With Alex Nedeljkovic clearing waivers today, the Detroit Red Wings were able to clear a roster spot by sending him to the Grand Rapids Griffins. While some expected that spot to go to Filip Zadina, it is a different injured player who will be activated. Robert Hagg is coming off injured reserve to take Nedeljkovic’s spot, after missing more than a month.
Hagg, 27, has played just 13 games this season, with his only appearance in two months coming on December 8. The depth defender was brought in as part of a physical overhaul on the back end, but hasn’t been able to stay healthy or in the lineup so far.
His activation gives the team eight healthy defensemen, meaning someone may end up getting moved out when Zadina is ready. If that’s Hagg, he would require waivers to go to the AHL.
While Steve Yzerman and company have now slid two big names through waivers in Nedeljkovic and Jakub Vrana, it might not be so safe to expose Hagg, even if he has struggled this year. Signed to just $800K, there may be a defense-needy team on the lookout for someone like him. Remember, less than a year ago the Florida Panthers sent a sixth-round pick for Hagg to bring him in at the deadline – and that was when he had a cap hit of $1.6MM.
The Red Wings can likely make a similar move, if they can prove he is healthy enough to contribute. In 313 career games, the big-hitting Hagg has 58 points.