HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WAIVER WIRE, 10/3/2016 EDITION

5-Fraser-1

We’re still waiting for real hockey games, but there won’t be a dull day off the ice between now and the start of the NHL regular season. Monday kicks off another week and another batch of players for the waiver wire.

  • LD Andrew Bodnarchuk.
    Bodnarchuk played 37 games in the NHL last season, being claimed off
    waivers by Colorado from Columbus in January. A well-rounded if undersized
    defenceman at the AHL level, he lacks a standout skill.
  • G Peter Budaj. The
    long-time NHL’er posted a 42-14-4 record and 0.932 save percentage with the
    Kings’ farm team last season. He’s probably best-suited to being a third-string
    option at this point in his career, but is probably capable of providing Jonas
    Gustavsson-level backup play if a team out there needs a fill-in option.
  • C Sam Carrick. Carrick,
    age 24, has spent his entire career prior to this fall in the Toronto Maple
    Leafs organization. He’s a physical forward, and the question is whether he’ll
    score enough to challenge for a fourth-line job. He had 34 points in 52 AHL
    games a year ago.
  • LD Tim Erixon. It
    was a big deal back in 2011 when Erixon forced a trade from Calgary to the New
    York Rangers, but in hindsight the player’s ambition exceeded his ability to
    have an impact at the NHL level. He spent last season in the minors after going
    to Pittsburgh in the Phil Kessel trade, and it’s a reasonable bet that at age
    25 his 93 career NHL games will end up being the bulk of his career.
  • LD Mark Fraser. A
    big, tough veteran, Mark Fraser was schooled in the New Jersey system and knows
    his business in the defensive zone. Limited foot speed and ability with the
    puck make it increasingly difficult for him to crack an NHL roster as he enters
    his 30’s. He has played 219 NHL games but spent all of last year in the minors.
  • LD Cameron Gaunce. Gaunce
    spent all of last season in the minors, and by the numbers at least had a
    breakthrough season at age 25. He hit a career high in points (37) and
    decreased his penalty minutes from 113 the season before down to just 60. He’s
    played 20 NHL games but hasn’t been able to make the jump full-time.
  • RD Vincent Loverde. On
    the surface, Loverde is a 27-year-old career AHL’er. However, he had a
    career-high in points last season (32 in just 56 AHL games), he shoots right
    and he has a reputation of being a smart player. That’s not entirely dissimilar
    from, say, Corey Potter in the fall of 2011.
  • LW Stefan Matteau. Matteau
    was an eyebrow-raising first-rounder of the Devils back in 2012. The 6’2”,
    220-pound forward has always played a mature, competitive game, but lacked the
    offensive upside to have a shot at top-six work. He played 32 games in the NHL
    last season, picking up a pair of points. If he can provide even a smidgen of
    offence he’ll have a career, but so far he hasn’t managed that.  
  • LD Stuart Percy. Percy,
    a first-round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2011, was somewhat surprisingly cut
    loose this past summer by Toronto. He’s a two-way defenceman with a range of
    skills and is still only 23 years of age.
  • RD Chad Ruhwedel. Ruhwedel
    has played 33 career NHL games, but just one of those came last season and at
    the age of 26 this undersized puckmover runs the risk of being labeled a career
    ‘tweener.
  • C Jordan Schroeder. The
    right-shooting Schroeder was a first-round pick in 2009, with the Vancouver
    Canucks betting his offensive acumen would make up for his lack of size. He has
    turned into a pretty decent scorer at the AHL level, but has just 27 points in
    107 NHL games and turned 26 this past week. His contract is reasonable enough that he
    might be an option in a 13th forward slot; he’s been a reasonably good
    possession player over his career and right-shooting centres generally have
    some value.
  • LD Viktor Svedberg. The
    massive (6’8”, 238 pounds) Svedberg brings to mind Zdeno Chara, or less
    charitably, Boris Valabik. He spent 27 games on the Blackhawks’ roster last
    season and even found his way into some playoff action. He isn’t fast but has
    some ability with the puck and given his age (25) and the organization he’s
    with now might be attractive to a general manager with a hole to fill on the
    blue line.
  • LW Chris Terry. Terry
    has spent most of the last two seasons in the NHL with Carolina, scoring 31
    points over 125 games played. He’s not particularly big or brilliant
    defensively, and his scoring hasn’t been good enough to keep him in the majors.
  • LW Garrett Wilson. Just
    call him Jean-Francois Jacques. The 6’2” Wilson plays a rugged style of hockey
    and found his way into 29 NHL contests last season. He has never recorded a
    point in any of his 34 regular season games, though he did manage a playoff
    assist for Florida last spring.  
There are a lot of No. 8 defenceman/No. 14 forward types on the waiver wire today, which isn’t a surprise given how little gap there generally is separating players in those positions. Again, we aren’t overly likely to see any of these players claimed given that most teams are still making tough decisions at the end of their rosters. 

The two possible exceptions for me are Schroeder and Svedberg. Lots of teams like a spare forward to play centre, and right-shooting centres are more valuable still. Lots of other teams like to have a massive body they can trot out as their No. 6 defenceman for games in California. That gives either of those players some small chance of landing on another club’s roster. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS