The Detroit Red Wings have been derailed by injuries to injury prone players such as Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson lately. Among all the older players that are struggling through groin issues and various other aliments has been Brendan Smith. He was last seen by Detroit fans in a fight when the Wings took on the Edmonton Oilers on November 2.
He injured his shoulder in that bout and hasn’t played for the Wings since.
According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, Smith is ready to make his return, and Detroit will remove him from the IR prior to tomorrow’s contest with the Nashville Predators. As per her report:
Brendan Smith has spent the past few weeks working on the cerebral part of his game. He has mended from a separated shoulder and used the recovery time to figure out how to be a smarter player. Smith is expected to be one of seven defensemen the Detroit Red Wings will use Tuesday, when they host the Nashville Predators
Detroit can use all of the intelligence it can get on the blue line right now. While the likes of Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser have been solid, depth guys such as Brian Lashoff and Kyle Quincey has struggled at times. Smith wasn’t off to an outstanding start prior to his injury, but his pedigree is top-notch and his ceiling is high.
If he can elevate his game, it could solidify a top-four unit that has been in limbo over the last two seasons following the departures of Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom. It’s just one game at a time for him right now though, and he’ll need to have a solid showing against Nashville tomorrow as he regains his sea legs.