Wallner: Griffins’ vets discuss futures on exit interview day

The Grand Rapids Griffins are holding their exit interviews for players today.

The Red Wings’ management has some difficult decisions to make regarding the mix of veterans and youngsters that will make up next year’s Griffins team; the Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner spoke with three key veterans in Matt Ford, Ben Street and Eric Tangradi regarding their futures. All three players are unrestricted free agents this summer:

“We’re talking right now and that’s where I can of want to leave it right now,” Ford said. “Obviously, I’d love to be here, and they want me to be back and we’ll see how it goes.”

Free agent signings begin July 1.

Like Ford, Street and Tangradi also spoke highly of Grand Rapids and the Griffins organization. But both also would like an opportunity with an NHL team, an unlikely scenario for either with the Red Wings. Both have to decide it there is an opportunity with a different NHL organization or be satisfied as a leader/mention within the AHL.

“I explore before July 1 and see what’s out there. During the year there’s really not an opportunity to see what’s out there,” said the 31-year-old Street, who led the Griffins with 65 points (21-44-65) “… That’s homework my agent and I will do over the next couple months and we’ll see where the best opportunity is.

“For me, I still believe I can be an NHL player and it was disappointing to me that I didn’t get a chance at that. So, my job this summer is to find where that best opportunity is. It may be with the Red Wings or it may be somewhere else.”

Wallner continues, breaking down the Griffins and Red Wings’ restricted and unrestricted free agents…

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

5 thoughts on “Wallner: Griffins’ vets discuss futures on exit interview day”

  1. “But both also would like an opportunity with an NHL team, an unlikely scenario for either with the Red Wings.”

    It’s nice to have their leadership in GR, but if they really want a shot at playing in the NHL they should go elsewhere. KH seems to have made it clear call ups will be for young guys.

  2. At a certain point, there are too many leaders and mentors in relation to the organization’s prospects.

    Street can seemingly fill in at the NHL level, and he did
    a little bit with Detroit a while back. But what’s the upside for
    a 31 year old who’s mostly played at the AHL level. If that’s his
    main motivation, best of luck elsewhere. No doubt, Street’s been
    a very good player in GR and depth in case of lots of injuries.
    But you could say the same for Tangradi.

    If Ford, the captain, is that great a leader – and he seemed to score big goals and be a boost to the team, overall, fine. There’s an advantage actually in that he’s been signed to AHL, not two-way deals with Detroit.

    It’s crazy to come back with Street, and Tangradi, and Lorito…

    With the Wings stockpiling draft picks, they’re going to need space to sign players. Maybe then you can see how someone like Sambrook pans out.

    Let’s see if a smaller group of veterans and younger prospects in more important roles can handle the ups and downs of a long pro season and get the Griffins back to the playoffs. Hopefully, the aforementioned veterans productivity in GR will earn them good deals elsewhere.

    1. It’s mindblowing that we had young guys like Saarijarvi scratched behind a bunch of veterans. Sulak comes over, plays 2 games, and is scratched for the rest. We’re trying to develop Svech into a top 6 scorer, and he can’t get on the #1 PP unit because Tangradi and Lorito and Street are on the ice.

      Blah, blah, blah about how Grand Rapids is running a business. The Wings organization has been pretty awful at drafting and developing talent, for a long time now, especially on defense. So perhaps we should stop using tired excuses and admit that maybe this backwards philosophy is contributing to this failure.

      At least the Wings finally acknowledged it and have promised changes. Ford, Street, Lorito, Tangradi, Puempel, Elson, Lashoff, Russo, Renouf, McIlrath. That’s 10 vets with no NHL future. At least 6 or 7 of these guys need to get punted. Buh bye. Start making room for the next wave. And not just Cholowski and Saarijarvi. It’d be nice to see guys like Pearson, Pope, Holway turn pro and see what we have.

  3. Completely agree.

    I went to very very few Griffins games this year because of this. I have a ton of respect for the AHL journeymen but I want to see a healthy ratio of prospects.

    Ford,Street,Tangradi,Lashoff,Mcilrath and maybe Russo. My vets to keep. Then again, I don’t know what goes on in the locker room or who is lazy and loves to party like hell. That’s also assuming who makes in Detroit. idk.

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