The Leafs, who beat Montreal last night in the season opener, have been/are a very good team. By virtue of that, they've shopped through the waivers bin a lot less than teams at the bottom. The simple math there is it's harder to make the Leafs roster than the roster of the Habs, for example. Hence the Leafs lose players on waivers every year and rarely claim anyone back – they're just too good for it.
And to put that point into better context, I wanted to share who around the NHL has gotten claimed on waivers so far during the preseason and the first week of the regular season. It's not a long list, and the list of teams making claims also shouldn't surprise.
29/09: Spencer Martin – claimed by CBJ from VAN
30/09: Ty Emberton – claimed by SJS from NYR
01/10: Lassi Thomson* – claimed by ANA from OTT
02/10: Samuel Fagemo – claimed by NSH from LAK
02/10: Jansen Harkins – claimed by PIT from WPG
06/10: Grigori Denisenko – claimed by VGK from FLA
09/10: Lassi Thomson* – reclaimed by OTT from ANA, sent to minors
09/10: Ivan Prosvetov – claimed by COL from ARI
09/10: John Ludvig – claimed by PIT from FLA
09/10: AJ Greer – claimed by CGY from BOS
10/10: Ross Johnston – claimed by ANA from NYI
10 players, one of them twice. The trend of teams at the bottom picking up many of these players is the point of waivers – to help balance out bottoms of lineups and give a second option for guys who couldn't make good teams or for other reasons. The exceptions are when Colorado picked up their backup goalie, Pittsburgh picked up a couple guys I might've heard before, and Vegas took a chance on a guy I would normally have expected to go through waivers.
My takeaway from writing out this exercise of waivers is that teams don't get better through waivers, it's mostly filled with mediocre players. Guys like Eeli Tolvanen who had untapped potential only come around once every few years, and I'm curious to see how he does over the next few years rather than half a season of adrenaline.
And that brings me to the Leafs, who have a good roster and good depth. They signed, and therefore kept plenty of depth players who are bad enough to get through waivers. If the Leafs had NHLers in the minors, then waivers wouldn't be doing its job. The fact they still have Martin Jones is a pleasant surprise.
So when Conor Timmins goes on waivers after he is healthy, he'll either get a chance to make a worse team and still consider himself an NHLer, or we'll know for sure which side of the fence he's on. Or maybe a team pays a pick to do that exercise themselves down the line.
Various Leafs and Branches
From the site, check out Seldo's recap!
An update on the Leafs roster, money and all.
And Species' interview with Mike Commito on his new book, Leafs 365.
Brigs continues the updates on Nikita Grebyonkin, who is now playing regularly in the KHL.
The NHL inexplicably banned pride tape, so here's a list of NHLers who spoke out against that ahead of their season openers and are going to use it anyway. There is something to be said about making support for LGBTQ+ people an active choice to go out and participate in, rather than the DEI trend of having it planned by a committee. That said, whether the NHL is trying to cover their own ass or appeal to parts of their viewership, their "don't say gay" stance is still a slide back away from inclusion and gives the league a bad name.
It also pissed off a whole bunch of lesbians they seemingly respect, admire, and are partnering with.
The company, Pride Tape, also sent out a statement of appreciation for the support they've received from the community, players, and teams.
The PWHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL, and USHL have partnered together to form the Respect Hockey Culture Centre, a centralized platform where employees can receive confidential mental health support services and report incidents of bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination.
The CHL has reportedly already used the second function of the service, ousting Kevin Constantine as head coach of the Wenatchee Wild. Tick tock, Bill Peters. No one should trust you with their players.
A couple teams played short due to injuries, including Edmonton with Mattias Ekholm and Los Angeles with Viktor Arvidsson. Ekholm injured already, eh?
Owen Power has followed Rasmus Dahlin in signing an eight-year extension with Buffalo.
Lindy Ruff also got a "multi-year" extension. Probably two years with some clauses added is my guess.