Friday: All three players have cleared. Gryba and Ullstrom have both been assigned to the minor leagues, Binghamton and Tucson respectively.
Thursday: According to Craig Morgan of The Athletic, the Arizona Coyotes have placed David Ullstrom on waivers, indicating that he is close to recovered from his most recent injury. Ullstrom was on season-opening injured reserve to this point, but will report to the Tucson Roadrunners if he clears waivers. Eric Gryba of the New Jersey Devils has also been placed on waivers according to Corey Masisak of The Athletic, and Brian Lashoff finds himself in the same situation according to CapFriendly. Cory Conacher meanwhile has cleared and will be assigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, while Phillip Di Giuseppe has cleared but will remain with the Carolina Hurricanes for now.
Ullstrom, now 29, has been an enigma for his entire career. Selected 102nd overall in 2008, early on he looked like a steal for the New York Islanders given his size and speed while playing center on a regular basis. It’s hard to find quality centers that late in the draft, and when he made his North American debut in 2010 he found immediate success with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL, scoring 41 points in 67 games. Unfortunately, that would be his career high at any level to this point.
After two cups of coffee with the Islanders in which he rarely showed the kind of promise he had in the minor leagues, Ullstrom was off to the KHL where he’d bounce around to five different teams. He returned to Sweden in 2017 to play for his former club, HV71, but signed with the Coyotes this summer to give the NHL another crack. He hasn’t played this season due to injury, and now he’ll have to make his mark in the minor leagues once again. All the measurables are there with Ullstrom, but he’s never been able to put it all together for a prolonged period of time.
Gryba on the other hand is a veteran defenseman just looking for a way back into the NHL. After not seeing the minor leagues for a few consecutive seasons, he found himself back in the AHL last year after being waived by the Edmonton Oilers. A buyout followed in the summer, and Gryba had to work to earn himself a contract this year with the Devils. Unfortunately, that hasn’t turned into any NHL action just yet. A trip to waivers might be the best thing for him, given the need for defensemen around the league, and his $700K cap hit may be attractive to some teams—even perhaps Edmonton, who has had trouble with the bottom of their group. There’s a real chance that Gryba is claimed, but if not he’ll have to face the minor leagues once again.
Lashoff too is coming off season-opening injured reserve, and seems unlikely to be claimed at this point. The veteran defenseman has played just 17 NHL games since 2014, and is a full-time minor league player for the Detroit Red Wings. He’ll likely spend the entire season in the minor leagues unless the Red Wings are hit with more injuries to their defense, but even then the franchise would likely turn to younger more dynamic options.