His teammates joke that he’s been playing in Grand Rapids for 20 years. And while his tenure with the Griffins hasn’t quite reached even half that amount of time, he indeed has been playing in the Red Wings organization for the better part of a decade.
Brian Lashoff has appeared in more regular season games as a Griffin than any player except Travis Richards and in more postseason contests than anyone but Nathan Paetsch. It’s easy to forget that Lashoff, now in his ninth season in Grand Rapids, is still only 27 years old.
The native of Albany, N.Y., signed with Detroit as an undrafted free agent defenseman at the age of 18 and made his pro debut for the Griffins late in the 2008-09 campaign. He tallied five points in six regular season games then added five more points in eight playoff contests, before returning to Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League for his final junior season in 2009-10.
Admittedly, he was not the player that he would eventually become. Now considered one of the most dependable defenseman ever to don a Griffins jersey, the young Lashoff was willing to take risks for the sake of points.
“Coming out of junior hockey, I was a little more of an offensive player, but I had holes in my game,” Lashoff said. “This is a good league that will expose those holes, so I matured a lot by playing with and against good players.”