There's been a ton of news in the prospect world as of late.. Between the Griffins being an absolute enigma, two guys in the Subway Super Series, players setting records, and what have you..
I was looking at the Griffins numbers earlier. They've been pretty abysmal on home-ice so far this season.. While I don't have a lot of advanced data on the AHL, they've had a -9 goal differential at home, yet have a +15 shot differential. They've only been outshot on home-ice once so far this season.. So what's going on there? Well, it seems like some of the younger defensemen like Ryan Sproul have been struggling as of late. Jeff Blashill has scratched some of the younger defensemen and played the veteran guys as a remedy for this, but it hasn't worked thus far. I understand the want to win, and that's why Blashill does it. You put your best players on the ice. However, as a fan, I absolutely hate seeing these players scratched without injury. I consider it to be a hinderance on their development. That's just my opinion though, some could argue that maybe it lights a fire under their ass and pushes them to work it out. All I know is that it seems like a lot of the prospects who performed really well in NHL exhibition, have been going through some growing pains at the AHL level. I wouldn't call it a bad thing, but it's a bit troubling. You gotta think that maybe, just maybe.. It would be a good idea to put Tomas Jurco back down in Grand Rapids. Sitting in Cleary's Cabana isn't doing much good for him, and even though he's probably too good for the AHL, he needs to be playing hockey. If he's going to be a scratch on Friday, then just send him to GR. The team needs help, and he needs to be moving. Here is a look at AHL fancy stats so far this season. This data was collected and formulated by @joshweissbock. Follow him on Twitter! As you see, Grand Rapids ranks number six in the whole league for Fenwick in close situations. Looking at their shooting/save percentage, and PDO should tell us that this team is due to fire up sooner or later.. However, I am not sure what to expect if Petr Mrazek will be spending a lot of time in Detroit until Jonas Gustavsson is healthy again:
I'll admit, I don't watch the Griffins too often.. But looking at players like Martin Frk, I just get a bit concerned. He's only registered one point so far this season, but it seems like he's just not shooting the puck enough. No doubt about it, he looks like he's vastly improved from last season. Another note is that Andreas Athanasiou hasn't provided a ton of offense, but I know what he's capable of. This is technically his rookie season.. I think he'll figure it out as the season progresses. The biggest difference is that all the super fancy moves don't always work at the pro level. Athanasiou reminds me of Jurco when he first played in the AHL. Wasn't providing much, but after a while, he started to get it, and started to become a very dominate player. Teemu Pulkkinen leads the team in points, and that's not really a surprise. The kid is a machine. Since Andy Miele returned from injury, he's provided a lot of offense for the team. I'm not too worried about them as a whole, I think they'll get better as time goes on. If you were looking for some good news, I got some for you.. This was tweeted out recently, and it will be a huge addition for the Griffins:
Anthony Mantha skated with the Griffs today. He's signing autographs after Saturday's game w/ Callahan & Athanasiou. pic.twitter.com/OpKFxuU2pJ— GrandRapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) November 10, 2014
Simply put: I cannot wait to see him play. Even if he's rusty and doesn't provide much from the get-go, it'll be nice to see our number one prospect playing hockey at the pro level. We should expect to see him playing sometime in the next week or so. I am very excite. However, the loss of Tomas Nosek really sucks. I haven't seen any updates on it, but it doesn't look all that good.
How about our junior players? How are they doing? Pretty good, if you ask me. Goalie prospect Jake Paterson recently set a milestone at the OHL level.. He earned his 75th win with the Saginaw Spirit, which moved him to the all-time leader in wins for Saginaw. He's 5-5-0 so far this season with a 3.29 GAA and .912 Save Percentage. Congrats to him for achieving that.
Recently, Tyler Bertuzzi was named OHL player of the week just before leaving for the Subway Super Series. Tyler had himself one hell of a game against the London Knights, posting two goals and five assists. He now has 23 points in 17 games this season. He's really developing into a special player.
Zach Nastasiuk was one of those players who I thought could have played for the Griffins this season and provided a role as a third line player.. But he was sent back to Owen Sound to captain his squad for one more season. He's been an impact player for them posting up 19 points in 18 games. He's had seven points in his last four games. He's an extremely underrated prospect, in my opinion. He's great on all 200 feet of the ice, and is a natural leader.
OHL Network - Tyler Bertuzzi Named OHL Player of the Week
Video Highlights of Bertuzzi's 7 point game
Over the summer, Detroit found themselves a hidden undrafted gem. Joe Hicketts came into development camp and turned heads all the way up through main camp. He continued his offensive-dynamo ways once the WHL season started. Joe is the number two in the WHL for scoring defensemen with 24 points in 19 games. He started his tenure with Team WHL in the Subway Super Series on November 10th and registered an assist in a 3-2 loss against Team Russia, and then got himself a goal on the 11th in another 3-2 loss against the Russians. Real awesome note from Bob McKenzie states that Joe has a really good shot at making the roster for World Juniors. Can't imagine he gets snubbed when he's producing like he is...
All 7 D here tonight have legit shot to be invited. Morrissey (WPG), Fleury (CAR), Hicketts (DET), Heatherington (CBJ), Bowey (WSH)...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 11, 2014
In other WHL news, Dominic Turgeon is having a decent season thus far. 14 points in 19 games. He didn't really stand out much to me over the summer, but he's still young. Gotta give it time.
Subway Super Series
Joe Hicketts Interview After Scoring Game-Tying Goal in Subway Super Series
In NCAA news, new-blood 15th overall pick Dylan Larkin has provided an immediate impact for the University of Michigan. I've had the pleasure of watching a couple of games, and the most standout part of his game is his speed. For a kid his size, it's absolutely jarring to watch. He moves like Helm, but has hands that actually keep up. Dylan has seven points in seven games so far. He's been rotating at 2nd line center, and 3rd line center. Keep in mind this kid just turned 18 on July 30th. U of M is 2-5-0 so far this season.. Not a great start, but they've played some great teams so far. There's been some worry about him playing at the college level, just because the style Red Berenson is as a coach. He's much like Babcock in that he wants his players to play a strong two-way game. If you're worried about that, just look at Michigan alumni players like Max Pacioretty, Mike Cammalleri, Jacob Trouba or Carl Hagelin. Red Berenson has a career .661 winning percentage at U of M. That is #2 overall in Division 1 College Hockey among active coaches who have coached at least 10 seasons. The kid is in great hands. The Wolverines will be playing back-to-back games against American International this weekend, which should be on BTN Plus for those of you who want to tune in and watch #19 play.
Look, we got a lot of prospects.. I could write a 5000 word post on them all, but I'll split it up. Euro prospects like Holmstrom, Vahaltalo, Janmark, Almquist (yes, I still follow him because he's property of Detroit), are a bit more difficult to assess because I don't watch Euro-league hockey. I try to watch OHL hockey as much as possible.. Whenever a prospect comes into town an plays Plymouth, I go to the games and check it out. If you want to keep up with prospects, I always suggest @DRWProspects. They provide a lot of stat lines and videos, as well as other prospect transactions. If you'd like to hear more about another prospect, just let me know and I'll put their name on the list for the next post. Thanks for reading folks. LGRW
PS- I do not hate Luke Glendening