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Wings lose Frk on waivers, Pulkkinen now at risk

Immediate plan is to carry eight defensemen as Kronwall expected back soon

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - The Red Wings have already lost a player and could lose another.

After the Wings placed Martin Frk, Mitch Callahan, Eric Tangradi, Nick Jensen and Brian Lashoff on waivers Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes claimed Frk Sunday.

Frk, 23, was the Wings' first pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, chosen in the second round, 49th overall.

On Monday, the Wings put Teemu Pulkkinen and Ben Street on waivers, so teams have until noon Tuesday to put in a claim.

"We've got a number of good players," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "Right now in Teemu's case, obviously from our standpoint we hope he doesn't get claimed and it'll give him a chance to go down there and play. The only thing is he hasn't played much of the last year. I don't think his game is where it will be once he gets playing again. If he's able to clear and goes down to Grand Rapids I think it's a great thing for him and he's excited to get playing so he can put his best foot forward."

Pulkkinen, 24, underwent left shoulder surgery on June 6 and is still rounding back into shape.

Pulkkinen played in 36 games with the Wings last season, scoring six goals and six assists.

At the AHL level, Pulkkinen had 34 goals and 27 assists in 46 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the 2014-15 season.

"Teemu has to score goals," Blashill said. "You hate to be results-orientated, but when you're not big and you're not fast and your weapon is your shot you have to score goals. That's what made him a difference-maker at the American League level and I still think he can be a difference maker at this level. That time isn't right now. He went through last year being hurt, you don't play enough and all of a sudden you lose your confidence, I'm not saying he did, but that's what happens. When you don't play you're rusty. You come back off shoulder surgery and now your tryout is three games. It's not fair. This is a hard business, but with that said I have lots of belief in him so I hope he clears and goes down to GR."

It is not the first time the Wings have lost a forward to the Hurricanes. They also claimed Andrej Nestrasil off waivers in 2014.

Waiving Pulkkinen also means that either Anthony Mantha or Andreas Athanasiou will be on the roster.

"We haven't started the season yet," Blashill said. "Whichever guy stays, whether he's in the lineup in game one or not he'll either get an opportunity so or we'll get him down and get him playing."

WAITING ON KRONWALL: Part of the reason the Wings have had to waive players like Frk and Pulkkinen is they are going to carry just 13 forwards and eight defensemen to start the season.

"We think Nik Kronwall is going to play here in a week or two, so we're not putting him on long-term IR," Wings general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association at their annual Red Wings Day.

Kronwall has been practicing with the team and did so again Monday but his status remains uncertain.

"I would say there's a chance he won't be ready for the opener, but I don't want to comment until we get to that point," Blashill said.

NOSEK ON IR: Tomas Nosek, 24, is starting the season on injured reserve.

"Minor lower-body procedure, different than the Red-White (game) injury," Blashill said. "It's going to be a little bit."

Nosek has had success with the Griffins, scoring 15 goals and 15 assists in 70 games last season.

Unfortunately, Nosek didn't get a chance to show what he could do in the preseason because of the two injuries.

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