It’s quite rare to see not one, not two but potentially three top-nine calibre forwards placed on waivers. Many eyebrows seemed to be raised when Teemu Pulkkinen, Seth Griffith and PA Parenteau all ended up on waivers this morning. But a day before NHL rosters must be finalized and cap compliant, three intriguing players have made their way to the waiver wire and likely will get claimed which will surely lead to more roster shuffling before opening night.
What makes each of these three so valuable? Why should your favourite team try to make a claim on one of the two?
In 2014-2015, Pulkkinen notched 34 goals and 61 points in 46 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins, finishing second in points and first in goals in the AHL. With a 812.5K cap hit to his name, snagging Pulkkinen would be a low risk, high reward move for any team seeking help in their bottom six.
The Edmonton Oilers should take a long and hard look at Pulkkinen. With it becoming apparent that 2016 first round selection Jesse Puljujarvi could use some seasoning in the AHL and with camp attendee Kris Versteeg on the shelf with an injury, the Oilers could use some more depth on right wing.
It’s unlikely Pulkkinen will slip to the Chicago Blackhawk’s claim, but if so, that could be quite the match made in heaven. As we’ve seen when the Hawks acquired Richard Panik, Chicago’s winning environment can change the fate of a struggling young player in need of a change of scenery. Panik was a bubble player with the Toronto Maple Leafs before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks where he currently skates on the team’s top line.
Alike Pulkkinen, Griffith is a young forward who has produced big numbers in the AHL but has not been able to stick at the NHL level. Last season Griffith finished second in AHL scoring when he recorded 77 points for the Boston Bruins affiliate, the Providence Bruins. While the Bruins may be holding on hope Griffith will be returning to their farm club so they can keep a hold of them, that’s not necessarily a lock to occur. While team’s are well aware that AHL success doesn’t automatically translate to NHL success, Griffith has a skill set and excellent hockey sense that could be an asset in a team’s bottom six.
With teams gearing towards skilled players occupying third and fourth line spots, Griffith could fill that role or at least be given a shot by a team such as the Montreal Canadians. The Canadians could use some skill in their bottom six or as the team’s 13th forward and the undersized forward could fit the bill for what the team needs. The Calgary Flames could take a thorough look at Griffith with a need for skill in the team’s weak bottom six.
Now this one is a real head scratcher.
How could someone that scored 20 gals and 41 points for the 30th ranked Maple Leafs last season end up on the waiver wire?
For the last six seasons Parenteau has been a consistent middle-six forward that has produced decent numbers. Players of Parenteau’s type usually are traded for a mid round pick at the deadline, a team could acquire him now for nothing instead of sacrificing a pick for a top-nine forward down the road. Along with every other waiver claim, there isn’t much commitment made by the team, if it isn’t a good fit, they can get rid of him as quickly as they claimed him.
The same teams that could be in contention for young options such as Griffith and Pulkkinen to fill in top-nine roles could side to go with Parenteau in hopes of adding a veteran presence to their young lineup.