After asking yesterday to be sent somewhere that he could pursue a Stanley Cup, the Maple Leafs have placed Brooks Laich on waivers today, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN. We wrote just yesterday about how the Leafs had some built in deadline depth in a trio of veterans stashed in the minors. Laich, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening all have extensive NHL experience and could help a team that hits injury trouble down the stretch. McKenzie adds that these are not unconditional waivers to terminate his contract. That means this is likely just a testing of the waters so to speak, to gauge interest prior to the deadline.
Laich has played 764 games in his NHL career, scoring 20+ goals three times during his run with the Washington Capitals. The 33-year old was acquired by the Maple Leafs as a salary dump along with Connor Carrick and a second round pick last season for Daniel Winnik. Though Laich spent the remainder of the 2015-16 season with the big club, he hasn’t played a game with them this season, instead buried in the AHL playing sparingly there too.
For a player who thinks he can still contribute to a team’s pursuit of the Stanley Cup, wasting away the last few years of your career in the minors mostly because of your cap hit must be extremely frustrating. Though Laich seemed happy to take on a leadership role earlier this season, that playoff itch seems to have surfaced once again. For what it’s worth, Laich does have 32 career playoff points in 65 games and one year averaged almost 22 minutes a night for the Capitals in the postseason. If playoff experience is what you’re after, he’s got it.