Four players have been placed on waivers. Patrick Eaves of the Anaheim Ducks and Micheal Haley of the Florida Panthers are on regular waivers, while goaltenders Thomas McCollum and Michael Leighton have both signed NHL contracts for the rest of the season and were required to be put through the process. McCollum’s two-way deal with the Nashville Predators will see him earn a prorated $650K at the NHL level ($100K in the AHL) for the rest of the season, while Leighton’s contract with the Vancouver Canucks will carry the same NHL salary.
Eaves is perhaps the most surprising of the group, given the excitement over his arrival in Anaheim at the end of the 2016-17 season. The veteran forward found a perfect fit with the Ducks and scored 11 goals down the stretch for them, finishing with a career-high of 32 on the season. Unfortunately, things took a disastrous turn last season when Eaves was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and played just two games for the Ducks. This year has been marred by injury after injury, leading to just seven games played by the 34-year old winger.
With another season remaining on his three-year, $9.45MM contract it will be hard for any team to justify a claim on Eaves, who doesn’t have a point this year. With that in mind, using waivers will give the Ducks a chance to move him back and forth if need be.
Vancouver has been strapped for goaltending help since trading away Anders Nilsson and losing Mike McKenna on waivers, and Leighton has done enough to deserve an NHL deal. The 37-year old netminder has a .912 save percentage over four games with the Utica Comets and will likely serve as emergency insurance for the Canucks down the stretch.