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Detroit — With Brendan Smith being activated in time for Saturday’s game in Nashville some defenseman was vulnerable.

It turned out to be Alexey Marchenko.

The Red Wings waived Marchenko, 25, Friday. If he clears at noon Saturday, Marchenko will be sent to minor-league affiliate Grand Rapids.

Marchenko has played in 30 games with the Red Wings with six points (all assists) and a plus-6 rating.

Signed through next season at $1.45 million per season, Marchenko has been a healthy scratch the past four games having lost his spot to Nick Jensen.

The Red Wings chose to expose Marchenko rather than Ryan Sproul, who hasn’t been in the lineup for 10 games.

Marchenko had cemented a spot in the lineup until injuring his right shoulder Nov. 20, then re-injuring it Dec. 13, further loosening his grip on a lineup spot.

Smith has been out since Jan. 4 with a sprained knee.

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