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Chad Billins NHL Debut


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  Chad Billins made his NHL debut last night for the Calgary Flames in a game against the Minnesota Wild that the team lost 5-1.


Billins has been my favorite under the radar hockey player for two years now,  He first caught my eye when he played for Ferris State and led them to the frozen four for the first time ever in 2012 as their captain. A born leader is what I read attached to his name every time I saw it.

  I was thrilled when the Michigan native signed as an undrafted free agent with my Wings for last season, we have a ton of forward talent and I figured he would be a solid defensive prospect. He did not disappoint, scoring ten goals and quarterbacking the Grand Rapids Griffins power play all year, 27 assists, a little guy only 5:10 and 175 pounds, I watched a LOT of Griffins games during the lockout to study our prospects and he stood out. He was one of the leaders of the club as we won the Calder cup, scoring 14 points from the blue line in 24 playoff  games. He was the Griffins 5th leading scorer in the post season and tops among d-men.

  Sadly, the Wings were forced to part ways in the summer as they had no contract space, and he signed with the Calgary Flames. In Abbotsford he has 5 goals in his first ten games, using his booming shot from the point. He reminds me of a poor mans Brian Rafalski, an undrafted Free agent who can flat out play and gets the game.

  Last night he was given a shot, and in his first NHL game on his second shift only five minutes in, he set up Jiri Hudler for the Flames only goal. Overall, Billins played 13 minutes and was a minus one but blocked a couple of shots.

  “It was pretty exciting. It happened pretty fast,” Billins told the Calgary Sun. “It’s a thrill. When you first hear the words that you’re getting called up, you’re kind of nervous but you just have to stay focused and if you get the opportunity, you’ve gotta make the most of it.”

  I am not saying here is the next Doug Harvey, I am just saying I love this kid, his leadership and determination first at Ferris State and then at Grand Rapids were his biggest assets. Signing with a poor Calgary team was probably the easiest way for him to reach the NHL and he will still be on the Abbotsford/Calgary shuttle all season in all likelihood. I am rooting for him, he has come a lot further than anyone could have dreamed, overcoming odds of playing for a small college, undrafted, undersized, it is good to see him get a shot and I am rooting for him to make the most of it.

Edited by yave1964
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