West Michigan Native And Former Red Wing Returns To Griffins [Photos]
Justin Abdelkader was the first ever West Michigan native to play for the Griffs, and now after a storied career in Detroit, he's back!
The Grand Rapids Griffins announced today that they have signed the long time Red Wing to a professional tryout contract.
If Abdelkader sees action in this weekend's games, and there's a pretty good chance he will, he would set the new record 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).
The 34-year-old NHL veteran Abdelkader grew up in Muskegon and played at Mona Shores High School. He was selected by the Red Wings in the 2005 NHL entry draft.
After that, Abdelkader played a year of Junior Hockey in Iowa before returning home to play at Michigan State, where he led the Spartans to their last NCAA title in 2007, when he also earned the MVP Trophy for the tournament.
He played 739 games for the Red Wings, including eight trips with the Wings to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also captained Team USA in two World Championship Tournaments.
He most recently played played in Europe for EV Zug in the Swiss League, where he helped Zug win the Swiss League championship.
In an interview with veteran Grand Rapids sports reporter Larry Figurski this summer, Abdelkader said he felt he could still play at the NHL level, and wanted to give it one more shot.
Perhaps his trip back to the big leagues will begin this weekend at Van Andel Arena when the Griffins host the Milwaukee Admirals Saturday night. Face off will be at 7:00pm and then game will air locally on WXSP-TV.
Justin Abdelkader Through The Years With The Red Wings