Monday: Gryba has cleared waivers and can be assigned to the minor leagues. The other four players, Chris Driedger, Jeremy Smith, Adam Wilcox and Lee Stempniak also all cleared after signing NHL contracts.
Sunday: While the waiver wire features mostly recently-signed players today, one current player did slip into the mix. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that New Jersey Devils defenseman Eric Gryba has been placed on waivers. The veteran defenseman has cleared waivers previously this season, but could be a more interesting target with the deadline approaching and an underwhelming market for rental defensemen.
Gryba, 30, has had an up-and-down year. Bought out by the Edmonton Oilers this past summer, Gryba signed a one-year deal with the Devils in hopes of continuing his NHL career. Waived initially in late October, Gryba has played in just ten games with New Jersey versus 32 games with AHL Binghamton. Interestingly, Gryba has performed better in the NHL than in the AHL, at least defensively. Gryba is very much a stay-at-home defender with little to no offensive role, but has looked like a reliable depth option during appearances with New Jersey. Meanwhile, his -10 rating in Binghamton is worst among defensemen.
Gryba appears to be a player best suited for a No. 7 or 8 role in the NHL at this point in his career. He’s still solid defensively most of the time and can step in and be a capable presence in his own end, but lacks the offensive contribution or skating ability to play regular minutes, even in the AHL. Fortunately, at this time of year many teams are looking for that dependable deep depth piece. With the defense rental market highlighted by uninspiring names like Adam McQuaid, Michael Del Zotto, Bogdan Kiselevich, and Alex Petrovic, a team might prefer claiming Gryba for the stretch run rather than overpaying for a mediocre addition.