Jordan Schroeder hasn’t exactly lit the NHL on fire during his four-year career, after being taken 22nd overall in 2009 by the Vancouver Canucks. He has 27 points in 107 games, including four points in 26 games with the Minnesota Wild last season, playing an average of 9:25 per game.
But it’s within the 25-year-old restricted free agent’s rights to file for arbitration against the Wild, which he did early this month. This issue? He wanted a one-way contract or, sparing that, a two-way contract that would have paid him a bit more to give up that stability.
It was also within the Wild’s rights to do what they did on Tuesday: Dropping Schroeder on non-buyout waivers. Why did they do this? As Michael Russo notes, it’s to build their own case in an attempt to strong-arm him into the contract they want him on, as he’ll still be an RFA headed to arbitration when he clears:
If Schroeder clears, he's still a RFA w July 27 arb date. #mnwild clearly unhappy he filed for arb, strengthening case he deserves a 2 way
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) July 19, 2016
Basically, the Wild are trying to show that Schroeder is a borderline NHL player, and that he could clear waivers for the fourth time since October. That’s not only for the benefit of an arbitration hearing, but for the benefit of the player headed to an arbitration hearing. And the Wild have done it before, although under a previous managerial regime.
In 2008, Stephane Veilleux, a popular fourth-liner, wanted a long-term deal with the Wild. The Wild, however, wanted him to sign the deal they offered him, and threatened him with waivers if he didn’t.
So in July 2008, Veilleux was placed on waivers, as then-assistant GM Tom Lynn told the Grand Forks Herald:
“We are far apart in our evaluation and Steph really believes in a higher number,” Lynn said. “So here’s a way of figuring out who’s right: ‘If you’re right, you’ll be taken off waivers and paid your X dollars by another team.’ “If we’re right and he goes through waivers, Steph will see nobody claimed him and it might bring the sides together and solve the problem before (Veilleux’s) arbitration (hearing Monday).”
That’s hardball. Veilleux eventually signed just a one-year deal with the team. He left as a UFA the following summer.
Such is life in restricted free agency. Fare thee well, Jordan Schroeder.