The 24-year-old was acquired by the Wild back at the trade deadline last season in exchange for Nico Sturm. They were hoping that a change of scenery would help Jost to unlock the potential he showed in the past that made him the 10th overall pick in 2016. He was a little better down the stretch last season with six points in 21 games which gave them cause for a little bit of optimism heading into this season.
Unfortunately, things haven’t gone well this season. Jost was limited to just three assists in 12 games while spending a lot of time on the left wing. He was also a healthy scratch in five games and that’s simply not a good return on a $2MM price tag. Unable to trade him, the Wild put Jost on waivers yesterday. His full contract will come off the books which will give GM Bill Guerin considerably more flexibility as he looks to upgrade his roster that currently sits on the outside looking in at the playoff race.
As for Buffalo, it’s a claim that doesn’t carry a lot of risk and there’s a clear path to playing time for Jost. Riley Sheahan is currently playing center on their fourth line and Jost represents a younger, more talented option at this point of his career. If the Sabres envision him on the wing, Anders Bjork has already cleared waivers this season and the Sabres took advantage of that as he was sent back to AHL Rochester in a corresponding move.
Notably, Jost’s contract is a little back-loaded so while his cap hit is $2MM, his qualifying offer next summer stands at $2.25MM, his actual salary this season. He’ll need to show some improvement if he wants a chance at receiving that tender in June; perhaps this change of scenery will be the one to help get him going.