Comeback? Grand Rapids Griffins Sign Justin Abdelkader To A Contract
Former Detroit Red Wing Justin Abdelkader is hoping to resume his professional hockey career. The Grand Rapids Griffins announced today they have signed the former NHL'er to a tryout contract. (The Griffins are the top farm team of the Red Wings)
The 34-year-old Abdelkader had been playing in Switzerland last season, helping lead is EV Zug team to the league title. Should Abdelkader, who played in Grand Rapids prior to making it to the NHL in Detroit, suit up and play Saturday night at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins say it would be "a new standard for longest time span between Griffins appearances at 4,305 days, or 11 years, nine months and 12 days (April 10, 2010 to Jan. 22, 2022). The record is currently held by Jonathan Ericsson at 3,888 days, or 10 years, seven months and 22 days (March 1, 2009 to Oct. 23, 2019)".
Essentially, what this is, is a player who isn't quite ready to hang up his skates just yet. How much the Red Wings are involved in this decision is unknown, but they could simply be doing Abdelkader "a solid." Should Abdelkader show NHL scouts that he can still play, he maybe could add some veteran experience to a playoff contender, which then makes this signing worthwhile.
Are the Red Wings a playoff contender? That's an interesting question. On January 21st, Detroit is eight points behind the 2nd wild card team, the Boston Bruins, in the Eastern Conference. But it's not really even the halfway mark of the season, and still days away from the trade deadline. Like many young teams, the Red Wings have been uneven, but at times look really good. If they are a contender for a playoff spot, then having a veteran presence like Abdelkader would benefit this young team. And, if not Detroit, another team.