Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Grand Rapids brings back solid foursome

Adding punch, scoring and depth to their lineup, the Grand Rapids Griffins have re-signed four players to contracts for the 2007-08 American Hockey League season: right wings Adam Keefe, Jamie Tardif and Mike Walsh and defenseman Cleve Kinley.

All four made their Grand Rapids debuts last season.

Keefe, 23, quickly became a fan favorite after being acquired in a Feb. 23 trade with the Manitoba Moose. He racked up 97 penalty minutes in just 16 games with Grand Rapids before his season came to a premature end due to a severe hand laceration suffered in a March 28 game against Milwaukee. A third-year pro who won a Memorial Cup with Kitchener in 2003, Keefe has totaled 12 points (5-7—12) and 346 PIM in 69 career AHL contests, along with 33 points (15-18—33) and 547 PIM in 105 pro games.

Tardif, 22, earned his way into Grand Rapids’ record book while logging his first pro hat trick on March 3 at Syracuse, as he became only the third player in Griffins history to score three goals in a single period. Calgary’s fourth selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, he registered nine goals and 15 points in 27 games with the Griffins, after totaling three other AHL contests with Manitoba and Iowa. Tardif began his rookie campaign with the ECHL’s Toledo Storm, compiling 30 points (10-20—30) in 34 games and scoring a goal during the league’s all-star game on Jan. 17. He subsequently signed with the Griffins on Jan. 26.

Kinley, 23, originally signed an amateur tryout with the Griffins on March 12, following his senior season as captain at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. After tallying nine points (3-6—9) in 31 games for the River Hawks, he went scoreless in his pro debut with the Griffins on March 16 before logging two assists in three appearances with the UHL’s Muskegon Fury.

Walsh, 24, signed his first pro contract with the Griffins last summer and spent the majority of the 2006-07 season with their ECHL affiliate in Toledo. The native of Royal Oak tied for third on the Storm in scoring with 40 points (14-26—40) in 66 games and netted his first pro hat trick in Toledo’s 3-0 win over Columbia on Feb. 17. A Notre Dame alum who was the New York Rangers’ fourth choice in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Walsh saw action in five games with the Griffins last season.


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