Hurricanes claim Frk, Wings assign 4 to Grand Rapids

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Martin Frk

Detroit — If Martin Frk is going to establish himself in the NHL, he’s going to do so with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Frk, waived over the weekend, was claimed Sunday by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Red Wings need to get down to the 23-man roster limit by 5 p.m. Tuesday. They are expected to get to the limit Monday.

The regular season opens for the Red Wings Thursday in Tampa.

Defenseman Nick Jensen and Brian Lashoff and forwards Mitch Callahan and Eric Tangradi cleared waivers and were assigned to Grand Rapids.

Goaltender Jared Coreau was also assigned to the minor-league affiliate Griffins.

Jensen, 26, is an offensive defenseman who hasn’t been able to pass Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul on the Red Wings’ organizational depth chart.

The Red Wings are three players over the roster limit.

They are likely to assign forward Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha — both of whom are exempt from waivers — to Grand Rapids. Forward Ben Street, who was cut on the neck Friday against Toronto, could be placed on injured reserve before heading to Grand Rapids.

Neither Mantha nor Athanasiou impressed coach Jeff Blashill in Saturday’s exhibition victory over Toronto.

“I didn’t think him (Mantha) or Double-A (Athanasiou) were good enough, to be honest with you,” Blashill said. “They’ve got to be better than that. These are big games for those guys, and they’ve got to be better. I told the young guys in camp to slap me in the face and tell me you’re better than other options.

“It can’t be a period. It’s got to be 60 minutes. But, with that said, I thought they picked it up in the third (period).”

Frk, 23, never was able to move upward in the Red Wings’ system.

Blessed with a hard shot and good size (6-foot-1, 194-pounds), Frk never showed an elite scoring touch and his skating and defense — weak spots coming out of the Entry Draft — never sufficiently improved.

A 2012 second-round draft pick, Frk broke through in Grand Rapids last season with 27 goals and 17 assists.

“Martin played well in Grand Rapids last season and took a step forward in his offensive production,” Carolina general manager Ron Francis said in a statement. “He has been a goal-scorer at every level.”

Frk struggled his first two pro seasons, splitting the season between Grand Rapids and Toledo of the East Coast League, scoring eight goals the first year, 29 the second (23 of those in Toledo).

The Hurricanes also clamed former Red Wings forward Andrej Nestrasil off waivers in 2014. Nestrasil had nine goals and 14 assists for the Hurricanes last season.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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