GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For the first time as a pro, Jared Coreau will the No. 1 man between the pipes when the Grand Rapids Griffins open the playoffs Friday.
“Yeah, it’s something. I’m looking forward to it,” Coreau told 24 Hour News 8. “Last year, I got a little more of a taste in my second year, but this year it feels good to be the guy and I accept the challenge.”
“He’s the go-to guy now and I think he’s going to relish the situation,” head coach Todd Nelson agreed.
Coreau has been given an opportunity to lead a very good team on what the Griffins and their NHL affiliate, the Detroit Red Wings, hope will be a long Calder Cup playoff run lasting well into June.
“My ultimate goal is to take this team on a run,” Coreau said. “We want to win a championship.”
“He’s shown us all year that he can be our go-to guy,” defenseman Brian Lashoff added. “We’re excited to have him get the reins here and go on a long run for us.”
Four years after disastrous rookie season in which he won just one of 23 games between Grand Rapids and Toledo, Coreau now sits on the verge of the NHL. He already spent nearly half the regular season with the Red Wings.
“Those 14 games I was in and being up the 30-plus I was there, I got to see a lot of hockey and a lot of fast hockey,” Coreau recalled. “Coming back to Grand Rapids and the AHL, the game slows down a bit, so in terms of a player, you’re going to be better.”
With the Red Wings only allowed to protect one goaltender in the upcoming expansion draft, Coreau knows a good showing in the playoffs may earn him a permanent spot in the NHL next season — whether that’s in Detroit or elsewhere.
“It’s in the back of my head for sure,” Coreau said. “My work is cut out for me and I know what I have to do in order to do it.”
There will be many influential eyes watching to see if he can.