The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t get to sneak Nick Shore through waivers and down to the minor leagues, as the Winnipeg Jets have claimed the veteran forward. To make room on the roster, Dmitry Kulikov has been placed on injured reserve.
The Maple Leafs were forced into a tough cap situation with the imminent return of high-priced forward Mitch Marner, meaning Shore needed to be cut loose. It was clear that he wasn’t going to be used as frequently by the new coaching staff, as Sheldon Keefe only dressed him for one of his six games behind the Toronto bench. Still, the claim obviously shows that he still has some value around the league. In fact, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that at least one other team also put in a claim on Shore.
Now 27, Shore has played 257 regular season games in the NHL and before this season had very good possession numbers as a depth player. Much of the turn in those numbers can be explained by the heavy defensive deployment he faced under Mike Babcock in the early part of the season, meaning he could change things if given a more offensive role in Winnipeg.
Selected in the third round by the Los Angeles Kings back in 2011, Shore costs just $750K this year and can play both center and wing. That gives the Jets some extra versatility at the bottom of their lineup and a cheap depth option they can plug in. The Maple Leafs meanwhile will have to send several other players down when Marner returns, as his long-term injured reserve cap flexibility will disappear.