The NHL is in the thick of its season. While some teams sit securely atop their league, others are so far out that they are waiting until next year. However, teams in both situations have made moves via the waiver wire.
Today alone, three players of note were placed on waivers. All three of the players vastly underperformed and all three players are indeed expendable to their current contending teams. Whether they all get claimed or not, these are pretty substantial moves, as depending on where these players go, they could substantially increase a bubble team’s odds at making the playoffs. In the end, it’s more than likely all of these players will be claimed at some point this season.
The first of the players to be placed on waivers was Anaheim Ducks Forward Dany Heatley. Heatley, a 14 year veteran, is a 4 time All-Star and has twice scored 50 goals in a season. Additionally, he was the 2nd overall pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. In the offseason, Heatley signed a 1 year, $1 million contract. Heatley, 33, has appeared in just six games this year and recorded zero points. Now, Heatley figures that he’ll be claimed by a team, as he can still produce and has a relatively cheap contract. Anaheim is currently in first place in the entire NHL, with 54 points. The Blues currently sit in ninth in the NHL standings with 47 points. Projected landing spot(s): Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, or retirement.
The next player placed on waivers was also a former first round pick. In 2009, the Edmonton Oilers drafted Left Wing Magnus Paajarvi with the 10th overall pick. Paajarvi enjoyed a nice rookie campaign in 2010 scoring 15 goals and recording 19 assists, for 34 points. Paajarvi and a draft pick were traded to the St. Louis Blues for David Perron. Paajarvi has played in 10 games and has recorded just one point. Paajarvi is still only 23 and still has tremendous upside. Projected landing spot(s): Edmonton Oilers or New Jersey Devils
The final of the three players on the list is former Nashville Predators C Derek Roy. Now Roy’s case is an interesting one. Roy, an 11 year veteran, has accrued 502 points over his career. His career began in Buffalo, where he spent his first eight seasons. During his time there, he recorded 60 or more points in 4 straight seasons, including one season where he put up 81 points. The Predators waived Roy on December 28, 2014. After going unclaimed, he was then relegated to the AHL. Subsequently, the Nashville Predators, with Roy still in their organization, traded him to the offensively challenged Edmonton Oilers for Forward Mark Arcobello. Roy recorded 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) in 26 games for Nashville, who currently rank seventh in the NHL standings with 48 points.
All three of these guys have the potential to be impact players for whatever team they go to. Whether as a starter, or coming off of the bench, these players can make a difference. I believe that they will. Look for more big names to be passed through the waiver wire as the season progresses and teams need to push to make the playoffs.