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Wings/Griffins continue to stockpile grizzled vets


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It continues to be a strange offseason for the Griffins  th?&id=OIP.M8fbb3f8ea4f32051c1d8b3efd2e0as they continue to stockpile AHL vets in their late twenties, the latest being Conor Allen, a puck mover who is a veteran of 7 NHL games with the Rangers who appeared in the AHL in three separate organizations last season. Allen has virtually zero shot at cracking the parent Wings but will team with 34 year old Nathan Paetsch to teach the young kids on the back end.

  Earlier in the summer, AHL veteran forwards Matthew Ford (age 32) Mattth?&id=OIP.M2fa220ff281e9f7d05c949bff1c9 Lorito (27) a scorer from the Devils organization, skilled center Ben street (age 30) who came over from Colorado where he played a handful of games at the NHL level and was an AHL All Star, as well as Mike Bortkowski (Ottawa) and Carter Sandlak (Carolina) who are solid AHLers with zero per cent chance of having an NHL career also came on board. A few middling college F/A's as well were added for depth.

  In net, Eddie Paqualle, once considered a prospect but no longer will be toiling alongside of CalImage result for cal heeter Heeter who was once a Flyer prospect turned useful body.

  All together, half of the Griffin roster is turned over, between players being called up to the big club and those moving on such as long time Captain Jeff Hoggan (likely retired), skilled center Andy Miele (Philadelphia) and useful 3rd line center Zengerle also the the Flyer organization.

   It is a transition year for the Griffins, a lot of kids are just getting their feet wet this year at the pro level and the veterans will allow the team to compete while this happens. Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou will likely split time between Western and Eastern Michigan, they are the two prize prospects, Mitch Callahan could have earned a 4th line role with the Wings if not for the glut at forward, he will be a middle six staple as weill Tyler Bertuzzi who continues to prove to be a decent prospect. Martin Frk and Tomas Nosek will bounce from one end of the state if they earn it as well.

  Dominic Turgeon will get his first taste of the AHL as a bottom six center with upside, little Joe Hicketts will shine on the blue line as a Brian Rafalski type, a small guy with offensive upside. And goalie Jake Paterson has real potential and could push Heeter to Toledo. Zach Nastiasuk is still attempting to establish himself as a middle six forward and is running out of chances before the next wave hits. Image result for dylan sadowyDylan Sadowy who the Wings added from the Sharks organization is a true goal scorer with real upside and a first year pro.


  Not the deepest team in terms of actual prospects in Grand Rapids this year but a good half a dozen useful players, even assuming that Mantha and Athanasiou make the big club. They are built to compete at the AHL level and make it hard for the kids to earn a job, which is not a bad thing.

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Very good post and good points as always @yave1964 , but in looking at this 'unusual' collection of minor league vets combined with some of the signings the Wings did at the NHL level, it also wouldn't surprise me if this was some sort of "fallback plan" should the Red Wings suffer an inordinate amount of injuries to the Detroit roster OR, if some of those NHL signings go south.


Let's face it:

Thomas Vanek, Darren Helm....those are kinda chancy no matter how you look at it.

Also, will Gustav Nyqvist take the necessary steps forward to help this team win?


How about Frans Nielsen? Will he thrive now that he no longer has the 'protection' of having former teammate John Tavares as the bigger target instead of him on the team?


Steve Ott? Does he really have anything left or does he contract a severe case of the The Stupids which frustrates the HELL out of Detroit management so much that they prefer an AHL veteran checker in his stead?


Then you have solid but aging Niklas Kronwall on defense......and who knows how the goalie situation shakes out.


Definitely NOT saying any of those signed minor leaguers can completely take the place of the mentioned NHL players, but again, if things go bad with some of those signings, I am thinking the Wings would roll the dice perhaps and hope that maybe two or three of those AHL signings can be late bloomers and step in to give the Wings a reasonable chance at icing a competitive team, as opposed to watching their season completely wash away.

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Great points all.


I personally believe that Vanek, used as a net front presence on the power play is a fine addition, a low risk, decent reward guy. I feel the Wild misused him to a certain extent, he is not a 35 goal guy anymore, time has taken that away but 25 goals, 50 points is certainly doable. \

  Ott, oof, what a bad signee. He has always wanted to play for the Wings, give him a game or two and ship him to the Griffins and put Bertuzzi in. He brings zip to the table especially with resigning Helm and Miller. Ott is a complete waste of space. Helm, Nielson, too much for too long but that is what happens in free agency.


  In Grand Rapids we have:

Mantha, I believe he should make the big club if he earns it, he has to be a top six scoring wing. If not, Grand Rapids is where he belongs.

Athanasiou: the kid can play and is as fast as anyone in the game. The depth among forwards may make him start at GR.


Among the others, first rounder Svechinikov is a true scorer but needs seasoning, Sadowy did not sign his entry level deal with the Sharks, ala Vesey at a lower level. He is a Detroit boy, we gave up a third rounder for him, he projected as an early second in some drafts, he will shine in GR, but also a year away. Nosek and Callahan are bodies at the AHL level and could fill in at the NHL level, Betuzzi continues to shine as a big game player. And Dom turgeon will get his first look at the AHL, he is not a super scorer but does everything else right and the hope is that scoring comes.

  So overall, forward is well taken care of at all levels.


Defense, God do we have a boring bunch.


I disagree that Kronwall is solid, he is a liability skating on one knee, Ericsson never developed. Smith is okay but not as good as he was supposed to be. Dekeyser is a middle pair guy, nothing more. Green is an aging scorer who was okay.

  Help on the way? Every one has holes in their game, Marchenko is the new Anders Lilja. That is not a compliment. Oullet can skate the puck but gets pushed around. Sproul can shoot but can be clueless in his own zone. Russo led the AHL in plus/minus coming out of nowhere, but was it fro real? Hicketts and Saarjarvi are great puck movers but both are five foot eight.

 We need to move a veteran forward for a top four defender, move Kronwall to the bottom pairing and the second power play to get the most of him.


  One prospect who I admit I am intrigued by is Jared Coreau, a mountain in net, who took forever to develop. Last year he established himself in net, the signings of Heeter and Pasqualle may mean that Coreau is being groomed for the NHL backup job and Howard may be moved. Or I may be reading tea leaves. Nobody wants Howard at his current deal. I did read a rumor of Nyquist and Howard to Anaehim for one of their defenders with the Wings eating a crap ton of salary, but haven't heard it in awhile.


I guess looking at it again, the farm is in good shape. I do like the combo of young hungry kids and weary, grizzled vets. Nothing is given, it has to be earned.

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