The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan profiles Red Wings prospect and Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Filip Hronek this afternoon, discussing Hronek’s rapid ascent through the Griffins’ depth chart:
Griffins coach Todd Nelson was impressed with how Hronek kept elevating his performance throughout the long season.
“I didn’t think he’d develop as quickly as he has, which is great,” Nelson said. “From Christmas on to now, he’s been playing his best hockey. Maybe a month ago I thought, ‘Man, he’s really developed, he’s playing extremely well for us, not just the offensive numbers but you look at his plus-minus, he’s playing well defensively’.
“And when I thought he’d be peaking, he cranked it up another gear last month, and that’s great for us and the organization. He runs the No. 1 power-play unit, and he’s been one of our go-to guys He’s put himself in that position, so that’s a great story.”
The adjustment of going from junior to pro hockey, along with a glut of defensemen in Grand Rapids in the early going, made getting into the lineup difficult for Hronek.
But gradually it all began to work out. The Red Wings made trades to reduce the logjam, and near the halfway mark of the season, Hronek began earning the trust of Nelson and the coaching staff.
“Guys are stronger, faster and smarter (in the AHL),” Hronek said of the adjustment from junior hockey where Hronek starred in Saginaw. “You have to make (quick) decisions. The start was hard, it was tough to get tempo (with lack of playing time), and trust from the coach. Then when I started to feel comfortable, I was feeling better.”