Joakim Andersson has been able to call himself a permanent graduate of the Grand Rapids Griffins for three seasons now, but that run might be coming to an end within the next 24 hours. The Detroit Red Wings have placed the Swedish forward on waivers as of earlier this afternoon.
Andersson (DEt) on waivers.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 22, 2016
Andersson has played 25 of Detroit’s 45 games this year. Of the Red Wings’ fourteen most frequently played forward, the 26-year-old has been the 11th most efficient point producer at even strength while being assigned the fourth most difficult minutes based on starting zone position. While he hasn’t been particularly strong at driving play (-1.39% CF rel), the team does tend to better at generating shots closer to the net while he’s on the ice.
If nothing else, Andersson has been an effective enough bottom sixer for the team under limited minutes and less than advantageous opportunities over the past few years. If I had to guess, waivers aren’t the Red Wings’ method of giving up on him. It’s very likely that a player like him clears, and once he clears, he’s free to go up and down between the two teams until the Red Wings play ten games or 30 days pass (whichever comes first). This gives the team more salary cap flexibility as they approach the trade deadline; every day that Andersson is a Griffin, the team saves about $4000, which is the equivalent of over $10,000 come the deadline.
There’s always the chance that Andersson, who is a pending UFA, gets claimed. In that case, his $815,000 cap hit comes off the books.
If Andersson clears and reports to the Griffins to play, his first game with Grand Rapids could come as early as tomorrow evening against the Rochester Americans.