Wings send Kindl to Panthers for 2017 sixth-rounder

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Jakub Kindl

Denver – Defenseman Jakub Kindl, who was never able to secure a full-time job with the Red Wings, was traded by Detroit to the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

In exchange, the Panthers sent the Red Wings their 2017 sixth-round draft pick. The Red Wings will retain 15 percent of Kindl’s $2.4 million salary this season, and the same amount for next season.

This move also clears some salary cap space for the Red Wings ahead of Monday’s 3 p.m. Eastern trade deadline.

A 2009 first-round draft pick of the Red Wings, 19th overall, Kindl never utilized his size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) in a physical way, lacked focus defensively, and never developed a mean streak the organization hoped he could find.

Kindl, 29, had six points (two goals, four assists) in 25 games with the Red Wings this season. Twice he was waived this season without any other team claiming him.

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“Jakub is an NHL defenseman, but at the end of the day, he wasn’t able to establish a full-time position here,” general manager Ken Holland said. “Then with the development of Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet, the signing of Mike Green, we have Jakub in Grand Rapids.”

There was optimism among Kindl and some in the Red Wings organization that when Jeff Blashill replaced Mike Babcock as head coach after last season, Kindl might be inspired to be more productive.

But after short periods of optimism, Kindl never was fully able to lay claim to a regular job in the lineup and gain the full confidence of the coaching staff.

“This gives him an opportunity in another organization,” Holland said.

The Red Wings now have about $2 million more in salary cap space at their disposal in free agency this summer.

With forwards Darren Helm, Drew Miller and defenseman Kyle Quincey all potential unrestricted free agents -- and goalie Petr Mrazek, defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Marchenko, and forwards Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen all potential restricted free agents -- the Red Wings need to find all the financial room they can get.

“We have some players we need to re-sign this summer,” Holland said. “This gives us some more room.”

The Panthers also acquired former Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler from Calgary for two draft picks.