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MEECH AND MALTBY ASSIGNED TO GRIFFINS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday assigned defenseman Derek Meech and right wing Kirk Maltby to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Meech, 26, made his NHL debut with the Red Wings on Dec. 7, 2006 and has since appeared in 126 games with Detroit at both defense and forward, totaling 16 points (4-12—16) and 39 penalty minutes. A member of the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup championship team in 2008, he contributed six points (2-4—6) last season while setting NHL career highs with 49 games played and 19 PIM.

Detroit’s seventh choice, 229th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Meech was a mainstay on Grand Rapids’ blue line from 2004-07 and also spent a six-game conditioning stint with the club in 2007-08. He accumulated 65 points (17-48—65) and 165 PIM in 230 career games with the Griffins and was a key member of the 2005-06 squad that captured the AHL’s regular season championship.

In 2006-07, his last full season with the Griffins, Meech earned a spot on the Canadian AHL All-Star team and tied for first among Grand Rapids’ blueliners with a career-high 29 points (6-23—29) in 67 games.

Meech is expected to practice with the Griffins on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at Van Andel Arena.

Maltby, a four-time Stanley Cup champion with Detroit, has been a Red Wing for longer than the 15-year-old Griffins have been in existence, having joined the franchise in a trade from Edmonton on March 20, 1996. Once a member of the famed "Grind Line," he has totaled 260 points (128-132--260) in 1,072 NHL games, including 908 in Hockeytown.

Maltby turned pro with the AHL's Cape Breton Oilers in 1992-93, scoring 45 points (22-23--45) in 73 contests. His only other AHL stint since then was a four-game turn with Cape Breton three years later.

According to MLive.com, Maltby is deciding on his future and is scheduled to meet with Detroit general manager Ken Holland on Thursday.

The Griffins will aim for their 15th consecutive opening night sellout this Friday, Oct. 8 when they host the Abbotsford Heat at 7 p.m., marking the first time since 2005 that they’ll open the AHL’s regular season at home.  Tickets are still available by visiting griffinshockey.com or calling the Griffins at (616) 774-4585.

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