Red Wings waive veteran defenseman Jonathan Ericsson
Detroit — It appears Jonathan Ericsson may have played his last game in a Red Wings’ uniform.
The veteran defenseman was placed on waivers Tuesday, likely ending the 35-year-old’s career with the Wings.
Ericsson can be claimed by another team until Wednesday at noon, though it’s unlikely too many teams will be interested given Ericsson’s injury history of late and he’s in the final year of a contract that’ll pay him $4.25 million this season.
Ericsson’s move was one of several the Wings made Tuesday.
The Wings also recalled forward Evgeny Svechnikov from Grand Rapids, and assigned defenseman Alex Biega to the Griffins. Also, the Wings placed forward Adam Erne on injured reserve, retroactive to October 18.
Svechnikov, 22, has played in three games for the Griffins and has four points (one goal), including a three-point game in his first game October 5.
After missing all of last season due to knee surgery, Svechnikov was arguably one of the Wings’ best forwards during training cap and the exhibition season, and has been recalled once previously by the Wings this month, though he didn’t get into a game.
Biega, 31, has played in two games with the Wings since being acquired from Vancouver in a trade October 6.
Erne missed Thursday’s game in Calgary, and only played in 9 minutes of Friday’s loss in Edmonton.
Erne has yet to register a point in seven games this season, with a minus-4 rating.
As for Ericsson, the Wings also took him off the injured list Tuesday, meaning he is eligible to play.
If Ericsson goes unclaimed on waivers, he can report to the Grand Rapids Griffins or can also be bought out.
How much of a longshot was Ericsson to make the NHL? Ericsson was drafted by the Wings in 2002 in the ninth round — these days, the draft only lasts until the seventh round.
Still, Ericsson worked his way into play 662 NHL games in 13 seasons, with 125 points (27 goals) and 531 penalty minutes.
Ericsson has been troubed with a variety of injuries last season, limiting him to 52 games, and he has yet to play this season after injuring himself in training camp.
But Ericsson practiced Monday, and was optimistic he’d be able to play soon. He hasn’t played since injuring himself in March against the Montreal Canadiens.
‘I do feel close now,” Ericsson said. “I was able to skate every day during the (recently completed) road trip here with the guys, and afterward put my time in (the weight room), so I’m getting close.”
With the insertion of young defensemen Filip Hronek and Dennis Cholowski into the lineup, and the progress of Madison Bowey, plus several young defensemen in the AHL (Moritz Seider, Oliwer Kaski), Ericsson’s position had grown tenuous at best.
The need to shoot
Forward Taro Hirose is known more of a passer, a player who sets up other players, but Hirose’s lack of shooting the puck might be getting out of hand.
Hirose only had four shots on net entering Tuesday’s game, and had no goals. Through the opening eight games, Hirose also only had two assists.
Hirose said after Tuesday’s morning skate he intends to shoot the puck more.
“It’s just trying to attack a little bit more,” Hirose said. “The first couple of games I was a little too passive. But now I’m feeling better out there, I had a couple of chances last game. I’m just going to continue to improve each game and try to get more stuff toward the net."
Blashill doesn’t see Hirose passing up shots.
“He’s taken shots when he’s had the opportunity to,” Blashill said. “Does he shoot enough? Has he had the opportunity to shoot a whole bunch? I don’t remember him passing up a whole bunch of shots like that.
“He’s actually worked hard on his shot, he’s more confident in his shot. For me, that hasn’t been the issue. It’s probably more that he hasn’t been in a whole bunch of those opportunities to create offense."
Red Wings at Senators
Faceoff: 7:30 Wednesday, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa
Outlook: Ottawa has the NHL’s worst record (1-6-1) and that’s been helped along by the fact the Senators have the least amount of goals (17) and worst power play (4 percent). …C Vladislav Namestnikov (6 points) and D Thomas Chabot (5 points) are offensive threats.