The waiver wire list generally only gets better and better as training camps approach their end dates, and this year is no exception. Tuesday’s list features some extremely interesting players.
On NHL waivers today. Everyone yesterday cleared: pic.twitter.com/fuXCFIxSiT
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) October 4, 2016
James Mirtle has the full list posted above; the following are the players I think are worth looking at in a bit of detail.
- C Chris Brown. Brown’s had a tough few years. He’s a 6’2”, 215-pound right-shooting centre, and one who doesn’t mind playing a physical game. As a rookie pro he had 47 points in 68 games at the AHL level and even earned a five-game call-up; he looked like a real prospect. His scoring has fallen off in the minors, though, and he no longer looks like the kind of player worthy of a waiver claim.
- RD Darren Dietz. Now we’re getting somewhere. Dietz is 23 years old, a 6’1”, 213-pound right-shooting defenceman who played all situations in the minors. He was a point and penalty minute-producing rearguard in the WHL, though he’s become both more disciplined and less offensive as a pro. He had five points during a 13-game NHL recall last year and earned good reviews for his work.
- LW Quinton Howden. Howden was a first-round pick of the Panthers in the 2010 draft, combining a 6’2” frame with mobility and offensive skills. The offence, however, fell off in his final year of junior and has yet to be seen at the pro level. He had 11 points in 58 games for Florida a year ago, though he did mostly play in a fourth-line role.
- LD Brenden Kichton. A point-producing defenceman, Kichton was a late pick of the Islanders in 2011 and then a later pick of the Jets in 2013 after he didn’t sign with New York. He had 85 points in his final year of junior, and put up 41 points (along with a minus-23 rating) for the woeful Manitoba Moose last year. He actually ended up leading Manitoba in scoring. The trouble is that he isn’t big and he isn’t fast; despite his scoring Jets Nation ranked him as its 18th-best prospect this past summer.
- RW JC Lipon. THN described him as “a little rat with a lot of will” in their most recent edition of Future Watch, and the description fits his boxcars. The 23-year-old right winger had 30 points and 87 penalty minutes in 45 minor-league games a year ago, and picked up an assist in a nine-game NHL stint.
- RW Colin McDonald. McDonald is an exceptional AHL player. The 2003 second-round pick of the Oilers plays a rugged, defensively responsible game while also being capable of chipping in offensively. He’s averaged 25 points/82 games over a 145-game NHL career, which really isn’t bad for a big fourth-liner who can also kill penalties. His age works against him here.
- RD Zach Trotman. The 26-year-old Trotman lacks a standout skill, but as an end-of-roster option he has appeal because he brings a bit of everything. He’s 6’3” and 216 pounds and spent most of his last NHL stint playing tough minutes next to Zdeno Chara. He doesn’t bring a lot of offence at the major-league level, but is a reasonable point-producer in the AHL and previously in college hockey. He has real appeal in a No. 6/7 role, and his right shot doesn’t hurt him any.
This is a better list of players than any we’ve seen yet, though as always this is a tough time of year to make a claim. Every team is virtually guaranteed to have some in-house training camp standout; it’s difficult to axe that guy in favour of a bubble player from some other club.
The exception is when the newcomer brings some specific skillset that is perceived to be lacking. In Howden’s case, untapped potential. In Lipon’s case, aggressiveness. Dietz and Trotman are probably the most interesting names on this list, because both are right-shooting defenceman who proved last year they could play in the NHL if given an opportunity.
Again, I don’t really expect teams still trying to make their own final cuts to put a claim in, but the available options are becoming more tempting.