DETROIT – Red Wings rookie Andrej Nestrasil was placed on waivers Wednesday.
The roster move was necessary to make room for veteran center Stephen Weiss, who will head to Grand Rapids on Thursday and play two rehabilitation games with the Griffins in a home-and-home series with Lake Erie this weekend.
“(Nestrasil) needs to play in the American Hockey League. He's not quite ready for this level,” coach Mike Babcock said. “It's just one of those things. Maybe one day he'll play (in Detroit). His pace was good at the start but you know the league changes.”
Teams have until noon Thursday to claim Nestrasil off waivers. Should he clear, he’ll join the AHL Griffins.
Babcock’s message for Nestrasil was simple.
“Just keep playing, that's what he's gotta do,” Babcock said. “The best bet for him is to spend a couple years in the American League and see if he can't keep growing his game. I'm not saying someone wouldn't pick him up and go there. I don't know how a kid like that grows playing no minutes and sitting in the crowd.”
Following Wednesday’s practice, Nestrasil contemplated the meaning of being waived for the first time in his short career.
“It’s so fresh I really don’t know what the best option would be for me,” he said. “Obviously, everybody knows me here. This is the organization I would love to play for, but if someone else claims me then I would be happy to go somewhere else and play for the organization that claims me.
“That’s hockey life, just take it and go with it.”
Nestrasil began the season on the Red Wings' roster. The 23-year-old forward produced two assists with a minus-3 rating in 13 games.
Meanwhile, the plan for Weiss – should his rehab go well – is to rejoin the Red Wings next week with a possibility of getting into the lineup as soon as Monday against Vancouver at Joe Louis Arena.
“I’ll be back. I don’t know if I’ll be playing (Monday), that’s up to Babs,” Weiss said. “The plan is to go and get my feet wet a little bit and play a couple games, play a lot of minutes and then come back and be available to play whenever.
“Everything has been great. I’ve had no issues, just really looking forward to playing a game.”
Weiss attempted to rehab the groin in Grand Rapids last month, but didn’t come out of the third period of his first game with the Griffins.
“It just got really sore to where I was having problems skating again,” he said. “I didn’t want to say anything, but if I went out for the third period I probably would have just got worse and I didn’t want to come back here with a bad groin again. That would do me no good.”
Weiss had surgery last December to correct a sports hernia. Four months later he had surgery to remove painful scar tissue, the result of the initial procedure.
“It ended up taking quite a bit more time than I thought it was going to be, but it’s all good now,” Weiss said. “It was a hard lesson to learn last year. I’m sick of practicing, bag skating and doing a lot of work after practice. Now it’s time to put it all to work, play some games, that’s the fun part of it.”
Babcock will wait to see results from Weiss before he considers putting him back in the Wings’ lineup.
“The coach and the management, they play the guys they think can help them win,” Babcock said. “When you haven't been healthy, you gotta get yourself playing. We got an obligation to help him help himself so that's what we're trying to do but his part is to play well so he can get in the lineup and get playing.”