A somber Detroit Red Wings finale opens new opportunities for Grand Rapids Griffins

As the Detroit Red Wings' season comes to a close, the Grand Rapids Griffins are warming up for a playoff run. Some new and old faces might bolster a starved lineup. Here's who might join and what it means for the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Washington Capitals v Detroit Red Wings
Washington Capitals v Detroit Red Wings / Nic Antaya/GettyImages
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As the sun sets on a promising season for the Detroit Red Wings, the Grand Rapids Griffins’ season continues marching.

Though the Detroit Red Wings roster was depleted, the Grand Rapids Griffins’ roster lost players too. Injuries, call ups, and a suspension left question marks where there was reliable depth previously.

While most fans and players are down about the Red Wings not making the playoffs, I’m sure the Grand Rapids Griffins’ coaching staff will welcome reinforcements with open arms.

The Griffins have performed marvelously at treading water as they chase home ice advantage in their playoff run. It isn't easy and at times it's not the prettiest, but they have kept themselves in a prime spot for their playoff run.

This hungry Griffins team is expected to get a huge boost from possible returning players that were on call up to the Red Wings, as well as one defenseman who is joining on a tryout. 

Let’s discuss these players, starting with the possible new guy.

Shai Buium

“Not another left handed defenseman,” I can hear the fan reaction now. 

There is something to be said for the Griffins robust defense group, especially the left side. However, none are Shai Buium.

From the first day that I watched Buium in his freshman year at the University of Denver (2021-22) he’s intrigued me. I’m not sure who Buium is or the player he might become, yet I know he’s a player the Red Wings need to keep. He isn’t just another left handed defenseman.

Although he’s not the enchanting Simon Edvinsson when he skates around the ice, he’s effective. Some people might not like the way it looks, but aesthetics aside, Buium is an above average skater when he’s compared to his peers.

Buium can deliver hits. He’s not afraid to play physical, both dishing and receiving hits, especially when it’s making a play.

His shot and playmaking are effective. Additionally, Buium has earned the trust of his coach David Carle. Seemingly Buium is on the ice anytime, anywhere, in any capacity. His brother, draft-eligible Zeev Buium, has taken some time on ice from the elder Buium. Even though the elder Buium isn’t as flashy as his younger brother, the elder Buium is a bit more mature and disciplined.

I’ll happily take either Buium on the Griffins’ team at any point. If the elder Buium chooses to join the Griffins this season, it might take some time to acclimate to the new systems, however, he will make the team better.

For what it's worth, he's a 2x national championship winner with DU and even earned an assist on the game winning goal:

If you're a numbers-focused person the Buium finished with 7 goals, 29 points, for 36 total points in 43 games played and a +33 in plus/minus. His production steadily increased over the three years at DU. The NCAA doesn't publish the time on ice stat to the public, but it seems like Buium has always played a lot for Carle.

Buium is one of my favorite prospects for what he's done and what he can be, as his ceiling isn't visible to me at this time. Yet, he can become something special, I think. Definitely recommend keeping an eye out for this one.