GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It’s the latest the Grand Rapids Griffins have been in first place since the 2005-2006 season, and now the Griffins are sending three players to the AHL All-Star game for the first time since the 2005-2006.
Defenseman Chad Billins, forward Gustav Nyquist, and goaltender Petr Mrazek will represent the Griffins at the AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, Rhode Island. The players will take part in the skills competition on Sunday, January 27 and then play for the Western Conference in the All-Star game on Monday, January 28.
Grand Rapids is one of three teams to be sending three players to the AHL All-Star Classic.
Billins, a Ferris State alum, had a great start to his first full professional season. He scored 16 points (1 goal, 15 assists) in his first 16 AHL games. The Marysville, Mich., native has 19 points (1 goal, 18 assists) in 37 games this season that includes a pair of three-assist games among his six multipoint outings.
Nyquist is the first Griffins since Niklas Kronwall (2004, 2005) to appear in back-to-back All-Star Classics. The 23-year-old leads the Griffins in assists (23) and points (36) in 37 games this season.
Mrazek, 20, is the Griffins’ first-ever rookie goaltender to be selected to the All-Star game and first netminder since Daniel Larsson in 2009. He ranks among the AHL’s leaders with a 2.24 goals against average (8th), a 0.916 save percentage (T18th),13 wins (T10th) and a 0.711 winning percentage (5th). The Ostrava, Czech Republic, native started his AHL career with a franchise-record 6-0 record and also put together a five-game winning streak from Dec. 19-Jan. 4.
With Billins and Mrazek selected to play, it’s the first time ever that the Griffins have sent two rookies to the AHL All-Star Classic.