The Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner spoke with Joe Hicketts during his appearance at the Grand Rapids Griffins’ youth hockey camp today, and while Hicketts knows that the Red Wings’ blueline has something of a personnel jam, Hicketts still believes that he can make the Wings’ roster:
“I don’t think it’s a secret that some of our guys are getting a little bit older,” said Hicketts, 23. “You look at the good veterans guys – as much as Trevor Daley is an awesome dude to be around, he’s not getting any younger. With age comes opportunity for some of the younger guys. The (veterans have) earned that right to that job and have proven themselves, but if there are injuries, it’s up to me to put my foot in the door and hold it open.”
Last year, Hicketts had 27 points (3-24-27) in 64 games with the Griffins, leading all team defensemen in scoring and assists along with a plus-two rating and 67 penalty minutes. He appeared in 11 games with the Red Wings in two stints without a point and averaged 18:35 of ice time.
If he does end up back in Grand Rapids, Hicketts would embrace a different role as a veteran leader.
“I showed that I can be responsible defensively in Grand Rapids and they’ve entrusted me to be in a role like what (Brian) Lashoff or (Dylan) McIlrath have done with a (Vila) Saarijarvi or (Dennis) Cholowski. And not only protect them defensively but help to add to their game offensively as well.
“This year, I feel like I’m in great shape. I never felt this good in early August.”