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Kindl waived; continue to ride Mrazek

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Jakub Kindl, a former first-round draft pick, has two goals and three assists in 23 games for the Red Wings this season. (Photo by Getty Images)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – A former first-round draft pick, Jakub Kindl fell victim to a numbers crunch on Saturday when the Red Wings placed the veteran defenseman on waivers.

“There are so many players that are so close and he’s certainly one of them,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “As we made decisions in the lineup sometimes it’s fit, sometimes it might be the hand of a guy, sometimes it might be what he brings to the table, power play, penalty kill, edge, passer. So we made decisions throughout the first part of the season where ultimately we had other guys slotted in ahead of him. I don’t think it’s really because he’s missing much. I think he’s an NHL player. I think we’ve got a bunch of guys really close and he ended up being the odd man out.”

Teams have until Sunday at 12 p.m. EDT to put in a claim for Kindl.

The Wings have lost two other players to waivers in the past 14 months. In November, Landon Ferraro was picked up by Boston, and Andrej Nestrasil was claimed by Carolina last season.

Kindl, who practice with the Red Wings at Honda Center on Saturday afternoon, was not made available to the media. He was the Wings' first-round pick, No. 19 overall, in 2005.

By waiving Kindl, the Wings can activate Kyle Quincey, who is ready to return from ankle surgery. Should Kindl clear, the Wings will get $950,000 in cap rellief, which isn't enough to activate Quincey. They'll to trim someone else, perhaps sending down Alexey Marchenko.

Blashill said Quincey is expected to draw into the lineup on Monday when the Wings play at Los Angeles.

“He will not play tomorrow (in Anaheim),” Blashill said. “We’re looking at Monday.”

Quincey has missed the past 34 games following surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle. He had similar surgery in the offseason to remove spurs from the left ankle.

Another factor that helped seal Kindl’s fate is the sudden ascension of Marchenko, who has played very well since he was recalled from Grand Rapids to fill the void created by Quincey’s surgery in November.

“I think Marchy’s played good, but to Jakub’s credit when he went in he played pretty good too,” Blashill said. “I think we’re talking about minuscule differences and ultimately as a coach you have to make those hard decisions on what guys are going to give you the best chance to win. I don’t think that’s a negative to the person that’s not in. When I got the job I said we were blessed with depth of NHL defensemen and that meant someone in a numbers game has to be out and Jakub is out.”

Kindl has one year remaining on his current four-year contract. He’s expected to make $2.4 million next season.

Should the Wings lose the 28-year-old Kindl, he would become just the second former first-round draft pick lost to waivers, joining Bill Lochead. The former No. 9 overall pick in 1974 was claimed by the Colorado Rockies on Feb. 9, 1979.

Kindl has been a good pro and a very good teammate. Unfortunately, he was never consistently in the lineup. In the past season and a half he’s played in 58 regular-season games, while missing 50 games as a healthy scratch.

Last spring, Kindl sat out the first six games of the Red Wings’ opening round playoff series against Tampa Bay. Kindl’s only appearance in the seven-game series occurred when the league levied a one-game suspension on Niklas Kronwall for the final game.

During his time with the Wings, Kindl showed flashes of offensive instinct and was often used on the power play. He’s compiled 16 goals and 51 assists with a plus-13 rating in 271 games.

Kindl has two goals and three assists with a plus-1 rating in 23 games this season. He’s missed the past four games.

“Obviously, yesterday when he told the guys it was hard,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “But that’s the way the business is now and hopefully he gets picked up and can go and play somewhere else.”

DUCK DYNASTY: The Ducks have the league’s top penalty kill, which is operating at an 89.4 efficiency rate, killing the last 26 straight chances.

“I think they do a really good job (but) every game takes a life of its own,” Blashill said. “The success of your power play starts with winning the draw in the zone. I think last night they did a good job on the forecheck and didn’t allow much setup time. And once in the zone they did a good job there as well. It’ll be a challenge.”

Petr Mrazek
Goalie  - DET
Record: 14-8-3
GAA: 2.20 | Sv%: .928
RIDIN’ PETR: Blashill confirmed that Petr Mrazek will start for the fourth straight time when Red Wings faceoff against the Ducks on Sunday night.

It’ll be the ninth consecutive game played for Mrazek, who came in to replace Jimmy Howard for poor performances against New Jersey (Dec. 22) and at Winnipeg (Dec. 29).

During his recent nine-games played stretch, Mrazek has been outstanding, compiling a 5-3-0 record with a 1.85 goals-against average and .937 save percentage.

Zetterberg said it’s been easy to play in front of Mrazek, who exudes confidence.

“He’s been really solid and probably a big reason why we won the last three (games),” Zetterberg said. “Just the last game, the save he made, and then we take the puck 200 feet and score, so he’s been really good and gives us confidence and it’s a little easier to play in front of him.”

It’s expected that Howard will start Monday in Los Angeles, where he’ll look to win his first game since making 26 saves in a 5-1 win over Arizona at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 3

Howard’s last road victory came at St. Louis – a 4-3 overtime win – on Nov. 21.

Alden Hirschfeld has split the season between Toledo (ECHL) and Grand Rapids (AHL), compiling 14 goals and 13 assists in 32 total games. (Photo by Mark Newman/Grand Rapids Griffins)

HIRSCHFELD FEELING BETTER: Blashill was tracking updates of the Grand Rapids Griffins game Friday when an ominous post crossed his social media channel.

It was during the second period of the Griffins’ home game against Milwaukee when he learned that forward Alden Hirschfeld suffered an apparent seizure and collapsed.

“I was following Twitter and saw there was a huge concern with something happening on the bench,” Blashill said.

It was Hirschfeld, a player that Blashill was recruited at the University of Miami.

“I know him well,” Blashill said. “When it came to Hirsh I knew he had some history of that going back to our camp two years ago. … I texted with him last night. He seems like he’s fine. It’s something he’ll have to deal with. It’s a medical condition, he’ll meet with his doctors, I’m certainly glad he’s fine.”

The 27-year-old Hirschfeld issued the following statement through the Griffins’ organization on Saturday:

"Obviously it was unfortunate what happened, but those are things that life brings and you've got to learn to deal with them.

"I'm super thankful for all the kind words and thoughts and prayers from the fans, and especially the efforts of the paramedics, doctors and (Griffins athletic trainer) John Bernal. It was great to have my parents, my wife and daughter there to be with me.

"I'm feeling good, obviously trying to just recover and take it easy for a couple days here, get some further evaluations from the doctors and then go from there. But hopefully I'll be back on the ice very shortly and contributing to help whatever team I'm playing for win."

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