If you don’t have depth, just take someone else’s. The Vancouver Canucks have claimed the second Toronto Maple Leafs forward in a few days, grabbing Travis Boyd off waivers today. Boyd will be following former linemate Jimmy Vesey to Vancouver, after the latter was claimed last week.
Boyd, 27, signed a one-year, $700K deal with the Maple Leafs in free agency and actually received a pretty substantial opportunity at the NHL level. In 20 games he recorded eight points, mostly working on the fourth line whenever he did get onto the roster. The former Washington Capital has carved out a career as a “tweener,” stuck somewhere between being an AHL star and NHL depth player. In 105 NHL games he has 39 points, but is nearly a point-per-game performer in the minor leagues.
For the Canucks, this move and the Vesey one are reminiscent of a team that is preparing to sell at the deadline. Both former Maple Leafs can be either flipped or fill the holes left by other trades, rather than really impact the fate of the Canucks down the stretch. Vancouver is 16-16-3 at this point in the season and though the playoffs are certainly not out of the picture, really competing for the Stanley Cup would be extremely difficult without massive improvement.
For the Maple Leafs, they obviously would have liked to get Vesey and Boyd through waivers, but will take the added cap space that their departures come with. The team is expected to be a big player at the trade deadline as they attempt to win a playoff round, or even perhaps get all the way to the Conference Finals given their route through the North Division.