Around the NHL
The college season is finishing up and that means the time of year where a bunch of kids have to make the decision about turning pro and, in the cases of undrafted or other UFA-eligible college kids, where to sign. McKenzie has a good writeup on a number of players and the teams (many of which still have tourney games coming up). Here’s the jewel of the class:
The top prize in that regard is Northeastern graduating senior Zachary Aston-Reese, a 6-foot, 204-pound forward who had 31 goals and 63 points for the Huskies in 38 games this season. Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles and Detroit are among a very large group of NHL teams pursuing him, with a decision expected in the next day or so.
Minnesota State sophomore defenceman Daniel Brickley has decided to return to school for his junior year. He was perhaps the top blueliner drawing free-agent interest.
In Red Wings Land
The Wings are heading west today for a brief stint in Colorado and Arizona, and Helene makes the organization’s case that calling up a seventh defenseman “just in case” isn’t something Detroit necessarily feels they have to do while the Griffins are rolling with chemistry atop their division:
It is possible that once the Wings are eliminated from the playoff picture they will bring up some Grand Rapids Griffins players to get another look at them. Tyler Bertuzzi has 29 points in 39 games, one point shy of the 30 points it took him 71 games last season to produce. Martin Frk is having a good season with 21 goals among 43 points in 52 games. Tomas Nosek is another one who stands out – he was at nearly a point a game before missing time after getting concussed, and has 38 points overall in 47 games. Evgeny Svechnikov has worked his way up to become a top-six forward in his first pro season.
The Griffins’ chemistry angle that follows that paragraph is a better argument for me than “the Wings are waiting to officially be eliminated” because it feels silly to still be waiting for something with only 15 games left in the season and a 13-point deficit to overcome, but for all my disdain for the concept of having to absolutely master the AHL before beginning to tackle the NHL, there is something to be said for not subjecting kids who are a piece of what appears to be a good and winning culture on the Griffins to the fiery garbage that is the last four weeks of the Red Wings’ season.