When far too many of the Detroit Red Wings defensemen fell to injury within the first two games of the season, GM Ken Holland knew he had to find a veteran defenseman to fill a void.
While it set the Red Wings Twitterverse on fire with crazy defensemen theories (Nicklas Lidstrom coming out of retirement?! Andreas Lilja?! Or dare we even think it… Brett Lebda?!), the defenseman turned out to be Kent Huskins. Which led to more than a few people scratching their heads, saying, “Um, who?”
Huskins was signed on January 22 to a one-way contract and has been playing with the Red Wings since their third game against Dallas. He has been playing on a pairing with either Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff.
In the four games Huskins has played as a Red Wing, he has been a solid force on the blue line. While he has no points and 2 PIMs, that does not mean he’s been doing nothing. He has become a staple on the penalty kill, especially while Darren Helm was sidelined for a few games.
With Huskins on the penalty kill and both Helm and Patrick Eaves returning from their respective injuries, the Red Wings penalty killing has improved, successfully killing 19 of 21 chances. That’s definitely much better than just nine successfully killed out of 16 from the first two games of the season.
It’s not unlike the Red Wings to sign a veteran player to bring some experience into their ranks, even if it doesn’t always work out or puts the fanbase on edge. However, it seems as though Huskins is fitting right in to the roster.
Huskins was not signed to be an offensive defenseman. He was not signed to be the next Lidstrom or to fill Lidstrom’s spot all by himself. He was signed to simply fill in the gaps left by the injured Red Wings ranks. If you look at his signing in that light, how do you think he’s fared?