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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Austin Czarnik & Zach Aston-Reese

The forward group for the Grand Rapids Griffins is expecting the return of two invaluable forwards in Austin Czarnik and Zach Aston-Reese. Both play in every role for the Griffins, while providing solid two-way play. 

Their leadership is huge as well. With the likes of Simek and Didier on the backend, having the return of Czarnik and Aston-Reese to the forward group should be a tremendous help.

Sometimes they can get in trouble when they are caught not moving their feet or flat-footed. As long as they keep their feet moving and stay out of the sin bin, they will be much needed additions.

With the surprise that is Hunter Johannes (not to be confused with Johansson or Hanas), the forward group could see a nice makeover by this weekend’s final home game of the regular season (Sunday, April 21). Be there if you can!

It’s likely that the Toledo Walleye might see some reinforcements from the Griffins forward group, too.

The forward lines might look something:

  • Carter Mazur - Marco Kasper - Jonatan Berggren (the s’mores line)
  • Taro Hirose - Austin Czarnik - Zach Aston-Reese
  • Elmer Söderblom - Amadeus Lombardi - Matt Luff
  • Hunter Johannes - Joel L’Esperance - Dominik Shine
  • Extras: Tyler Spezia, Cross Hanas, Curtis Hall, Emmitt Finnie

Injured Reserve: Tim Gettinger (would throw a welcomed wrench into the equation, possibly slotting into line 2 as a winger or 3 as a centerman)

To Toledo: Riley Sawchuk

As the Griffins gear up for the playoffs, it’s a great time of year to watch young players in the Red Wings’ system develop. Head coach Dan Watson and company make the environment fun. Players and fans alike enjoy the hunt.

With the playoffs looming, their dance partner is going to be the Rockford Icehogs. The only question, who will have home ice advantage? Given the Griffins’ home record, it would be ideal if they earned the advantage. (For context, the Griffins are 13-14-4-2 [wins-loss-overtime loss-shootout loss] on the road versus their overall record of 35-22-8-4.)

From my understanding, all home playoff games for the Griffins are $2 beers and hotdogs, so if hockey isn’t your thing maybe that will catch your attention. It’s always a great atmosphere and worth the trip to Van Andel any chance you get.