Detroit Red Wings lose Gemel Smith on waivers to Tampa Bay Lightning

Detroit Free Press

Gemel Smith should have booked a return ticket: He came to the Detroit Red Wings from the same team that claimed him when the Wings waived him.

The Wings exposed Smith Friday because a couple injured players are expected to be available when their  schedule resumes Wednesday, and that created a roster crunch. Smith, claimed Jan. 19 after being waived by the Lightning, made his season debut Feb. 2. He had one assist and a minus-2 rating in three games.

On Friday, coach Jeff Blashill described the decision to waive Smith as a matter of flexibility, and sounded hopeful Smith would clear and stay in the system. Smith, the older brother of Wings forward Givani Smith, provided depth at the fourth-line center position.

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However, Blashill indicated Vladislav Namestnikov (lower body) and Carter Rowney (lower body) both are nearing a return. Joe Veleno, who was assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins while the Wings are on break, also has done a solid job centering the fourth line.

Gemel and Givani Smith played together for the first time in their careers this past week, doing so Monday at Minnesota and again Thursday at the New York Rangers.

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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