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:
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!