The Red Wings are about to integrate a new young defenseman, one who they thought so highly of five years ago they drafted him in the first round.
Jakub Kindl, 23, can no longer be sent to the minors without being exposed on waivers, which guarantees he has got a job in Detroit when training camp opens next month because the Wings won't risk losing him. He's slotted to be the seventh defenseman, the one who'll be called upon in case of injuries.
What will he bring to the lineup?
According to assistant general manager Jim Nill, who has watched Kindl closely since picking him 19th overall in 2005, Kindl brings the sort of skills the Wings love to have on the back end.
"He's a puck moving defenseman, he has good passing skills -- that's his strength," Nill said. "Like any young player coming into our system, he's had to learn how play in his own end, get the puck out quick, and not get beat in his own end."
Kindl had 30 assists among 33 points in 73 games last season with Grand Rapids. He went from a minus-34 in 2007-08, to a minus-14 in 2008-09 to a minus-4 last season .
Last season was the first time he made an appearance with the Wings, going without a point in the three games he played in December.
While he has got good size at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he isn't the punishing type, but his skills hint at the potential to be a future second-pairing guy.
"He's not going to wow you with a big shot, and he's not physical," Nill said. "He'll battle for loose pucks, but he's not run people over, he's not a Nik Kronwall type of defenseman. His strength is his ability to move the puck, and that should fit in well with us."
Edited by mindfly, 19 August 2010 - 12:38 PM.