When the Detroit Red Wings saw injuries cripple their defense last season, they got a surprising boost from the arrival of a young defenseman from their AHL team. Brian Lashoff made his NHL debut after playing with the Grand Rapids Griffins during the lockout, and was impressive enough to stick around for 31 games. He finished the season with a goal and five points, but had a somewhat disappointing minus-10 rating. Lashoff has yet to see the ice this season, and it seems that unless there is an injury or a severe performance issue he may not get into the lineup anytime soon.
Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson have been steady so far this season, and Danny DeKeyser continues to mature. Jakub Kindl earned his spot last season, and may be the best source of hope for Lashoff. It was Kindl in the press box not that long ago, but when he got the chance to play full time he made the most of it. Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey have struggled much like they did last season, which at this point might be the likely spot Lashoff would slide into as a replacement. The Red wings liked his performance so much that they signed him to a three-year deal worth $725,000 per season. That contract is a one-way deal, which in hindsight may not have been the best way to go. Had the Wings kept him on a two-way for another year or two, he could be playing in the AHL right now instead of sitting out. His other chance to get in the lineup is when Detroit plays on back-to-back nights, which will only happen one more time this month (Oct. 14 and 15). Lashoff has proven he can be productive when he gets the chance to play, and it’s a shame to keep him on the sidelines when other defensemen aren’t getting the job done.