Martin Frk’s stellar second year of pro hockey was too good to pass up after he was exposed on waivers.
The Detroit Red Wings lost the 49th overall draft pick from 2012 to the Carolina Hurricanes, who claimed by Sunday’s noon deadline. With forwards crowding the roster and the team committed to possibly carrying eight defensemen in order to protect both Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul, the Wings took a chance on exposing Frk, who had 27 goals and 44 points in 67 games last season for Grand Rapids. The Hurricanes also claimed Wings forward Andrej Nestrasil off waivers in 2014.
Forwards Mitch Callahan and Eric Tangradi, along with defensemen Nick Jensen and Brian Lashoff, cleared, and were sent to the minors along with goaltender Jared Coreau.
That puts the roster 26 with at 16 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders. It has to be at 23 by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
It remains in question whether defenseman Niklas Kronwall will be available for Thursday's opener at Tampa Bay. He missed all of exhibition season because of a permanently damaged knee. If he is placed on injured reserve, that would enable carrying 14 forwards. A dozen of those spots go to Henrik Zetterberg, Frans Nielsen, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Dylan Larkin, Justin Abdelkader, Riley Sheahan, Darren Helm, Thomas Vanek, Drew Miller, Luke Glendening and Steve Ott.
Teemu Pulkkinen either has to be protected or put on waivers. Prospects Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha spent exhibition season auditioning for jobs, but were quiet in their last test – Saturday’s 4-3 victory over Toronto – until the third period. Head coach Jeff Blashill said afterwards the young players needed to “slap him in the face” with their play. It only makes sense to keep them in Detroit if they are going to play.
Athanasiou is fast and an adept penalty killer. Mantha is a big body who can score. He got the game-winning goal against Toronto, though he said he thought the puck hit Sheahan’s skate before going in the net.
The Red Wings finished exhibition play at 6-1-1. Today is a day off.