Should he make his Red Wings debut as expected tonight against Minnesota, Gustav Nyquist will become the 118th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL. Detroit is looking for some offensive punch and, with enough ice time, the help of linemates Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi, plus a little luck, Nyquist could certainly provide that. He could also accomplish something that precious few players in Griffins franchise history ever have.
Fifty-eight of Grand Rapids’ 117 NHL alumni made their NHL debut after first playing for the Griffins, including 47 skaters. Of those, only four tasted the sweet icing of their first NHL goal while taking their first bite of the NHL cake, and all of them did it as members of the Red Wings.
The Griffins began play in October 1996, but wasn’t until nine years later — Oct. 5, 2005 — that a Grand Rapids alum lit the lamp in his NHL debut, when Brett Lebda did the honors in Detroit’s 5-1 win over St. Louis. He accomplished what 22 skaters who preceded him could not.
By comparison, the other three occurrences have come in relatively lightning-quick fashion, starting with Ville Leino, who scored the first goal in 4-2 loss at Washington on Jan. 31, 2009.
Amazingly, the last two Griffins to score in their NHL debut were the last two Griffins skaters to make their NHL debut.
Last New Year’s Eve, Tomas Tatar’s third-period goal forced overtime in an eventual 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders. Three weeks later, on Jan. 22, Cory Emmerton scored the first goal — Detroit’s only tally — in a 4-1 setback against Chicago.
Nyquist’s chances of becoming No. 5 seem pretty strong given his fast start with the Griffins (four goals, five assists in nine games), his expected linemates and anticipated power play time tonight, and the fact he scored three goals and added two assists in five preseason games with Detroit. He authored two goals and an assist in a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh in the preseason finale on Oct. 2 — his last game with the Winged Wheel on his chest.
Today’s Griffins links:
- Griffins welcome Monsters and Checkers (Griffins)
- Grand Rapids Griffins assign Adam Estoclet to Toledo Walleye of ECHL (MLive)
- Video: Happy Halloween from the Grand Rapids Griffins (GriffVision)
- Nyquist departs for Detroit (Griffins)
- Red Wings’ Gustav Nyquist has good opportunity, playing on No. 2 line and power play (MLive)
- Gustav Nyquist to make Red Wings debut on second line; Jiri Hudler out vs. Wild (Detroit Free Press)
Wings’ Jiri Hudler scratched as Gustav Nyquist joins lineup (Detroit News)
- Red Wings recall Gustav Nyquist from Griffins; NHL debut Tuesday vs. Minnesota (MLive)
- Gustav Nyquist to debut with Red Wings vs. Wild (Detroit Free Press)
- Gustav Nyquist is getting a chance as a Red Wing (Detroit News)
- Gustav Nyquist takes Fabian Brunnstrom’s spot on Wings’ roster (Detroit News)
- Brunnstrom assigned to Griffins (Griffins)
- Red Wings’ Fabian Brunnstrom clears waivers, assigned to Grand Rapids (MLive)
- Feelin’ five (Griffins)
- Power-play goals help Griffins beat Milwaukee (MLive)
- Admirals lose for first time in regulation (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- Griffins’ power-play struggles continue at home (MLive)
- Hat trick no treat (Griffins)
- Goalie fight lone highlight in Griffins’ home loss (MLive)
- Kolanos’ hat trick torches Griffins 5-1 (Griffins Central)
- Trickle down effect: Brunnstrom demotion will have roster implications (The Left Wing Lock)
- AHL weekly release (AHL)
Alumni news and notes:
- Video: CISCO NHL Live: Niklas Kronwall (NHL)
- Red Wings sign Niklas Kronwall to seven-year deal (MLive)
- Red Wings agree to 7-year deal with Niklas Kronwall (Detroit Free Press)
- Red Wings lock up Niklas Kronwall until 2019 (Detroit News)
- ‘Never a doubt’: Niklas Kronwall, Wings agree to seven-year extension (Detroit News)
- Seven more years of Kronwalling! (Hockeytown Blog)
- Red Wings’ Justin Abdelkader shows he can shuffle lines, positions to help team (MLive)
- Wings shift Justin Abdelkader to center (Detroit News)
- Avery clears re-entry waivers, back with Rangers (NHL)
- Avery: We hardly knew ya (Hartford Courant)
- Legace hoping for one last NHL job (NHL)
NHL alumni goals: