After the news that Ryan Martin would be leaving the Detroit Red Wings organization to take a job with the New York Rangers, there was an opening that needed to be filled. The Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, was left without a general manager. Instead of hiring someone new for the job, the Red Wings decided to pass the reins to Pat Verbeek, one of the team’s current assistant general managers. Verbeek will continue in his role as AGM for the Red Wings but take on this new challenge leading the Griffins.
He released a statement on the new opportunity:
"The Griffins are a first-class organization, and Grand Rapids is a fantastic market for hockey. Both of those factors are critical in the successful development of prospects in the American Hockey League and the ability to help them get to the next level. I look forward to continuing the winning culture in Grand Rapids and providing our prospects every necessary resource to develop as professionals and become impactful players in the NHL."
Grand Rapids won the Calder Cup in 2013 and 2017, both with Martin attached in some management fashion. He served as AGM during the first championship and GM for the second, bringing an experienced voice to the table for more than a decade. Now Verbeek’s challenge will be continuing that history of success, while taking on a role that moves him one step closer to being an NHL GM one day.
Remember, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman brought Verbeek over from the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019, where he previously served as AGM and director of player personnel. The two have basically been inseparable during their time in management. Verbeek first joined the Red Wings scouting department in 2006, the same year Yzerman retired and moved into the Detroit front office. While Julien BriseBois was perhaps the “right-hand man” in Tampa Bay and the obvious choice to take over when Yzerman left the Lightning, Verbeek’s role shouldn’t be overlooked. He’ll now take over the minor league operations, a new step on his management journey.