How Christian Djoos went from waivers to regular for Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James
 
| Detroit Free Press

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For Christian Djoos, it has been an opportunity to regain a foothold in the NHL. For the Detroit Red Wings, it has been a no-risk move that shored up their defense.

Djoos has been a regular in the lineup since making a hasty debut Jan. 22.

“I think Christian has done a solid job,” coach Jeff Blashill said after Thursday’s morning skate in Nashville ahead of Thursday night’s game. “He’s kind of come as advertised. He’s a really good puck mover. He’s got really good poise with the puck. He’s a little different than what we have in a lot of ways on the back end. We have a lot of guys that are good defenders that are fine with the puck. He’s a really good passer, has good poise.”

Blashill has used Djoos on man advantages, because of Djoos’ deft passes.

“I think he’s had fairly good smarts on the power play,” Blashill said. “I think he’s somebody that can help our power play be better. Overall, I’ve liked him.”

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The Wings acquired Djoos on Jan. 9, claiming him off waivers after he’d been jettisoned by the Anaheim Ducks less than a year after signing a one-year extension. Djoos had to spend two days quarantining because he had traveled to Detroit commercially, and didn’t join practices until few days before the Wings opened the season Jan. 14.

“It’s tough, but that’s how it is now with COVID,” Djoos said. “I just wanted to get going and play games as fast as possible.

“I felt like it was a good opportunity for me as a player. I was happy to get claimed by the Red Wings.”

Djoos, 26, is the son of former Wings draft pick Per Djoos (127th overall, 1986). Per appeared in 26 games for the Wings, recording 12 assists in 1990-91.

Christian Djoos spent three seasons with the Washington Capitals, though he played most of 2019-20 with the Capitals’ AHL team, Hershey.

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Djoos was the fourth defenseman added between the end of last season and the start of this season by general manager Steve Yzerman, joining Marc Staal, Troy Stecher and Jon Merrill. Merrill tested positive for COVID-19 before the Wings left for their first road trip, Jan. 22, and Djoos made his debut two days later.

“Originally we weren’t going to play him the game he played first, but that was just the way it worked out because of COVID,” Blashill said. “He ended up playing in that game at Chicago, kind of got thrown to the wolves a little bit without any practices. I think he has gotten more comfortable with our systems. For a guy that’s not a great skater, he still gaps pretty good, and that’s the way we want to play. He seems to be adapting fairly well.”

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Christian Djoos on hectic adjustment with Detroit Red Wings

Christian Djoos interview, Feb. 11, 2021.

Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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