The AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins got a big boost today when veteran winger Mike Knuble signed a 25-game tryout contract with the team. After attending Detroit Red Wings training camp this week, Knuble is still hoping to attract the attention of an NHL team that could use his services.
Knuble has been practicing with the Griffins during the lockout, and should have immediate chemistry with the team in game situations. His veteran presence could be just the thing the team needs to continue their strong play and reach the playoffs. Grand Rapids sits first in the Midwest Divsion and were fortunate to only lose one player, defenseman Brendan Smith, to the Red Wings when the lockout ended.
Originally a fourth round pick of the Red Wings in 1991, Knuble starred at the University of Michigan before his pro career began with the Adirondack Red Wings. He spent two seasons with Adirondack before getting a chance to be part of back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in Detroit. He was then traded to the New York Rangers, and enjoyed moderate success there in a season and a half. A trade to the Boston Bruins saw him become a reliable scorer as he played on a line with Joe Thornton. He would go on to play his best hockey with the Philadelphia Flyers after the 2004-05 lockout, scoring 34 goals in 2005-06. He joined the Washington Capitals for the 2009-10 season, and spent three seasons there before becoming a free agent over the summer. The 2011-12 season saw his ice time in Washington diminish under coach Dale Hunter, as he managed just six goals and 18 points.
In over 1000 NHL games, Knuble has scored 274 goals, and could still provide a veteran presence for a contending team. For the time being, he is able to stay close to home and help out the Griffins until the NHL comes calling again – and with the injuries expected in a shortened season, there’s a good chance it will.