Krupa profiles Dylan Larkin

This morning, the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa penned a front-page article profiling Dylan Larkin:

As he learns more and more about playing in the NHL in the third season of his three-year contract, it is ever more apparent that his intention is to play as well as he can, for as long as he can, for his hometown team.

He plainly desires to be a star. And that is good, because the Red Wings could use three or four of them, presently.

Larkin’s determination and toil seem to match his yearning.

With six goals in his last nine games, 40 percent of Larkin’s 15 goals have come in an eruption during seven percent of the season. While increasing his team leads in assists (47) and points (62), it is as if he built to a crescendo in finishing a successful 82-game campaign.

The self-evaluation of the 21-year-old from Walled Lake? Straight from the how-to book for NHL stars.

“Well, it does feel good to score, I guess, here at the end,” he said. “I wish, you know, I would have had a better start. It would have been a nice cap to a better all-around season.

“But, you know what? Just building toward next year, and having the confidence that I know I can score in this league. When I get hot and I have confidence in myself shooting, it’s having fun and it helps our team.”


Been sick, getting better

My apologies for my extended absence due to illness. I’ve been flat on my back in bed since Saturday, and I’m just starting to feel human again. I’m hoping to be back up and running for tomorrow’s morning skate.

I’d like to thank the folks in the comments section and on Twitter for keeping the conversation going while I’ve been out. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

The Red Wings have assigned Joe Hicketts, Tom McCollum and Evgeny Svechnikov to Grand Rapids

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday assigned defenseman Joe Hicketts, forward Evgeny Svechnikov and goaltender Tom McCollum to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Hicketts, 21, has skated in five games with the Red Wings this season, tallying three points (0-3—3), a plus-five rating and two penalty minutes while averaging 17:20 of ice time. Hicketts banked his first pro points with a pair of assists in the team’s 5-2 win against Pittsburgh on March 27. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound blueliner became the 168th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL when he made his debut with the Red Wings on Jan. 22 at New Jersey.

In his second campaign as a pro, Hicketts has produced 10 points (3-7—10) and 32 PIM in 63 games with the Griffins this season.

A 2017 Calder Cup champion with Grand Rapids, Hicketts paced all Griffins defensemen in scoring with 23 points (7-27—34) in 73 games last season. Among the AHL’s first-year blueliners, the Kamloops, British Columbia, native placed seventh in point production and tied for third with a plus-15 rating. Among the league’s rookie defensemen, Hicketts placed second in playoff points with eight (1-7—8) while skating in all 19 contests of the Griffins’ title run.

Svechnikov, 21, has accounted for four points (2-2—4), eight PIM and 15 shots in 14 games with Detroit this season, averaging 8:49 of ice time. The 6-foot-3, 208-pound winger notched his first NHL goal on March 20 versus Philadelphia.

Detroit’s first-round draft selection, 19th overall, in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Svechnikov became the 164th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL when he debuted with the Red Wings last April 3 against Ottawa.

A second-year pro, Svechnikov shows 22 points (7-15—22) and 56 PIM in 52 appearances this season with the Griffins.

During his rookie campaign in 2016-17, the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, native ranked third on the Griffins in scoring with 51 points (20-31—51) in 74 games while also placing among the American Hockey League’s first-year leaders in points (4th), goals (T7th), assists (9th). Svechnikov suited up in all 19 of the team’s playoff games and added 12 points (5-7—12), third-most among the league’s rookie players, helping the Griffins win the 2017 Calder Cup. Svechnikov made his AHL debut with the Griffins during the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs and posted one assist in two games, joining the team after two years with Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

McCollum, 28, served as a backup to Jimmy Howard in last night’s 5-4 overtime loss at Columbus.

Detroit’s first choice, 30th overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, McCollum became the 117th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL when he made his debut with the Red Wings on March 30, 2011 at St. Louis. Appearing in three career games with Detroit, he shows a 2.96 goals against average and a 1-0-0 record.

McCollum posts an 18-13-3 record, a 2.72 GAA, a 0.909 save percentage and one shutout in 34 appearances with the Griffins this season. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound netminder is on a six-game winning streak, one shy of equaling his career high. Since Jared Coreau was recalled by Detroit on Feb. 20, McCollum posts a 10-5 record, a 2.18 GAA, a 0.923 save percentage and one shutout in 15 appearances.

In his eighth season with the Griffins, McCollum is the franchise’s all-time leader in goaltender wins, games played, minutes and saves, while owning a 121-104-19 record, a 2.78 GAA and eight shutouts in 260 career appearances with the club since 2009. A 2013 Calder Cup champion with Grand Rapids, McCollum adds a 12-9 record and a 2.53 GAA in 23 Calder Cup Playoff games.

A ninth-year professional, McCollum shows an all-time AHL mark of 133-106-23 alongside a 2.73 GAA, a 0.907 save percentage and nine shutouts in 278 appearances.

The Griffins continue their push for the playoffs on Friday and Saturday when they travel to take on the Pacific Division-leading Tucson Roadrunners. Both games will start at 10:05 p.m. EDT.

Filip Hronek named to AHL All-Rookie Team

From the Grand Rapids Griffins:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Filip Hronek on Wednesday was named to the 2017-18 AHL All-Rookie Team, as voted by coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.

In his first full professional season, the 20-year-old Hronek has posted 33 points (9-24—33), 42 penalty minutes and a team-leading plus-21 rating in 62 games for Grand Rapids. Among the league’s rookie defensemen, Hronek ranks second in points, tied for second in goals, third in assists and second in plus/minus rating. He adds four game-winning goals, which ties for the most among all league blueliners.

Hronek’s 33 points are the fifth-most by a first-year defenseman in Griffins history. He paces all team defensemen in power play production with 17 points (3-14—17) and has been instrumental in Grand Rapids’ power play ranking third in the league (21.0%).

Hronek was drafted in the second round, 53rd overall, by Detroit in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Hronek becomes just the fourth defenseman in team history to be named to the All-Rookie Team – joining current teammate Robbie Russo (2015-16), Ryan Sproul (2013-14) and Brendan Smith (2010-11) – and the eighth Griffin overall to garner such accolades (Teemu Pulkkinen 2013-14, Gustav Nyquist 2011-12, Justin Abdelkader 2008-09, Jimmy Howard 2005-06). All seven previous All-Rookie Team members from the Griffins have gone on to play at least one game in the NHL.

A native of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, Hronek joined the Griffins at the end of the 2016-17 season after concluding his junior campaign with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit and scored two points (1-1—2) in 10 regular season contests. He helped Grand Rapids win the Calder Cup after appearing in a pair of postseason games.

Hronek will receive a custom-designed crystal award in recognition of his selection to the 2017-18 AHL All-Rookie Team.

The other members of the 2017-18 AHL All-Rookie Team are: goaltender Ville Husso (San Antonio), defenseman Sami Niku (Manitoba), and forwards Mason Appleton (Manitoba), Daniel Sprong (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) and Dylan Strome (Tucson).

The Griffins continue their push for the playoffs on Friday and Saturday when they travel to take on the Pacific Division-leading Tucson Roadrunners. Both games will start at 10:05 p.m. EDT.