Marco Kasper is off to a sputtering start with the Grand Rapids Griffins

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Marco Kasper, 19, is off to a slow start with the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Detroit Red Wings selected the two-way center with the no. 8 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, and he’s experiencing a slight hiccup in his development.

There is nothing to be really concerned about, but Kasper has just totaled one goal and two assists over his first 13 games of the season. He’s maintaining a minus-three rating and has four penalty minutes. His shooting percentage is a mere 4.8%, which is less than ideal. Kasper was never going to project into an elite-type scoring threat but more of a two-way forward similar to Andrew Copp and J.T. Compher. Although that comparison won’t ‘wow’ anyone, that is the type of center general manager Steve Yzerman tends to covet. There is an adjustment period for the young center as he continues to acclimate himself to the smaller North American ice surface.

Marco Kasper is coming off a solid season with Rogle BK Angelholm of the Swedish Hockey League, where he scored eight goals and added 15 assists, totaling 23 points last year. Kasper amassed 72 penalty minutes and was a plus-7. He appeared in nine postseason games for Rogle and recorded three assists.

Marco Kasper is off to a slow start with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Marco Kasper was quite impressive in his NHL debut last season but was limited to just one game due to injury. As it turns out, Kasper played with a broken kneecap in that game against Toronto and still showed plenty of grit and physicality. The injury occurred while playing in Rogle, and the young forward mentioned he felt some discomfort following the game in Toronto and said he just powered through on adrenaline. Kasper played just a tick under 15 minutes in that game and failed to record a point.

Again, there is no need to sound the alarm or panic, but I would love to see Kasper generate a bit more offense at the AHL level as the year wears on. Although Kasper is struggling to begin the year, there are a few others that could see a role in Detroit later this season.

The first is top defense prospect Simon Edvinsson. Edvinsson is currently fourth in scoring on the Griffins with seven points, including four goals over 13 games. He’s a minus-4 on the year, but with the injury to Jake Walman, the Red Wings may be inclined to call up their top prospect rather than relying on veterans such as Jeff Petry to fill the void night in and night out.

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Two more names to watch as the year wears on are Carter Mazur, who currently sits with two goals and five points in seven games, and Jonatan Berggren, of course, who has two goals and seven points in nine games this season. Taro Hirose currently leads the Griffins with 12 points on the season.