He was a restricted free agent after the Griffins won the Calder Cup with Petr Mrazek shining in net. McCollum had struggled in his time with Grand Rapids, and the Red Wings weren’t expected to offer McCollum a new contract.
But at the last second, the Red Wings did offer McCollum a deal. It was an AHL-only deal, though.
It appeared that McCollum, 24, was being given one last shot to prove himself to the organization that drafted him in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
McCollum took advantage of his last chance by putting up a team-best 24 wins this season. He’s also posted the best goals-against average (2.30) and save percentage (.922) of his Griffins career, and it may have just saved his professional hockey career.
“I really just wanted to prove that I could play in this league,” McCollum said. “I think I’ve done that so far. Had a really good summer. Just spent a lot of time working out on the ice and trying to really refine my game and get better.”
“Well he certainly did a real good job moving his career forward,” said Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill. “It takes everybody different timelines to get to where they are excelling at a level for numerous reasons and now he is at a level where he is excelling.”
Blashill doesn’t plan on announcing his starting goaltender for Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against Abbotsford until Friday.
McCollum will be a restricted free agent after this season again. This time the Red Wings plan on offering McCollum an NHL-contract. Check out more in the video below.