Despite some major names being available on the waiver wire over the past 24 hours, all five players have cleared. Montreal’s Paul Byron, Detroit’s Danny DeKeyser, and new Carolina acquisition Alex Galchenyuk were all waived for roster flexibility and will be reassigned to their respective taxi squads. Young Columbus defenseman Gabriel Carlsson has been reassigned to the taxi squad for now but will soon join the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters in order to get some play time. Boston’s Par Lindholm has signed a new contract with the SHL’s Skelleftea AIK and will see his NHL contract terminated. No new players have been placed on waivers today.
Of the group, the player who was quietly the most likely to be claimed was Carlsson. The big 24-year-old blue liner, a 2015 first-rounder, lost his waiver exemption this season and the Blue Jackets did not want to risk him on the wire earlier this season. However, through the first quarter of the campaign he has not seen any NHL game action sitting behind a deep Columbus defense corps. With the AHL season now up and running, the team opted to take the chance with Carlsson in order to get him some play time in the minors and it paid off. The stay-at-home defenseman has played in at least one game for Columbus in each of the past four seasons and will likely be back with the team at some point this year. However, the team will try to avoid another trip through waivers as they might not be so lucky a second time putting the sturdy and affordable defender back up for grabs.
Of course, the bigger names available were Byron, DeKeyser, and Galchenyuk. The Montreal Canadiens, short on cap space but not on forward talent, have been playing Byron in a checking role, making him an expensive fourth liner. The club had been trying to trade the veteran, but there were no takers on his contract despite his solid career numbers. The team hoped that Byron would clear waivers so that they could retain the player, who is absolutely still a serviceable top-nine forward, while also opening up some salary cap space by transitioning him to the taxi squad. Galchenyuk was in fact traded already and just on Saturday as a matter of fact. The skilled forward was dealt by the Ottawa Senators to the Carolina Hurricanes as part of a three-player deal. Playing on an affordable and expiring contract, Galchenyuk was a risk-free acquisition for the ’Canes but was even more valuable if he could be stashed on the practice squad and used in case of emergency in a scoring role. Their plan succeeded and now Carolina simply has to decide whether the now-flexible Galchenyuk is worth more to them on their taxi squad or as a trade asset to flip to another team. The surprise inclusion was DeKeyser, one of the few holdovers of the most recent Detroit Red Wings’ powerhouse teams. DeKeyser has been in decline for several seasons now, but playing for a rebuilding club – especially with limited ice time this season – and dealing with injuries does not make for flattering statistics for anyone. A player who still has the support of his coaches and teammates may end up on the taxi squad but is likely to still be a prominent presence for the organization, especially with another year remaining on his current contract.
Lindholm was the outlier of the bunch. After clearing waivers earlier this season, the underutilized veteran was placed on the wire again to begin the process of a contract termination. Lindholm was not expected to be claimed and even if he had been, there still would have been a conflict with the multi-year contract he just recently signed in Sweden. Lindholm may actually be capable of being a reliable fourth line center in the NHL, but that opportunity was not available in Boston and seemingly nowhere else in the league at the current time, so the veteran will return home.