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Red Wings’ AHL Grand Rapids claims Calder Cup

Jun 18, 2013, 10:50 PM EDT

Tomas Tatar Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings can feel pretty good about their future tonight. Their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, have won Calder Cup for the first time in the franchise’s history.

In Game 6 of the final round, 22-year-old forward Tomas Tatar netted two goals and goaltender Petr Mrazek, 21, turned aside 24 of 26 shots to lead the Griffins to a 5-2 victory against the Syracuse Crunch.

“We knew it was going to be a real hard series,” Griffins coach Jeff Blashill said, according to “We knew Syracuse had the heart of a champion.”

The Crunch, the AHL club of the Tampa Bay Lightning, were led by 22-year-old forward Ondrej Palat, who had a league-best 26 points in 18 playoff games. Tatar finished with an AHL-leading 16 goals in 24 postseason contests.

For his efforts, Tatar was named the AHL’s playoff MVP.

  1. gr3710 - Jun 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    Win-win! Local team and they are the Wings affiliate…congrats Griffins!

  2. 19to77 - Jun 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Tatar’s projecting to potentially an even higher ceiling than he was forecasted for. Mrasek has shown consistent talent with flashes of absolute brilliance (The World Juniors most notably) and DeKeyser is already rock-solid at an NHL level. Add continued improvements from Nyquist, Smith, etc. into the mix and the tired stories about Detroit’s best days being behind them are ridiculous. The future is bright for the Red Wings.

    • esracerx46 - Jun 18, 2013 at 11:35 PM

      Mrazek is the reason why I was surprised Holland gave Howard the deal he got. The kid went from the ECHL for a few games to AHL to NHL in one season…. and did well everywhere.

      • 19to77 - Jun 18, 2013 at 11:43 PM

        On the other hand, Howard is brilliant. His performance against the Ducks and especially the ‘Hawks really put the deal into context. They’re gonna have a Jennings-calibre tandem in the next few years.

      • tmoore4075 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:17 AM

        People keep saying that but the Wings take their time with guys. Howard didn’t come to the big club until he was like 26, Smith just now made the big club. If the Wings wanted to keep Howard (and they did, they weren’t ready to hand the team over to a 21 year old) they had to give some term. Mrazek plays another year (maybe 2) in GR as the starter and then will be Howie’s backup and then push for starts. The advantage to this is also it keeps salaries down for a longer period of time when these kids aren’t stars are 24. He earned that contract against the Ducks and Hawks. Smarter play and a little more offense and Wings go the WCF’s.

  3. hockinj25 - Jun 18, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    So another couple of years of playoffs for the Wings? Sounds good to me.

  4. rushledger - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:15 AM

    Seeing the Syracuse Crunch, made up of many Calder winners from last years Norfolk Admirals before Tampa switched them, I didn’t think they could be defeated. They swept a decent Portland team, swept my Falcons who are good fairly easy, beat the baby penguins in five, props to Grand Rapids for bringing down a powerhouse team in Syracuse.

  5. jacketsfan7 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Mrazek Is a great goalie , he’d be better with maybe the islanders though , he’d have a better future

    • polegojim - Jun 19, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      Ok… I’l bite… how?

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