It turns out someone in the NHL does want Niklas Hagman for half-price and it’s the Anaheim Ducks.
Ducks GM Bob Murray snagged the now former Flames forward off re-entry waivers meaning he’ll be paying him $1.5 million against the cap this season, a burden he’ll share with the Flames and GM Jay Feaster. Hagman has been a man exiled in Calgary after not finding much success there, he’ll get a chance to help the Ducks turn things around and join a pair of Finnish teammates in Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne.
Hagman might get the shot to start on the Ducks’ second line with those two while Jason Blake continues to be out with an injury. Letting that Finnish line roll and play how they want might be key for Anaheim to breaking out of the funk they’ve been in of late losing seven of their last eight and 10 of their last 12.
The question left for Hagman is if he has anything left or not. If he does, the Ducks have a steal for the rest of the season and a guy who might have instant chemistry with the team. If not, the Ducks aren’t really losing out money-wise and in the state they’re in now taking a shot on Hagman isn’t so bad.
Would you take Niklas Hagman on your team for half his $3 million contract? You can if you want to now because the Calgary Flames have put Hagman on re-entry waivers.
Hagman’s play in Calgary since coming over in the Dion Phaneuf trade has been less-than inspiring. In parts of three seasons now in Calgary, Hagman has scored a total of 17 goals and has just one goal and three assists this season. He was just sent down to the AHL earlier this week and about the only guy less impressive than him in Calgary is Matthew Stajan.
Yeah, that Phaneuf trade didn’t work out so hot for Calgary.
Hagman’s been playing third and fourth line minutes in Calgary so it’s tough to say what he’s really got to offer for teams other than potential rabid disappointment. At nearly 32 years-old Hagman isn’t too old and could benefit from a change in scenery. That’s a big “if” though.
We’ll find out at noon on Monday whether someone put a claim in on Hagman. With the likelihood of that being slim, GM Jay Feaster will have to find another way to lose money off the Flames’ salary cap.
The long shot that Sean Avery would be claimed on re-entry waivers proved to be just that, a long shot. Avery cleared waivers and will be set to rejoin the New York Rangers on Thursday night. Avery’s travels this season have been tumultuous already after being cut by New York during training camp and sent to their farm team in Connecticut of the AHL.
After struggling to start the season, the Rangers sought to change things around and opted to bring Avery back into the fold as coach John Tortorella sought a spark. After the Rangers’ 5-2 win over San Jose last night, however, perhaps the spark the Rangers needed was just the threat of Avery rejoining them soon.
Avery when he’s at his best is one of the better tenacious forecheckers in the league and has a defined penchant for driving opponents crazy and making them take dumb penalties. At his worst, Avery does the same to the Rangers taking bad penalties and proving to be a bigger distraction than a help to the team.
Which Avery do the Rangers get upon his humbling return from the AHL? Anything less than the guy who helps the Rangers out will see him stapled to a seat in the press box or potentially sent back to Connecticut. Expect Avery at his irritating best against Anaheim on Thursday or whenever John Tortorella sees fit to play him.
The Rangers so far this year have been, in a word, uninspiring. They head into tonight’s game with San Jose with a 3-3-3 record and being a perfectly average hockey team. They finally got big games out of Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, but they ended up blowing a big lead in the third period of that game to lose in a shootout.
No focus, no fire, no consistency. These are big issues for the Rangers and today they’ll likely be putting Sean Avery on re-entry waivers in hopes to get him back to play on Thursday. Is he the guy that can help snap the team out of their funk and get their act together?
It can’t hurt, that’s for sure. Avery’s role as a tenacious forechecker and agitator are two things this Rangers squad lacks. They don’t necessarily have a guy that will pressure the puck carrier in all zones nor anyone that can truly get under an opponents skin leading to power play opportunities thanks to retaliation calls. It also might get the fans to relax a bit on calling out John Tortorella.
Like him or not, he’s an effective player when focused. Therein lies the challege for Tortorella with Avery – finding a way to keep him on track and getting the Rangers turned around.
We’ll find out by noon tomorrow if the Rangers get that opportunity. If they get to hang on to Avery, we’ll see if Avery getting demoted to start the year is the kick in the pants he needed. Making Tortorella look like he made a big mistake should be motivation enough for Avery.
If other NHL GMs played “Let’s Make A Deal” they obviously felt like they could get something better behind Door #2 rather than taking a shot with half-priced energy forward Eric Nystrom. Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reports that Nystrom has cleared re-entry waivers and is back with the Wild for at least the time being.
Nystrom had two years left on his contract paying him $1.4 million a year, but on re-entry waivers, any team claiming him would only pay half that while the Wild would be on the hook for the other half. Instead, Nystrom is back in Minnesota and the Wild roster sits at 24 players, one guy too many. The Wild can either put a player on injured reserve, make a trade, or send Nystrom back to their AHL team in Houston to make room.
It seems baffling that none of the other 29 teams would grab Nystrom at the discounted price, but we’re still awfully early in the season and many teams are reticent to make an addition without having a corresponding move. Still, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth – you jump on that sucker and ride off laughing all the way. For those other GMs, perhaps they’ll find a donkey behind Door #2 instead.