GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday re-signed captain Jeff Hoggan (left) and defenseman Nathan Paetsch, two key components of their 2013 Calder Cup championship team, to two-year AHL contracts.
After agreeing to terms with defenseman Brennan Evans and left wing Triston Grant on Monday, the Griffins will have four veterans in the fold as they mount a defense of the first title in the franchise’s 17-year history.
“We are excited to have this core group of veterans back for the 2013-14 season,” said Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill. “This group was an integral part of our Calder Cup championship team. Their daily work ethic, attention to detail, selflessness and competitiveness created a culture of success in our locker room.
“They helped our team win but also really helped the development of our young players. Our management staff made re-signing these players a priority, and I am very happy they chose to stay with the Griffins organization.”
Hoggan, 35, joined the Griffins for training camp last September on a tryout, earning a roster spot and a role as the team’s captain prior appearing in all 100 regular season and playoff games. The Hope, British Columbia, native ranked among team leaders with 76 games played (T1st), 20 goals (5th), 25 assists (4th), 45 points (4th) and 171 shots (2nd).
A 12th-year pro, Hoggan was one of the Griffins’ top players in the second half of the season, posting 31 points (15-16—31) in the final 38 games. He also contributed 12 points (5-7—12) in 24 playoff games, earning his second AHL championship after winning as a first-year pro with Houston in 2003.
In 488 AHL games with Houston, Worcester, Providence, San Antonio and Grand Rapids, Hoggan shows 256 points (131-125—256), in addition to 30 points (13-17—30) in 62 Calder Cup playoff games. He also owns 107 games of NHL experience with St. Louis, Boston and Phoenix, registering 11 points (2-9—11).
Paetsch, 30, tied for second among Griffins defensemen with 31 points (4-27—31) in 70 games during his debut season with the franchise. He also placed among team leaders with 27 assists (T2nd), 31 points (T8th), a plus-13 rating (T2nd) and 11 power play assists (T2nd). Paetsch, who served as an alternate captain for the team in 2012-13, also registered 11 points (0-11—11) in 24 playoff games, placing fourth among league defensemen in scoring.
With 11 professional seasons under his belt, Paetsch boasts the most NHL experience of any Griffin after spending 167 games with Buffalo and Columbus from 2005-10. The LeRoy, Saskatchewan, native notched 42 points (7-35—42) with the Sabres and Blue Jackets, in addition to 134 points (33-101—134) in 319 career AHL contests with Rochester, Syracuse and Grand Rapids.