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Red Wings claim defenseman Olli Juolevi off waivers

The 23-year-old was a top-5 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft

Vancouver Canucks v Florida Panthers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

UPDATE (Sun, March 6 2:57pm): To create roster space, the Red Wings assigned Joe Veleno to Grand Rapids.

The Red Wings are adding to their cupboard of young defenseman. Steve Yzerman claimed Olli Juolevi off waivers from the Florida Panthers Sunday afternoon.

Juolevi was a high-end prospect in the 2016 NHL Draft. The Canucks plucked him with the fifth overall pick, and expectations were always high. Now here he is, 23 years old, with very little success playing pro hockey in North America. There’s still potential with Juolevi, he’s still young, add that to getting him for free and you have another signature Steve Yzerman low-risk high-reward gamble.

He hasn’t played a ton in the NHL. In the last three seasons, he’s suited up 33 times and has produced minimal offense. But, do not forget the team he was playing with. The Canucks have been a mess for years.. So have we really seen him at his best? I don’t think we have.

Juolevi didn’t stick in Florida, but maybe he can in Detroit. There are weak points on the blue line (not going to name any names) that he could easily improve. We’ll see where he falls into the lineup, if at all. I haven’t seen him play in some time, so I can’t give an honest assessment of his as a player right now. Still, as noted before, there’s virtually no risk in making this move.

The tricky part about this is playing musical chairs with roster spots. As Max Bultman pointed out, a follow-up move is imminent: