Detroit will have one of its most familiar faces in the lineup for the first time this year when they take on the Jets at Joe Louis tonight.
Niklas Kronwall, who missed the first 11 games of the season due to a knee injury, will make his season debut.
“I feel pretty confident,” Kronwall said, per MLive. “I had a good test here Tuesday in a full practice and felt pretty good. I shouldn’t have any limitations out there at all.”
Kronwall, 35, is a pretty important cog in Detroit’s defense. Despite dealing with injuries last year, he still managed to dress for 64 games and average over 22 minutes a night — down from the career-high 24:22 he averaged a few years back, sure, but still quite a bit of ice time.
To further illustrate his importance to the Wings, Kronwall will play alongside Mike Green on the club’s top power play unit.
Detroit has done reasonably well in Kronwall’s absence this year, getting off to a 6-2-0 start before going 0-2-1 in its last three. Head coach Jeff Blashill did say the minutes will be managed to start — Kronwall hasn’t played an actual game in six months — but it’s clear just getting No. 55 back in the mix, period, will be a boost.