The Red Wings' season may not start on time, but there's no lockout in the AHL and the Grand Rapids Griffins get set to open their season. In preparation, the Wings have assigned those players they could to the Griffins in order to ensure they get playing time and do so in North America during a work stoppage. For the rest, they were likely already going to be in Grand Rapids to start the season, but will be missing out on a chance to impress at training camp.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Friday assigned 22 players to the Grand Rapids Griffins, their American Hockey League affiliate: goaltenders Tom McCollum, Petr Mrazek and Jordan Pearce; defensemen Adam Almquist, Gleason Fournier, Brian Lashoff, Max Nicastro and Brendan Smith; and forwards Joakim Andersson, Louis-Marc Aubry, Damien Brunner, Mitch Callahan, Willie Coetzee, Landon Ferraro, Tomas Jurco, Andrej Nestrasil, Gustav Nyquist, Francis Pare, Trevor Parkes, Brent Raedeke, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar.
The group joins five players who signed AHL contracts with the Griffins this summer: defensemen Chad Billins, Brennan Evans and Nathan Paetsch and forwards Luke Glendening and Triston Grant.
Eighteen of those players saw playing time with the Griffins during the 2011-12 season. Jurco (QMJHL Saint John) and Mrazek (OHL Ottawa) are both first-year pros who spent last season playing major junior hockey, while Billins (Ferris State University), Glendening (University of Michigan) and Nicastro (Boston University) finished their collegiate careers last year. Veterans Evans (Peoria) and Grant (Oklahoma City) are first-year Griffins who skated elsewhere in the AHL last season, and Brunner (EV Zug, Switzerland) and Paetsch (Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams, Germany) arrive from European professional leagues.
The Griffins are expected to hold their first practice on Monday, Oct. 1 to begin a week-long training camp in Grand Rapids. Details on locations and times of the camp will be released at a later date. The team will also participate in two neutral-site preseason games against the Lake Erie Monsters on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio and Sunday, Oct. 7 at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.
The puck drops on the 2012-13 season on Friday, Oct. 12 when Grand Rapids hosts Milwaukee at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena. Single-game tickets for all home games will go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. at all Star Ticket outlets, including The Zone and Meijer stores, or online through griffinshockey.com.