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Maple Leafs waive Eric Fehr

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This is the roster move we didn’t see coming.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Earlier today, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they were sending Calle Rosen to the AHL to make room on the roster for newly signed Roman Polak. This all seemed simple and straightforward.

Now we learn that Eric Fehr is on waivers, and a rethink is in order.

Mike Babcock has said repeatedly that he needed ten games to assess the depth players he had in excess. It seems now like he only needed eight games.

In: Dominic Moore as the fourth line centre. Out: Eric Fehr.

In: Andreas Borgman and Roman Polak as the third pair. Out: Well, that’s a good question. Is anyone out?

The possibility exists that Rosen’s demotion is a paper transaction until Fehr is off the roster. The other possibility exists that the Leafs may decide to call up a forward to fill the roster back up to 23-men. We’ll find out tomorrow. It seems certain that they’ll have someone added back before the trip to California.

If Fehr clears waivers, $1.025 million of his $2 million cap hit will be buried. The remaining $975,000 still counts for cap calculations.

Before he played some successful shifts at 4C, he seemed unlikely to be ever claimed by anyone with a salary that high. He still is unlikely to be taken, but if he clears, the Leafs might be able to trade him, and they may well get offers in the centre-poor market the NHL has going right now.

By playing him in the NHL, or more accurately, by him playing well enough to make it a real contest with Moore for the job, he increased his chances of landing on a team that needs him. This puts him in a better situation than Brooks Laich, who only just managed to find an NHL job after spending last season playing only very occasionally and not well on the Marlies.

Tomorrow at noon, we will know if Fehr has been claimed.