For Mitch Callahan, It’s NHL Or Bust


The Detroit Red Wings have produced several prospects over the years. Mitch Callahan is one of them.

Callahan, aged 24, doesn’t want to be back in the American Hockey League this season.

From NBC Sports’ Pro Hockey Talk:

"“There’s always been talk that some teams would be interested if I was on waivers, but it all depends on the timing on everything — I just want to go in and try and make Detroit,” Callahan said on Tuesday, per MLive. “As much as I love Grand Rapids, I don’t want to play in the AHL next year.“So I’m trying to do everything possible to play with them (Red Wings) or have a good enough camp for someone else to take me.”"

With over 200 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Red Wings, Callahan has put in his time. Last season he scored 38 points in 48 games before tearing his ACL near the end of the season.

From Detroit Sports Nation, Callahan isn’t concerned about the injury.

“Detroit has told me just to go in and act like nothing has happened to my knee,” Callahan said. “Fight for a job and maybe earn a spot or see what happens. So I have to go in with a positive attitude and show everyone that, yeah I had this injury, but I’m not affected by it.”

The former Calder Cup championship has exactly one game of NHL action when he made his debut with the Red Wings nearly two years ago in 2013-2014.

The Red Wings would be better off if Callahan shows the skills he needs for the NHL, because if they send him back to Grand Rapids he will have to pass through waivers.

That might be difficult to do at this point.

The Red Wings are a deep team, but their older players are oft injured. Pavel Datsyuk won’t be ready according to Pro Hockey Talk, and Johan Franzan might be out as well.

The Red Wings new head coach, Jeff Blashill, coached the Griffins last season. That could give Callahan a boost compared to if Detroit had hired a coach outside the organization.

Callahan was on pace for 60 points on the season before he was injured in February. Even without him, the Griffins made a push to the AHL’s Western Conference Finals where they lost to the Utica Comets, albeit they got a boost when top prospect Dylan Larkin joined the team.

It’s hard to say if Callahan will crack the roster, but if he doesn’t, there’s a good shot he sees NHL time in this coming season.