Malone was replaced by James Hamblin, who ended up playing just over five minutes as the Oilers once again relied heavily on their top six. The reason for the waiving, though, is likely the imminent return of Warren Foegele, which will give the team a more reliable option.
Foegele has been out since November 26 and was averaging a little more than 12 minutes on the year. While that may not sound like a lot, the way the Oilers deploy their forwards makes it relatively significant. Last night, for instance, Hamblin, Derek Ryan, Jesse Puljujarvi, Devin Shore, Klim Kostin, and Dylan Holloway each played fewer than 11 minutes, while Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl approached 30.
Malone, in his ten games with the Oilers this season, hasn’t scored a point. Should he clear, the 33-year-old will return to the Bakersfield Condors, where he serves as captain. Despite more than 200 games of NHL experience, he is an unlikely claim even for clubs looking at reinforcing their bottom six.