As the preseason continues two teams begin to emerge the Detroit Red Wings and the Grand Rapids Griffins.
If anything watching these preseason games for the Red Wings is showing that the future of the team is in good hands. Young players like Tomas Tatar that on any other team would crack the NHL roster will most likely spend the season with the AHL affiliate team in Grand Rapids - only strengthening their team and furthering his development.
Other young players that will probably be sent to the Grand Rapids Griffin's include: Hobey Baker Award finalist and first-round draft pick (2007) defensman Brendan Smith and fellow first-round pick (2008) goaltender Tomas McCollum and second-round pick Cory Emmerton (2006).
Not so young - Ilari Filppula (Red Wings Valtteri Filppula's older brother)will probably be heading to the Griffin's just as his younger brother did before cracking the Detroit line up. Last season iFlip (wonder how long before he lands an Apple endorsement?) won the Jari Kurri trophy this past season as the SM-liiga (Finnish league) playoff MVP as his team (TPS) won the leagues championship.
Kirk Maltby who is on a two-way contract for this season will probably also be starting off the season in Grand Rapids. The four time Stanley Cup Champion that Detroit traded Dan McGillis to the Edmonton Oilers for back in the 1995-96 season will bring that veteran experience to the young players in the Red Wings development system.
Having Jiri Fischer (Red Wings Director of Player Development) and Chris Chelios (Red Wings Executive Advisor to General Manager) off ice helping with development of prospects; and Kirk Maltby on ice - the Griffin's are going to be going places.
Other players possibly heading to Grand Rapids:
Derek Meech (would have to clear waivers first; and is currently having concussion symptoms after game one of the preseason against the Pittsburgh Penguins)