Detroit Red Wings’ Taro Hirose finding his footing in AHL before call-up

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

Amid a COVID-19 shutdown for the Detroit Red Wings, they are off the ice through the holidays. However, prior to the shutdown, the team was experiencing an outbreak and had to make some emergency call-ups.

One of these call-ups was forward Taro Hirose, who had been playing with the Detroit Red Wings minor league affiliate. Hirose was going off with the Grand Rapids Griffins during his time in the American Hockey League (AHL) prior to his call-up.

Even after getting called up, he leads the team in points and has looked like he’s figuring out his role. Hirose, a Michigan State Spartans alumni, was signed during the 2018-19 season and has sputtered in all of his appearances with the Red Wings.

Hirose has not logged more than a handful of games; in his second season, he got a bigger role over his 26 games with the Red Wings, but it has not been smooth sailing so far during his time in the NHL.

Somewhere Detroit Jock City Co-Site Expert Bob Heyrman is smirking that I said that. When the Red Wings brought in Hirose, it seemed like he might be able to get some real offense going if he clicked. I was a bit high on my valuation of Hirose. As seen here, and here, and here, and here… well, you get the point.

But I’m eating my words and trying to say that he might be starting to figure things out. While he’s not going to be a top-six forward or an elite playmaker, but he may begin to prove to be a decent option for the team’s forward depth.

Detroit Red Wings forward Taro Hirose was fitting in nicely before his call-up.

To be fair, the Griffins and the Red Wings are two very different teams. The AHL and the NHL are two completely different playing fields; that’s another appropriate point to make. That being said, Hirose seemed to be getting into a groove.

Over 22 games played with the Griffins, Hirose would pick up four goals and 15 assists for 19 total points. It bodes well for his playmaking ability. He leads the team in points and seems like he is tapping into that playmaker skillset and great scoring chances for the Griffins.

Hirose has logged 43 games across the past four seasons with the Red Wings during his NHL stints; he’s got just three goals and 13 assists for 16 total points. Thinking positively and hoping he can work something out to stick around is the best way to look at it.

If Hirose wants to stick around, it will require him to continue to prove he can be worthy of a depth role and contribute when he gets called up to the NHL to be a part of the Red Wings.

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While I’m going to walk back on my words, I think Hirose can still be serviceable and be a playmaking depth forward. It will be interesting to see how Hirose performs the rest of the way in 2021-22 and if he gets more looks with the Red Wings, more than the one game he has to his credit now.