Joining whirlwinded New Jersey Devils winger Reid Boucher on waivers today is St. Louis Blues forward Ty Rattie. The 2011 second-round pick has been trying to carve out a role for himself at the NHL level for years, but to this point has just eight points in 30 games with the Blues over the past four seasons. After finally showing some pro potential with four goals and two assists in 13 games in 2015-16, coupled with the loss of David Backes and Troy Brouwer up front for St. Louis, many expected Rattie would finally take over as a starter in 2016-17. However, halfway though this campaign, Rattie has dressed for just four games, averaging about seven minutes of ice time, and has been held scoreless to boot.
The Blues are hoping to move Rattie through waivers and get him some playing time at the AHL level with the Chicago Wolves. It may not be that simple though. The shine of Rattie’s early draft status may have worn over the last five years, but at this point in the season with injuries piling up and under-performing depth causing frustration, teams are likely to give the two-way right winger some consideration. Rattie had 231 points combined in just two seasons to finish his junior career with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, and has followed that up with three straight 40+ point AHL seasons to begin his pro career. It’ s no question that Rattie (4 NHL games, 3 AHL games) desperately needs some play time this season, but if a team can commit to letting him see the ice, they may just find that he rekindles his scoring touch. Insiders from the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, and Boston Bruins have already speculated that their teams may be interested.
In other minor transactions:
- Rather than dress an equipment manager again, the Carolina Hurricanes have recalled goalie Daniel Altshuller from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL to serve as the backup to Cam Ward while Eddie Lack remains sidelined. Altshuller, a 2012 third-round pick, has been called up to the NHL level before, but has yet to make his debut. Since turning pro, Altshuller has spent time in both the AHL and ECHL. While his ECHL numbers have been impressive, he has yet to perform at the AHL level. So far in 2016-17, Altshuller has an .884 SV% and 3.44 GAA when playing with the Checkers. Those uninspiring numbers indicate that that Altshuller is unlikely to make his first NHL appearance this time around. His call-up is likely just as much about having a body on the bench as signing the equipment manager was. However, 2014 second rounder Alex Nedeljkovic has been even worse than Altshuller this year, and veteran Michael Leighton has been far from reliable in his few appearances for the ’Canes. If Lack remains out, Altshuller may be forced into service to relieve the overworked Ward.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have demoted forward Tyler Motte to the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs. Motte was expected to step in and be an impact rookie this season, but has fallen short of those expectations. He has played in 33 games for the Hawks, but has just seven points in one of the league’s most prolific offenses. Chicago hopes that a trip to the minors helps Motte to rediscover the instincts that excited fans this preseason and made him nearly a goal-per-game player at the University of Michigan last year. For now, Spencer Abbott has been recalled to replace Motte. The former UMaine star currently leads the Ice Hogs in points this season.
- The Minnesota Wild have brought forward Kurtis Gabriel back into the fold, after sending him down to the Iowa Wild of the AHL last week. Gabriel is a cut-and-dry energy line player, but brings a welcome tenacity and checking ability to the Minnesota lineup.
- Chris Wagner is headed back to the Anaheim Ducks yet again. The veteran forward has been shuffled between the Ducks and the AHL’s San Diego Gulls all season, with a move seemingly every week. With Ryan Getzlaf expected to be out for a game or two, Wagner will draw into the lineup. He has two goals in 21 games with the team this season.
- The New York Ranger have recalled winger Nicklas Jensen from their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. The young Danish forward was set to take a starting job with the Rangers this season, but was pushed out by free agent depth additions. Jensen has played in four games in New York this season, but has been held scoreless. Jensen showed flashes of a bright future when he was in Vancouver, but has been used sparingly since arriving in the Big Apple.