Grand Rapids – It’s been a successful playoff run for the Grand Rapids Griffins, regardless of the outcome of the Calder Cup Finals. (The Griffins and Syracuse Crunch were set to play Game 6 Tuesday night, with Grand Rapids holding a 3-2 lead in the series.)
The playoff experience will strengthen the resume of every young prospect on the roster. Not every Griffins player will graduate to the Detroit Red Wings, but here are some with the best shot at making a lasting impact:
Tomas Nosek: A dependable two-way center who didn’t hurt his chances with an 11-game showcase the end of the NHL season, Nosek likely will begin the season in Detroit this fall. Nosek has improved his offensive game, and is good around the net.
Tyler Bertuzzi: Bertuzzi has gotten stronger physically over the last two seasons, and in brief stints with the Red Wings hasn’t looked out of place. Bertuzzi has the ability to get under an opponent’s skin, but has also grown his offensive skills in the American League.
Evgeny Svechnikov: The Red Wings’ 2015 No. 1 draft pick scored 20 goals in his rookie AHL season and made a nice impression in a two-game cup of coffee with the Red Wings. He likely will remain in Grand Rapids for another season, but appears to have a bright future.
Jared Coreau: The Griffins’ goaltender had huge highs and lows with the Red Wings while filling in for Jimmy Howard, but has been much more consistent while propelling Grand Rapids toward the Calder Cup. He could back up Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek if one of the two veterans leaves.
Robbie Russo: The young defenseman made a nice impression the final month of the Red Wings’ season, but probably needs some more seasoning in the AHL before he can claim a permanent spot in the NHL.
Dan Renouf: A rugged defenseman who would give the Red Wings’ some size (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and bite, Renouf played one game in the NHL.
Matt Lorito: Signed out of the New Jersey organization last summer, Lorito isn’t big (5-foot-9, 171 pounds) but has skill and led the Griffins with 22 goals and 34 assists during the regular season.
Dominic Turgeon: Only 21, Turgeon had seven goals for the Griffins during the regular season and has been one of the team’s steadiest players in the playoffs.
Joe Hicketts: Had a prolific Canadian junior career playing for the national team and in the Western League, and had seven goals, 34 points and was plus-15 this season. Only 21, Hicketts is listed at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, but may not even be that big. Size will be a factor.
Martin Frk: The Red Wings waived Frk at the end of training camp – then picked him up after Carolina let him go (after claiming him from the Red Wings). Frk can score (team-high 27 goals), has an NHL-caliber shot, but lacks the speed and quickness for today’s NHL.
Calder Cup Finals
Syracuse vs. Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids leads series 3-2
Game 1: Grand Rapids 3-2
Game 2: Grand Rapids 6-5 (2OT)
Game 3: Syracuse 5-3
Game 4: Grand Rapids 3-2
Game 5: Syracuse 5-1
Tuesday: at Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.
x-Wednesday: at Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.