Detroit Red Wings: Griffins receive an abundance of much needed help

ROSEMONT, IL - DECEMBER 02: Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Dylan McIlrath (52) and Chicago Wolves right wing Keegan Kolesar (20) fight during the game between the Chicago Wolves and the Grand Rapids Griffins on December 2, 2017 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - DECEMBER 02: Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Dylan McIlrath (52) and Chicago Wolves right wing Keegan Kolesar (20) fight during the game between the Chicago Wolves and the Grand Rapids Griffins on December 2, 2017 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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For the Detroit Red Wings, it’s never a “good” thing to miss the playoffs and have your NHL season end after the final regular season game is completed but one team is excited, and that’s the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Detroit Red Wings finished the NHL regular season with an abundance of Grand Rapids Griffins skating with the winged wheel crest on their chest.  It is a good thing in one regard to have an opportunity to give the young prospects a look in the show.  On the other hand, it drastically slowed the Griffins season production who were rolling before looking to the Toledo Walleye for resources after the Wings robbed them of their own.

At one point leading up to all the call-ups, the Griffins only trailed the Chicago Wolves who sit atop of the Central Divison by a couple of points.  Since then the Griffins have lost seven games in a row and have struggled to find their game at the worst possible time with only two games remaining on the season.  They lost to Iowa 7-3 last night while Chicago sits comfortably eight points ahead of the Griffins.

It was great to see forward Matt Puempel get a taste of the NHL for the first time as a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization to end the season.  The former first-round pick had spent time in the show with Ottawa who drafted him and again with the New York Rangers who claimed him off of waivers.

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Since joining the Detroit Red Wings, he’s been an offensive juggernaut playing as a top-six forward in Grand Rapids.  He was only able to score once in Detroit, but he’s earned the right to get another look this summer but again will likely find himself in Grand Rapids next year.

The Detroit Red Wings needed a bunch of defensemen to join the team down the stretch including the son of Chris Chelios, Jake.  Jake Chelios struggled with the pace of play in Detroit but seemed to gain confidence playing paired with his Griffins’ teammate Dylan McIlrath as games continued to progress. I don’t expect Chelios to have a future in the NHL, the 28-year-old looks to be a bottom AHL pair type of defender for the rest of the way but it was cool to see a Chelios wearing the winged wheel once again.

The aforementioned McIlrath is a former top ten pick with the Rangers, but he lacks NHL speed.  I did notice when he plays his physical abilities and willingness to bang the body and his reputation as a tough guy created space for his teammates.  I would much rather enjoy watching McIlrath play as the sixth defender over Jonathan Ericsson moving forward.

Next. Strong off-season needed for Michael Rasmussen. dark

The Griffins also received Martin Frk, Dominic Turgeon, Joe Hicketts, Christoffer Ehn and standout defenseman Filip Hronek from the Detroit Red Wings to mix back in with Chris Terry, Dennis Cholowski and Filip Zadina as they hope to “right the ship” and enjoy a deep playoff run in hopes of winning another Calder Cup Trophy.