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Championship pair returns to Griffins

by Randy Cleves / Detroit Red Wings

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Two members of the veteran backbone that led the Grand Rapids Griffins to the 2013 Calder Cup championship will return to defend the title, as defenseman Brennan Evans and left wing Triston Grant have both agreed to terms on AHL contracts for the 2013-14 season.

Evans, 31, played in all 100 regular season and playoff games last season during his Griffins debut. In 76 regular season appearances, he contributed seven assists and ranked among the team’s leaders with 148 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating.

After not lighting the lamp during the regular season, Evans scored the biggest goal in Griffins franchise history during the decisive Game 6 of the Calder Cup finals on June 18 in Syracuse, when his shot from the left point midway through the third period broke a 2-2 tie and proved to be the game-winner in Grand Rapids’ eventual 5-2 win. In 24 playoff games, he recorded eight points, led the club with 36 PIM and ranked second with a plus-10 rating.

Over his 10-year pro career, Evans has also played for the Lowell Lock Monsters, Binghamton Senators, Worcester Sharks, Iowa Chops, Toronto Marlies and Peoria Rivermen. In 712 career AHL games, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, has recorded 107 points and 1,497 penalty minutes. Evans’ only NHL action came during the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs, when he skated in two games with the Calgary Flames during their series against the Red Wings.

Grant, 29, was also remarkably durable during his first season in Grand Rapids, missing just a single regular season game. After posting a team-high 196 PIM to go with 10 points and a plus-one rating through 75 regular season contests, he tallied four points, 26 PIM and a plus-three rating in 24 postseason games.

The 6-foot-2, 218-pound winger saved his best playoff efforts for the Calder Cup finals, scoring both of his goals and one of his two assists against the Crunch.

Philadelphia’s 10th choice (286th overall) in the 2004 NHL draft, Grant has appeared in 510 AHL games over eight seasons with the Philadelphia Phantoms, Milwaukee Admirals, Rochester Americans, Oklahoma City Barons and Griffins, racking up 111 points and 1,462 penalty minutes. His most productive campaign came with the Admirals in 2009-10, when he set career highs with 12 goals, 13 assists, 25 points and 236 PIM in 74 games.

The Neepawa, Manitoba, native has also played in 11 NHL contests with the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators, registering one assist and 19 PIM.

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