After making a move to recall Jordan Binnington yesterday, it was obvious something was brewing in St. Louis. The Blues today have placed goaltender Chad Johnson on waivers, likely with the intention of sending him to the minor leagues. The Boston Bruins meanwhile have placed Martin Bakos on unconditional waivers according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.
It’s a tough break for Johnson, who signed a one-year $1.75MM contract in the offseason to replace the outgoing Carter Hutton—who coincidentally, replaced Johnson in Buffalo. The veteran goaltender has not played well this season, posting an .884 save percentage through ten appearances, but is by no means the only problem in St. Louis. The entire team has struggled to string any wins together, but this is the move that they’ve decided to make to shake things up.
Johnson, 32, does have a history of success in the NHL, but took a big step backwards last season with the Sabres and has followed it up with an even worse start. It would be surprising to see anyone jump at the chance to claim him given his cap hit, though there are some teams around the league in need of goaltending help that may take a chance. More likely is he reports to the minor leagues to try and get his game back in order, before eventually returning to the NHL to help the Blues. If he does clear and is assigned to the AHL, the Blues will also get a $1.025MM break on his cap hit, though Binnington’s $650K eats up most of the savings.
Bakos on the other hand has been playing the entire season in the minor leagues with the Providence Bruins, after signing a one-year two-way contract in the summer. The Slovakian forward has played the last few seasons in the KHL or Czech league, and figured he’d try his hand at North American hockey. That experiment seems to be over, and Bakos will return to Europe after seeing his contract terminated with the Bruins.