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yave1964

Are the Griffins primed to repeat?

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  The Grand Rapids Griffins are having an outstanding start to the season as they attempt to defend the Calder cup with a division best 15-5-1 record and 81 goals for versus 50 against. The offense is strong, the netminding is outstanding, they could be set to repeat.

  Grand Rapids won their first ever Calder Cup last season, led by Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist who have been promoted to the big boys. Other departures include Chad Billins who left for the Calgary organization in a numbers crunch and Jan Mursak who returned to Europe, again not enough roster spots in the organization for him.

  Returnees include Tomas Jurco who is leading the team in scoring with 23 points and Darren McCarty clone Mitch Callahan who has 9 goals. Imports Teemu Pulkkinen and Calle Jarnkrok are young exciting players, returning prospects Landon Ferraro, Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening are supplemented by AHL vets David McIntyre, Jeff Hoggan, Tristan Grant, Nathan Paetsch and Brennan Evans.

 

 Defensively young top prospects led by power play specialist Adam Almquist who scored in his second NHL game for Detroit this year also is led by Russian import Alexey Marchenko who is a plus 13, Ryan Sproul, who is plus 12 and leads defenders with 15 points and Xavier Oullet who didn't embarrass himself as an emergency call up for the Wings earlier this year.

  And then add in players who the loaded with too many forwards Wings were forced to send down, Cory Emmerton and veterans Patrick Eaves and Jordin Tootoo are busting butts trying to get back to the NHL.

All together eight players are double digits in the plus/minus category, the team is balanced with scoring from all lines.

  And in net veteran AHLer Tom McCollum and young stud prospect Petr Mrasek who led the club to the Calder last year are outstanding in net.

  Barring injuries I don't see this club being an easy out in the AHL, a solid blend of veterans and hungry prospects gives the Griffins an outstanding chance to win again this year.

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