WWYDW: Waive Goodbye

The waiver wire has probably been the most interesting part of the season so far across the league as fans get to yell into the internet at their teams for not picking up useful but expendable players from other (mostly better) teams. I do believe it may be one of hockey’s most sacred traditions. 

Well, the Flames will be wading into the waiver-waters again very soon so let’s figure out who should be waived next. What Would You Do Wednesday returns and today we are talking waivers. 

Let’s get this one out of the way first. In Ari’s Lance Bouma piece from yesterday, she addressed who the likely candidate was to be sent down in the wake of Bouma’s return from injury. The conclusion reached is one that I think races to mind for Flames fans:

That would mean subjecting someone else to waivers, and really, out of all the possibilities, the choice seems obvious: Brandon Bollig. Bollig hasn’t played since Nov. 24, when the Flames lost 5-3 to the Anaheim Ducks, a game in which he only played just 6:24, had a fight, and took a penalty that resulted in the Ducks scoring their first goal of the game. In short: he did not have a good showing, and has not seen any ice since then.

Clearly, as Ari articulated, Bollig is the obvious choice. But what if I told you the Flames did not always make the most obvious choice when it comes to the waiver wire? Would it shock and horrify you? It shouldn’t. The Flames were faced with a waiver conundrum earlier in the season when they decided to hang on to three goalies and expose Paul Byron to waivers. That was a bad move.

Byron was claimed (and has been effectively used I might add) by a team with a far-stronger forward group in Montreal. The final result was Alexander Semin being cast off the Habs roster and now looking for the hockey equivalent of day-labour work in Russia. 

Furthermore, for the Brian Burke truthers in our readership, take a look at this interview from Sportsnet’s Tim and Sid from earlier this season:

He mentions Bollig at around the 2:23 mark

It’s pretty clear that Burke is a big Bollig fan and the Flames have had more than one opportunity to send him through waivers already and instead have chosen other options like Byron and Mason Raymond. Will Bouma’s return be different because Bouma provides a rough-and-tumble style of game as well? I’m not sure the coaching staff view Bollig and Bouma as the same type of player and for good reason. I think it’s clear that based on the merit of play, Brandon Bollig is the obvious first-choice for waiver exposure. 

IF LOGIC DOESN’T PREVAIL

Let’s take a look at the other options available to the Flames outside of Bollig. The Flames have already waived Mason Raymond once this season and, given the amount of money and term left on his deal, I would guess that he is unlikely to be claimed if he was put on waivers again. This makes Raymond a pretty safe option if the Flames decide to keep Bollig up. However, are the Flames a better team without Raymond on the roster? I’m not so sure. 

Raymond still provides some value to the Flames bottom-six and last night’s game was a good example. Raymond’s ability to cycle the puck effectively with his speed, coupled with his ability to score goals in bunches (though certainly not consistently) means that I can see a place for Raymond in the Flames lineup most nights. 

Joe Colborne’s stock had fallen rapidly this season with even some of his most ardent supporters. Despite the fact that Colborne is often given good opportunities with capable linemates and even power-play time, Colborne has struggled to produce offense this year and is often a liability in his own zone. We all hate the plus-minus stat, but Colborne is worst among his forward group with a minus-ten rating. Also, Colborne is one of the worst possession players on the entire team.

Does this mean that Colborne should be a candidate for waivers? Perhaps based on his play this season but I highly doubt he will be waived. Colborne is too tantalizing of a player given his size and once-in-a-blue-moon ability to score or set up pretty goals. That being said, Colborne is a pretty good candidate for press-box duty once the roster has Bouma back on it though. 

Outside of Raymond and Colborne, there are some even less-desirable possibilities. I suppose the Flames could decide to try and sneak Josh Jooris through waivers, if primarily with an eye to get him playing some more games rather than being consistently healthy scratched. Personally, I’d have Jooris playing every night rather than Colborne but perhaps I’m just a a grump. 

Exposing Jooris would be risky because he’s cheap, pretty young, and exactly the profile of a player that an injury-riddled team would want to plug holes in their roster. I would hope that the Flames don’t go down this route but given how frequently he has been scratched this season I suppose it is within the realm of possibility. 

Also, as has been discussed at length at FN this week, the Flames could opt to send down the only waiver-exempt player on their roster, Markus Granlund. It is hard for me to imagine why Bouma’s presence on the roster would threaten a player with Granlund’s skill set but it remains one of the most likely scenarios for the Flames based on the simple fact that it is the path of least resistance. 

Granlund has acquitted himself well in his most recent call-up and I hope the Flames continue to not just play him but use him effectively throughout his time with the big-club. Playing Granlund with skilled players like Bennett and Hudler is the only responsible way to see what a skilled player like him can do. In previous call-ups, the Flames have been fond of burying Granlund on fourth-line duty which makes zero sense. Personally, I would rather see Raymond waived, again, rather than see Granlund sent down. Again. 

That’s just my take, what do you all think about this? Who should the Flames waive? Perhaps more accurately, who will the Flames waive? Or should they send Granlund back to preserve the roster? Let me know what you would do! 

  • Burnward

    They’ve got guys who could help someone. Even if you only get a pick for a guy like Jooris or Colborne…you might have to bite the bullet.

    Hathaway, Arnold, Shore are coming quickly. Similar skill sets.

    Granlund has been very good and has room to grow. To send him down would be foolish.

    • CofRed4Life

      That’s wishful thinking! Who would claim Bollig?

      I agree that Bollig is the most reasonable candidate, but at this point nothing would surprise me with the waiver wire. I still don’t know if I’ve fully recovered from losing Byron. That was a sad day…

  • beloch

    Re: Colborne

    Colborne has been deployed primarily in a shut-down role this season. His possession stats could be better, but he’s scoring at a 0.5 ppg pace. Hartley should probably give him some more shelter, but he’s not worth booting from the team just yet. More popular players have produced far less in the situations Colborne has been playing in.

    Re: Today’s Waiver Wire

    The Oilers’ Mark Fayne has been put on waivers. Chiarelli seems to be systematically cleaning out MacT’s acquisitions, but is Fayne really that bad?

    His possession stats and point production are both terrible, but he’s been playing the toughest minutes of any defender on the Oilers. He’s also making just $3.6M. He’s clearly out of his depths on the top pair, but he has a contract that’s actually second pairing friendly.

    The Flames don’t have the cap space to snag Fayne. That’s a bit of a shame because he’d probably be decent on the second or third pair. He’s also going to be an easy pump-and-dump project player. Pick this guy up, put him on a second or third pair with decent linemates, and he’ll probably look like he did before the Oilers got their mitts on him. Easy money at the trade deadline.

    I’d be surprised if Fayne clears waivers. Chiarelli just made his blueline weaker for no good reason. It looks like the Oilers have embraced the tank yet again despite being just five points out of the playoffs. Any Flames fans who still have designs on that 2016 #1 overall pick should probably just concede defeat now.

    • mattyc

      It’s really too bad we don’t have the cap space to pick up Fayne because he would probably be perfect with Dougie on the second pairing.

      And this is why you don’t sign people to stupid contracts. Let’s see…if we hadn’t re-signed Ramo, we would have had the space…

      • Canrock 78

        Picking up Fayne off waivers would be just another stupid move!

        When Mark Fayne signed with the Edmonton Oilers on July 1, 2014, he was one of two signings that day that were applauded by the analytics community.

        SO much for analytics!

        • Canrock 78

          When Calgary signed Michael Frolik signed this past off-season, it too was a signing that was applauded by the analytics community. And Frolic has been quite good in Calgary.

          The fact Fayne has failed in Edmonton is more of an indictment on the Oilers than on analytics…

      • Danomitee

        If we hadn’t re-signed Ramo we’d be firmly cemented in last place. Not saying he’s good, just saying our goalie sitch combined with our special teams is so bad Websters would need to create a new word to properly describe it.

        Back to the waiver wire, the Flames should without a doubt waive Bollig but they will waive Granlund because they don’t like us. I honestly would rather have any one of those players waived over Granlund.

        • The Last Big Bear

          I think Hiller would likely work out some of his kinks if he started like 14 of 15.

          The goaltending numbers were bound to improve, only because they were so God-awful to begin with.

          • Danomitee

            Oh yea the numbers were bound to improve. But Hiller was missing for around 10 games or so, meaning we would have relied on Ortio with unknown backing him up since the AHL club is riddled with injuries. It could have been even worse without him is all I’m saying.

    • The Last Big Bear

      RE: Fayne

      Even if the Flames has designs on picking him up, they would have to send down Granlund prior to claiming him, or put Russell on IR immediately. Either way, it would result in Bollig and Raymond being waived to allow Bouma to come back, and still allow them to bring back Granlund.

      To sum it up:

      Demote Granlund (paper transaction)
      Claim Fayne
      Waive Raymond, then assign him
      Granlund can play Buffalo
      Waive Bollig
      Activate Bouma

      We would have 8D, 13F, and 2 goalies.

    • everton fc

      I’ve been on ON a few times this year, and it seems that most Oilers fans feel like Nurse and Davidson have earned their spots on the roster. With Schultz, Gryba, Klefbom, and Sekera all firmly in the team’s top 6, and with Andrew Ference occupying the pressbox, the Oilers have an abundance of 5-6 guys (Reinhart is back in the minors too). That might play a part in why Fayne was sent down.

      As for Colbrone, I’m pretty meh on him. 9 points in 22 games, 0.40 PPG. Nothing special, but I thought he seemed okay in a 3rd line role with Stajan and Jones. With Jones out, we get to see whether or not he was just riding the coattails of his line mates.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Re: Fayne – you have no idea what you are talking about. Fayne has been getting 10 minutes of sheltered ice and getting owned. He is hardly ‘out of his depths on the top pair’. That’s a fun story but it’s not accurate.

      He is an unmitigated disaster. Barely playing and getting less and less responsibility. More like ‘out of his depths on the Oilers 3rd pair’. He is a relic of the old, slower, trapping east.

      BT is too smart to go near that guy, and I’m glad you aren’t the GM.

      I do wish you were the Oilers GM, because it appears as if Chiarelli is purging the mess they have there. The Oilers are missing their entire 2nd line and winning…. Keeping slugs like Fayne around is how they stayed in the basement for so long.

      • supra steve

        “Fayne has been getting 10 minutes of sheltered ice”

        Easy to fact check the time component of this claim, and it’s a fabrication. In the Oil’s most recent game he logged 8:09, but that is the only game all season that he has logged less than 10 minutes. In their last 5 he averages over 16 minutes, and over the entire season he averages over 16 minutes as well.

        When you are claiming that someone else has “no idea what you are talking about”, it is generally a good idea, to have an idea, about that which you are talking.

  • Parallex

    What would I do? I’d dangle Colborne out on the trade market and take the best offer I got. Barring that I’d waive Bollig and be done with it.

    Of course Burke with his Pseudo-fetish for beef and/or truculance would probably have a temper-tantrum so I imagine what they actually will do is undeservedly demote Granlund as the path of least resistence.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Is this a trick question?

    I’ll drive Bollig to Stockton myself.

    I’d probably be willing to waive Engelland too, unless the team is planning to trade Russel or Wideman at the deadline.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I’d be perfectly happy to claim Fayne…

    He’s better than Engelland, and comparable to Smid.

    But we can’t claim him, because of Engelland and Smid.

  • Hubcap1

    Here’s the thing about Raymond, the Flames would love it if someone picked him up on waivers just to get rid of the contract. So I see no reason that it wouldn’t be him that gets waived if that becomes necessary.

  • supra steve

    Fayne’s problem is he played in a system where defence is a dirty word, just like Petry, who was no damn good while he was there and is doing just fine for Les Habs. There’s nothing wrong with Fayne that a team of backchecking forwards won’t help. He would be just fine in Calgary. The stats weren’t wrong.

    @ Danomitee – good point re Ramo. Except that without the uncertainty of three goalies in camp, one of the two of them gets their mojo on right away – goalies are voodoo, right?

    I would waive Bollig and Colborne; I would keep and play Granlund and Raymond too, surprisingly, as he has actually looked pretty good recently. Jooris needs to stay too as he is a swiss army knife piece that can be used anywhere he is needed.

    They need to do just about anything to keep Granlund up. He looks really good with Bennett and there is a good chemistry there.

  • everton fc

    Some team might be interested in a trade for Colborne. Package him w/someone (Russell?) and move him. Get assets.

    I’d like to see Granlund w/Raymond, but he seems great w/Hudler right now.

  • T&A4Flames

    re: Fayne

    Let’s look at it this way, Russell wants a raise, probably at a # close to what Fayne makes or more (although he has to know that his stock has dropped this year).

    Would you rather have Russell or Fayne moving forward at that $ figure? I agree with others that have said he’d likely look better with our current D core. And another R shot at 6’3″… make some room.

  • Skuehler

    Colborne gets picked up if he is put on waivers. Byron 2.0

    He has size, hands, pedigree, clutch scorer, good cap hit, can play centre, screen goalies. He is an assett. If he is redundant here then you trade him for another assett.

    Not sure how a rebuilding team that has been last in the standings can rationalize gifting assetts to other teams

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The solution is simple. Ban the wave! No more fan wave at the Saddledome. It’s likely the cause for every Flames loss at the Dome, since 1986. The wave sucks the fun out of everything that is good about hockey. No wave.

  • RexLibris

    Fayne was waived because Chiarelli has likely already explored trade options and none exist save in taking on a bad contract from another team.

    Friedman’s 30 thoughts today sum up the market:

    Since the puck dropped this season, not one player currently on an NHL roster has been traded. The only move was Tampa sending goalie Kevin Poulin to Calgary, and he was injured playing for AHL Stockton.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/30-thoughts-the-remarkable-rise-of-mike-hoffman/

    Fayne is not a good fit for McLellan’s defensive style which requires quick skating and strong passing, neither of which are Fayne’s strongest suits. He is a shutdown player, but the work done by Oilers Nerd Alert suggests that while he reduces shots against, he gives up a greater number of high-danger shots.

    He might do well on the Flames, and would likely be a better defender than Smid or Engelland.

    Claiming him at the expense of one of the two above would be a decent move and the Flames have the cap space for him this season. Next season is debatable, but they could buy him out if necessary or move him at the deadline or over the summer, if need be.

    I’d wager an Eastern Conference team takes a long look at him.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Man , if you’re thinking of waiving Colborne, you would regret it, 29 other teams would snap him up. The first would be the Oilers. He is a 6 ft 5 forward with great hands and shoot out capability, he is just starting to understand how to use his size in traffic and was one of the best forwards in last years playoffs. He will continue to improve and by the end of the year we will all be glad we didn’t make that mistake

    • The Last Big Bear

      Colborne has been one season away from being an impact player since 2009.

      We just have to face the fact that he probably never will be, even though he has all the tools to be a #1C in the NHL.

      He is an absolutely dominant player. For one or two shifts at a time. Sometimes.

      Personally, I’d keep him. Because I think his issue is motivation, and he doesn’t give 100% very often (that’s not an insult, I don’t give 100% at work every single day either, and I doubt many others here do either). But when the games matter more, and motivation comes from other sources, I think he’ll stiffen up, and that’s exactly what we saw last year as his play dramatically improved down the stretch and into the playoffs.

      So I think Colborne is all of the things that I usually claim don’t exist in the NHL: an unmotivated player, who doesn’t try that hard, but is clutch, especially in the playoffs.

      I think he’s worth more than he’d fetch in trade, and I like the idea of having an extra centre in the lineup who at least has the physical tools to step into a top-6 role if the going gets tough.

  • The Last Big Bear

    @Kurt

    I do wish you were the Oilers GM, because it appears as if Chiarelli is purging the mess they have there. The Oilers are missing their entire 2nd line and winning tied for last place like they have been pretty much continuously since Day 1…. .

    Fixed that for you.

    And it’s not “keeping slugs like Fayne” that have kept the Oilers in the basement. It’s because they are a garbage organization from the top down.

    If anything, it’s the mentality of “Hey, let’s roll out a team where 3 of the top 4 defencemen are under 25 years old because these guys are the future” that has kept them in the dumpster.

  • everton fc

    What about a line of Raymond/Granlund/Colborne. Or at lease one of Raymond/Colborne with Granlund? Heck, if Granlund can’t win a faceoff, Colborne can, so you have two options in the circle, on the same line??

    I think Granlund will prove he can make players around him step up their game. I really think we’ll see this as “reality” very soon.

    Waive Bollig first. Then Raymond. Trade Colborne if you don’t want to keep him. But waiving him makes zero sense, as he’d be worth something to someone. Perhaps even the Flames!