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Wings Recall Four

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings on Monday recalled defensemen Alex Biega and Oliwer Kaski and forwards Ryan Kuffner and Evgeny Svechnikov from the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Biega was acquired by Detroit from the Vancouver Canucks last night in exchange for forward David Pope. Originally selected in the fifth round, 147th overall, by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, the 31-year-old has tallied 179 games in the NHL since 2014-15 with Vancouver and recorded 36 points (4-32—36) and 94 penalty minutes. A 5-foot-10, 199-pound defenseman, Biega ranked fourth among Canucks blueliners in points last season behind a career-high 16 points (2-14—16) in 41 games.

A 10-year pro, Biega has skated in 351 AHL contests since 2010-11 between the Portland Pirates, Rochester Americans and Utica Comets, and amassed 115 points (20-95—115), a plus-16 rating and 245 PIM. He shows 10 points (1-9—10) in 40 Calder Cup Playoff games and helped Utica reach the Calder Cup Finals in 2015, when the Comets defeated Grand Rapids in the Western Conference Finals.

Prior to turning pro, the Montreal, Quebec, native played four seasons at Harvard University, totaling 70 points (15-55—70) in 131 contests from 2006-10. He served as team captain as a senior, was twice named to the ECAC’s Third All-Star Team and earned ECAC All-Rookie Team member accolades as a freshman.

Kaski, 24, scored a goal in his AHL debut with the Griffins in the team’s 8-5 victory at Chicago last Saturday. A native of Pori, Finland, Kaski is in his first pro season in North America after spending the previous three in his home country and was signed by Detroit on May 28, 2019. In 59 games last season with the Lahti Pelicans in the SM-Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, he won the Lasse Oksanen Award as the league’s best player after leading all defensemen in goals (19) and points (51). His 51 points marked the third-highest scoring season ever by a defenseman in the SM-Liiga. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound blueliner made his national team debut and won a gold medal with Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Championship while collecting two assists in 10 games.

From 2016-19, Kaski logged 147 pro games in Finland between HIFK Helsinki, Kiekko-Vantaa and Lahti, and totaled 74 points (30-44—74). Prior to turning pro, Kaski played in 125 games between Assat and HIFK Helsinki in Finland’s junior leagues from 2012-15 and 2016-17, posting 83 points (37-46—83). He also appeared in 32 games with Western Michigan University from 2015-17 and finished with 12 points (4-8—12).

Kuffner, 23, is in his first full professional season and picked up his first pro goal while making his AHL debut last Saturday. Signed to a two-year entry-level contract by Detroit on March 12, 2019 after finishing a four-year career at Princeton University, the 6-foot, 190-pound forward skated in 10 games with the Red Wings last season and averaged 10:56 of ice time while making his NHL debut.

Kuffner’s decorated collegiate career includes being Princeton’s all-time leading goal scorer with 75 and placing second all time in points with 152 while appearing in 132 games from 2015-19. As a senior last season, the Ottawa, Ontario, native was named a Hobey Baker Award nominee, an NCAA East First Team All-American, a First Team All-ECAC, a First Team All-Ivy League and an ECAC Player of the Year finalist after ranking second in the NCAA in both points per game (1.42) and goals per game (0.71).

Should Kaski debut with the Red Wings and/or Kuffner return to Detroit’s lineup, the duo can add to Grand Rapids’ list of 179 alumni to play in the NHL. The Red Wings host Anaheim at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old Svechnikov posted a goal and two assists in last Saturday’s victory, as it marked his first game action since Game 5 of the Central Division Semifinals on April 30, 2018. Svechnikov missed all of the 2018-19 campaign due to an injury suffered during Detroit’s preseason.

The 19th overall selection by the Red Wings in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Svechnikov has appeared in 16 NHL games from 2016-18 and registered four points (2-2—4). He became the 164th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL when he debuted with Detroit on April 3, 2017 vs. Ottawa.

A native of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, Svechnikov made his North American pro debut with the Griffins during the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs and has skated in 132 regular season contests with Grand Rapids, accounting for 77 points (28-49—77) and 122 penalty minutes. He has tallied 14 points (6-8—14) while suiting up in 26 career Calder Cup Playoff contests and helped the Griffins hoist the Calder Cup as a rookie in 2016-17.

Coming off an 8-5 season-opening win at Chicago last Saturday, the Griffins will return to Van Andel Arena for Opening Night presented by Huntington Bank on Friday at 7 p.m. to take on the Milwaukee Admirals.

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

Photo by Sam Iannamico/Griffins

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