Bring me Nate Danielson (Grand Rapids Griffins)!

Are the Grand Rapids Griffins about to get a big boost from Nate Danielson? Let’s see…
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Grand Rapids Griffins fired on all cylinders during the first game of the second round of the playoffs. Players are going hard, effective, and starting on time. The end of the game left some things to be desired, but that is bound to happen. 

Their entire lineup (goaltenders, defense, and forwards) all seem to be set, but there’s alway room for improvement. Right?

With every door that closes, new ones open. For Nate Danielson, his junior career may have come to an end. It was an exciting final season, especially after getting traded to a playoff team. He performed exceptionally well:

Even without taking a trip to Saginaw, Michigan, for the upcoming Memorial Cup, Danielson may be heading to Michigan anyways.

Although the Grand Rapids Griffins have iced 4 centers who have performed well, Danielson is a strong candidate in his own right. 

His faceoffs, shot, playmaking, and two-way game all make him a huge threat to any of his opponents, while being a game-changer for his team. I'm not sure that there is anything Danielson lacks in his game. At this point, I think it's fine-tuning aspects of his game.

There isn’t another Grand Rapids Griffins game until Monday, May 20. This gives plenty of time for practice and adjusting to the Grand Rapids Griffins systems. Also, he’s no stranger to the Detroit Red Wings system.

After Monday night's game, the playoffs shift to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the Wednesday, May 22, game. It is the only guaranteed home game for the Grand Rapids Griffins with $2 beers and $2 hot dogs. They could. hold off on Danielson's debut until then, but the sooner Danielson joins the lineup, the better

Danielson is no stranger to the Detroit Red Wings systems. He took part in development and training camps, then played in preseason games. Not at all out of place, Danielson made quite the impression on fans. If the Detroit Red Wings roster wasn’t set in stone prior to training camp, he might have had a case to stay with the big club. 

With the National Hockey League (NHL) preseason, both Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins personnel played together. There was an emphasis to streamline the organization with both teams playing a similar style, so playing for the Detroit Red Wings is seamless if a midseason call up occurred.

While Danielson will need time to adjust to the system once more, along with learning his knew teammates, the pace of play, and added physicality, I think he will make a monumental difference in the Grand Rapids Griffins lineup.

Other newcomers haven’t had a chance to play in the playoffs so far, but many are defensemen and the forwards that haven't played much (or at all) have a different style from Danielson.

Danielson can play any role in the lineup and may have to start on the third or fourth line. If this happens, I’m not sure he stays in that role very long. At the same time, I'm not sure who swaps with him.

Ideally, I would love seeing Danielson center Carter Mazur and Jonatan Berggren. This pipedream likely won’t happen as Austin Czarnik looks pretty cozy as the top-line center.

Line 2 would be nice, but Marco Kasper isn’t going anywhere except maybe upward in the lineup. I think both he and Czarnik have made cases to stay in the top-6 forward group. I would much prefer them to swap center spots (meaning Kasper as the first line center and Czarnik as the second line center), but that hasn't happened yet. Outlook isn't so good with that hope, so I'll get back to the regularly scheduled program.

For these reasons, I think if Danielson plays in the top-6 to start with the Grand Rapids Griffins it’s as a winger. However, Danielson didn’t even play wing in the NHL preseason, so I’m not sure why he would play as a winger in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Alternatively, I think the third line of Joel L’Esperance, Taro Hirose, and Tim Gettinger has worked pretty well for the Grand Rapids Griffins. 

This leaves the fourth line. I hear fans now, why bring Danielson to the Grand Rapids Griffins to play on the fourth line?

Great question, but how about these questions.

Do you know who is playing on the fourth line? Can you tell me why?

Elmer Söderblom and Amadeus Lombardi.

My answer to question 2: I don’t know. I guess too many forwards or the coaching staff wants different things from the top-9 than those 2 players provide. Maybe we should feel lucky that they’re playing? I really don’t have a good, acceptable answer. I wish the media would press head coach Dan Watson about this, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal.

They get decent enough playing time, or so it seems. I can't be too mad, it's just more annoying to me.

If Danielson steps into the lineup, I think Lombardi shifts to the wing. Although it’s not Lombardi's typical spot, I think Lombardi has a toolset that may be best suited to the wing. It might open him up a bit more for offense and pushing play up the ice. 

Meanwhile, Danielson can get adjusted to the heavy, high-pace of the AHL. He can cover for any possible mishaps from his linemates (or defensemen) and the Grand Rapids Griffins could literally roll all 4 lines.

It would help open up the top-9 to possibly take shifts against lower lines on the opposition, or get an extra few breaths on the bench. 

Right now, it’s a perfect time to pull Danielson into the Grand Rapids Griffins lineup.

Now I know how Thor felt in Avnegers: Infinity Wars when he demanded Thanos:

Only, I’m saying, “Bring me, Nate Danielson!” And, of course, it’s for a positive reason (unlike Thor who wanted revenge on Thanos).

Next. May 16. The Detroit Red Wings prospect with the highest offensive upside may reside in Russia. dark