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Detroit — When the Red Wings needed a player from Grand Rapids to fill the void left by Luke Witkowski’s suspension, they went for veteran reliability.

The Red Wings could have gone with one of their younger prospects, but defenseman Brian Lashoff fills the void in a professional manner.

Lashoff, 27, was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008 and played 122 games in the NHL and been a reliable presence for Grand Rapids in the minor league.

“You hope that when you first sign,” said Lashoff, of having a long relationship with an organization. “I signed in 2008 when I was 18 and undrafted, and I’ve been here ever since. We’ve had a good relationship and I just try to work hard, every day and every year, and be a guy that they can rely on in situations like this.”

With Witkowski suspended 10 games for his part in Wednesday’s brawl against Calgary, and Trevor Daley (ribs) a game-time decision for Friday’s game and Danny DeKeyser (ankle) unlikely to play until Sunday, the Red Wings needed depth on defense.

Lashoff has proven capable of being a dependable defensive defenseman in the NHL.

More:Wings' Witkowski, Blashill agree: Punishment didn’t fit the crime

“It feels good (to be back),” Lashoff said. “We have a good relationship with the guys and I like being here and that’s why I’ve stayed in the organization.
“It’s fun to be back and help.”

Lashoff has one goal and one assist in 13 games for the Griffins this season.

Grand Rapids (8-7-0-1, 17 points) has won its last two games after slow, injury-riddled start.

“We got off to a slow start, we had injuries to some key guys up front,” Lashoff said. “The last couple of weeks we got some guys back and the team has come together and we’ve started to roll a little bit, we’ve won a couple of games, and we’ve becoming the team we thought we’d be at the beginning of the year.”

Injury woes

Lashoff was likely to be in Friday’s lineup against Buffalo if Daley (ribs) was unavailable.

Daley took part in Friday’s morning skate, but coach Jeff Blashill said Daley’s availability would be a game-time decision.

Daley was injured in the second period of Wednesday’s victory against Calgary but didn’t play the third period.

Forward Darren Helm (upper body) was also a game-time decision for Friday, after not having played Wednesday.

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Helm didn’t practice early this week, after getting hurt Saturday against Columbus, but did take part in Friday’s morning skate.

Blashill said he did expect defenseman Danny DeKeyser (ankle) to return Sunday against Colorado.

DeKeyser hasn’t played since injuring his ankle while blocking a shot Oct. 10 against Dallas.

Ice chips

Tomas Tatar entered Friday’s game two assists shy of 100 in his career.

…Anthony Mantha was presented the rookie of the year award before Friday’s game by the Detroit Sports Media (formerly Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association).

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tkulfan

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