By Nick Barnowski –
TRAVERSE CITY – Luke Glendening has had quite the year.
After signing with the Grand Rapids Griffins in June of 2012, Glendening started this past season in Toledo, where he put up 21 points in 27 games with the Walleye, earning a call up to the AHL.
In Grand Rapids, he excelled, with 26 points in 51 games, and helped lead the Griffins to a Calder Cup championship.
Now, the journey continues for the former high school hockey star and Michigan Wolverines captain, as he is participating in Detroit’s annual summer development camp in Traverse City for the second year in a row after signing a one-year, two-way contract with the Wings on July 5.
“It’s good to be back here,” he said. “It’s exciting, a lot of new faces, a lot of good players up here, it’s good to get back on the ice.”
Glendening said that he didn’t know what to expect as far as how quickly his professional career would progress.
“I started my year off in Toledo and it was great for my development in terms of just being around the game, learning how to be a pro,” he said. “I got called up to Grand Rapids and had an opportunity to play there and it was exciting for my team, it was a unique opportunity that we had there and that’s something we’ll be able to share with each other forever.”
After being called up by the Griffins about midway through the season, Glendening was moved to center, which he said helped him offensively.
“Obviously I played with some pretty good players this year as well and they put the puck in the net,” he said. “But I moved into the middle, and it’s giving me more of an opportunity to move the puck.”
His point total, two-way game, and leadership drew praise from Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. Babcock told MLive in June that “[he] jumps right at me for sure. He does everything right, he competes real hard and he will challenge for a job in the National Hockey League in not too long.”
Although Babcock’s comments were welcomed by Glendening, he knows that words don’t always equal success.
“It’s a huge compliment from him but there’s a lot of work to be done. Just because he said that doesn’t mean I have a spot. There’s a lot of work to be done still.”
The Grand Rapids native said that he doesn’t really feel much pressure from being a local kid who’s spent his whole career playing for the local teams.
“I’m just excited for the opportunity, to try and cherish it,” he said. “You can put all the pressure on yourself in the world if you want but at the end of the day it’s the same game I’ve been playing since I was a kid and I’m just trying to enjoy every day.”
Despite his success, Glendening realizes that it won’t all be easy.
“It’s exciting to be a part of this organization, especially to be affiliated with the Red Wings for another year,” he said. “It’s exciting but there’s a lot of work to be done.”