GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When the Grand Rapids Griffins open the season Friday night, fans will see some familiar faces in the lineup as well as some fresh new talent from the Red Wings prospect pipeline.

The Griffins have six rookies on the roster to start the 2022-2023 AHL regular season:

  • Pontus Andreasson (F) – Free agent signing
  • Cross Hanas (F) – 55th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft
  • Drew Worrad (F) – Free agent signing and WMU alum
  • Simon Edvinsson (D) – 6th overall in the 2021 NHL Draft
  • Albert Johansson (D) – 60th overall in 2019 NHL Draft
  • Eemil Viro (D) – 70th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft

Early Friday afternoon, the Griffins announced that rookie goaltender Sebastian Cossa and rookie forwards Trenton Bliss and Kirill Tyutyayev have been reassigned to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. The Walleye are an affiliate of both the Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins. They begin their season Saturday against the Wheeling Nailers.

All of the draft picks above were scouted and developed under Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman’s regime.

During the offseason, the Red Wings underwent a major shift in leadership with new head coach Derek Lalonde, who previously coached for former Stanley Cup Champions Tampa Bay Lightning. In Grand Rapids, head coach Ben Simon returns for his fifth season. Simon and his team will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2021-2022 campaign where the Griffins missed the playoffs.

For fans tuning into the Griffins’ broadcast this season, they’ll hear two familiar voices. WOOD TV8 alum Larry Figurski and Bob Kaser return to the booth — this will be the 23rd season for the broadcasting duo.

“They were missing secondary scoring last season, we’ve got a ton of guys who can do that — they’re much stronger on the blue line and they could be really good in goal,” Figurski said.

The Griffins will open the 2022-2023 season at Van Andel Arena Friday against the San Diego Gulls. The puck drop is slated for 7 p.m.

The Red Wings are also opening their season at home on Friday against the Montreal Canadiens.