Detroit Red Wings: 3 Grand Rapids Griffins You Need to Get to Know
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The Detroit Red Wings' AHL affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins have been nothing short of dominant over their last 10 games, winning eight of the 10.
Some of the marque players like Brendan Smith, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist have been carrying the team. But there are quite a few other players who are having remarkable success behind the scenes.
Here are three players who are making big strides for the Griffins that most fans have likely never heard about.
1. Chad Billins
Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Griffins website.
Last year, Chad Billins was the CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the year.
His smarts show up on the ice, as his offensive upside in Grand Rapids is through the roof this season.
Billins has 15 assists and 16 points in 19 games, but he has a minus-10 rating this season.
Although Billins is fourth on the team in points, he needs to bulk up a little bit more from the 5'10" and 182 pounds that his AHL player page currently displays.
Billins needs to bulk up to be better in front of the net, which would help his plus-minus rating.
His current 0.84 points per game is the highest of any season in his hockey career, and this has to be good news, as he is in just his first season in the AHL.
2. Francis Pare
With three points in his first 10 games, this season wasn't shaping up to be anything special for Francis Pare.
In his fifth full season in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Pare flipped a switch offensively after those first 10 games, putting up 13 points in the next nine contests.
Pare's recent offensive outburst has helped the Griffins win eight of their last 10 contests.
Pare's offensive contributions going forward will be key, as we have now seen what happens when he gets involved offensively.
3. Adam Almqvist
Photo courtesy of Mark Newman/Grand Rapids Griffins
Adam Almquist (or Almqvist) was the second last player selected in the 2009 NHL Draft.
He has not played like the second last player to be selected in a draft, as he has managed to find the score sheet on more than a few nights this season with eight points through 19 games.
Almquist has two multi-point games this year, with a two-goal performance against Texas in early November and a two-assist night against Peoria later in that month.
As the last pick in the 2009 draft, one likely shouldn't expect too much from Almquist, but hockey pundits likely said similar things about fellow last pick of the 2003 NHL Draft, Jonathan Ericsson.
Although Ericsson and Almquist have almost nothing in common other than being Swedes and both going last in a draft, the fact of the matter is that Almquist has progressed farther than a lot of prospects and has also jumped up to the AHL very quickly after being selected last in 2009.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes to for Almquist to make the NHL, when and if it actually happens.
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