In a roundabout way, the Ottawa Senators traded Alexei Kovalev for Marek Svatos, a sixth or seventh rounder in the 2011 draft and a nice chunk of change this afternoon. The Senators made a waiver claim for Svatos today after the Nashville Predators placed the marginal winger on waivers on Wednesday.
While the two contracts are prorated at this point, it’s still easy to guess that the Senators are saving some serious dough by exchanging Kovalev’s $5 million annual salary for the $800K deal Svatos signed with the Predators. My rough estimates dictate that Kovalev is owed about $1.21 million for the remainder of 2010-11 while Svatos will make about $193,500 or so for the rest of the season. (Cap figures according to CapGeek.com, but I did the math … for better or worse.)
This comprises the only waiver wire pickup of the day, as Nikolai Zherdev, Craig Rivet, Ales Kotalik and Jeremy Colliton went unclaimed.
USA Today’s Kevin Allen points out that a handful of players were placed on waivers today, as Nikolai Zherdev, Craig Rivet, Marek Svatos, Ales Kotalik and Jeremy Colliton head the list. (H/T to Kristopher Martel.) Let’s take a quick look at the players.
Zherdev: At least one blogger believes that Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has a serious distaste for the Russian winger. He’s on a one-year deal with an annual cap hit of $2 million, so it’s possible someone will make a claim.
Rivet: Mike Harrington writes that the Buffalo Sabres still owe him $850,000 for this season. The team’s captain slipped all the way down to eight on the defensive depth chart, so his days as a Sabre seem to be over.
Svatos: The Predators snatched the former Colorado Avalanche forward from the St. Louis Blues on waivers, but they seem to have had enough with him. It might be an odd move since Nashville is banged up at forward, though.
Kotalik: Calgary keeps trying to waive Kotalik, but no one is interested in paying him for the rest of this season and $3 million in 2011-12. Odd, I know.
Colliton: The 26-year-old New York Islanders forward is making $500K for the season. His cheapness might make him more appealing, but he’s likely to clear waivers anyway.
There’s a reason these players were placed on waivers: each one of them have serious flaws. We’ll let you know if any teams claim them.
It’s been rumored about all day, but the Red Wings made it official late tonight signing former Sharks goalie and recent KHL exile Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year contract. The Red Wings will now wait 24 hours starting at noon tomorrow to see if Nabokov clears waivers so they can retain his services. As part of the NHL CBA, any player coming from another professional league must go through waivers before joining a team.
We’ve seen the St. Louis Blues get victimized by this process twice this season in their efforts to sign Marek Svatos and Kyle Wellwood as Svatos was claimed by Nashville and Wellwood by San Jose. For Detroit, Nabokov offers a better backup goaltending option than Joey MacDonald while Chris Osgood is out until March with a sports hernia injury.
The Wings are set for a starting goalie as Jimmy Howard is the man in Detroit, but with his recent injury for a bruised knee and Osgood’s absence creating depth problems in goal the Wings have a need for insurance in goal and Nabokov, despite his stats in Russia (3.02 goals against average, .888 save percentage in 22 games), offers that.
Of course, this is all for naught if Nabokov is claimed on waivers by another team and there’s a host of teams that could use an NHL-experienced goalie on the cheap. The possibility exists out there that the Wings could cut a deal with a team near the top of the waiver claim list (which the Devils are at the top of thanks to having the NHL’s worst record) to swing a trade with them if they make a claim on Nabokov, but doing such a thing is against the rules of the NHL.
There is a chance something could be worked out after the fact, but chances are if a team is claiming Nabokov, they want him for their own purposes.
While it’s questionable what Nabokov could bring to the NHL right now given what he’s done in Russia there’s no doubt he offers a better backup option than Joey MacDonald. For Detroit, they just need a more reliable backup for the time being. If they ultimately land Nabokov, they’ll get just that.
The St. Louis Blues have been on the hunt for help for a little while this season. With the team on the outside looking in at a spot in the playoffs and not looking to fall further back, they signed former Avalanche forward Marek Svatos out of Russia only to see him picked off of waivers by the Predators.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong’s eyes have turned to another KHL exiled player in former Leafs and Canucks centerman Kyle Wellwood. It was mentioned here recently that the Blues, indeed, have a contract in place for the forward but as of now, that hasn’t materialized. Why it hasn’t been taken care of is a matter of rules regarding his ability to sign a two-way deal. Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch spills the beans on what’s holding up Wellwood’s ability to sign with the Blues.
Wellwood has agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues, according to sources. However, he is not eligible to play in Peoria this season because the Blues missed the Dec. 15 deadline that would have allowed him to be paid a two-way contract. Therefore, if signed, Wellwood must either play with the Blues, or be paid an NHL salary if he is waived. A deal may still happen, but currently it’s being held up.
When you’re dealing with a guy who couldn’t crack the Phoenix Coyotes lineup during training camp, you want to be absolutely sure he can get it done in the NHL so you’re not wasting money on a guy that won’t pan out. Being able to send him to the minors would’ve been a nice luxury to have, but with that ability gone it makes it more of a financial gamble to bring him on board.
Of course, if the Blues do get him signed the possibility exists that they still wouldn’t end up with him as he’d have to go through waivers the same way Svatos did. The possibility of the Predators stealing away another player on waivers from St. Louis is almost too amusing to ponder. After all, they’re divisional foes and a move like that works two-fold in that it helps themselves out and screws over the Blues. The Predators have a dearth of centers with Cal O’Reilly, Matt Lombardi, and Nick Spaling out with injuries and a guy like Wellwood would fit right in at center for the injury-laden Preds.
We’re still a little bit of time away from seeing that go down, but for now it’s up to the Blues to figure out if it’s worth the risk for them to go for it.
The New Jersey Devils were hoping that someone would relieve half of their debts (and salary cap responsibilities) regarding aging – and expensive – winger Brian Rolston, but he cleared re-entry waivers today. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello will need to continue to try to find a trade or explore other avenues to get rid of Rolston’s ugly salary cap blemish.
Being that he’s 37 years old, the NHL’s cap rules prohibit the Devils from simply making his cap hit vanish into the minors like the Rangers did with younger albatross Wade Redden.
Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger surmises that teams passed on claiming Rolston mainly because his contract won’t expire until after the 2011-2012 season. It’s easier to fathom a team taking him on for one low-risk year rather than the rest of this season and all of next, after all.
Keep in mind the fact that it’s doubtful that Rolston is even worth the approximate $2.53 million salary/cap hit he would cost a team claiming him on waivers. His howling slap shot can be a real asset on a power play and – at least at one point in his career – his speed made him a very useful player. But looking at his production (two goals and three assists for five points and an ugly -12 rating this season; 32 and 37 points in his other two campaigns in NJ), it’s hard to say he would be worth the risk when teams can sign shorter, cheaper Marek Svatos-type deals instead.
Chere writes that Lamoriello will still look to trade him, but if people balked at his discount rate, how will they be able to stomach the full $5 million+ version? It’s not as if the Devils possess the cap space to trade Rolston for an even bigger deal, so maybe the trade scenario is wishful thinking on Lamoriello’s part.
Then again, it seems like wishful thinking is what got Lamoriello and the Devils in this mess in the first place.