The St. Louis Blues will be forced to make a move as Patrik Berglund returns from injured reserve, and it is Nate Prosser exposed to waivers this time around after being absent from the morning skate. Prosser had played in just one game this season with the Blues, but the team had shielded him from waivers even when it meant carrying eight healthy defensemen for long stretches. Now the 31-year old will be up for grabs, though a claim is far from certain.
Prosser signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Blues this summer after spending the first eight seasons of his professional career with the Minnesota Wild. An undrafted free agent out of Colorado College, Prosser jumped right to the NHL in 2010 and has played 238 games since. Though he’s never played more than 63 games in a single season, he is a potential depth option for teams looking for a bit of help on the back end. The 6’2″ 206-lbs defender is a capable penalty killer known for his shot blocking, and is willing to engage physically when needed.
If he does clear, he’ll St. Louis will have to decide where exactly to send him. The Blues are operating without a primary AHL affiliate this season, instead sending players to the Chicago Wolves, San Antonio Rampage and other clubs. Next season will see them start a five-year agreement with San Antonio, but Prosser could end up anywhere on loan if they feel there isn’t a spot for him there.
The Minnesota Wild will similarly make a veteran defenseman available by placing Kyle Quincey on waivers. Quincey is on a one-year, $1.25MM contract with the Wild but has been generally underwhelming in his 18 games. The former Detroit Red Wings defenseman hasn’t been able to find a home on three different clubs in the past year, and looks like his NHL viability is coming to an end.
Quincey was once a very effective two-way option in the league, even recording a career-high 38 points in 2008-09 with Los Angeles. The 32-year old had just three this season though, and has clearly lost a step in both ends of the rink. With Minnesota pushing right up against the salary cap ceiling this year, burying Quincey in the minors (if he’s not claimed) would save them a prorated $1.025MM and allow some breathing room. With younger, more affordable options available to them it seemed only a matter of time before he was waived.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet believes that Minnesota had previously let teams around the league know Quincey was available, which could perhaps mean a deal is coming should he clear. Like we saw with Calvin Pickard earlier in the year, clearing waivers and gaining the ability to be sent to the minors actually improves a player’s trade value somewhat. Should he clear, it would also mean the Wild would have the ability to bring him up and down without waivers for 30 days on the active roster, or 10 NHL games. It wouldn’t change how much actual money they pay him, but they could use that to manipulate the salary cap and bank some extra space by having Quincey technically in the minors on off days.
Jordin Tootoo is the third player on waivers, likely meaning he’s now healthy enough to return from his long-term injured reserve stint. It will be interesting to see what happens to the veteran forward, as the Blackhawks don’t seem to have room for him on the NHL roster at the moment. Tootoo signed a one-year, $700K contract extension with the Blackhawks last season to help with expansion draft requirements, but hasn’t suited up this season so far.
Aaron Ness of the Washington Capitals has cleared and can be assigned to Hershey of the AHL.