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Getting To Know The Wings Prospects: Griffins Edition

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Griffins Hockey

We already broke down all 20 of the kids who haven't made it to the ECHL or AHL yet and if you missed that post, you can click here to get all caught up. Next up we have all the young studs who have graduated to the AHL and are playing with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season.

Here's a quick look as the roster grouped by position, with the goalies being first since they're naturally the most important.

Roster

# Name Pos Date of Birth Height Weight SH Birthplace
30 Tom McCollum G 12/7/1989 6' 2" 215 L Cambria, New York
34 Petr Mrazek G 2/14/1992 6' 1" 187 L Ostrava, Czech Republic
3 Alexey Marchenko D 1/2/1992 6' 2" 212 R Moscow, Russia
4 Nathan Paetsch D 3/30/1983 6' 1" 195 L LeRoy, Saskatchewan
5 Mattias Backman D 10/3/1992 6' 3" 176 L Linkoping, Sweden
7 Ryan Sproul D 1/13/1993 6' 3" 205 R Mississauga, Ontario
14 Nick Jensen D 9/21/1990 6' 0" 200 R Rogers, Minnesota
16 Xavier Ouellet D 7/29/1993 6' 0" 200 L Bayonne, France
42 Richard Nedomlel D 7/1/1993 6' 5" 230 L Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic
44 Brennan Evans D 1/6/1982 6' 4" 230 L North Battleford, Saskatchewan
6 Teemu Pulkkinen RW 1/2/1992 5' 10" 185 R Vantaa, Finland
9 Mark Zengerle C 5/12/1989 5' 10" 185 R Rochester, New York
10 Jeff Hoggan LW 2/1/1978 6' 1" 190 L Hope, British Columbia
12 Kevin Porter C 3/12/1986 5' 11" 195 L Detroit, Michigan
15 Mitch Callahan LW 8/17/1991 6' 0" 195 R Whittier, California
17 Colin Campbell RW 4/17/1991 6' 1" 206 R Toronto, Ontario
19 Tomas Nosek C 9/1/1992 6' 2" 210 L Pardubice, Czech Republic
21 Andy Miele C 4/15/1988 5' 8" 175 L Detroit, Michigan
22 Louis-Marc Aubry C 11/11/1991 6' 4" 213 L Arthabaska, Quebec
23 Andreas Athanasiou C 8/6/1994 6' 2" 200 L London, Ontario
27 Martin Frk RW 10/5/1993 6' 0" 194 R Pelhrimov, Czech Republic
29 Landon Ferraro RW 8/8/1991 6' 0" 185 R Trail, British Columbia
32 Alden Hirschfeld C 1/26/1988 6' 0" 203 R Dallas, Texas
39 Anthony Mantha RW 9/16/1994 6'5" 205 L Longueuil, Quebec
55 Chris Bruton LW 1/23/1987 5' 11" 200 R Calgary, Alberta

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Quick Breakdown

The Veteran Captains: Captain Jeff Hoggan and alternate captains Nathan Paetsch and Brennan Evans continue to make up the core of veteran leadership and provide experience and stability for the team. The Griffins re-signed Evans this summer and I like the move. Not only is he a really good solid defensive guy who's had a big hand in mentoring Ryan Sproul (among other D-men) and he absolutely loves his role and enjoys just playing and getting to help develop the young guys. I knew he loved his role, but talking to him in training camp really gave me a deeper level of appreciation of just how much he loves where he's at. He's been Ryan Sproul's regular partner since Sprouly joined the Griffins and having the rock solid veteran defensive partner has been significant in Sproul's growth and improvement. Having these three as the consistent leaders, regardless of the call ups or send downs gives the team the stability it needs to keep playing well and winning, regardless of who's in the lineup.

Newcomers to the Wings/Griffins organization: Over the summer the Wings and Griffins combined added Mark Zengerle (AHL contract), Kevin Porter, the 2008 Hobey Baker  winner (Wings contract), Andy Miele, the 2011 Hobey Baker winner (Wings contract), Alden Hirschfeld (AHL contract), and Chris Bruton (AHL contract)

Graduates: Mattias Backman, Thomas Nosek, Andreas Athanasiou, and Anthony Mantha are all graduating to the Griffins this season. Backman played 12 games with the Griffins at the end of last season and Athanasiou played 10, so they both have a little taste of the AHL coming into their first pro season. Nosek joined the team and was the 1st line center until he unfortunately cut himself while opening boxes (probably unpacking) and will be keeping Anthony Mantha company on the sidelines for an unknown amount of time. Mantha's still at least 4 weeks away from playing, if everything goes well and he can start lightly skating in the next couple weeks.

Returning Players: After being on an AHL only contract last year, the Wings chose to re-sign Thomas McCollum for one more yer, and Petr Mrazek is or course once again the starter in GR. Alexey Marchenko is coming off his ankle injury and along with Ryan Sproul, Nick Jensen, and Xavier Ouellet make up the returning young guys on the blue line. Richard Nedomlel is on the roster but hasn't played a game yet and unless there's multiple D-man injuries, I don't expect him to play. Teemu Pulkkinen has picked up right where he left off last year, on an offensive mission. His 4 points, three goals, 2 power play goals, and 18 shots on goal lead the team in each category,  he's also 5th in the AHL in power play goals. Colin Campbell is back for his first full season with the Griffins and  Martin Frk is back and looking to prove that he can overcome his awful first pro season. Mitch Callahan and Landon Ferraro were both re-signed by the Wings this summer and both also cleared waivers and will probably spend the entire season in Grand Rapids. Louis-Marc Aubry is, much like Nedomlel, on the roster but I don't expect to see him play. I'm a little surprised both those guys haven't been sent to Toledo yet.

Coaches: Jeff Blashill signed a 3 year extension back in June to ensure the Griffins keep the services of the best coach in the AHL. The Wings weren't the only team to see a large turnover in coaches because Blash lost both of his assistant coaches when Spiros Anastas left to become the head coach at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, and Jim Paek becacame the head coach of the Mens Kornean National Team. New assistant coach Dave Noel-Bernier replaces Anastas and new assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler replaces Paek.

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Fun Stats

  • 8 defensemen, 5 right wingers, 3 left wingers, 7 centers, and 2 goalies
  • An average weight of 199 and an average height of 6'1"
  • 10 righties and 12 lefties. 3 of those righties are on defnese (Marchenko, Sproul, and Jensen)
  • 10 Canadians, 7 Americans, 4 Czechs, 1 Russian, 1 Swede, 1 Frenchman, and 1 Finn
  • Tallest: Anthony Mantha and Richard Nedomlel 6'5"
  • Shortest: Andy Miele 5'8"
  • Heaviest: Richard Nedomlel and Brennan Evans 230 lbs
  • Lightest: Andy Miele 175lbs
  • Oldest: Jeff Hogagn 36 yrs old
  • Youngest: Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou 20 yrs old

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Up Next: The Griffins upcoming week preview.