Three players were claimed off waivers today, just before opening night rosters are submitted. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that the Seattle Kraken claimed Alex Barre-Boulet from the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Montreal Canadiens claimed Adam Brooks from the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers claimed Patrick Brown from the Vegas Golden Knights. The Washington Capitals also re-claimed Axel Jonsson-Fjallby from the Buffalo Sabres and assuming they were the only team to put in a claim, can now send him directly to the minor leagues. The other 39 players placed on waivers yesterday have cleared.
Barre-Boulet seemed the likeliest player to be claimed among yesterday’s group, as the 24-year-old has not only shown extremely well at the minor league level, but also is signed at league minimum for the next three seasons. The former Lightning prospect signed a three-year deal in July that pays him $750K at the NHL level this year and next, and $775K in 2023-24 when the minimum increases. That alone makes him valuable and he’ll now get a chance to show exactly what he can do in Seattle, rather than be blocked by countless talented teammates in Tampa Bay.
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018, Barre-Boulet was a superstar in the QMJHL but lacks the size of a traditional NHL player. That certainly hasn’t held him back in the AHL, as he has posted 136 points in 144 games for the Syracuse Crunch since turning pro. That includes eight goals in just ten games last season, which helped elevate him to the NHL level where he played in 15 games for the Lightning. Though he is by no means a lock to produce for the Kraken, it was an easy choice to add his talent to the organization when it came available.
Brooks too seemed like an inevitable loss for the Maple Leafs when they decided to place him on waivers instead of Michael Amadio yesterday. Toronto will lose their depth forward to the rival Canadiens and could see him on the other side of the ice quickly. Montreal will travel to Toronto on Wednesday for their season opener, though it’s not clear if Brooks will step directly into the lineup. The 25-year-old has always seemed to play well when given the chance–that just hasn’t been very often. He has played just 18 regular season games for the Maple Leafs thus far, registering eight points.
There seems to be something of a trend in Philadelphia, where Brown will be the latest Boston College alumni to join the roster. He played college hockey with both Kevin Hayes and Cam Atkinson, winning the national championship in 2012 with the former. He adds plenty of pro experience but not a lot at the NHL level, given he’s only suited up for 33 regular season games. Incredibly, that total has almost been matched by his postseason experience, where he has played in 22 games the last three seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes and Golden Knights.