Since joining the Anaheim Ducks organization as a fifth-round pick in 2010, center Chris Wagner has carved out a career on the fringes of the NHL, and as The Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens writes, the 25-year-old pivot has learned a hard lesson about the business side of hockey. Wagner has been placed on waivers several times over the last two seasons, most recently two days ago, but instead of a reassignment to San Diego after he cleared, he was back in the Ducks lineup Thursday night following the trade of Michael Sgarbossa to Florida.
Wagner and Sgarbossa had been competing for playing time but that changed following the trade:
“It’s crazy. Sgars (Sgarbossa) was playing well, too. We competed. We had a really good relationship and everything. It just proves that it’s a business. We’re kind of just cogs in the business.
“Sometimes you can’t really explain why things happen. Just got to worry about your team and yourself. Make the most of your opportunity.”
Despite moving from Anaheim to Colorado and back again last season via waivers, Wagner says it’s not a process you “become immune to,” as Stephens reports:
“Once you go on, it’s just waiting. I don’t know if I’m numb to it now. It’s part of the worst 24 hours in hockey. You have no control and you don’t know what’s going to happen until the next day.”
With just two goals in 16 appearances so far this season, Wagner is likely to remain vulnerable to losing his roster spot as long as he is with Anaheim. Wagner provides an interesting insight into what it’s like for all of the fringe NHL players active today.
More from Anaheim:
- From the same piece, Stephens notes that while Logan Shaw, recently acquired from Florida in the Sgarbossa deal, was assigned to San Diego immediately after the trade, the possibility exists that the 25-year-old winger could see time with Anaheim this season. Bench boss Randy Carlyle points to Shaw’s size and versatility as advantages over the recently departed Sgarbossa: “He can play right side or center. He’s a bigger-bodied individual. We’re looking at a little size differential between him and Sgarbossa. Sgarbossa came in and played well for us. Was up and down. Was a good player. Got nothing but great things to say about Sgarbie (Sgarbossa).
- Anaheim today recalled forward Ondrej Kase from San Diego, tweets the busy Eric Stephens. Kase will likely take the spot of Joseph Cramarossa, who Stephens said did not skate this morning and appeared to get hurt Thursday. In nine games for San Diego of the AHL, Kase has scored three goals and seven points. He’s also appeared in two games for the Ducks tallying a single point this season. Kase was Anaheim’s seventh-round pick in 2014 and the 21-year-old recorded eight goals and 14 points in 25 games with the Gulls last year, his first action as a professional in North America.