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The Wild and the Griffins, two ways to build an AHL roster


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When it comes to minor league Hockey there are as many ways to build a franchise as there are teams, it seems. Just a quick look at two.

 

th?id=OIP.M027fc9d706dfb9e3f260dd37b5aee  For the past several years the Red Wings have been blessed with top tier prospects and the team is rebuilt (again!) on the fly, with youngsters Nyquist, Tatar, Sheahan, Mrazek, Marchenko, Athanasiou, Pulkinnen and Mantha and several more graduating from the Griffins within the past several years giving the Wings reason to hope going forward. I did not include Larkin or Dekeyser who were products of the college system and as such spent minimal amount of time in GR before taking flight with the Wings.

  This year the Griffins are currently sitting in first place in their division and have to be considered a frontrunner for the Calder trophy. But IMHO it is illusion, they are not devoid of prospects, just not as deep.

  To create the illusion that the team is still churning them out they have signed AHL vets such as Tangradi and Andyth?id=OIP.M308f8ec75514c6985b6d1af4cff02 Miele who are a cut below the NHL but who star at the lower level. Undrafted guys like Zengerle and Russo are now AHL stars but will not amount to much. Nosek came from Europe, he spent a handful of uneventful games with the Wings this year. Jared Coreau, 24 and no longer a prospect has learned to use his size to fill the net but is not a real prospect. Mitch Callahan is a GR favorite but has been passed over and will likely be a career minor leaguer. 30somethings like Nathan Paetcsh, Jeff Hogan and even Danny Cleary are all propping up the record.

  That is not to say they have no prospects, Axel th?id=OIP.M8b21e9e087154225dcd284091da59Holmstrom, Tyler Bertuzzi and Ryan Sproul are okay prospects, all long odds projects but one might make it. They have several players who will hit the team next year who are better prospects but this years squad is a collection for the most part of AHL vets and castoffs who have hit the perfect storm and are on their way to a likely deep AHL playoff run with no real hope of putting much of anything into the NHL level.

 

th?id=OIP.Me08c8debec1e700d4778b48e46ae6NOW THE IOWA WILD

  They have been kicked in the teeth with alarming regularity over the past 3 years, positively dreadful, they are fighting hard this year to not have the leagues worst record once again. But I love the promise of several of their players.

They have a handful of AHL vets such as Maximeth?id=OIP.Maa8d063166c01622045d010ed7dcf Fortunas, Tyson Strachan, Zach Dalpe and Leland Irving, but for the most part the Wild seem to have taken the philosophy that they would rather get their teeth kicked in and see what the kids can do. Tyler Graovac has come along nicely and looks to be a nice solid middle six forward for next year, Zach Mitchell can score a bit and looks like a solid bottom six guy or even higher. His ceiling probably has not been reached. Christoph Bertschy, same thing, solid player still a baby and getting his teeth kicked in this year on a lousy squad but looks like a player. Top prospect Mike Reilly failed with the parent club but is coming together nicely with the Iowa squad on the blue line as is Gustav Olofsson. both are going to push for NHL jobs next year. Grayson th?id=OIP.M29c7ec838a182a7701b5d4e7df410Downing is trying to prove he can play as a 3C in the NHL.

 

  Overall, I would rather take the approach that the Wild are taking. Throw the kids to the wolves and find out if they can play. The Griffins are an illusion, within a few years most of the guys will be gone never to be heard of except in the KHL or some such but just might win a Calder trophy. Iowa is losing almost every night but developing half a dozen prospects, most will have a career and several may be impact players.

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If those are the ONLY two choices, I agree. Throw them at the wolves.

 

But those are NOT the only two choices, and I think there is a happy medium, where you can have a couple/few seasoned vets to help players learn what it takes to be a pro--the work ethic, matured judgment, personal discipline, leadership skills--that an AHL player must either have or learn to be an NHL player. Some guys, like Larkin, just have most of that stuff without the need for having an AHL example, especially if they have the skill set that already primed for the AHL. I just think your point is that there is a point where it goes too far--when you basically have more leaders than you have learners--that you begin to lose the point of what these AHL teams are for. The PRIMARY purpose is to develop players and prepare them for the NHL. The secondary purpose is to try to win at that level with the talent that remains at that level, whatever it turns out to be. If you forget the purpose, you end up with imbalance. QED.

 

Since, to some degree, you still learn some of the above things just by playing games at higher and higher levels, against tougher and tougher opponents, the throwing kids at the wolves model is better than the geezer overkill. It still accomplishes the primary purpose. The geezer model sometimes wins, but at the expense of the primary purpose.

 

But lets also understand that part of the reason the Griffins are like they are is that there have been a flock of recent callups within a season or two, and when you take the talent away, it leaves a void, and when you don't have talent that is ready to move up to the AHL level, you are left to fill the void, and try to make the best of it. Perhaps that is PART of the reason GR is how it is. But the other part is KH's loyalty to guys like Cleary. Sometimes, like his two-year NHL deal, he overextends that. That has also contributed.

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1 hour ago, SpikeDDS said:

 

But lets also understand that part of the reason the Griffins are like they are is that there have been a flock of recent callups within a season or two, and when you take the talent away, it leaves a void, and when you don't have talent that is ready to move up to the AHL level, you are left to fill the void, and try to make the best of it. Perhaps that is PART of the reason GR is how it is. But the other part is KH's loyalty to guys like Cleary. Sometimes, like his two-year NHL deal, he overextends that. That has also contributed.

Agreed, and I pointed out the Wings had reaped an unusually large harvest over the past several years (I forgot Glendening tho, lol) leaving the upper echelon pretty well bare.

  And truthfully, it should be, it is nice to have a Mantha pushing Jurco out of the way, or a Glendening pushing Emmerton to the KHL, but you need them to come in waves, not a typhoon to where you miss a prospect because there are so many that there is not enough room. Nestrasil in Carolina, Ferraro in Boston Jarnkrok in Nashville, Nye

len in Dallas all come from the Wings system, there sim[ply was not enough room for everyone. Good players, essentially given away are going to have bottom six careers elsewhere because the Wings had no room.

  But the current Griffin team especially with the recent callup of Mantha is less than flattering, and they may end up with a Calder cup. That is unusual.

 Next year Svechnikov will be prowling down the wing hopefully killing it at the AHL level, a true big power forward, and a few others too.

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3 minutes ago, yave1964 said:

Agreed, and I pointed out the Wings had reaped an unusually large harvest over the past several years (I forgot Glendening tho, lol) leaving the upper echelon pretty well bare.

  And truthfully, it should be, it is nice to have a Mantha pushing Jurco out of the way, or a Glendening pushing Emmerton to the KHL, but you need them to come in waves, not a typhoon to where you miss a prospect because there are so many that there is not enough room. Nestrasil in Carolina, Ferraro in Boston Jarnkrok in Nashville, Nye

len in Dallas all come from the Wings system, there sim[ply was not enough room for everyone. Good players, essentially given away are going to have bottom six careers elsewhere because the Wings had no room.

  But the current Griffin team especially with the recent callup of Mantha is less than flattering, and they may end up with a Calder cup. That is unusual.

 Next year Svechnikov will be prowling down the wing hopefully killing it at the AHL level, a true big power forward, and a few others too.

So, are you saying that our scouting has been TOO GOOD, or do you think it is more poor judgment and that the Wings haven't moved enough players to make room for the younger ones? I think it is both.

 

But, of course, the other issue that continues to linger are the two contracts which still prevent proper call-ups. Truthfully, in a parity league such as it is, the potential and real affect from those on our bottom two lines cannot be understated. Also, the pressure to continue the streak has played a role as well. If we didn't feel the NEED to make the playoffs, but were really looking at the long-term best interests of the Red Wings, we might have played this a bit differently for a couple of these years. After all, there have been several seasons where we HAD TO KNOW that we had almost NO chance to win the Cup, even though we made it. Has that pressure made us make deals that we wouldn't have made otherwise? I'm not so sure that it has, because what/who did we give up for Eric Cole and Marek Zidlicky? Young talent...which we are still saying we had too much of. So it may have been "worth it." Who knows. So did KH's tendency to hold on to players make a difference? Maybe some.

 

The problem that is undeniable--as you rightly stated--was that our talent all matured at about the same time, even ones from different times. Larkin came in and I think he really stole a spot for half a season from AA, and he leapfrogged Mantha. I think AA was ready before Mantha, so he really didn't stop Mantha as much as he did AA. But then the others have become ready, and now Mantha...I think. And others like Pulks and Jurco are ready to be moved. We've got enough other talent that have their skill set. We don't need another player who can score in the AHL but that just occupies a spot on the bench...or in the box!--in the NHL.

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49 minutes ago, SpikeDDS said:

So, are you saying that our scouting has been TOO GOOD, or do you think it is more poor judgment and that the Wings haven't moved enough players to make room for the younger ones? I think it is both.

 

But, of course, the other issue that continues to linger are the two contracts which still prevent proper call-ups. Truthfully, in a parity league such as it is, the potential and real affect from those on our bottom two lines cannot be understated. Also, the pressure to continue the streak has played a role as well. If we didn't feel the NEED to make the playoffs, but were really looking at the long-term best interests of the Red Wings, we might have played this a bit differently for a couple of these years. After all, there have been several seasons where we HAD TO KNOW that we had almost NO chance to win the Cup, even though we made it. Has that pressure made us make deals that we wouldn't have made otherwise? I'm not so sure that it has, because what/who did we give up for Eric Cole and Marek Zidlicky? Young talent...which we are still saying we had too much of. So it may have been "worth it." Who knows. So did KH's tendency to hold on to players make a difference? Maybe some.

 

The problem that is undeniable--as you rightly stated--was that our talent all matured at about the same time, even ones from different times. Larkin came in and I think he really stole a spot for half a season from AA, and he leapfrogged Mantha. I think AA was ready before Mantha, so he really didn't stop Mantha as much as he did AA. But then the others have become ready, and now Mantha...I think. And others like Pulks and Jurco are ready to be moved. We've got enough other talent that have their skill set. We don't need another player who can score in the AHL but that just occupies a spot on the bench...or in the box!--in the NHL.

Excellent summation of the talent all maturing at the same time. That is partially what worries me, Jim Nill was the unsung hero of the Wings draft room and player development, now that he has moved on the cupboard is not bare, but it is close.

 A few guys in the system whom I really like:

 

Dominic Turgeon, a middle six center with sneaky hands and good speed, think Darren Helm with a bit more scoring. 2-3 years away. It helps make a case to resign Helm.

Svechnikov, last years first rounder. A power forward who is in love with the game, all the talent in the world. Would give us two (he and Mantha) big guys who could disrupt other teams in front of the net. Next year is his first year as a pro, doubtful to see the NHL until 2017-18 but loaded with skill and power.

Robbie Russo. Unsigned free agent defenseman who is tearing it up in GR. Not sure what I think of him but his plus/minus is insane. He plays in all situations and has not looked out of place, just a bit old as a prospect.

Joe Hicketts multitalented defenseman who is going pro next year. A little guy but a point a game in juniors from the back end.

 A little thinner than in previous years but we have rebuilt the team on the fly. We don't need a lot right now. Kid wise that is.

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@yave1964

 

and if we miss the playoffs, another top 15 pick perhaps.

 

you are not wrong about Nill. Look at what he's done for Dallas! Kinda like our player talent problem, we had a front office talent problem before. Too bad KH wasn't ready to retire or at least become VP of SOMETHING or other. Would have LOVED to have been able to keep Nill as our next GM. But no room. At the same time, Jim might have felt the need to get out from under KH's shadow and build his own thing. Couldn't blame him for feeling that if he did. A great judge of talent, that one. Dallas was brilliant to entice him away.

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Flyers are having to play catchup because they didn't believe in stocking the AHL team with good talent they drafted and actually held onto. In the past they use to always have to find guys in trades or sign guys who had been given up on by their team that drafted them resulting in the poor record of which them have had.

 

But in the last few year they have held onto their picks and have starting signing them and letting them play on the farm.

 

Sure it is a little slower than i have liked but in my opinion is they haven't found the right coach yet....any coaching staff in the AHL that has former goon Riley Cote coaching it is in trouble. Combine that with IMHO opinion clueless Gordon and well they slow results and another year of no AHL playoffs is the result.

 

I'm hoping Hexy cleans house and find a better coach. I'd be ok with him offering Kimmo a spot down there assistant or maybe if he had to the HC job if need be.

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