Feb 28: Houser has cleared, but Harrington was claimed by the Anaheim Ducks.
Feb 27: The Buffalo Sabres have signed Michael Houser to a midseason contract for the third season in a row, and placed him on waivers for the purpose of an assignment to the minor leagues. Houser was playing with the Rochester Americans on an AHL deal (again), and would need to clear waivers to remain there. Chris Johnston of NorthStar Bets reports that Scott Harrington, recently acquired by the New Jersey Devils, is also on waivers.
Houser, 30, has actually been incredible in his limited NHL opportunities with the Sabres, stepping into emergency situations and playing very well. Last season in two games he allowed just four goals on 77 shots, winning both appearances and posting a .948 save percentage. He’s never been that effective at the minor league level but has now cashed in with three consecutive one-year NHL contracts.
It is unclear why exactly the Sabres are signing him now, but it could suggest one of their other goaltenders will be traded away in the coming days. There has been some rumbling that Craig Anderson has drawn a bit of interest, and Eric Comrie’s contract is likely one the team is ready to move on from.
This was always the likely scenario for Harrington after joining the Devils, as he won’t have a full-time NHL role with his new team. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will spend the rest of the season in the minor leagues, but at this point the team doesn’t need him on the active roster and can stash him in the AHL. That is, of course, unless a team wants to take him, but Harrington already cleared waivers twice this season, so the risk seems minimal.