Tuesday: All three players have cleared waivers and can be assigned to the minor leagues.
Monday: With the Edmonton Oilers continuing to slip out of playoff contention, the team has placed forwards Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner on waivers. They’ll be joined by Justin Falk of the Ottawa Senators, who is finally healthy enough to resume playing but will be sent to the minor leagues if he clears.
Spooner’s placement on waivers will be the one that dominates headlines for the next 24 hours, given how he came to be part of the Oilers organization. The 26-year old forward was acquired from the New York Rangers for Ryan Strome earlier this season, who in turn had been the entire return for Jordan Eberle when the Oilers felt they needed to shed some salary up front. The idea that Spooner could now be gone for nothing will enrage Edmonton fans that have watched Eberle find success with the New York Islanders while their team struggles to find anyone who can put the puck in the net outside of their top three. The Oilers have even been described as desperate to add offensive touch on the wings, something that basically describes Eberle (not to mention Taylor Hall, another traded winger) perfectly.
Still, it’s not really surprising that Spooner finds himself in this position. The forward has recorded just three points in 24 games since being acquired by the Oilers and has recently spent time in the press box as a healthy scratch. His perimeter game has not gelled with head coach Ken Hitchcock’s system at all, and without regular powerplay time his offensive production has almost completely dried up.
There may be some reason to believe Spooner will be claimed though, given his history as a 40-50 point center in the league. In 2015-16 with the Boston Bruins Spooner recorded 49 points in 80 games while playing more than 15 minutes a night, before settling for 39 and 41 points the next two years while playing on the wing more often. That kind of production is exactly what the Oilers were hoping for when the acquired him, and what another team could take a chance on. With one more year on his contract at $3.1MM though, Edmonton may be forced to try and bury him in the minor leagues for the time being to open up some cap space.
Rattie meanwhile was likely one of the people most upset when Hitchcock was given the Edmonton job, given their history with the St. Louis Blues. The 32nd-overall pick from 2011 was never really able to get into the lineup under Hitchcock, and eventually found himself claimed off waivers by the Carolina Hurricanes. In 30 games with the Blues, Rattie recorded eight points, the same number he has in 29 contests with Edmonton this year.