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The Malik Report

Zamboni scrape Red Wings news: Griffins sign Billins and Winter Classic Alumni videos

After signing Nathan Paetsch and Triston Grant to AHL-only deals to bolster the Grand Rapids Griffins’ veteran presence, the Red Wings have chosen to give a second NCAA try-out a chance to earn a contract with the big club in the same manner that Luke Glendening hopes to achieve. The Wings inked another graduating team captain—Ferris State Univeristy defenseman Chad Billins—to an AHL deal this morning:

The Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday signed defenseman Chad Billins to a one-year contract.

Billins signed an amateur tryout with Grand Rapids on April 12 but did not see game action with the club. The Marysville, Mich., native served as a co-captain for the Ferris State Bulldogs’ run to the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four, where they were defeated in the championship game by Boston College. In 149 games over four seasons with Ferris State, Billins tallied 67 points (17-50—67) and 108 penalty minutes, including 29 points (7-22—29) in 43 games in 2011-12.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound defenseman earned numerous honors and accolades in his senior season. He was the recipient of the CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year award and was also named to the All-CCHA First Team after finishing second among CCHA defensemen with 25 points (7-18—25) in 31 conference games. He was a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award and earned a spot on the Senior CLASS All-America Team, which rewards academic success and the loyalty of seniors that honored their four-year commitment to their university. Billins also received nominations for CCHA’s RBC Player of the Year and Best Offensive Defenseman awards.

Prior to his collegiate career, the 23-year-old defenseman skated for the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks in 2007-08 and finished fourth among the league’s defensemen with 36 points (10-26—36) in 60 games. Billins also played 62 games for the Alpena IceDiggers of the NAHL from 2005-07, totaling 25 points (7-18—25) and 98 penalty minutes.


Via RedWingsFeed, the Wings’ website posted several interviews from the Winter Classic Alumni Game(s) press conference, including Ken Kal speaking to Dino Ciccarelli…

Alex Delvecchio…


Ted Lindsay…


And Joey Kocur…



And if you’re interested, from the Wings...


Ditto for me…

Update: Yesterday, former Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Garnet Exelby signed with the Boston Bruins, and on Tuesday, Logan Pyett signed with the New York Rangers.

Today, according to Germanwing on LetsgoWings.com, Doug Janik signed a deal with the Alder Mannheim Eagles of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.

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TreKronor's avatar

I watched Chad Billins quite a bit (Ferris Alum), and he is a solid d-man.  Great positioning and speed, and has a great shot.  Reminds me of Kronwall, really.  Hopefully things work out for him and he gets a shot at the big club.

Posted by TreKronor on 07/12/12 at 03:35 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.