Posts Tagged ‘Western Michigan University Griffen Molino’


Vancouver Canucks Centre, Griffen Molino at the Canucks Development Camp on Thursday, July 6.

VANCOUVER, B.C – The Vancouver Canucks are loaded with talent down the middle. The centre-ice position looks to be a positive strength for the organization heading into next season. Henrik Sedin, Bo Horvat, and Brandon Sutter have some new company with free agent acquisitions Sam Gagner, and Alexander Burmistrov. Griffen Molino is another name to watch. The 23 year-old will do his best to make the Canucks opening day roster.

The Trenton, Michigan native, played in five games for the Canucks last season. He made his debut on March 31, vs Los Angeles. It was a whirlwind experience playing in the NHL, and something he wants to continue on a full-time basis.

“It was incredible,” said Molino, following an on ice session at the Canucks Development camp this week. “It was a lot to take in over a short period of time. Honestly, it was a great experience, and everything about it was fantastic. I had a great time. It was super humbling being able to play five games with the Canucks at the end of the year.”

Molino has had a unique experience on his journey to the NHL. He was never drafted, and instead worked his way up to where he is now. He wasn’t guaranteed a roster spot anywhere. His name wasn’t falling out of the mouths of NHL scouts. He simply buckled down, got to work, and successfully made an effort to continue up the ranks. It was at Western Michigan University where he started to attract more and more attention.

“Definitely one of the most uncommon ones,” said Molino of his journey to the NHL. “I think. Every place I played, I picked up something different, and something that helped me along the way. I don’t think I would have done it any differently If I had the choice. I played one-year, Junior A in Brockville, Ontario, made my transition to the USHL, played in Sioux Fall for a year, got traded to Muskegon, had a phenomenal year. I played two-years at Western Michigan University, and learned a lot under head coach, Andy Murray. I was able to take my game, and translate it into a professional game, and I’m really grateful for that.”

Why did Molino decide to sign with Vancouver?

“I had a relationship with the Canucks for a long time,” revealed Molino. “I like the way things are done here. I think that there’s a good young, core group of players taking this team in the right direction, and I’d love to be a part of that. Aside from that, it’s an unbelievable, historic franchise in a great part of the country. All the pieces fit, and it felt like the right decision. All those things coming together, culminated in my decision.”

The 6-foot, and 185 pound, Molino is a terrific skater with a lot of pace. He knows he has the kind of high hockey IQ required to be an everyday NHL player. Being able to fit into different niches could help his versatility if the Canucks decide to use him on the wing.

September training camp isn’t too far off in the distance. Competition for roster spots will be that much tougher with Gagner, and Burmistrov in the fold. Molino isn’t ready to have his bubble burst, and will be ready to show what he can do at an NHL level.

“There’s a lot of players fighting for a few spots,” said Molino. “I think it’ll just be the little details that define who’s playing, and who’s not. Obviously, those are some great established players in the league. If I’m going to get a shot, it’s going to be a challenge, but one I’m excited for. One I’m looking forward to for sure. I’m still pushing to make it.”

If the time comes for him to hone his skills with the Utica Comets in the AHL. Yes, he’d be willing to do that, but make no bones about it, he wants to stay in the NHL. In the AHL he would get a regular shift, and avoid bouncing around the Canucks press box between games. Comets coach, Trent Cull could be the guy to help Molino improve his game further.

“I don’t want to say comfortable,” said Molino. “I wouldn’t be upset, put it that way. I know I still have a lot to learn in my game, and I know I’m still developing. Maybe sometime in Utica wouldn’t be a bad thing, but in my head, I want to push to make that team, and challenge myself to be an NHLer. If I need to spend some time in Utica, that’s the way it goes, and I’ll be happy wherever I’m at, but I’m going to try to make that team.”

You can never have enough centres on your depth chart. A vital position like that, requires players of all skill levels, and abilities. Griffen Molino is hoping to make his mark, and prove that his five game audition last season was just the start of things to come.