Press release: Red Wings recall Barber, Witkowski, Fulcher to Taxi Squad

Per the Detroit Red Wings:

DETROIT REASSIGNS THREE TO TAXI SQUAD  … 

Barber, Witkowski and Fulcher Added from Grand Rapids …  

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today reassigned left wing Riley Barber, defenseman Luke Witkowski and goaltender Kaden Fulcher to the team’s taxi squad from the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Barber, 27, joined the organization when he signed a two-year contract with the Red Wings prior the 2020-21 season and made his Red Wings debut on Dec. 18 vs. New Jersey. Barber has appeared in 55 games with the Griffins over the last two seasons, totaling 53 points (28-25-53) and 36 penalty minutes. Last season, he was named to the Central Division All-Star Team after leading Grand Rapids with 20 goals and 34 points in 32 games. The Pittsburgh, Penn., native is a veteran of 336 AHL games, posting 267 points (133-134-267) and 240 penalty minutes over seven seasons with the Hershey Bears, Laval Rocket, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Griffins. Barber previously saw NHL action with the Washington Capitals (2016-17) and Montreal Canadiens (2019-20), picking up two penalty minutes in 12 games. The 6-foot, 190-pound winger also has 15 points (5-10-15) in 38 career AHL postseason games.

Originally drafted by the Capitals in the sixth round (167th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Barber signed with Washington after spending three seasons at Miami University, where he scored at over a point-per-game pace with 123 points (54-69-123), a plus-24 rating and 62 penalty minutes in 116 games. Barber earned several collegiate honors, including CCHA Rookie of the Year and First All-Star Team in 2012-13 and NCHC Second All-Star Team in 2013-14, and helped the RedHawks to a conference championship in 2014-15. He also won a 2011 Clark Cup championship in the United States Hockey League with the Dubuque Fighting Saints and spent the 2011-12 season with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Barber also captained the United States at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship after winning gold at the event in 2013, combining for 12 points (7-5-12) in 12 games between the two tournaments.

Witkowski, 31, has skated in 21 games with the Griffins this season, picking up two points (0-2-2) and 47 penalty minutes. The Holland, Mich., native is in his second stint with the Red Wings after previously spending two seasons with the Red Wings from 2017-19 and picking up six points (1-5-6) and 86 penalty minutes in 65 games. Witkowski rejoined the organization in the offseason after serving as captain of the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch in 2020-21, posting two points (0-2-2), a plus-eight rating and 32 penalty minutes in 14 games before his season was cut short due to injury. In 2019-20, Witkowski appeared in 12 games with the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning, logging three points (1-2-3) and 13 penalty minutes while adding six points (2-4-6), a plus-12 rating and 63 penalty minutes in 29 games with the Crunch. Over nine professional seasons, Witkowski has notched 13 points (2-11-13) and 162 penalty minutes in 131 NHL games between Detroit and Tampa Bay and 49 points (9-40-49), a plus-34 rating and 666 penalty minutes in 282 AHL games with Syracuse and Grand Rapids.

Originally drafted by the Lightning in the sixth round (160th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Witkowski spent four seasons at Western Michigan University, where he won a CCHA championship in 2012 with Jeff Blashill as his head coach and was teammates with Red Wings defensemen Danny DeKeyser (2010-13) and Jordan Oesterle (2011-13). Witkowski was also a CCHA Second-Team All-Star as a senior in 2013 prior to signing his first professional contract and ended his collegiate career with 38 points (7-31-38), a plus-seven rating and 235 penalty minutes in 152 games from 2009-13. Witkowski also spent two seasons in the USHL from 2007-09, combining for 35 points (9-26-35), a plus-20 rating and 257 penalty minutes in 113 games between the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets and the Fargo Force, where he served as captain in 2008-09 and was a USHL All-Star.

Fulcher, 23, ranks among the top ECHL netminders in 2021-22, posting a 1.70 goals-against average (2nd), 0.924 save percentage (T8th) and two shutouts (T2nd) alongside a 4-3-0 record in eight games with the Toledo Walleye this season. Fulcher has split his four-year professional career between the Walleye and Griffins, sporting a 19-12-6 record, 2.86 goals-against average, 0.899 save percentage and three shutouts in 38 games with Toledo and a 2-2-2 record, 2.84 goals-against average, 0.905 save percentage and one shutout in seven appearances with Grand Rapids. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound netminder spent most of the 2020-21 season on Detroit’s taxi squad and made one appearance for the Red Wings in relief duty on April 6, 2019 against Buffalo, stopping nine-of-11 shots in his NHL debut.

Originally signed by Detroit as an undrafted free agent on Oct. 3, 2017, Fulcher was a 2018 Ontario Hockey League champion with the Hamilton Bulldogs and posted a 57-44-13 record, 3.19 goals-against average, 0.893 save percentage and five shutouts in 115 OHL games from 2015-18. The 6-foot-3, 201-pound netminder was also named the Most Outstanding Goaltender at the Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup following a 2.27 goals-against average and 0.918 save percentage in four games at the 2018 tournament.

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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.

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