By the Numbers will highlight the on-ice accomplishments in the 2017-18 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 goalie Tom McCollum.
Goalie Tom McCollum had a very satisfying year for the Grand Rapids Griffins, but perhaps the most gratifying moment of his season came when his simple act of kindness allowed an opponent to witness the birth of his son.
While McCollum was traveling back to Grand Rapids from Cleveland after a game on December 30, he received an early morning phone call from former Griffins teammate Mark Zengerle.
Zengerle, who was in Grand Rapids to play the Griffins on New Year's Eve as a member of the Milwaukee Admirals, explained to McCollum that his teammate, AHL tough guy Pierre-Cedric Labrie, needed to find a ride back to Milwaukee immediately.
Labrie's significant other, Jana Pieuze-Roy (Patrick Roy's daughter) had just gone into labor and if Labrie had any chance to be there for the birth, Zengerle asked McCollum if it would all right if Labrie borrowed McCollum's F-150.
Without hesitation, McCollum made arrangements through his girlfriend for Labrie to pick up his truck. A stressed out Labrie was on his way, arriving at the hospital at 6:15 a.m. CST and at 6:54 a.m., Labrie and Pieuze-Roy welcomed son Lionel into the world.
McCollum had never met Labrie, but respected him as an honest player. The two did meet when the Griffins next played in Milwaukee and Labrie returned McCollum's truck with a fresh wash and full tank of gas.
Drafted by the Wings in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound McCollum has always impressed management, coaches and teammates because of his moral character and common decency.
Not only is he a terrific teammate, but the nine-year pro (eight years as a Griffin) is Grand Rapids' all-time leader for a goaltender in games played (263), minutes (14,900:25), wins (123) and saves (6,640).
On July 1, McCollum and fellow Griffins goalie Jared Coreau are slated to become unrestricted free agents (UFA) and it appears unlikely the Red Wings will bring back both netminders since Detroit is committed to becoming younger throughout the organization.
It is believed both goaltenders would prefer to play for a team where they will have a legitimate shot at being at least an NHL backup.
37 - Number of games McCollum played in net for Grand Rapids. It was the second time he has played in 37 games for the Griffins. In 2014-15, he also reached 37, which is the second most games he's played in a season during his Griffins career. The most games he's ever played in one season in Grand Rapids was 46 during the 2013-14 campaign.
20 - Number of victories McCollum posted, which is the second most in his AHL career. His highest single season win total is 24, reached in 2013-14.
2.64 - McCollum's goals-against average. Last year in 17 games with the Charlotte Checkers, he had a 2.10 goals-against average.
.912 - McCollum's save percentage. Last season with the Checkers, he had a .926 save percentage.
110 - On February 2 at Cleveland, McCollum recorded his 110th career victory as a Griffin, becoming the Griffins' all-time leader in victories. The 4-2 win over the Monsters broke a tie in career victories (109) he shared with Joey MacDonald.
30 - He was the last player selected in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft when the Red Wings picked McCollum 30th overall. Also in the 2008 draft, the Wings selected Gustav Nyquist in the fourth round, 121st overall, and Tampa Bay picked Luke Witkowski in the sixth round, 160th overall.
Quotable: "Last season he came off the summertime with a lower-body injury, so for Tom it took him a good month to get into goalie shape and finally got his wheels going in November and by that time once December rolled around, he became the winningest goalie in Grand Rapids Griffins history. Once Jared Coreau went up (to Detroit) he established himself again as the No. 1 with Matej Machovsky coming up from Toledo. Actually, in his last 25 games, including the playoffs, he went 17 wins and eight losses with over a .927 save percentage. So for Tommy, he ended the year high and going forward whether he's with Grand Rapids or another organization, he gave it what he had to solidify another contract next year. The reality within our organization is we have a lot of young prospects and maybe one in Kaden Fulcher who may be ready to turn into the pro ranks, but we're going to, consistently as a growing organization that wants to get younger in the crease, we're going to look at younger prospects to fill that role. For Tom, it's still a negotiation process come July 1 with the Detroit Red Wings and other organizations, because he is an unrestricted free agent and so is Jared Coreau. It's going to be an interesting process for those two and we'll see happens when that time comes." - Brian Mahoney-Wilson, Detroit's goaltending development coach