The Detroit Red Wings made a move to shore up what has at best been a shaky defense so far this season, when they signed veteran defenseman Kent Huskins. The Wings home opener is tonight against the Dallas Stars, and they expect the deal to be finalized in time for Huskins to take the ice.
An injury to Carlo Colaiacovo in last night’s shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets further depleted the team’s defense. Jakub Kindl and Jonathan Ericsson remain day-to-day with injuries, leaving the team with just five healthy defensemen. Detroit’s defense has been less than spectacular in its two games so far, allowing nine goals (six on the penalty kill). The Wings called up Brian Lashoff from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins for last night’s game, and he played well in his debut, scoring a goal and seeing time on the penalty kill.
Huskins was a sixth round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1998, and first reached the NHL during the 2006-07 season with the Anaheim Ducks. He won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007, and has also played for the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues. He had one assist in two AHL appearances this season for the Norfolk Admirals. In just under 300 career NHL games, he has scored 13 goals and added 54 assists. With Ericsson likely out tonight, Huskins gives the Red Wings another big body on defense. If he takes Colaiacovo’s place he would be paired with Lashoff, but coach Mike Babcock may have more reworking to do with his defense pairs.
The Huskins signing is a good move for the Wings, and likely not the last one they will have to make as a rash of injuries have put the team in a difficult situation in a shortened season. Huskins wore No. 40 for the Sharks and Ducks, and No. 6 for the Blues – neither will be available in Detroit (6 is unofficially retired in honor of Larry Aurie and Henrik Zetterberg wears 40). Ironically, his first career NHL goal came against the Red Wings in October of 2007. Huskins joins Colaiacovo as the second Red Wings defenseman to have played for the Blues last season.