Jakub Vrana nears return to Red Wings lineup; Danny DeKeyser waived

Detroit News

Detroit — Jakub Vrana is nearing a return to the Red Wings’ lineup, which necessitates a corresponding move.

On Monday afternoon, the Wings made it, placing defenseman Danny DeKeyser on waivers — on his birthday no less.

DeKeyser, 32, cleared waivers multiple times last season. DeKeyser is in the final two months of a six-year contract worth $30 million ($5 million salary cap hit), and is unlikely to be re-signed by the Wings next season.

If DeKeyser is not picked up by another team by noon Tuesday, which is expected, it’s unclear what DeKeyser’s role will be the remainder of this season. The Wings on Sunday claimed defenseman Olli Juolevi and are expected to take a good look at the former 2016 first-round draft pick in the final weeks of the regular season.

DeKeyser has six points, all assists, in 43 games this season, with a minus-12 rating. DeKeyser has struggled to regain full strength since having back surgery early in the 2019-20 season.

Vrana practiced full bore Monday on a line with Pius Suter and Robby Fabbri. Vrana had shoulder surgery early in training camp, and has yet to play a game this season.

If DeKeyser clears waivers, that opens a roster spot to activate Vrana in time for Tuesday’s game against Arizona.

Juolevi went through his first practice with the Wings on Monday, but coach Jeff Blashill was unclear when Juolevi might enter the lineup.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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