Jan 27: After just three games with the Griffins, Abdelkader is off to Beijing. He has been released from his PTO and will join the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing as an alternate. Abdelkader could be added to the roster if the team runs into injury or COVID-related issues. He did not record a point in his three AHL contests.
Jan 21: It’s been more than a decade since Justin Abdelkader last took the ice for the Grand Rapids Griffins. That stretch will end in the coming days after the veteran forward signed an AHL professional tryout with the Detroit Red Wings affiliate.
Abdelkader, 34, played last season for EV Zug in Switzerland and last suited up for an NHL game during the 2019-20 season. The veteran forward spent his entire career with the Red Wings organization, playing in 739 regular season games and racking up 252 points. A member of Team USA several times, Abdelkader served as captain for last summer’s World Championship squad that finished third, taking home a bronze medal in the process.
This might have seemed like an attempt to get onto the U.S. Olympic squad had it happened a few weeks ago, but the roster for that group was already announced. Instead, it appears more like a comeback attempt for a player who isn’t so far removed from NHL action.
Still, Abdelkader was a shell of his former self in 2019-20 with the Red Wings and failed to record a single goal in 49 outings. A stint with the Griffins won’t necessarily turn into anything more than that.
You know, Gavin, I think there’s a story involved in here. We can see that NHL rosters are being ravaged by COVID protocols and the normal run of injuries. So it stands to reason that AHL and ECHL rosters are being savaged both by their own problems, but by NHL/taxi squad callups.
What do you want to bet that minor-league GMs are the ones reaching out, to anyone and everyone they think might still be in playing shape, just so they can keep on fielding teams without having to ice beer leaguers and local Division III college hockey players on ATOs?
That is certainly part of it. The Florida Everblades pulled Trevor Daley out of the front office to help for two games because they couldn’t find skaters. Minor league rosters have been absolutely decimated by absences and recalls–the taxi squad is a terrible thing if you’re an AHL owner.
Running a minor league roster is never fun, mind — back when I was a season ticket holder in Springfield, you’d see two or three times a year an AIC goalie (back when the Jackets were perennial bottom feeders at Div II) brought in to be an EBUG. Now this year … the Thunderbirds went on a huge winning run at the start of the year, and then St. Louis recalled Perunovich — who was tearing the league up — and a bunch of other guys. Toss in Springfield’s own COVID absences and the taxi squad, and half the roster was playing for Maine or Worcester in the ECHL at some point.
I bet being a GM in Maine or Worcester is REAL fun right now. Danny Briere likely couldn’t have taken the Montreal GM job even if it had been offered; I’m thinking that Maine’s going to want him to suit up at some point.
Christ on a crutch, I just checked. Worcester has had FIFTY SIX guys in uniform so far, with less than half the season played. Maine has 42. I definitely bet a lot of them are former college players in the area working as landscapers or laborers.
And doing a bit of peeking on Hockey DB … Worcester (for instance) has 18 guys who’ve only played a single game this season. Half of them didn’t play organized hockey last year, and a bunch haven’t played in several years. Two haven’t played organized hockey (according to HDB) in FIVE years. Pity they didn’t get Bobby Butler to stick around … guy who had 130 games in the NHL, mostly for Ottawa, spent a couple years in Europe, retired three years ago. Played a single game for the Railers this year, and scored a goal and two assists.
He’s only 34? He seemed 34 a decade ago.
Lol so true
Good news from hockey town he sucks
they dont have better options?