ALBANY — Brian Lashoff had one of the more up-and-down seasons a young player can have. When the lockout ended there wasn’t much expectation he’d see time in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings.
While he was doing his part to hone his game in Grand Rapids of the AHL during the work stoppage, the call came early on in the NHL season when injuries hit in Detroit. In just the second game of the season, Lashoff was making his NHL debut against Columbus and scoring his first career goal.
After 31 games with Detroit, he closed his year out winning a Calder Cup with the Griffins. With a roller coaster season like that, Lashoff says the experience was huge for him and the rest of the young guys (Gustav Nyqvist, Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Danny DeKeyser) who split time between the two leagues.
“We went through a lot of adversity in the playoffs in Grand Rapids,” he said. “Whether it was a tornado in the middle of the Oklahoma City series or dropping a game or two, we always found a way to come back and it was good. It was fun to watch and be a part of. I think it’s going to be fun more than anything to go into next season with these guys.”
The only subtraction from last year’s defensive group is Carlo Colaiacovo due to a buyout and Lashoff knows competition to get a top-six spot will be tough. With seven guys going for it in a mostly young group, he’s got all the motivation he needs.
“I think you bring those guys in and it’s been really nice to be able to have that kind of confidence to go into training camp just the same way I’ve gone into training camp since I was 18. I’ve got something to prove and it doesn’t matter if I’m 18 or 23.
“I’ve got something to prove and I’ve got to go in with a chip on my shoulder and make that top six and that’s my only priority right now.”