The waiver period from yesterday has come to a close, and Antti Niemi has been claimed by the Florida Panthers. Niemi was placed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday after allowing seven goals in his most recent game. Eric Fehr, Jordan Schroeder and Colin McDonald all cleared. The New York Rangers have also placed Adam Cracknell on waivers today.
Roberto Luongo is currently on injured reserve for the Panthers with a hand injury, meaning Niemi will serve as the backup for James Reimer until he’s ready to return. It’s interesting that the team would make a claim for an established backup, and likely indicates that the injury will keep Luongo out for at least a little while. The team had Harri Sateri up with the NHL club on emergency loan, but should be sent back to the AHL later today.
For Fehr, Schroeder and McDonald, clearing waivers doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the AHL. The Maple Leafs had a scare with James van Riemsdyk last night when he went awkwardly into the boards, and though he didn’t miss a shift there is no rush to move Fehr out. The veteran forward’s spot could be used to bring back Calle Rosen or call up another young forward, but placing him on waivers could have also been an attempt to increase his trade value.
Schroeder was likely ticketed for the AHL until an ankle injury sidelined Lukas Sedlak in practice yesterday. Today, Schroeder is practicing with the team in the absence of Alexander Wennberg (maintenance), and could stay with the club to provide fourth-line depth. As expected, Zac Dalpe moved into that role today but is far from a guarantee to fill it long-term.
After starting the year on season-opening injured reserve, McDonald is likely headed for the AHL as the Flyers don’t have an obvious opening for him. The only two forwards who are waiver-exempt are Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny, neither of which are going anywhere soon unless the team changes their mind on keeping Patrick past the nine game threshold—he’s currently at eight.
Cracknell is on waivers for the second time already this year, after being claimed by the Rangers from Dallas earlier this month. In four games for New York, he’s been held pointless in seven and a half minutes of ice time per night. Never expected to be much more than fourth line depth, Cracknell could still serve that purpose if he clears tomorrow.