Detroit Red Wings fans can expect this from the Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night

Achieving dreams is so incredibly difficult, but Detroit Red Wings fans have a chance to watch their future superstars take steps in their development. It’s such a gift to get to watch them play, and here are things to think about prior to the game.
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The regular season for the Grand Rapids Griffins is wrapping up. Although the playoff spot and opponent are set, as Larry Figurski (TV and radio broadcaster for the team) illustrates, the home-ice advantage is still up for grabs between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Rockford Icehogs:

While home-ice advantage might seem like a luxury, for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the barn is electric, and players feed off the energy. For context, the Grand Rapids Griffins have gone 22-7-4-2 at home. With $2 beer and hotdog nights at each home game, the stakes rising, and the additions of familiar and new players, fans will flock to the arena as much as ever. Thus, the home-ice advantage is almost a necessity.

These Grand Rapids Griffins players are putting on stellar performances that were previously overshadowed by their parent club, the Detroit Red Wings. The coaching staff, even though brand new, has learned to work tremendously well together and with their players.

The Grand Rapids Griffins were a breath of fresh air at points this season for me from the stress and high stakes of the Detroit Red Wings. 

In some ways, the Grand Rapids Griffins are like a crystal ball. It might be a bit foggy and distorted at times, but Detroit Red Wings fans can see young players taking steps to who they choose to become.

Friday’s game is just the next step in this process, and here are some notes to think about ahead of game time.

There are a few faces who might join. It’s possible Simon Edvinsson and Zach Aston-Reese will make the trip to Iowa, but it might be as likely the Grand Rapids Griffins will give them a few days to readjust before playing in Sunday’s game (likely a dress rehearsal for the playoffs).

Shai Buium is set to play for the Grand Rapids Griffins this weekend. On the coach’s show prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Iowa Wild, head coach Dan Watson wasn’t confident which game–maybe both or just one–Buium might make his debut. It might be a bit quick to have Buium play Friday night for my liking, but if any player can make the adjustment with 1-2 practices, I’d put my money on Buium.

He’s a brilliant mind and a hard worker with above-average to high-end skills. He’s not a big risk taker, as very rarely making mistakes or a liability, which should help his case. This quality doesn’t mean he’s boring or safe, he’s actually one of the most fun players that i have watched. Buium is effective all over the ice. 

We might see him reunite with Antti Tuomisto, but it’s my understanding that Tuomisto is nursing an injury, so it might not be a Denver Pioneer reunion quite yet. In the future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them play together as they did well together previously.

Another fantastic aspect of the Buium signing is that it might give Watson more flexibility with his defensive pairing. It’s not likely that Buium sees second-pair duties this weekend (unless Watson buys into the Buium hype early, which Watson should). Come playoffs, I wouldn’t be surprised if Buium squeezes his way onto the second pair. I’m not sure where he sits in terms of hierarchy amongst the Swedish defensemen in the Detroit Red Wings system, but he’s one of my favorites.

If Buium plays on the second pairing, it might open Watson’s abilities. Especially with the top pairing, Watson might be able to bring the bromance back to life with Edvinsson and Albert Johansson, who played well together in stints this season. The breakup seemed to be a result of questionable depth and spreading the wealth rather than Edvinsson and Johansson not playing well together. I would love to see these two reunite as much as I would love to see Buium and Tuomisto together again.

Along with these players possibly appearing this Friday night, it’s worth noting that the Grand Rapids Griffins power play hasn’t seen as much success lately. Seemingly a result of roster changes, the loss of Jonatan Berggren midway through the season hurt, and especially Edvinsson being recalled for an extended period of time led to a less-than-stellar power play. It’s wild not to realize how important someone like Edvinsson is on a power play until he’s no longer there. It should be noted that Buium has played power play for the Denver Pioneers as well, so he might see some second unit deployment this weekend.

The possible return of Austin Czarnik and Zach Aston-Reese will make the Grand Rapids Griffins also much better.

If you haven’t had a chance to see, Matt Luff of the Grand Rapids Griffins (also played for the Detroit Red Wings last season) had a fun mic’d up video for picture day. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, Matt Luff of the Grand Rapids Griffins (who also played for the Detroit Red Wings last season) had a fun mic-up video for picture day. One of the highlights of the entire season, which is saying something, as both the Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins have excellent social media teams; I highly recommend watching it:

The Grand Rapids Griffins are giving fans a glimpse into the future of the Detroit Red Wings fans. This weekend is just one example before the Grand Rapids Griffins start their playoff run. It’s exciting to see what the team is made of and the ways in which the team grows.