February 26, 2011
Lots of waiver wire action today ahead of Monday's trade deadline, including three significant claims: Marco Sturm(notes) to the Washington Capitals, Craig Rivet(notes) to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nick Boynton(notes) to the Philadelphia Flyers (via Pierre LeBrun).
It was stunning when the Los Angeles Kings placed Sturm on waivers yesterday, considering he had just returned from injury and waived his no-trade clause with the Boston Bruins to rejoin GM Dean Lombardi with the Kings earlier this season.
His claim by the Capitals today wasn't a surprise based on their needs: scoring depth and a kick in the ass after a lackadaisical 6-0 loss at home to the New York Rangers last night.
But it is interesting to see the Caps make a waiver claim on a $3.5 million cap hit (which will be pro-rated) considering they have $1,613,658 in projected cap space via Cap Geek. This could mean a trip for defenseman Tom Poti(notes) to LTIR, considering he makes $3.5 million against the cap.
Can Sturm help the sputtering Caps' offense? What does Rivet offer Columbus?
"On the on-ice part of it, we need more. He's a player going through a situation - as you all know - with an injury, coming back, getting himself physically ready to play. He's been through the skating club for a couple of weeks. My view of it is that his conditioning is good. He's ready to get going. Everything is on page there. Now it's putting it all together on the ice, and being a good player to play on the top line and contribute to the hockey club and help us win games. I certainly could use more on that, but he's a player who can show me that veteran-player composure, making plays, carrying the puck, use his speed, his asset."
Rivet could be a shrewd addition for the Blue Jackets: a veteran blue-liner who is likely in his final season and clearly needed a change in scenery after a hellish season with the Buffalo Sabres. He hasn't played since Jan. 11, scratched for the last 18 games, and the Jackets got him on reentry waivers.
The on-ice impact for a player like Rivet could be minimal, but the intangibles are there. He was the Sabres captain, and for a Blue Jackets blue line that lacks someone with his experience and credentials, that's key leadership when he's in the lineup. He's the type of veteran defenseman they hoped Mike Commodore(notes) would be for them before shipping him to the AHL and worrying about "his influence on prospects as though he's Charlie Sheen taking over a Boy Scout troop."
Also key: They didn't give up a roster player to get Rivet, given the chemistry the Jackets have had in their recent torrid run (8-1-1).
Other waiver wire fun: Goalie Curtis McElhinney(notes), acquired from the Ducks for Dan Ellis(notes), is on waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning; the Senators placed Pascal Leclaire(notes) on waivers; and in a somewhat surprising move, the Blues placed Ty Conklin(notes) on waivers, given there was chatter he had trade potential.