Detroit - May 24, 2019 - It certainly says something about a player when he is named captain of his team as a sophomore.
That was the case for forward Chase Pearson, who spent the last three seasons at the University of Maine.
Hockey East named Pearson its Gladiator Custom Mouthguards Best Defensive Forward in March. Pearson also made Hockey East's Second All-Star Team, besting his Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star Team nomination after his sophomore season.
But now it appears that Pearson is ready to take the next step in his career.
Pearson, 21, signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Detroit Red Wings on March 18.
He then signed an amateur tryout contract with the Wings' AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, and joined them for the end of the regular season and the playoffs.
Pearson was originally Detroit's fifth-round pick, 140th overall, in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
It is likely that Pearson will have to establish himself as a premier defensive player at the AHL level to earn a shot with the Red Wings in the future.
29 - Pearson scored a career-best 29 points in 34 games with Maine this past season, surpassing the 27 points he had in 37 games the previous season. Only teammate Mitchell Fossier had more points with 36.
16 - The big forward led the Black Bears in goals with 16, nine more than he scored the previous season and two more than he scored his freshman year in 2016-17. He was the only Maine player to record double-digit goals.
5 - In addition to leading his team in overall goals, Pearson also led the Black Bears with five power-play goals. Four other players had two power-play goals apiece.
99 - Pearson was second on the Black Bears in shots with 99. Only teammate Brady Keeper had more with 101 and Keeper played two more games than Pearson.
21 - Naturally, if you are named your conference's best defensive forward, you must have a pretty good plus-minus rating, as Pearson did, leading the Black Bears at plus-21. The next closest on the team was Fossier's plus-12, tied with teammate Rob Michel.
1 - Pearson made his professional debut with the Griffins on March 23 at Texas. He had one shot and finished minus-1 in Grand Rapids' 3-2 victory.
2 - It did not take Pearson long to score his first professional goal, tallying against the Chicago Wolves on March 29. He had two shots and was plus-1 in the 4-3 home loss. On April 10 against the Iowa Wild, Pearson scored his second career pro goal. He had three shots and was plus-1 in the 7-3 defeat.
4 - Pearson was born in Alpharetta, Ga., and if he does eventually make his way to the NHL, he would be just the fourth Georgia-born player to reach the ultimate level. Atlanta native Jean-Marc Pelletier played in seven games from 1999-2004, Decatur native Mark Mowers played in 278 games from 1999-2008 and Atlanta native Eric Chouinard played in 90 games from 2001-06. Of Mowers' 278 games, the most came with the Red Wings, 98 games from the 2003-04 season through the 2005-06 season.
Quotable: "Chase is not a flashy guy, he's a big body but he does a lot of things really well. He's a smart player, he's responsible, he gets pucks to the net, he plays net-front PP, he's good on the PK. When he came down - I know he was only down for a short period of time - he started to gain some trust in the coaches down there. I think he's a guy that's going to have to come in and have a good year next year, hopefully build his role and who knows, it's going to be up to him to see how well he plays in order to determine what opportunity he's going to get." - Shawn Horcoff, Wings director of player development