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Red Wings add defensive depth, claim Ducks' Christian Djoos off waivers

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Red Wings added depth on defense in their organization Saturday claiming defenseman Christian Djoos off waivers.

The Anaheim Ducks had put Djoos, 26, on waivers Friday,

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Christian Djoos plays against the New Jersey Devils during a  game in Anaheim, Calif., March 1, 2020.

Djoos, 6-foot, 180-pounds, played in 11 NHL games last season between Washington and Anaheim, with one goal and two assists — all with Anaheim in nine games where Djoos averaged over 21 minutes of ice time before the pandemic paused the season.

In 42 games last season with AHL Hershey, the Capitals’ minor league affiliate, Djoos had five goals and 27 assists.

More:Mantha's penalty killing, scoring highlights Wings' scrimmage

Djoos was part of the Washington roster that won the 2018 Stanley Cup, and played in 22 playoff games for the Capitals that spring. Djoos has played in 119 NHL games with five goals and 22 assists.

“It gives us depth at that position,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Right now we’re kind of still sorting out, seeing where everybody is at. He’s a guy who’s had some success in the NHL at times, and we’re going to see where he fits in.

"It’s another player to add to the competition on the back end. I don’t know where he slots until we get him here and we kind of see where he is at today in comparison to everyone else.”

More:Wings veteran Frans Nielsen in uphill battle for spot in the lineup

The Wings have appeared set on defense, with at least seven, or eight, viable candidates to make the roster.

But adding Djoos, an NHL caliber defenseman, off the waiver wire was an opportunity the organization couldn't resist.

"He has been (an NHL-caliber player)," Blashill said. "We have others here who are NHL caliber, and maybe too many. We'll have to figure which are the best ones."

If Djoos doesn't make the 23-man roster, he'd be, arguably, an ideal fit on the taxi-squad this season. But, interestingly, Djoos would have to clear waivers again before being assigned to the taxi squad.

Djoos has one year left on his contract, worth $1 million, and is a restricted free agent after the season.

Strange times

The NHL is beginning to see early in this pandemic the regular season schedule could be severely impacted.

Dallas might need to reschedule early-season games after a slew of players caught the virus, and Pittsburgh had to cancel Saturday's practice because of COVID concerns.

Several other teams have already had practices impacted, as well.

Everyone around the NHL is ready for a potentially disruptive season, which begins Thursday.

"We are going to have to roll with the punches," Blashill said. "There might be times when the schedule changes. There might be times where guys that are supposed to be in the lineup suddenly aren’t in the lineup on the same day that you’re playing a game. We have to be ready to handle whatever comes our way.”

Players are adhering to any, and all, protocols but understand that might not be enough to eliminate bumps along the way.

"It's something that's a reality for us, for the league, for the teams," forward Dylan Larkin said. "In our locker room, guys have done a great job of trying to be as safe as possible away from the rink. Unfortunately in the world we live in, the uncertainty of this virus, sometimes that's not enough and you can't control it.

"You have to be ready, other guys have to be ready. It's going to be a strange year."

Injury update

Robby Fabbri didn't practice Saturday and joined Bobby Ryan, Darren Helm and Evgeny Svechnikov as players "unfit to play," which covers players injured, ill or with virus concerns.

With the season starting Thursday, Blashill acknowledged some of those players may not be ready if they don't return soon.

"The longer you miss, the longer time you need (to get ready)," Blashill said. "The guys who've missed a significant amount of time, it's hard to put them back in on short notice. Guys who've missed a day or two, it's a little bit easier. Every guy is in a different situation, and ultimately, we're not going to put a player in regardless of his name or stature of what he's brought to the table in the past. 

"Guys have to be at 100 percent or close to it to be effective in this league."

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan