Waivers have been a big deal this season. From both Marek Svatos and Kyle Wellwood being claimed before they could sign with the Blues to Evgeni Nabokov refusing to play for the New York Islanders after they claimed him, it’s been an exciting season along the waiver wire.
Jealous that professional hockey teams get to pluck people off of waivers while we’re stuck watching from the sidelines, we’ve decided to put together our All-Waiver team. Well, just the starting line-up for our All-Waiver team. We’re not masochists.
The only requirement to make this team is that you had to have been put on waivers sometime this season or in the most recent offseason.
Our forward line: Tim Kennedy – Michael Nylander – Marek Svatos
Svatos is the only player on this list who is currently playing in the NHL. Svatos signed with Avangard Omsk of the KHL before the season began, but was released from his contract in December. He aimed to return to the NHL as a member of the St. Louis Blues. However, he was claimed by the Nashville Predators on re-entry waivers and resumed his NHL career there. Svatos has one goal and two assists in seven games with the Predators, but is currently out of action with a lower-body injury.
Kennedy and Nylander were both placed on waivers before the season began. The waiver wire is nothing new to either player. Nylander was waived by Washington last season as well and Kennedy was waived and bought out by the Sabres in the summer. Kennedy is a decent, young player with some NHL experience. He could perform relatively well in the right circumstances. Nylander is at the other end of the spectrum. The 38-year-old NHL veteran has certainly had better years, but it’s his contract not his ability that keeps him from securing an NHL job. He’s currently recovering from spinal fusion surgery after being hit from behind during an AHL game.
Our defensive pairing: Wade Redden – Sheldon Souray
If you’re looking for an incredibly overpaid defensive team, this is it!
Sheldon Souray has a cap hit of $5.4 million until the end of the 2011-2012 season. Wade Redden comes with a $6.5 million cap hit until the end of the 2013-2014 season. Ouch.
Either way, beggars cannot be choosers and since the pool of defensemen placed on waivers isn’t all that deep, this is what we’re left with. In all honesty, it would be unlikely if either of these players stepped foot into an NHL locker room again. If it wasn’t for their contracts, however, they would make serviceable players in the NHL.
Our goaltender: Mike Smith
With goaltenders we actually had a lot to choose from. We also decided to go with Michael Leighton, but Smith wins out due to a longer NHL resume. Besides, Leighton has been placed on waivers a couple of times in his career, so we’ll always get another shot at claiming him. We also thought about claiming Evgeni Nabokov, but there’s a good chance he wouldn’t report.
Mike Smith is a 28-year-old goaltender who could never quite live up to the hype. He went 12-5-2 for the Dallas Stars in his rookie season and was named to the 2007 All-Rookie Team. He’s been inconsistent since then, but he’s still a viable NHL goaltender, even if you’re just talking about a back-up role.
We’re probably missing some great waiver pick-ups in this post, so let us know who you think would make your own All-Waiver Team.