Griffins Sign Spezia and Kestner to One-Year Deals
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday signed forwards Tyler Spezia and Josh Kestner to one-year contracts.
During his rookie campaign in 2018-19, the 26-year-old Spezia collected 39 points (11-28-39), a plus-nine rating and 36 penalty minutes in 58 appearances with the ECHL's Toledo Walleye, and showed two points (1-1-2) and a plus-two rating in eight games with the Griffins. A 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward, Spezia tied for seventh on Toledo and 19th in the ECHL in Kelly Cup Playoff scoring with 12 points (3-9-12) in 24 games as he helped the Walleye advance to the Kelly Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. During the regular season, Spezia was the Walleye's top rookie point producer and tied for second overall on the team in plus-minus rating.
He made his AHL debut with Grand Rapids on Dec. 16 at Rockford, and his first goal on Dec. 22 at Manitoba proved to be the game-winner.
Prior to turning pro, the Clinton Township, Mich., native spent four seasons (2014-18) at Bowling Green State (WCHA) where he collected 72 points (34-38-72), 103 PIM and a plus-34 rating in 147 games. A two-time selection to the WCHA All-Academic Team, Spezia produced a career-high 10 goals as a sophomore and senior and tied for second on the club with a career-high 30 points as a junior.
Kestner, 25, helped the ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers capture the 2019 Kelly Cup after skating in 61 regular season games during his first full professional season and ranking among the team's leaders with 49 points (6th), 22 goals (5th) and 27 assists (6th) while adding a plus-eight rating and 44 PIM. Among league rookies, Kestner tied for 20th in points and 12th in goals. In 21 postseason appearances, Kestner placed fifth on the team with 16 points (9-7-16) and tied for second in goals with nine.
A 6-foot, 173-pound forward, Kestner appeared in one game with the Toronto Marlies in 2018-19 and picked up four PIM. He made his pro debut with the Marlies on March 16, 2018 at Belleville, scoring a goal in the same game, and has totaled four career AHL contests, registering one point (1-0-1) and six PIM.
Kestner spent four seasons competing in his hometown for the University of Alabama in Huntsville (WCHA) Chargers before turning to the pro ranks. In 132 games from 2014-18, Kestner compiled 68 points (44-24-68), was a two-time selection to the WCHA All-Academic Team (2015-16, 2017-18) and was a WCHA Scholar Athlete in 2016-17. He capped his career in 2017-18 by becoming only the second player in program history to earn All-WCHA distinction after being named to the conference's second team. Kestner's career-high 32 points as a senior were buoyed by a career-high 24 goals, which tied atop the WCHA leaderboard and tied for the most by a Charger since 2004-05.
The Griffins will open the home portion of the 2019-20 season on Friday, Oct. 11 with Opening Night presented by Huntington Bank.
Single-game tickets will go on sale to the public in September. Fans can secure their full-season, select-season or group ticket packages by calling (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey.com for more information.
• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...
American Hockey League Stories from July 1, 2019
- New Jersey Devils Sign Street, Tennyson, Mermis to Two-Way Contracts - Binghamton Devils
- Syracuse Crunch Sign Goaltender Zachary Fucale to AHL Contract - Syracuse Crunch
- Blues Agree to Two-Way Contracts with Six Players - San Antonio Rampage
- Phantoms Re-Sign All-Star Forward Greg Carey - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- Jets Sign Cameron Schilling to a One-Year Contract - Manitoba Moose
- Florida Panthers Agree to Terms with Defensemen Tommy Cross & Ethan Prow - Springfield Thunderbirds
- Monsters Sign Forward Sam Vigneault to One-Year AHL Contract - Cleveland Monsters
- Golden Knights Sign Six, Including Brandon Pirri - Chicago Wolves
- Capitals Re-Sign Goaltender Vitek Vanecek to Three-Year Deal - Hershey Bears
- Rocket Agrees to Terms with William Pelletier - Laval Rocket
- Sens Ink Szwarz to Two-Way Deal - Belleville Senators
- LA Kings Add Ryan, Frk - Ontario Reign
- Dallas Stars Sign Defenseman Reece Scarlett and Center Tanner Kero - Texas Stars
- Tampa Bay Lightning Sign Three Players to One-Year, Two-Way Contracts - Syracuse Crunch
- IceHogs Agree to Terms with Tyler Sikura - Rockford IceHogs
- Phantoms Sign Cal O'Reilly to Two-Year Deal - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- Wolf Pack Sign Vincent LoVerde, Tom McCollum and Harry Zolnierczyk - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Flames Sign Brandon Davidson to One Year Two-Way Contract - Stockton Heat
- Flames Sign Byron Froese to To One Year Two-Way Contract - Stockton Heat
- Tampa Bay Lightning Sign Defenseman Luke Witkowski to Two-Year, Two-Way Contract - Syracuse Crunch
- Rangers Agree to Terms with Free Agent Forwards Greg McKegg and Danny O'Regan - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Griffins Sign Spezia and Kestner to One-Year Deals - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Joe Palmer Hired as Syracuse Crunch Goaltending & Video Coach - Syracuse Crunch
- Predators Sign AHL MVP Daniel Carr - Milwaukee Admirals
- Devils Sign Forward Ryan Schmelzer to AHL Contract - Binghamton Devils
- Capitals Sign Forward Philippe Maillet to Two-Year Deal - Hershey Bears
- Flyers Sign Forward Kurtis Gabriel to One-Year Deal - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- Flyers Sign Defenseman Nate Prosser to Two-Year Deal - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- Sabres Ink Dea to Two-Year Deal - Rochester Americans
- Dalton Smith Returns for Third Season in Rochester - Rochester Americans
- Sabres, Gilmour Agree to One-Year Deal - Rochester Americans
- Sabres Sign Lazar to One-Year Contract - Rochester Americans
- Sabres Sign Goaltender Hammond - Rochester Americans
- Stars Sign Goaltender Landon Bow to 1-Year Contract - Texas Stars
- Sens Acquire Carcone in Multi-Player Trade with Toronto - Belleville Senators
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Grand Rapids Griffins Stories
- Griffins to Hold First-Ever Youth Hockey Camp in Holland
- Griffins' Chapman, AHL Trainers Selected as Winners of Yanick Dupre Memorial Award
- AHL Board of Governors Approves Plan for Schedule Unification
- American Dunes Becomes New Home for Griffins Youth Foundation Golf Classic
- Riley Barber Named to AHL All-Star Team