A substantial group of players again went untouched on the waiver wire yesterday, as there remains just one claim so far this season. Today, a new set of names become briefly available on their way down to the AHL. According to The Athletic’s James Mirtle, these 18 players have been placed on waivers by their respective teams today, highlighted by Ottawa’s longest-tenured player:
F Anton Blidh (Boston)
F Colby Cave (Boston)
D Jake Chelios (Detroit)
F Hudson Fasching (Arizona)
F Byron Froese (Montreal)
D Cody Goloubef (Boston)
F Ryan Haggerty (Pittsburgh)
D Brett Lernout (Montreal)
F Nick Lappin (New Jersey)
F Michael McCarron (Montreal)
F Mark McNeill (Boston)
D Robbie Russo (Arizona)
G Harri Sateri (Detroit)
F Hunter Shinkaruk (Montreal)
F Zack Smith (Ottawa)
F Jordan Szwarz (Boston)
F Chris Terry (Detroit)
D Rinat Valiev (Montreal)
Obviously, Smith is the star of this group and easily the biggest name to hit the wire so far this year. The decision to placed the veteran forward, a career Senator entering his eleventh season, on waivers is a curious one. Admittedly, Smith did not play well last season; beyond only recording 19 points in 68 games, he logged a brutal -32 rating, saw a drop-off in face-off success, and struggled in many possession metrics. Nevertheless, he remained a favorite of head coach Guy Boucher and saw a career high in ice time. After losing the likes of Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman this summer, Smith – while not the strongest player – was one of the few loyal locker room leaders left in Ottawa. There has already been a negative response, as Matt Duchene called the move “a kick in the balls” for the locker room, according to TSN’s Brent Wallace. For some reason, the team has decided to move on, one way or another. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Senators have been shopping Smith for some time and had trade interest, but were not able to come to an agreement with any of the teams not included on Smith’s limited list per his modified No-Trade Clause. Now, they will either lose him for nothing in return or have the ability to bury him in the minors if he clears. Such a demotion would clear $1.025MM in cap space of his $3.25MM salary. It is important to note when considering any potential claims, that Smith is signed for three more years, making his inclusion on waivers even more surprising.
The group of Canadiens could also offer some appeal, particularly the 23-year-old power forward McCarron. Although the 2013 first-round pick has not lived up to expectations yet, he has the one thing you can’t teach and that is size. At 6’6″, 230-lbs., McCarron has the frame to do some damage at his spot on the right wing if put in the right system with the right line mates. It hasn’t happened yet in Montreal, but some other team may be willing to take a shot. Veteran grinder Froese, who played in 48 games with the Habs last year, could also get a passing glance, while trade recent Montreal trade acquisitions Shinkaruk and Valiev are somewhat intriguing albeit not likely to be claimed.
Team in search of young, affordable fourth line help could look at the Bruins’ Blidh and Cave, although such a move is unlikely. The same goes for Haggerty, whose placement on waivers comes as surprise, given that no contract has of yet been announced with Pittsburgh for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin.
With that size McCarron should consider a switch to defence the way Burns did. Being a right handed shot helps also. I’m sure it’s not so easy to just switch from forward to defence, but he’s got the size.
burns was a defenceman who was moved up before being mpved back to d.
Smiths really not that good and got a bigger deal after one, good not great season. I’m sure it does hurt the locker room, but whichever of Formenton/Chlapik/White/Etc will contribute more on the ice.
The downfall of this team was the belief that the one season made everyone better. Smith, condon both prime examples of players who got raises that were nuts.
Didn’t McCarron head but somebody last season?