Thursday: Dotchin has cleared waivers, officially signed with the Ducks and been assigned to the San Diego Gulls. He’ll play there until his conditioning is back to where it needs to be, at which point the Ducks will make a decision on whether he can help the NHL squad.
Wednesday: While the waiver wire today included two names already playing in the NHL, there was also another name that Tampa Bay Lightning fans will be familiar with. According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, Jake Dotchin was placed on waivers by the Anaheim Ducks. That’s the process required at this point in the season if the team has signed him to an NHL contract. Dotchin saw his previous deal terminated earlier this summer when he showed up to Lightning camp out of shape, but has been working hard to try and land a deal elsewhere around the league. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that it is a one-year deal, while LeBrun tweets it will be worth $800K.
Dotchin, 24, was an up-and-coming defenseman for the Lightning not long ago, partnered at times with Victor Hedman and valued for his physical style. In 35 games at the end of the 2016-17 season, Dotchin had impressed nearly everyone around the league and looked like a key part of the Tampa Bay core moving forward. Unfortunately that quickly turned, and the right-handed defenseman saw his role quickly diminish. When training camp came around this year, he apparently showed up very out of shape and saw his contract terminated for a “material breach.” That termination didn’t come without backlash though, and Dotchin has filed a grievance through the NHLPA and will still attempt to receive compensation for the slight difference between this contract and the one that Tampa Bay terminated.
For the Ducks, adding Dotchin is a low-risk option that could potentially bring quite positive results. It’s not as though he’s completely lost his talent, and if he can get back into (and stay in) shape quickly he could be a low cost option for their third pairing. At the very worst he’s an option for next season, as Dotchin will still be a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. The Ducks now control his rights, and will be able to decide whether he’s worth a qualifying offer a few months down the line.