By the Numbers will highlight the on-ice accomplishments in the 2018-19 season for the Detroit Red Wings' prospects. Twice a week during the offseason, By the Numbers will profile a different player in the system, focusing on his statistical highs. This week we focus on center Chase Pearson.
It takes time to make the adjustment from college hockey to the professional game.
Although center Chase Pearson got a 10-game taste of it with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Detroit Red Wings' AHL affiliate, at the end of the 2018-19 season, he experienced almost a full dose during the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.
Pearson has some advantages on his side, notably his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, which allows him to compete with men in the AHL, and the fact that his father, Scott, played 292 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Quebec Nordiques, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders.
So if Pearson needs any advice or encouragement outside of his coaches and teammates, he knows just where to look.
Pearson, who doesn't turn 23 until Aug. 23, was born in the very non-hockey area of Alpharetta, Ga. but thanks to his dad's influence, started playing the game at three years old.
Pearson spent three years at the University of Maine, one of the Wings' favorite places to find players, and served as captain of the Black Bears his sophomore and junior seasons.
The young center also played a pivotal role in helping Detroit's prospects earn only their second win in the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. last fall.
Although Pearson would have benefited from a long Griffins playoff run, he at least has a built-in coach available to help him work on everything from skills to skating during the long layoff.
Pearson can look to establish himself as one of the younger leaders on the Griffins during the upcoming season, COVID-19 permitting, of course.
59 - In his first full season with the Griffins, Pearson played in 59 games, which was third on the team behind Dominic Turgeon's 63 and Turner Elson's 61.
8 - Pearson scored eight goals in his 59 games, which ranked 11th on the Griffins. Chris Terry led with 21 goals. Among the rookies, Pearson was second only to Joe Veleno, who scored 11 goals.
2 - Of his eight goals, two proved to be game-winners. The first came on Nov. 15 in a 5-2 home win over the Rockford Ice Hogs and the second was a 4-1 home victory on Jan. 17, also over the IceHogs.
1 - Pearson also recorded his first shorthanded goal in the AHL, in a 4-3 overtime home win over the San Diego Gulls on Jan. 24.
14 - With 14 helpers, Pearson was tied with Evgeny Svechnikov. Terry led the team with 30. Among rookies, Taro Hirose's 22 assists were the most, Moritz Seider was second with 20 and Pearson was third.
22 - Pearson's 22 total points tied him with Elson, Seider and Michael Rasmussen. Terry's 51 points were tops on the team. Matt Puempel was second with 39 and Matthew Ford, Hirose and Joe Hicketts each had 27. Among the rookies, Hirose was first and Veleno was second with 23. Pearson also wears No. 22, which he chose because that was one of his dad's numbers in the NHL.
17 - Pearson was not a highly penalized player, amassing just 17 penalty minutes in his 59 games. Givani Smith had 75 penalty minutes in 37 games to lead the Griffins.
82 - Pearson took just 82 shots, 11th on the team. Terry led with 156. Among the Griffins rookies, Veleno led with 107 shots and Seider was second with 84.
Quotable: "Chase is always a guy that he's got good size, good strength to him, obviously his dad played in the NHL so you can tell he's got this background. He's physically more mature than most players. Having gone to college is obviously a bonus for that as well. I think with Chase, he's reliable. Every coach is going to love this type of guy, he brings good energy every night, he's positionally solid, he can win face-offs, he can kill penalties. Coaches feel good when he's on the ice. The one thing that we worked on with Chase is his offense. He came from college, which most college or junior guys do is they realize very quickly when they get to the AHL, you can pretty much cut their chances on net in half if not more. So you have to find a way, you can't just pick and choose like you used to, you have to find a way to every time you get your way into a good scoring area, you have to get the puck on net as hard and as quick as possible. You have to take the puck there yourself, you can't just play a game on the outside, you have to get the body there. All the goals in the NHL, the majority of them, it's over 75 percent, are scored right within six feet of the net. I think it's just more of a mentality than anything. But Chase has really started playing solid for us lately. I like where his game is going." - Shawn Horcoff, director of player development and assistant director of player personnel