Begging for Jonatan Berggren’s villain era for the Grand Rapids Griffins

The American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate to the Detroit Red Wings took game 1 in overtime Saturday night. A few changes to the lineup may be necessary for the second game of the series to ensure victory. 
Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
3 of 7

Wyatt Newpower could tap in too

Did someone ask for amped up physicality for the Grand Rapids Griffins?

I would feel bad if I didn’t mention Wyatt Newpower when I asked for more physical play from the Grand Rapids Griffins. 

With Johannes added up front, I think Wyatt Newpower may be a great defensive option for the Grand Rapids Griffins. 

Newpower is a huge man, standing at 6’4,” he uses his size to his full advantage. He’s mean, delivers punishing hits, clears the net front, and keeps opponents honest, which may be just the ticket to a win in the second game of the series. 

Brogan Rafferty brings much-needed experience to the Grand Rapids Griffins; he went to the Calder Cup finals last season (with a different team). However, the Grand Rapids Griffins struggled to exit the zone at times when he and William Wallinder were on the ice together. 

I saw moments of brilliance from Rafferty. Far too often, though, I saw him pass to a covered teammate, opponents steal pucks from him, or fail to clear the zone. 

Wallinder struggled at times, but it seemed he didn’t as often as Rafferty. It might just be a matchup thing: Rafferty might work better against a different opponent, or maybe he needs time to adjust (the Grand Rapids Griffins had a layoff between games, so that could be part of it, too).

Newpower may be better suited for this particular series. He can match the physicality and toughness that the opponent demands. One thing that would concern me with Newpower is his discipline. For reference, in 34 games this season, Newpower clocked 58 penalty minutes (second only to Shine and tied with a mystery Grand Rapids Griffins player I’ll touch on later).