After disappointing season, Emmerton heads to KHL

By Jared Clinton (@JPDClinton)

Not long into 2013-14, when the Detroit Red Wings were facing injury trouble, it became clear that the Wings’ plans for Cory Emmerton weren’t what the 2006 second rounder had hoped.

Now, just under a month after the Red Wings season came to a close, it appears Emmerton is heading to one of the KHL’s expansion franchises.

In a release this afternoon, the Sochi Leopards announced they have signed the 25-year-old forward to a one-year deal.

In 2011-12, half a decade after his draft year, Emmerton finally cracked the difficult Red Wings lineup, appearing in 71 games and registering six goals and 10 points. The following season, the lockout shortened 2012-13, Emmerton suited up for each Wings game, but didn’t show much progression. In ’12-’13, the St. Thomas, Ont. native registered five goals and three assists.

It could have been expected that Emmerton would have stayed with the Wings this season, but when injury trouble struck the team, Emmerton was left off the big club in favour of younger prospects like Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, and Tomas Jurco. By season’s end, Emmerton had suited up for only 18 NHL games, playing another 53 in the AHL.

In his 139 total NHL games, Emmerton has tallied 21 points (12-9), but was consistent in the AHL, racking up 50 goals and 107 assists in 270 AHL contests.

A restricted free agent this summer, Emmerton’s signing in the KHL signals that he was either frustrated with where he was being slotted in the lineup, or was told by the team that he would not be tendered an offer.

On an expansion KHL roster, Emmerton will likely get the minutes that were so hard to come by in Detroit.

If rough translations are to be believed, Sochi fans are already excited for the now-former-Red Wing to suit up:

Emmerton Love

 

Samuelsson clears waivers, joins Griffins

When Mikael Samuelsson signed a two-year, $6-million contract with the Red Wings in the summer of 2012, you can bet he didn’t think he’d find himself heading back to Grand Rapids. Lo and behold, the 37-year-old Swedish winger is on his way to the AHL.

Samuelsson, who got a full no trade clause as part of his deal with the Wings, missed most of last season due to injury, suiting up for only four games in the 2012-13 season. In those four contests, Samuelsson failed to register a point, but be it far from the Wings to know that the former 20-plus goal man would fall from grace so hard.

This season, in 26 games with the Wings, Samuelsson has registerd only three points. His only goal this season came on Oct. 2 in a game against the Buffalo Sabres, and he has been held pointless for stretches of seven games (twice), and, most recently, the nine games leading to his demotion.

At 37, and in the final year of his deal, it seems unlikely that Samuelsson will be back with the Red Wings barring any further injuries — although, with the way the Wings season has gone, you never know.

A one-time 30-goal scorer, Samuelsson will need to have an incredible showing in the AHL if he intends on finding himself work in the NHL next season. However, after three consecutive seasons with significant amounts of games lost to injury, Samuelsson may be a risk.

Samuelsson will likely be in the lineup on Jan. 31, when the Griffins play host to the Chicago Wolves.

Raedeke signs two-year deal in DEL

Just three months removed from watching the Grand Rapids Griffins win a Calder Cup Championship without him on the ice, Brent Raedeke has signed a two-year deal with the DEL’s Iserlohn Roosters.

Raedeke, who had spent most of the last three years as a member of the Griffins, watched from the sidelines last season as the Griffins made their way to their first Calder Cup in team history. In the two seasons prior, Raedeke had suited up in 131 games and registered 19 goals and 15 assists, but saw himself lose his spot — however briefly — with the Griffins last season.

Only suiting up in 38 games with the Red Wings top affiliate in 2012-13, it became clear that Raedeke’s role on the Griffins had diminished. With only nine points last year, it seems the change of scenery might just be what the 23-year-old forward needs.

A member of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Edmonton Oil Kings while in the WHL, Raedeke signed an entry level deal with the Wings in 2008 after being passed over in the draft.

McCollum signs deal with Griffins

Tom McCollum has signed a one-year deal with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

McCollum, 23, is coming off of his fourth professional season and signs a one-year deal as his entry level deal expires. A first round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2008, McCollum has had a tough time living up to the stock Wings fans may have put into him.

Last season with the Griffins, the Amherst, NY., native posted a 2.63 GAA and .904 SV%, the best numbers of his AHL career. Throughout his AHL career, McCollum has had some difficulty. 2012-13 was the first year in which McCollum was able to post GAA under 3.30 and SV% over .900. It was also the first season McCollum has been a full-time AHLer, spending parts of the previous three seasons with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.

The deal may come as a shock to some after it seemed like the Wings were ready to part ways with the goaltender. The contract terms for McCollum have not been released.

Paetsch back for Griffins in 2013-14

After re-signing three players who were key to their Calder Cup victory in 2012-13, the Grand Rapids Griffins have extended the contract of defenceman Nathan Paetsch.

Last season, in his return to North America after a season in Germany with the DEL’s Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg, Paetsch had 31 points (4-27) for the Griffins in 70 regular season games. In the playoffs, the 30-year-old added another 11 assists in 24 games. The contract extension is a sign of confidence in the leadership the journeyman can bring to the roster.

An NHL regular from 2006 to 2010, Paetsch has struggled to find the form that made him a 24 point player in 2006-07, and as such has found himself bouncing around the minors. After his four year stint with the Buffalo Sabres, Paetsch has only appeared in ten NHL games, all with the Columbus Blue Jackets. In those ten games, Paetsch failed to register a single point.

His 2010-11 campaign saw him spend time with both the Rochester Americans and Syracuse Crunch where he put up 20 points (9-11) in 43 games before leaving for Europe.

Paetsch’s deal with Grand Rapids is a one-year AHL contract.

Griffins bring back championship trio

The Grand Rapids Griffins will have Jeff Hoggan, Brennan Evans, and Triston Grant back for their title defence next season, according to GriffinsCentral.com.

Hoggan, the Griffins captain, is an AHL veteran of nearly 500 games, and will come back to help the Griffins attempt to repeat as he enters his ninth AHL campaign. Prior to playing in the AHL last season, Hoggan spent two seasons in the DEL with Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg and Hannover Scorpions.

At age 35, Hoggan is still producing. In 76 games last year, the vet put up 45 points (20-25), the second best point total of his career. Over the course of 81 games in the DEL, Hoggan put up 25 goals and 24 assists, and should be good to show up on the scoresheet every couple games next year with the Griffins.

Evans, another over-30 AHL vet, has been a force on AHL blue lines for the past decade. Last season, while a member of the Griffins, Evans put up seven assists and 148 PIM in 76 games. Not exactly the most fleet of foot or offensively gifted, Evans helps in other areas, filling a leadership role for the Griffins.

Over the course of 750 AHL games, Evans has scored 16 goals and tallied 100 assists. Not afraid to mix it up, Evans is often the defender of his teammates and can help in the development of Red Wings prospects.

Triston Grant, a 29-year-old from Neepawa, MB., is an eight-year AHL veteran who has appeared in 569 games. While suiting up in those contests, Grant has scored 57 goals and 64 assists. Much like Evans, what Grant brings to the lineup is the willingness to defend teammates and create a bit of open ice. In his AHL career, which includes stops in Oklahoma City, Rochester, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Grand Rapids, Grant has amassed 1462 PIM.

In 24 playoff games this past season, Grant has two goals and two assists.

 

 

Francis Pare leaves Griffins for Europe

After a season that culminated with a Calder Cup championship, Francis Pare has decided to leave the Grand Rapids Griffins for SM-Liiga’s TPS.

Pare, a 26-year-old from Lemoyne, Que., had spent his entire AHL career with the Griffins after signing a two-year deal with the Red Wings in 2009. At 5’10”, Pare was a shifty forward that was still able to distribute the puck and make things happen despite his small stature. Though his contracts were two-way deals, Pare was never able to make the jump from the minors to the NHL, especially on a team as deep as the Red Wings.

With a full roster up the middle and down the wing, it seemed unlikely that Pare was bound for the NHL with the Red Wings anytime soon. As such, Pare has decided to move on.

His deal with TPS is a two-year contract, and it could see him back in the AHL after that time.

In 363 games with the Griffins, Pare had 237 points (102-135) and added another five goals and 11 assists in 34 career playoff games.

 

Former Michigan standout Glendening signs with Wings

After a stellar season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Luke Glendening is getting a change to prove he can do it all again.

Glendening, 24, is an undrafted free agent that made his way to the AHL by way of the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. While the former University of Michigan product had a brief stint with the Providence Bruins in 2011-12, suiting up in three games, he didn’t stick until finding his spot with the Griffins.

After putting up 14 goals and seven assists in 27 games for the Walleye, Glendening made the jump to the Griffins and helped out with 26 points (8-18) in 51 regular season games. However, it was the playoffs where Glendening really shone.

During the Griffins run to the Calder Cup, a run which culminated with the franchises first Calder Cup, Glendening put up 16 points (6-10) in 24 games. On top of that, Glendening got some praise from Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock.

From Steve Kaminski’s piece at MLive.com:

“Oh, he will play at the next level, for sure,” Babcock said. “He just knows how to play. He does things right, and he is an everydayer. When you are a coach in the NHL, that is what you are looking for.

“Glendening jumps right at me for sure. He does everything right, he competes real hard and he will challenge for a job in the National Hockey League in not too long.”

Glendening will get the chance to prove he can indeed play at the next level, and the Red Wings are giving him a “show me” deal. The one-year contract gives Glendening a home for next year and, if Babcock is to be believed, maybe longer.