seven of the last 10 games between the teams have been decided by one goal…Iowa is on a five-game point streak (2-0-3-0)…Grand Rapids has points in nine of the last 10 meetings between the teams at Van Andel Arena (8-1-0-1)… Iowa is celebrating its fifth season as an AHL franchise…Over its first four seasons in the AHL, Iowa has seen 32 of its players also skate for the parent club in Minnesota.

Iowa Connections: Former Griffin Landon Ferraro has nine points (3-6—9) in 16 games with Iowa and one goal in two games with Minnesota this season…A second-round draft selection by Detroit in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Ferraro tallied 140 points (75-65—140) in 270 games with the Griffins over parts of five seasons (2009-10; 2011-15) and ranks among the franchise’s all-time leaders with 75 goals (T6th), seven shorthanded goals (T2nd) and 12 game-winning goals (T6th)…He added 19 points (6-13—19) in 33 playoff games and helped Grand Rapids win the 2013 Calder Cup…Derek Lalonde is in his second season at the helm of the Wild after spending the previous two years as head coach of the Toledo Walleye, the ECHL affiliate of the Red Wings and Griffins…Wild rookie Gerald Mayhew skated four seasons with the Ferris State Bulldogs (WCHA) and tallied 119 points (52-67—119) in 150 games from 2013-17…A native of Wyandotte, Mich., Mayhew led the Bulldogs with 35 points (17-18—35) as a senior…Wild forward Mario Lucia and Robbie Russo were teammates at Notre Dame from 2012-15 and were a part of the Irish’s 2013 CCHA Championship…Ryan Malone and Dylan McIlrath were teammates with Hartford and the New York Rangers during the 2014-15 campaign…Kurtis Gabriel and Zach Nastasiuk played together with the Owen Sound Attack from 2011-14…Second-year pro Matt Caito skated in 13 games as a rookie with the Griffins last season, tallying two points (1-1—2) and six PIM.

Getting Wild: The Griffins are 16-3-1-2 all time when welcoming AHL teams from the state of Iowa to Van Andel Arena, including 1-0 vs. Iowa Chops, 4-0-1-1 vs. Iowa Stars and 11-3-0-1 vs. Iowa Wild.

Chicago Notes: Grand Rapids won 5-2 on Dec. 2 at Chicago behind goals from five different scorers…Kasimir Kaskisuo recorded 33 saves and the Wolves shut out the Griffins on Nov. 3 in the last meeting in West Michigan, snapping Grand Rapids’ four-game winning streak against Chicago on home ice…Matt Lorito banked his first pro hat trick in the first matchup of the season on Oct. 27…Lorito (4-1—5) and Matt Puempel (1-4—5) tie for the team lead with five points apiece in three games against the Wolves…Jared Coreau has started all three games against Chicago this season, showing a 2.03 GAA and a 0.939 save percentage.

Taming the Wolves: Under third-year head coach Todd Nelson, the Griffins are 16-4-1-0 (0.786) in their last 21 regular season games against Chicago, including an 8-2-1-0 mark (0.773) in their last 11 at Van Andel Arena.

Chicago Connections: Wolves first-year head coach Rocky Thompson served on Todd Nelson’s staff as an assistant with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons from 2010-14...In those four seasons, the Barons posted a 161-105-10-32 (0.591) record and advanced to the postseason every year, including a trip to the 2013 Western Conference Finals...Thompson was elevated to an assistant with the parent Edmonton Oilers for the 2014-15 campaign, a season that saw Nelson take over the NHL club on an interim basis in Dec. 2014…Former Griffin Teemu Pulkkinen leads the Wolves with 22 points (8-14—22) in 24 games…A 2013 Calder Cup champion with Grand Rapids, Pulkkinen skated in 119 games with the Griffins from 2012-15 and scored 121 points (65-56—121)…He appeared in 40 postseason contests and ranks among the franchise’s all-time playoff leaders with 34 points (T3rd), 22 goals (2nd) and nine power play goals (1st)…Nelson served as an assistant coach for the Wolves for two seasons (2006-08) and won the 2008 Calder Cup in his final season with Chicago…Assistant coach Ben Simon appeared in 196 games with the Wolves from 2001-03 and 2004-05 and was a part of Chicago’s first Calder Cup title in 2002...Third-year defenseman Robbie Russo is from Chicagoland’s Westmont…Russo and T.J. Tynan were teammates at Notre Dame from 2011-14…Second-year pro Mackenzie MacEachern, a native of Troy, Mich., played three seasons at Michigan State (2013-16) and tallied 68 points (33-35—68) in 108 games…Kenney Morrison tallied 54 points (16-38—54) in 115 games at Western Michigan University from 2012-15…Morrison and Turner Elson were teammates with Adirondack in 2014-15 and Stockton in 2015-16…Scooter Vaughan played at Michigan from 2007-11 and recorded 39 points (16-23—39) in 137 games.

Milwaukee Notes: With a rivalry dating back to the International Hockey League days, the Griffins have faced the Admirals more than any other opponent in this history as the two clubs will meet up for the 167th time on Saturday… The Griffins and Admirals were pitted against each other in the Central Division Semifinals each of the last two postseasons, and both times Grand Rapids swept the best-of-five series...Since the 2013-14 season, Grand Rapids posts a 28-13-1-0 (0.679) regular season record against Milwaukee, including a 16-5-0-0 mark in 21 games in West Michigan…In two games against Milwaukee this season, Grand Rapids’ power play is 5-for-17 (29.4%) and penalty kill is 9-for-9.

Brew City Connections: Grand Rapids assistant coaches Ben Simon (18 GP in 2003-04) and Bruce Ramsay (3 GP in 1995-96) had cups of coffee on the other side of Lake Michigan during their playing days…Milwaukee claimed Mark Zengerle off waivers on Nov. 9…Zengerle played in 144 regular season games with the Griffins from 2014-16 and totaled 84 points (24-60—84), a plus-19 rating and 42 PIM while adding 15 points (2-13—15) in 24 Calder Cup Playoff contests…Tyler Moy and Luke Esposito were teammates at Harvard from 2013-17 and helped the Crimson reach the 2017 Frozen Four.

Oldest Rivalries in the Books: Milwaukee and Chicago are the most frequent adversaries in franchise history. With both rivalries dating to the International Hockey League days, the Griffins have faced the Admirals 166 times in the regular season, the most of any opponent, and the Wolves 143 times, second most.

‘Tis the Season: Under third-year head coach Todd Nelson, the Griffins are 20-7-1-2 in the month of December, including a 10-1-0-2 mark at Van Andel Arena and 10-6-1-0 on the road. In their last seventeen games on home ice during the last month on the calendar, the Griffins are 12-1-1-3.

Repeat Opponents: Starting Dec. 2 at Chicago and concluding Feb. 7 vs. Manitoba, the Griffins play 28 straight games against Central Division foes. Under third-year head coach Todd Nelson, the Griffins are 82-45-2-6 (0.637) against the Central and hold a +87 scoring margin in those 135 games.

Puemped Up: Matt Puempel, who was acquired by the Red Wings organization in a trade on Oct. 21, has scored 18 points (8-10—18) in 18 appearances with the Griffins and leads the team with a 1.00 points per game average. Puempel has totaled six multi-point outings with Grand Rapids and had his season-high four-game point streak (3-2—5) snapped in last Saturday’s loss. Puempel (3-1—4) ties with Matt Lorito (1-3—4) for the team lead in scoring in the month of December.

Milestones: Several Griffins reached career benchmarks recently, including Corey Elkins (scored 100th career AHL point on Dec. 9 at Rockford), Dylan McIlrath (played in 250th AHL game on Dec. 10 at Iowa), Ben Street (played in 450th pro game on Dec. 10 at Iowa) and Eric Tangradi (played in 150th game as a Griffin on Dec. 9 at Rockford), while several others are approaching milestones, including Elkins (198 AHL games and 98 pro goals), Turner Elson (197 AHL games and 96 pro points), Joe Hicketts (97 AHL games), Dan Renouf (99 pro games and 98 AHL games), Evgeny Svechnikov (99 pro games) and Dominic Turgeon (96 AHL games).

Goalie Leaders: Eighth-year Griffin Tom McCollum and fifth-year Griffin Jared Coreau both rank in the top five in several categories in Grand Rapids’ all-time goaltending record book.

Games Played  Minutes  Wins  Saves

1. Tom McCollum (237)  1. Tom McCollum (13360:18)  1. Joey MacDonald (109)  1. Tom McCollum (5948)
2. Joey MacDonald (210)  2. Joey MacDonald (11784:31)  2. Tom McCollum (106)  2. Joey MacDonald (5362)
3. Jimmy Howard (190)  3. Jimmy Howard (10886:40)  3. Jimmy Howard (93)  3. Jimmy Howard (4941)
4. Jared Coreau (126)  4. Jared Coreau (7274:20)  4. Jared Coreau (70)  4. Jared Coreau (3352)

Up and Down: With a 9-13-0-3 record through 25 games, take a look at how the statistics compare between the Griffins’ nine wins and 16 (including overtime and shootout) losses. Eighteen of the 25 games have been decided by two or more goals. Grand Rapids has scored five or more goals in eight of its nine victories.

GF  GA  PP%  PK%  SF  SA
W (9) 
5.33  2.44  32.00%  90.48%  33.44  31.22
L (16)  1.63  3.88  8.06%  78.95%  33.19  31.06

Back-to-Backs: The Griffins will play back-to-back games a total of 24 times this season. Compare the statistics for when Grand Rapids has played on consecutive nights:

W  L (incl. OT, SO)  GF  GA  PP%  PK%  SF  SA
First Night 
  3  5  3.38  3.25  22.58%  82.14%  31.88  31.00
Second Night   2  6  2.63  4.00  14.29%  78.57%  31.38  33.75
Third Night   0  1  1.00  2.00  0.00%  75.00%  41.00  30.00

Championship Effects: Since 2001-02, the year Grand Rapids joined the AHL, nine Calder Cup champions have gone on to qualify for the postseason in the following season, including the Griffins, who reached the conference semifinals in 2014 after winning the franchise’s first championship in 2013. Only one team in this 16-year span repeated as champions (Hershey in 2009 and 2010).

Walleye Report: Under second-year head coach Dan Watson, the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye continue to lead the Central Division with a 14-7-2-1 (31 points) record. Griffins-contracted Mike Borkowski, who is currently in Grand Rapids, leads the team with 20 points (9-11—20). Griffins-contracted Pat Nagle, the ECHL’s Goalie of the Month for November, leads the league with 12 wins (12-2-2-0) while placing 11th with a 2.52 goals against average.


Update: While discussing Dennis Cholowski's naming to the Canadian WJC selection camp, the Langley Times' Gary Ahuja found Prince George Cougars coach Richard Matvichuk, a former NHL defenseman, to be very complimentary toward his charge:

Matvichuk watched some videos of Cholowski’s NCAA games to get a feel for his new player.

“You could tell he was a puck-moving defenceman, he wanted to carry the puck, he wanted to push the envelope,” the coach said. “That is what his style is — he is an offensive player who defends really well.”

Through the season’s first 28 games, Cholowski sits third on the Cougars with eight goals and 25 points.

“The way he skates and sees the ice, it is like no other,” Matvichuk said, adding he is a coach’s dream for his willingness to learn and desire to get better.

Cholowski left the Cougars this week for the Hockey Canada camp. He is one of 10 defencemen in the mix for a roster spot.

“Just be aggressive, don’t hold anything back. This is my one chance to make the team,” he said about his mindset. “I am not going to go there an be passive and worry about making mistakes. I am just going to go there, be aggressive and really to try to take a spot on the team.”


And in the ECHL, the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe profiled Walleye forward Austen Brassard:

Brassard, 24, has played in 199 games in Triple-A hockey. He has produced 26 goals, 37 assists, and 147 penalty minutes in the American Hockey League — one step below the NHL.

In the offseason, Walleye coach Dan Watson acquired Brassard in a trade with the ECHL's Utah Grizzlies in exchange for future considerations.

Watson said Brassard has the ability to take over a game.

“He's a big guy that can skate well,” Watson said. “You'll see him drop the gloves. He's versatile. One of the reasons why I got him is to score those five-foot goals [in front of the net].”

Watson said Brassard performed well in training camp with the Detroit Red Wings and the Grand Rapids Griffins. But the physical forward is off to a bit of a slow start in Toledo. Brassard ranks 11th on the team in scoring with 10 points in 22 games. He has scored one goal to go along with nine assists. Brassard ranks second on the team in penalty minutes with 33.

“I haven't put up the numbers so far,” he said. “I'm a bigger guy, but I can also put up numbers.”

Brassard said he prides himself on being a complete player.

“I try to use my size,” he said. “I'm a power forward with some offensive [punch].”

Monroe continues...

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



Good news on Larsson. He’s had a great season and choosing the college route is smart for a goalie. It buys him a couple extra years. He may arrive just as the team starts the upswing. More excited about this kid than most other prospects.

Posted by fatsavage on 12/13/17 at 01:45 AM ET


Larsson going to the #2 ranked Pioneers who have two freshman already rostered for next season. Dayton Rasmussen sounds like he will be the starter, errr…..#1.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 12/13/17 at 03:38 PM ET

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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.