Detroit Red Wings’ Prospect Update: Grand Rapids Griffins
The Detroit Red Wings’ prospect depth spans three continents and five countries, but today we will take a quick look at the prospects just across the state of Michigan in the city of Grand Rapids.
Welcome to part one of our look at the Red Wings’ prospects with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Today we look at forwards Teemu Pulkkinen, Mitch Callahan and Andreas Athanasiou along with defensemen Alexey Marchenko and Ryan Sproul.
Teemu Pulkkinen – Pulkkinen is leading the AHL in points in his second full season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He has taken what he learned in his first season with the Griffins and applied in order to start this season off on a hot streak. Teemu Pulkkinen is ready for the NHL and it will be an exciting day when he finally makes the jump.
Mitch Callahan – Callahan had a breakout season with the Griffins last season with fourty-four points and instead of taking a step back after being sent down to the Griffins before the NHL season by Detroit, he is proving why the Red Wings will need to make a spot for him next season. For the second year, Callahan is near the top of the leader board for the Griffins and there is no sign of him slowing down.
Andreas Athanasiou – The speedy Athanasiou is playing well in his first season in the AHL and is handling the adjustment to AHL hockey well, especially considering the issues he had while playing in the OHL. Those struggles seemed to be behind him when he left London and joined Barrie though and he is looking forward to his future with the Detroit Red Wings. While there are a few players ahead of him on the depth chart, Athanasiou brings speed to any line-up and could be one of, if not, the fastest player in the AHL.
Alexey Marchenko – Marchenko was injured last season with the Griffins and required surgery on his ankle. He was expected to practice during Development Camp, but only saw the ice in the last two days before practice began and his first true practice with the team came during Training Camp, although he did skate during the Captain’s skate at Joe Louis beforehand. Marchenko might have had a late start compared to the other defensemen in Grand Rapids, but he is already on pace to tie his point total last season in fifty games and then surpass it. Marchenko is tied with Paetsch for the most points by a defenseman with the Griffins this season.
Ryan Sproul – Sproul has a massive shot on the blue line and scored on the Lake Erie Monsters by shooting the puck just over the net and the ensuing ricochet off the glass, hit the goaltender in the back before the puck made its way into the net. Sproul has struggled this season offensively and only has two points so far this season, but I expect him to turn around his season soon because he has too much talent to be held off the score sheet night in and night out.