The Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday reassigned left wing Andreas Athanasiou and defenseman Mattias Backman to the Grand Rapids Griffins. In addition, the Griffins signed center Mattias Janmark to an amateur tryout.
Yesterday, the Grand Rapids Griffins website released that Detroit Red Wings prospects in Andreas Athanasiou (OHL), Mattias Backman (SHL), and Mattias Janmark (SHL), have been assigned to the AHL. This comes at a very good time for both the players and the team, as Detroit begins to make their push in the NHL Playoffs. Grand Rapids is missing some of their top players such as Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Ryan Sproul, and Xavier Ouellet. All three players bring something special to the table:
Andreas Athanasiou (110th overall in 2012):
Coming off a red-hot 2013-2014 season with 95 points (49 goals and 44 assists) in 66 games, this guy has probably some of the slickest hands in the CHL. Seriously, Just look at this goal he scored a week ago in the OHL playoffs(WARNING! NSFW due to ice-cold filthiness):
Mattias Backman(146th overall in 2011):
I'll admit, I haven't gotten to watch him at all.. He's coming off a solid 21 point (6 goals, 15 assists) 2013-2014 season. His scouting report praises his mobility as a defenseman who can position himself to make a big pass or defensive play. There's always room for that on any team.
Backman finds defensive rhythm in Sweden | Red Wings Central
Mattias Janmark(79th overall in 2013):
Another guy I haven't gotten to watch at all.. He's had quite the story. He had a breakout 2012-2013 season in the SHL. He finished second in scoring on his team. He brings offensive skill and setup abilities to the table. He's extremely passionate for the game and has an almost-elite hockey sense. He finished with 30 points (18 goals and 12 assists) in 30 games playing AIK in the SHL. Keep in mind, AIK was the worst team in the league.
Janmark emerging as ‘very dangerous’ scorer | Red Wings Central
With that being said, Detroit still has a couple of prospects who are competing in their respective league's playoffs. Anthony Mantha and his team are gearing up to take on the QMJHL powerhouse Halifax Moosehead. If you want my opinion, I don't see Mantha's team being able to beat Halifax, but it's possible. The Moosehead have three players who have combined for 64 points in just 9 games.. Yes, you read that right. It's not a typo. I'll be keeping a close eye on that series to see how it goes. Anthony is having a very strong run in the playoffs with 15 points (10 goals and 5 assists) through 10 games. If Val-d'Or is eliminated quickly, there has been talks stirring up that Mantha will be assigned as a black ace for Detroit. He would travel and practice with the team during the playoffs. There's a possibility he goes to Grand Rapids as well.. We will see! Tyler Bertuzzi and the Guelph Storm are getting ready to compete against the Erie Otters. I don't think we'll see him assigned anywhere as he has yet to sign a contract for Detroit. Keep and eye on him though.. It's absolutely remarkable to see how he has bounced back from a potentially career-ending injury this season. He has 9 points (5 goals and 4 assists) through 8 games since returning.
So if you have a chance to make it out to a Griffins game, DO IT! There's a good chance you'll be seeing these names competing soon. It's a big switch for these guys coming from the juniors to the pro-style.. But some are more ready than others. Should be fun to watch!