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Red Wings send Ericsson, Filppula to Griffins

The Detroit Red Wings on Thursday assigned defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and center Valtteri Filppula to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Both players began the season on the Wings’ injured reserve list.

Ericsson, 22, was selected by Detroit with the 291st and final pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Converted from a center to a defenseman over the last few seasons, he will make his North American debut with the Griffins after playing in his native Sweden.

Filppula, 22, was a key cog in the Griffins’ league-leading offense last season, notching 20 goals, 50 assists and 70 points in 74 games. Chosen to play in the 2006 AHL All-Star Game, he was named the league’s Player of the Week on Nov. 21, 2005, and he tied a Grand Rapids record with a seven-game assist streak to close out the regular season.

Filppula made his NHL debut in four games with Detroit last year, becoming the first Finnish player ever to play for the Red Wings, and he led the Griffins with seven goals and ranked second with 16 points during their run to the Western Conference Finals.

Both players will be available to the Griffins on Friday when they visit the Toronto Marlies. Grand Rapids will then host the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in Saturday’s home opener, set for a 7 p.m. faceoff at Van Andel Arena.