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Jesusberg

2014-15 Grand Rapids Griffins

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While some people are less than thrilled about the Red Wings' off-season, I think there should definitely be some optimism about the Griffins right now. The team is stacked, IMO. Leaves me wondering just where players fit in, and who will be going down to Toledo. I'm curious about what some of you think regarding the line combinations, and who will split time between GR and Toledo.

These would be some of my preferred lines:

Jurco-Miele-Pulkkinen (assuming Alfie signs)
Nosek-Nestrasil-Mantha (could swap Nosek-Nestrasil at center)

Hoggan-Porter-Callahan (chippy line, but could use a shooter, perhaps?)

Athanasiou-Ferraro-Campbell (great speed, Campbell brings size/grit)

As far as forwards go, I'm just not sure guys like Tvrdon and Frk will crack the line-up, hence why I have Campbell on that 4th line. If Frk could somehow outplay a few guys, I wouldn't mind him on that 3rd line, but I think GR's pretty deep on the right wing. I also wouldn't mind swapping Mantha with Callahan, at least until Mantha gets the hang of the pace in the AHL, but I can see people thinking that being "stuck" on a line with Hoggan and Porter might hinder his offense.

On the back end:

Ouellet-Paetsch (stable pairing, can eat minutes)
Evans-Sproul (Evans will balance Sproul out nicely)
Backman-Marchenko (seems like a very solid pairing - could work ahead of Evans-Sproul)

I almost wish they had one less veteran here, to allow for Jensen to be paired with one of them on the bottom pairing. I would love an Ouellet-Sproul, Backman-Marchenko top 4, but Evans and Paetsch don't allow for it. This is what I think will pan out on defense.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Edited by Jesusberg
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Porter will be centering 1 of the top 2 lines and Athanasiou is too good to be on the 4th line

Edited by PumpkinEscobar

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Porter will be centering 1 of the top 2 lines and Athanasiou is too good to be on the 4th line

With the TC tournament ongoing, it seems like Frk is making a case for himself. Wonder if he bounces Nestrasil out of the line-up. Obviously, nothing's a given, but he's showing some chemistry with his line mates right now. With the Mantha-Nosek-Frk line looking so good, I can't imagine Porter being in that top 6 unless someone is brought up to Detroit. Miele is a much better offensive player, and Jurco and Pulu are a given.

From reading some of the reports out of camp, it seems like Athanasiou has been up and down. Few issues here and there with timing. I still wouldn't be surprised to see him start on the 4th line, working his way up to the 3rd and knocking Hoggan down.

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Jurco - Nosek - Pulkkinen

Athanasiou - Miele - Mantha

Tvrdon - Nestrasil - Frk

Hoggan - Porter - Campbell

Ferraro / Zengerle

Paetsch - Sproul

Ouellet - Jensen

Backman - Marchenko

Evans / Nedomlel

Callahan - Red Wings 14th forward

No way Frk doesn't make the roster, Tvrdon is still a bit of a question mark.

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It seems like Nosek was the best thing to happen to Frks career with us. Almost like he was brought in to push Frk. I think the two should remain together.

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That is definitely a strong possibility but I think Frk is just a lot more prepared, both mentally and physically than he was at any point last year. He found out the hard way that coasting from junior to pro just doesn't work without putting in the work. I don't really think he was put in a position to succeed last year so I hope that after a strong camp and preseason he can gain some confidence and get off to a good start in his second year pro. I've always liked Frk and I'd love for him to become relevant as a prospect once again.

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That is definitely a strong possibility but I think Frk is just a lot more prepared, both mentally and physically than he was at any point last year. He found out the hard way that coasting from junior to pro just doesn't work without putting in the work. I don't really think he was put in a position to succeed last year so I hope that after a strong camp and preseason he can gain some confidence and get off to a good start in his second year pro. I've always liked Frk and I'd love for him to become relevant as a prospect once again.

After we drafted Frk I made sure to watch him at juniors. He was BEASTLY. Very physical and dynamic. Was extremely underwhelmed and disappointed with him after his first season with us. If anyone can turn it around it's him.

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Absolutely. I watched a lot of Mooseheads games after we drafted him too, and you're right, he was something to watch. To be honest, he was one of my favorite prospects 2 years ago, I even had him ranked ahead of guys like Tatar and Jarnkrok... I still believe he can and will turn it around and have a huge year down in Grand Rapids this season.

I don't expect both Frk and Pulkkinen to make the Wings roster in the next couple years, mainly due to the overloaded depth we have on the wings, but I hope at least one of them can make it. They play very similar games and have many of the same strengths (cannon shot, shoot first mentality, deceptively great passers) and weaknesses (skating speed, defensive awareness). Neither are very tall but both are fairly broad / stocky builds and both shoot right handed. I hope at least one of them can become an impact player for us in a few years and help out our stagnant power-play.

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Absolutely. I watched a lot of Mooseheads games after we drafted him too, and you're right, he was something to watch. To be honest, he was one of my favorite prospects 2 years ago, I even had him ranked ahead of guys like Tatar and Jarnkrok... I still believe he can and will turn it around and have a huge year down in Grand Rapids this season.

I don't expect both Frk and Pulkkinen to make the Wings roster in the next couple years, mainly due to the overloaded depth we have on the wings, but I hope at least one of them can make it. They play very similar games and have many of the same strengths (cannon shot, shoot first mentality, deceptively great passers) and weaknesses (skating speed, defensive awareness). Neither are very tall but both are fairly broad / stocky builds and both shoot right handed. I hope at least one of them can become an impact player for us in a few years and help out our stagnant power-play.

I also thought Kindl was beastly in juniors though, so take my opinion for what it's worth

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Lol Kindl was awesome in junior, he also played admirably well in his last couple years down in Grand Rapids. That's exactly why you never know if / how most prospects will turn out... I still think he has the potential to turn things around, however I don't think he has much time left to do so on this team with all the talented d prospects coming up over the next two years. And I'd be surprised if he becomes anything more than a number 4 / 5 tweener on any team at this point.

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Have to admit, I think I underestimated Double A. I knew he had the speed, but he showed some real offense in the tournament. I can only speak from what I saw via the highlights, but it seems to me he's got some real good hand-eye, and an ability to protect the puck. With Alfredsson possibly out for the beginning of the season, I think we could see Jurco/Mantha take up a spot in Detroit. I'd tweak my original forwards line-up to something along the lines of...

Mantha/Jurco-Miele-Pulkkinen

(Pretty much the stand-out 1st line. Tons of offense.)

Tvrdon/Nestasil-Nosek-Frk

Athanasiou-Ferraro-Callahan

(This is a situation where I think you have a 2a, 2b situation. Either line could bring offense, and you could flip Tvrdon and AA. I just like the whole concept of the Czech line, and having someone responsible for being a net-front presence of each line. Question marks around Ferraro and Cally in terms of where they end up, though.)

Hoggan-Porter-Campbell

(Rugged, prototypical grind line. I doubt Porter was signed to play on the 4th line, but it seems like Miele, Nosek and Ferraro should all be ahead of him. Should Ferraro be moved or plucked off waivers, I think Porter bumps up a line.)

Obviously, things could get shifted around, but I like the look of this line-up a lot. Miele is going to be their top set-up guy, IMO. He's going to have two trigger men on his line, either way. Nosek-Frk showed some chemistry at the tourney, so I think they may stick with that pairing until it shows signs of not working out. Regardless, I think this team has a ton of potential. Should be fun to watch.

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Have to admit, I think I underestimated Double A. I knew he had the speed, but he showed some real offense in the tournament. I can only speak from what I saw via the highlights, but it seems to me he's got some real good hand-eye, and an ability to protect the puck. With Alfredsson possibly out for the beginning of the season, I think we could see Jurco/Mantha take up a spot in Detroit. I'd tweak my original forwards line-up to something along the lines of...

Mantha/Jurco-Miele-Pulkkinen

(Pretty much the stand-out 1st line. Tons of offense.)

Tvrdon/Nestasil-Nosek-Frk

Athanasiou-Ferraro-Callahan

(This is a situation where I think you have a 2a, 2b situation. Either line could bring offense, and you could flip Tvrdon and AA. I just like the whole concept of the Czech line, and having someone responsible for being a net-front presence of each line. Question marks around Ferraro and Cally in terms of where they end up, though.)

Hoggan-Porter-Campbell

(Rugged, prototypical grind line. I doubt Porter was signed to play on the 4th line, but it seems like Miele, Nosek and Ferraro should all be ahead of him. Should Ferraro be moved or plucked off waivers, I think Porter bumps up a line.)

Obviously, things could get shifted around, but I like the look of this line-up a lot. Miele is going to be their top set-up guy, IMO. He's going to have two trigger men on his line, either way. Nosek-Frk showed some chemistry at the tourney, so I think they may stick with that pairing until it shows signs of not working out. Regardless, I think this team has a ton of potential. Should be fun to watch.

Dbl A is fasttttttttttttttt man. His MO is break the D with speed along the boards and then move to the net and dangle. I'm just worried that he may be more suited for a rush system, not our possession system.

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I love watching Pulu score like that - it seems so effortless for him. I wonder how effective it's going to be at the NHL level. Granted, he wasn't given many chances on the PP during preseason, but they seem to give him way too much space down in the AHL. You know the guy has a rocket, why give him the chance to let it go? That being said, I think he could boost the PP. Hope he has a great season down there. Should be the 1st call-up.

Does anyone have some updated lines? I'm pretty sure they've used Cally-Nosek-Pulu as one, and Hoggen-Miele-Ferraro, but I'm not sure about the other guys. Haven't gotten the chance to catch much of the Griffins yet.

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It looks like it's going to be another few weeks yet... Although Mantha says he's "hoping that next week will be the green light", Ryan Martin thinks he is still another four weeks away...

http://www.mlive.com/griffins/index.ssf/2014/10/anthony_mantha_update_top_pros.html


Also, Nosek will be out indefinitely due to an off ice hand injury, opening a box...

http://www.mlive.com/griffins/index.ssf/2014/10/griffins_lose_forward_tomas_no.html

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It looks like it's going to be another few weeks yet... Although Mantha says he's "hoping that next week will be the green light", Ryan Martin thinks he is still another four weeks away...

http://www.mlive.com/griffins/index.ssf/2014/10/anthony_mantha_update_top_pros.html

Also, Nosek will be out indefinitely due to an off ice hand injury, opening a box...

http://www.mlive.com/griffins/index.ssf/2014/10/griffins_lose_forward_tomas_no.html

Darn on both accounts. My math must have been off since I thought he'd only miss a couple weeks of the regular season. While I don't expect Mantha to get called up right away, his size and scoring touch are pretty much exactly what the Wings need up in the big club right now.

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Teemu Pulkkinen, 4th goal of the season+ post game interview.

Love his attitude and going to the dirty areas.

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I know the griffins lost a lot of talent recently but how are they losing this many games?

With all the talent we have on the back end you'd think they'd be better defensively, or are they just not scoring enough?

Admittedly I haven't looked too much into the box scores, but has anyone been watching them regularly?

And if they're struggling to score, who do you think they can get rid of to bring tvrdon up from the echl?

Edited by jimmyemeryhunter

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I've watched just about every game so far, and from what I've been seeing, they've been outplaying the opposition every game, they just aren't having any puck luck. Their defense has been great, if I'm not mistaken they're number one in shots against per game. Mrazek has looked very pedestrian so far this year compared to the past two seasons, but I'm sure he'll pick up his game and with his improvement the team will improve. Pulkkinen is carrying the load right now, he has that patented lazar shot that he will take from anywhere on the ice (and is capable of scoring from anywhere) and has underrated speed. Athanansiou had a slow start but is really starting to show how good he really is as of late. He has speed and hands that will dominate the minors, and hopefully it translates to the NHL in a year or two. Callahan has been playing great again this season, and deserves a shot with the big club real soon. Nosek was a big loss when he went down, he was playing great. Hopefully he gets back sooner than later. Mantha will be back for the next game, so that should be a huge offensive boost to the team. I still think Jurco needs more seasoning down in the minors and that would help the team out significantly as well.

On defense, Ouellet has looked amazing and he really needs to make the jump really soon. As great as Kindl has been playing lately I still think Ouellet would be an upgrade. Jensen has looked really solid and can move the puck really well. I haven't been overly impressed with Marchenko so far, and despite no points yet, I think Backman has looked great. Sproul definitely needs more time in the minors but has been playing better the past couple games. He scored his first goal last night on a bomb. It was a little fluky but it still counts. He skated over the blueline, let one go, it went over the net, hit the glass and came back in front and hit the goalie in the back and trickled in. His offense should get going now I would think.

All in all, they will be fine. I think they will get into the playoffs with ease and make a decent run again this season. I'm really looking forward to Mantha's debut this weekend. On nights when both the Wings and Griffins are playing, I usually watch the Wings live and watch the recorded Griffins game after, I might be doing the opposite tomorrow night. Can't wait to see what he can do at the pro level.

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I've watched just about every game so far, and from what I've been seeing, they've been outplaying the opposition every game, they just aren't having any puck luck. Their defense has been great, if I'm not mistaken they're number one in shots against per game. Mrazek has looked very pedestrian so far this year compared to the past two seasons, but I'm sure he'll pick up his game and with his improvement the team will improve. Pulkkinen is carrying the load right now, he has that patented lazar shot that he will take from anywhere on the ice (and is capable of scoring from anywhere) and has underrated speed. Athanansiou had a slow start but is really starting to show how good he really is as of late. He has speed and hands that will dominate the minors, and hopefully it translates to the NHL in a year or two. Callahan has been playing great again this season, and deserves a shot with the big club real soon. Nosek was a big loss when he went down, he was playing great. Hopefully he gets back sooner than later. Mantha will be back for the next game, so that should be a huge offensive boost to the team. I still think Jurco needs more seasoning down in the minors and that would help the team out significantly as well.

On defense, Ouellet has looked amazing and he really needs to make the jump really soon. As great as Kindl has been playing lately I still think Ouellet would be an upgrade. Jensen has looked really solid and can move the puck really well. I haven't been overly impressed with Marchenko so far, and despite no points yet, I think Backman has looked great. Sproul definitely needs more time in the minors but has been playing better the past couple games. He scored his first goal last night on a bomb. It was a little fluky but it still counts. He skated over the blueline, let one go, it went over the net, hit the glass and came back in front and hit the goalie in the back and trickled in. His offense should get going now I would think.

All in all, they will be fine. I think they will get into the playoffs with ease and make a decent run again this season. I'm really looking forward to Mantha's debut this weekend. On nights when both the Wings and Griffins are playing, I usually watch the Wings live and watch the recorded Griffins game after, I might be doing the opposite tomorrow night. Can't wait to see what he can do at the pro level.

Well that's good to hear.

After I posted this I seen the highlights of the game, Sproul has an effin bomb.

I'm super excited for athanasiou, and for mantha on Friday...

Where do you watch the griffins games at, if you don't mind revealing your secrets (pm me if you have a stream?)

And you gotta wonder if Mrazek is just bored with the AHL at this point, I mean what else does he have left to prove?

And Thanks for all the info.

Edited by jimmyemeryhunter

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