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Griffins Bring in Prospects to Get A Taste of the AHL



Carter Gylander, Red Wings prospect

With the Grand Rapids Griffins firmly in the AHL playoffs, the Detroit Red Wings and their affiliate have made some moves with the future in mind.

The Griffins signed North Dakota forward Hunter Johannes to an amateur tryout contract for 2024 and standard American Hockey League player contract beginning next season on Wednesday. He joins forward Emmitt Finnie (No. 201, 2023) and goalie Carter Gylander (No. 191, 2019), who signed similar contracts with the Red Wings last month.

Grand Rapids coach Dan Watson says adding the trio now should give them a head start on next season.

“We want to make sure (they) come in and and sees what the American League is all about,” he said. “You can get these kids a head start into what’s expected, so they’re prepared for pro hockey. I think it’s a great step in the right direction for their development.”

Additions To Contribute Immediately

Finnie has already played in two games for the Griffins after a standout season at Kamloops of the WHL. He’s the second of the Red Wings’ 2023 draft picks to sign with Detroit. It’s not a given that an NHL team would sign a seventh-round pick, but the Red Wings liked the growth in Finnie’s game this season enough to give him a contract.

Gylander, 22, joins fellow 2019 draftees Antti Tuomisto, Albert Johansson and Elmer Soderblom on the Griffins roster. The 6-4, 165-pound goalie recently finished his college career at Colgate. He backstopped the Raiders to their first ECAC championship in more than 30 years in 2022-23. He was 14-14-4 with a 2.93 GAA and a .901 save percentage this season.

“Carter Gylander helped make Colgate a solid NCAA team,” said NHL draft analyst and owner Russ Cohen. “He stays on his knees a lot since he’s 6’5″. He has a very effective blocker and his leg saves are quick and he’s good at directing the puck to the corners to keep the play going. His glove is ok, it could be better. He has quick covers and he is rarely out of position. Gylander hugs the post well. Sometimes gives up the low goal when he has to move from post to post. I think he may be a future NHL backup.”

Johannes, 25, played in 31 games for North Dakota.This despite a lower-body injury that sidelined him for much of the second half of the season. The 6-3, 210-pound forward scored 12 goals with seven assists for North Dakota.

Watson said Johannes will add a size element to the Griffins.

“Our expectations are he’s going to come in, get some minutes, get some games and see how he does,” Watson said. “So we’re excited about it. We’re excited to have fresh faces in that locker room in the lineup. It does create some energy.”

For now, Johannes’ contract is owned by the Griffins. But the Red Wings will obviously be able to watch him, especially next season.






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