The roster freeze is over, and teams can use waivers once again to try and move players to the minor leagues. The Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers have done so, placing defenseman Jake Dotchin and forward Valentin Zykov there. Both players found themselves on waivers earlier this year, with Dotchin seeing his contract terminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Zykov claimed from the Carolina Hurricanes. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Michal Cajkovsky and Joonas Lyytinen have also been placed on unconditional waivers by the Hurricanes and Nashville Predators respectively.
Dotchin, 24, is still in a grievance over how his deal was terminated earlier this year when the Lightning found him in “material breach of contract” when he showed up to camp out of shape. Though he was cut loose from the Tampa Bay organization, the young defenseman found a new team in Anaheim and worked hard to get back to the NHL level. He has played 16 games for the Ducks, though saw the end of the bench for much of his last one, playing fewer than seven minutes in a loss to San Jose.
The physical—and sometimes dangerous—Dotchin looked like a promising asset for Tampa Bay just a few years ago, when he recorded 11 points in 35 games down the stretch in 2017. Right-handed, he seemed like a perfect complement to some of the more skilled defenders on the Lightning blue line and was extremely inexpensive. Even the draft capital invested in him was minuscule, as the Lightning had found Dotchin in the 2012 sixth round after just a single year of junior hockey. He could be claimed by another team, but after inconsistent play and the recent trouble, some organizations may look the other way.
Zykov on the other hand just can’t seem to make good on his limited opportunities in the NHL. Claimed by the Oilers to give them some more offense on the wing, the 23-year old forward didn’t score a single point during his five-game stint and now finds himself in limbo. The Hurricanes could reclaim the second round pick, and if they are the only team that tries they would be allowed to immediately move him to the minor leagues. If not, Edmonton might try to build up his confidence and performance at the minor league level before giving him another opportunity.