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Axel Rindell is going home

Drafted as an overager, he gave the AHL a try, and it didn’t work out for him.

Toronto Maple Leafs Headshots Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Unconditional waivers are the process used to terminate a contract before it expires so a player can play in another league.

Rindell’s deal was for this year and next, and his minors salary was $80,000. He is very likely to return to Finland and sign with a team there.

Drafted in 2020, he is 22 now, and was somewhat surprisingly signed to his ELC last spring. He was taken in the sixth round, 177th overall, and was a power play specialist in Finland. He played on the same team as the better prospect Mikko Kokkonen.

Rindell had a deeply disappointing start to his Leafs career, performing fairly poorly at Traverse City. He also suffered some injuries and ended up playing five games in the ECHL on a conditioning loan. He’s just not cut out for the AHL, which is not an insult, it’s just not the place for him. In the Liiga, he can be a big minute, big point, power play defender — a role full of positive outcomes for him.

No one is or ever has or ever will claim a player on unconditional waivers. At this time tomorrow, he’ll be a free man, ready to sign with whatever team makes an offer. He is proof that an SPC is never wasted on a player. There’s no reason not to try and see what they have to offer, and not everyone works out.

This will leave the Leafs with one less SPC, and will set them up to be at 49 that don’t count in-season.