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Grand Rapids Signs Veteran Justin Abdelkader

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday signed left wing Justin Abdelkader to a professional tryout.

The 14-year-pro competed with the Griffins for two seasons from 2008-10 before moving on to the Detroit Red Wings, where he ultimately played parts of 13 seasons. The Muskegon, Mich., native became the first West Michigan native to suit up for Grand Rapids when he made his AHL debut on Oct. 11, 2008. Abdelkader skated in 109 games for the Griffins and totaled 76 points (35-41—76) and 188 penalty minutes, earning AHL All-Rookie Team honors during the 2008-09 season when he logged 52 points (24-28—52) in 76 contests.

Should Abdelkader play on Saturday when Grand Rapids hosts Milwaukee at 7 p.m., he would set the new standard for longest time span between Griffins appearances at 4,305 days, or 11 years, nine months and 12 days (April 10, 2010 to Jan. 22, 2022). The record is currently held by Jonathan Ericsson at 3,888 days, or 10 years, seven months and 22 days (March 1, 2009 to Oct. 23, 2019).

Abdelkader earned a full-time roster spot with Detroit in the 2010-11 season and concluded his NHL career with 739 games, 252 points (106-146—252) and 608 penalty minutes. The left winger wore the “A” on his Red Wings jersey from 2016-20 while also captaining Team USA at two World Championships (2014, 2021). Abdelkader spent his entire North American career in the Red Wings organization and appeared in eight Stanley Cup Playoff runs.

Before being selected 42nd overall by Detroit in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Abdelkader was named Mr. Hockey of Michigan in 2004 when he amassed 80 points (37-43—80) in 28 games with Mona Shores High School. He then went on to win the USHL’s Clark Cup with Cedar Rapids in 2004-05. After one year of junior hockey, Abdelkader played for Michigan State and registered 95 points (44-51—95) in 124 outings. He was named the NCAA Tournament MVP in 2007 when he helped lead the Spartans to a national championship.

Most recently, Abdelkader won a Switzerland National League Title with EV Zug in the 2020-21 season. Through 22 combined regular season and playoff games, the 34-year-old accumulated 17 points (10-7—17) and 69 penalty minutes.

Single-game tickets are on sale through Fans can secure their full-season, select-season or group ticket packages by calling (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit for more information.

Photo by Getty Images

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