The Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, moved back into first place in the Midwest Division last weekend, helped along by the strong play of second-year center Landon Ferraro who had two goals and four points for the weekend.
A second round draft selection in 2009, Ferraro is already just three point shy of matching his scoring total from last season. He managed to turn a few heads in his rookie AHL season, and his speed and versatility helped him get playing time on a deep roster full of veterans. Ferraro managed nine goals and 20 points, and has already scored eight goals and recorded 17 points this season.
The son of former NHLer Ray Ferraro, Landon was a standout in the WHL for three seasons with the Red Deer Rebels and one season with the Everett Silvertips. He was frequently thwarted by injuries, but his 2008-09 campaign for the Rebels highlights what the Wings were looking at when they drafted him. That season saw him score 37 goals and put up 55 points and 99 penalty minutes while leading a team that also featured a young Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
In addition to his speed, Ferraro plays with a toughness that should endear him to Wings fans quickly. He has shown a willingness to drop the gloves when the need arises, and this was highlighted in his performance against the Rockford Ice Hogs (Chicago Blackhawks) on Dec. 9. In that game Ferraro scored two goals and came to the aid of teammate Adam Almquist, who was getting roughed up by the Ice Hogs’ Kyle Beach. He may have been on the losing end of the fight that followed, but no doubt gained favor with fans and teammates alike in the process.
If he can keep his hot start going all season, Ferraro could be well on track to seeing NHL ice time within the next two seasons. the Wings don’t rush their prospects, but have to like what they’ve seen out of him so far.