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Red Wings off-day news: Colaiacovo cleared to play; Danny DeKeyser’s officially a free agent today

Updated 2x with Colaiacovo, DeKeyser and Ducks news at 4:37 PM: Two items of Red Wings-related note have popped up this afternoon. First, the Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the Wings have the option of playing Carlo Colaiacovo against the Ducks tomorrow...

And Notre Dame's win over Ohio State at the CCHA semifinals today means the following:

I've heard Detroit and Tampa Bay from the get-go, from the time he took part in the Wings' summer prospect camp two years ago.

Peters describes DeKeyser as follows, and I'd basically suggest that he's Brad Stuart with better offensive chops--a 23-year-old who's almost NHL-ready, is big (6'3" and around 200 pounds), very mobile, has a good outlet pass, hard shot and checks very hard, but he's mostly a solid #3/4 defenseman who's solid and sometimes playing his best when you barely notice that he's out there...

One NHL scout thought DeKeyser could transition into an NHL team's lineup right away, whether that team is in the playoff hunt or not. At the risk of over-hyping DeKeyser, wherever he signs, it's highly likely he's in the NHL lineup perhaps even before the ink dries.

The 6-foot-3, 198-pound blueliner is a gifted two-way defender who excels in his own zone. He plays a simple, mature game, can play the body and makes a good first pass out of the zone. DeKeyser had two goals and 13 assists after two previous seasons of 17 points at the college level. He might have a little more offensive upside than his numbers suggest, but his defensive game is high end already.

Having spent the last two years under the tutelage of former NHL head coach Andy Murray and a year before that under Jeff Blashill, who left Western Michigan for a job with the Detroit Red Wings, DeKeyser is well schooled in what it takes to play at the next level. He clearly made the most of his extra year of development and all of the offers from last year are still there.

DeKeyser wouldn't be any team's savior. After all, he has no NHL experience and there would be some amount of adjustment. He's a good player who has an NHL skill set and he would almost certainly help a team right now though. What makes him so intriguing is that every single team in the league has a chance to make a valuable acquisition without sparing any more than a maximum entry-level contract.

The level of interest, which can be misleading in regards to a player's actual talent, is twofold. Yes, he is a good player, but the economics of acquiring a player like him is a big part of what's driving the majority NHL teams to try to sign him.

If a team is looking like it's on the outside of the playoff picture, it can acquire a high-end prospect that can gain valuable NHL experience in the last month of the season. There's a little more risk involved if a playoff team is to acquire DeKeyser, but if it's one that needs defensive help immediately, he makes a lot of sense. Based on his performance in the last month of the season at the NHL level, the team will have a pretty good idea if he is ready enough to be part of the playoff roster.

One of the most common phrases in trade deadline reports is “defensemen are so hard to find” in terms of what's available as the deadline nears. In this current trade market, with so many teams feeling they're still in the hunt for the playoffs and seemingly all of them looking to add something of value at the deadline, a player at DeKeyser's price – essentially free -- is a rare occurrence.

Update: ESPN's John Buccigross expects DeKeyser's agents to allow their client to be wined and dined:

Update #2: Via RedWingsFeed, the Free Press's Helene St. James states the obvious...

The Red Wings have been trying to improve on defense since last off-season's retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom, and will now turn their eyes toward Western Michigan's Danny DeKeyser.

DeKeyser is a 23-year-old high-end talent out of Western Michigan, who will be an unrestricted free agent available to everyone once his Broncos career ends. That hinges on whether they get into the NCAA tourney.

DeKeyser is good enough to step into an NHL lineup right away. His assets include size — he's 6-foot-3, about 200 pounds — and headsy play at both ends of the rink. He can make a good outlet pass, and plays well without the puck.

The Wings have been looking to add to their blueline since losing both Lidstrom and Brad Stuart last summer. Efforts to land Ryan Suter, Shea Weber and Sami Salo didn't pan out, and the Wings settled for adding Carlo Colaiacovo just before the lockout. He was removed from injured reserve today after being sidelined since opening weekend with a sore shoulder.

Kyle Quincey, though, is out indefinitely with a fractured cheekbone, but even if that wasn't the case, the Wings would pursue DeKeyser. Part of the attraction is that he can be had just for money — no need to fork over a first-round pick or prospect via a trade.

Do the Wings stand a chance to add DeKeyser? Absolutely. The money is the same no matter what club offers him a deal, so there's no advantage there, for the Wings or anyone else. But DeKeyser is a home-state boy, being from Clay Township. And he's got a tie-in to the Wings via former assistant Jeff Blashill, who was head coach of the Broncos during DeKeyser's freshman year.

Blashill is currently the head coach in Grand Rapids. And with Quincey out, DeKeyser could pretty well bank on being given top-four minutes, including time on the power play.

Here's her update about Colaiacovo...

Colaiacovo was removed from injured reserve today, about two months after a shoulder injury landed him there following the Jan. 21 game at Columbus. Colaiacovo was signed a day before the lockout began last September, after the Wings had come up short in efforts to land Ryan Suter, Shea Weber and Sami Salo.

Colaiacovo played just two games before getting hurt during a collision in Columbus that re-aggravated a shoulder first hurt during Spengler Cup play in December, when Colaiacovo was checked into the boards by now-teammate Damien Brunner.

And in Anaheim...

Here's Adam Brady's off-day report:

The Ducks head coach was discouraged by a 5-1 loss to the Red Wings last night that was the first home defeat for Anaheim in 14 games, but he said that wasn’t the reason for today’s workout.

“It’s not because of the game last night, it’s because we haven’t had a chance to practice,” Boudreau said, reflecting on the NHL’s compact schedule. “It’s been a month straight where we haven’t had more than one day without a game, and we’ve still got another 18 days to go before we have more than one day off. Even last night, as bad as you played, you’re wondering if you should practice because you’ve got a game Sunday, Monday and Wednesday again. But I just thought it was good to get on the ice and work on some things.”

The loss was the first in regulation for the Ducks since February 25, after which Anaheim went on a torrid 9-0-3 stretch. And while Boudreau said that losing is “inevitable with the laws of nature and all of those things,” it didn’t make last night’s defeat any easier to swallow.

“You start the season and say, ‘I know we’re not going to win 82 this year’ but every time you lose, you’re still ticked off,” he said. “You want to win every game. You know it’s inevitable, but it doesn’t make you feel any better.”

Boudreau remarked that last night’s locker room was noticeably subdued after the game. “I did all of the talking after the game in the dressing room. It was a very somber room. We haven’t lost in this building since January 25. There was not a lot of music and clapping your hands and being happy. It was a time to reflect on why we got our butts kicked.”

Boudreau saw that postgame reaction from his players as a positive sign. “That’s a good feeling. It means your team doesn’t like to lose, and they’re determined to go out and do something about it,” he said of a Ducks team that’s still holding firmly to the second-best record in the NHL. “That’s hopefully the message. I don’t know if it’s going to work tomorrow, but I know they want to get back on track and play better, like they did against Chicago.”

The Ducks haven’t lost consecutive games since back-to-back shootout defeats in Phoenix on March 2 and 4. They haven’t lost two in a row in regulation at all this season. To keep that trend going, Boudreau said they need to make adjustments tomorrow night in the rematch with Detroit.

“You saw last night, anybody who thought the Detroit Red Wings were dead made a big mistake,” he said. “They play fast all the time, and if you don’t do the things you’re supposed to do, they make you look bad.”

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Red Wings are the favorites? I really hope they land him. But I’m not gonna get my hopes up.

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 03/23/13 at 03:32 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Wings and Bolts are the faves…And I think Lashoff may sit. For one game.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/23/13 at 03:42 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If they don’t want to trust Colaiacovo to minutes in the NHL, I don’t know why they wouldn’t have given him a conditioning assignment.

Yes though, Colaiacovo is better than Ian White, who had a bad game on Friday.  I still might sit Lashoff, but those two would be my top picks for the White Watchtower.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/23/13 at 03:50 PM ET

Soupsnake's avatar

Lashoff has been a little bit shaky lately but I would still rather see Carlo in for White who hasn’t done anything to prove himself since coming back.

Posted by Soupsnake from Canton, Mi on 03/23/13 at 03:50 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Red Wings are the favorites? I really hope they land him. But I’m not gonna get my hopes up.

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 03/23/13 at 04:32 PM ET


Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 03/23/13 at 04:06 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

no game legs = he gets burnt twice early. then they shorten the bench to 5 d men, game goes to hell, etc etc

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 03/23/13 at 04:52 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

St James says Cola won’t play Sunday.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/23/13 at 05:36 PM ET

RW19's avatar

Am I the only one who remembers Colaiacovo from his Leaf and Blues’ days? He’s Ian White from the left side. He is softer than ice cream in the African sun.

Putting him in the lineup against a pizzed off Ducks team is a ridiculous suggestion. Let’s face it, Holland got fleeced in that signing. Carlo’s body just cannot take the physical abuse of pro hockey. They should just waive him and see if someone dumb enough takes him (Calgary’s Feaster, Buffalo’s Regier or NYI’s Snow) or else just buy him out this summer.

He’s terrible. Always has been, always will be.

Posted by RW19 on 03/23/13 at 05:53 PM ET


Posted by RW19 from Ottawa, Canada on 03/23/13 at 06:53 PM ET


Posted by Garth on 03/23/13 at 07:56 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.


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