Four veteran NHLers were placed on waivers on Thursday.
New Jersey goalie Johan Hedberg — bumped out of the picture after the Devils acquired Cory Schneider at the draft — Edmonton’s Eric Belanger and New York Rangers forwards Arron Asham and Darroll Powe were given notice as teams continue to try and shed salary/cap hits prior to the start of free agency.
Hedberg, 40, has one year remaining on a two-year, $2.8 million deal signed with the Devils on 2012. He has a full no-trade clause, but there was some thought he’d waive it in order to join a new club.
That didn’t materialize, so — assuming Hedberg will go unclaimed and be bought out — he’ll get paid $933,333 over the course of the next two years.
Belanger, 35, is heading into the final year of a three-year, $5.25 million deal signed in 2011. The veteran center had a forgettable 2013 in Edmonton, scoring just three points in 26 games, and his buyout will save the Oilers $1.75 million in cap space.
Asham and Powe were placed on regular waivers — not unconditional — meaning they’re not in line for compliance buyouts. The Rangers had already used one on Wade Redden and will probably hold the other to decide the future of Brad Richards next summer.
The NHL’s injured reserve got a bit of a workout today.
St. Louis activated forward T.J. Oshie from injured reserve and will have him in the lineup for tonight’s game against Edmonton. Meanwhile, the Oilers put forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on injured reserve with an illness. Coach Ralph Krueger says Hopkins won’t travel with the team and will miss their next two games. Edmonton activated Eric Belanger to take his place in the lineup.
Meanwhile in Detroit, the loss of Kyle Quincey to a broken cheekbone will be balanced by the return of Carlo Colaiacovo. The oft-injured blue liner returns after missing 29 games with a shoulder injury. Detroit’s had their share of defensive ailments, but getting a very fresh (yet very fragile) Colaiacovo back should help them out as he’s played in just two games this year.
The Oilers will likely be without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the second consecutive game on Saturday when they take on the Blues in Edmonton.
“Very doubtful,” was how Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger classified Nugent-Hopkins’ likelihood of suiting up.
The 19-year-old was slated to center Edmonton’s top line on Wednesday night against San Jose, but was a late scratch due to what’s suspected to be the flu.
His absence forced Krueger to juggle things in what ended up a 4-3 shootout loss to the Sharks.
Krueger had already moved winger Ryan Smyth to center the fourth line between Lennart Petrell and Mike Brown with Eric Belanger (groin) out.
Combined with the Nuge falling ill, Shawn Horcoff and Sam Gagner were Edmonton’s lone natural centers.
On the bright side, Belanger is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday, meaning the Oilers should have more depth down the middle.