Jonathan Ericsson clears waivers; Red Wings assign him to Grand Rapids

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson cleared waivers Wednesday and will be assigned to the Red Wings minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids.

Kanata, Ontario — Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson cleared waivers Wednesday and will be assigned to the Red Wings minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids.

Defenseman Alex Biega was recalled from the Griffins.

Ericsson, 35, was removed off the injured list Tuesday and put on waivers, in an effort to clear a roster spot and give Ericsson an opportunity to get in playing shape.

Ericsson hasn’t played since March because of back and hip injuries.

The injuries limited Ericsson to only 52 games last season, continuing a decline in the last several years in terms of production.

Ericsson is in the final year of a contract that’ll pay him $4.25 million this season.

A 2002 ninth-round draft choice, Ericsson has played 662 games in his NHL career over 13 seasons.

After Tuesday’s game against Vancouver, coach Jeff Blashill was optimistic Ericsson would go to Grand Rapids and get game action.

“My message to Jon is depending on what happens with waivers, which is something you don’t know what’ll happen, go down (to Grand Rapids) and play great hockey,” Blashill said. “He told me that’s his plan. He just hasn’t played in a long time right now.

“I didn’t have him in the lineup, so if you don’t have him in the lineup and he has to play in order to get his game back, he hasn’t played since March. Now he gets to go down and play hockey, and hopefully play great hockey, and he’d be super happy and we’d be happy if he went down and played great and then he’s able to get back in the lineup at some point. But right now, it’s go down and play great hockey.”

Biega, 31, has appeared in two games with the Wings since being acquired from Vancouver on Oct. 6.

Biega is credited with five shots, one hit and two blocked shots, while playing 15 minutes 52 seconds per game.

DeKeyser out

Defenseman Danny DeKeyser was out of the lineup Wednesday against Ottawa, with Madison Bowey re-entering the lineup, taking DeKeyser’s spot.

DeKeyser didn’t finish Tuesday’s loss against Vancouver, and Blashill didn’t sound optimistic DeKeyser would be ready to go against the Senators.

Blashill said Wednesday DeKeyser was being evaluated in Detroit, and more information on DeKeyser’s availability going forward would be known Friday (the Wings have no practice Thursday).

DeKeyser had played in all eight games with four assists, and an even plus-minus rating. He's been playing close to 20 minutes per game, and losing DeKeyser for any length of time would be a significant jolt to the lineup.

Bowey has been in four games, with one assist, and also an even rating. Bowey has been the seventh defenseman on the roster thus far this season.

Svechnikov debut

Forward Evgeny Svechnikov made his season debut Tuesday after being called up from Grand Rapids earlier in the day.

Svechnikov played 7:28, with two shots on net, and was involved in several scrums while playing his first NHL game since April 3, 2018.

Svechnikov missed all of last season because of knee surgery.

“Svech played good early and he didn’t play much after that, just the way the specialty teams went,” Blashill said.

Svechnikov played on the fourth line with Jacob de la Rose and Justin Abdelkader, and supplied a dose of grit and physical play on the line, with several pushing and shoving incidents around the net.

Fewer penalties

The Wings haven't been successful killing penalties, but it would help, too, if they took less penalties.

Several players felt that was the major issue Tuesday against Vancouver, as the Wings gave the Canucks five power plays total, with Vancouver converting two early in the third period for goals and getting directly back into the game.

"We're taking too many penalties to begin with," forward Dylan Larkin said. "We can kill off two or three, but when it gets up to five or six penalties, it's so hard. We give their best players the puck that long, they're going to making something happen. We have to stay out of the box and stay way more disciplined."

Twitter: @tkulfan