Major Changes Ahead For Griffins?|
Management loses faith after losing streak...
By Jason Kasiorek
The Jekyll and Hyde Griffins have been the model of inconsistency this season, stringing together a few wins in between some abysmal losing streaks on the way to a 12-14-2-2 record. This has been a tough pill to swallow for a club that was four games away from the AHL final last season. Sweeping changes were made during the off-season, and the new additions have not worked out as planned. Headliner Krys Kolanos has already been exiled to Europe, and now it seems more changes are in store.
According to GR Press sportswriter Joe Conklin in his blog at Mlive.com, the recent 0-3 weekend was the last straw for Griffins GM Bob McNamara, Wings GM Ken Holland, and assistant GM Jim Nill. With several doors already closed, the only viable option at this point is to make a trade to acquire some proven players. There are several likely candidates for relocation, though a fair number are under contract to Detroit and would require approval to be moved. Newcomers Matt Hussey, Brendan Brooks, Scott Barney, Evan McGrath, and Dan Smith have all played to mixed reviews in the early going.
Hussey was expected to build on his 20-goal, 51-point performance last season, but has just 3 points all assists in his last 8 games. Smith's play has been up and down after a good start, but he has taken a beating defensively as of late and sports a team worst -11 rating. Never an offensive dynamo, Dan has not scored a point in his last 24 games. Both players could be attractive to other teams looking for a veteran and could bring an impact player in return. Another player in the mix that could be on his way out of town is slumping winger Barney. A 30 goal scorer last season with Chicago (AHL), Barney has been unable to find his touch this year after missing training camp and has just 2 points in his last 14 games.
Rookie Evan McGrath also under contract to Detroit has struggled at times this season, and despite a reputation for offense, has just 1 point in his last 18 games. Its not just the points with the rookie, but a lack of chances with just 11 shots in that span as well. McGrath is probably not a candidate for a trade, but would be better served with a stint in Toledo (ECHL) to regain his confidence. Center Jeff Campbell in Grand Rapids on a tryout started out strong, but his offense has faded, and with just 1 assist in his last 9 games he may be on his way back to the ECHL.
At this point it is all speculation, and any combination of players could be moved, but changes are coming, and probably sooner than later.