The Detroit Red Wings rebuild will continue to go through Grand Rapids for at least five more seasons. Actually, if things go well, the rebuild will be over in a season or two, but the Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins have extended their long-running affiliation agreement for five more seasons, though 2026-27.

(Grand Rapids Griffins via YouTube)

Grand Rapids has been Detroit's top farm club for twenty seasons now, and during that time the Griffins have won two Calder Cup championships, in 2013 and 2017. While that success hasn't translated in the past few years to success in Detroit, Red Wings management like the proximity of its top affiliate being just two hours away from Motown. (Though not for everyone, as prospect Jonatan Berggren got lost and ended up in tiny Grand Rapids, Ohio early last season.)

For Grand Rapids fans, it means seeing the likes of potential Red Wings stars such as Moritz Seider and Joe Velino at the beginning of their professional careers. New additions/draft picks Elmer Soderblom, Albert Johansson, and Eemil Viro are also expected to be in Grand Rapids sooner rather than later. The Griffins, in the announcement, said "19 of the 38 players who appeared in at least one game for Detroit in 2021-22 also spent time with the Griffins during their careers. Ten of them were recalled from Grand Rapids last season, including Chase Pearson, who made his NHL debut on March 24." And Seider became the first Grand Rapids alum to win the NHL’s Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.

With Detroit General Manager Steve Yzerman's reputation for building championship hockey clubs (he built the Tampa Bay Lightning into back-to-back Stanley Cup champions in 2020 and 2021, the expectation among Red Wings fans is something similar should begin to become apparent soon in Detroit.

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