For Jakub Kindl, these are the days.

A rare first-round pick in recent years for the Red Wings, the defenseman, who turned 26 last month, has been a focal point since he was picked 19th overall in 2005.

Eight years seems like a long time. But Kindl was a fresh-faced 18-year-old, a year removed from junior hockey in the Czech Republic, and the Red Wings lineup was not an easy one to crack.

To the long-asked question about what he will provide, Kindl is currently responding in a big way.

He has started six in a row, while more experienced defensemen are scratched, and while his coach, Mike Babcock, repeatedly says things have solidified along the back end.

Kindl entered this season seventh on the depth chart, but after missing the first three games with an injury, he has been among the six defensemen in 16 of 20 games, regularly logging 19 or 20 minutes on the ice.

Against the Blackhawks last weekend, in one of the biggest games this season, he had the most hits of any Red Wings player in any game all year — six. Kindl also had three shots and no goals allowed.

He continues to look composed, of firm intent when he has the puck and forceful in his own zone.