With the imminent return of Zach Hyman, the Leafs are in a position where they need to cut at least three players and it looks like the first two contestants have been selected…
Marincin/Petan (TOR) & Jurco (EDM) on waivers
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 7, 2019
First up, Marincin…
Okay, so this one is probably the no brainer of the bunch. Marincin had a good preseason and looked like he’d be in the top six coming out of training camp. Once the regular season started, Marincin’s reputation for shot suppression quickly dried up, and his role as the penalty kill specialist doesn’t hold a lot of water when the penalty kill has been nothing short of a disgrace.
Marincin was placed on waivers early last season and cleared no problem, and it’s highly likely that he clears again this year, except for the Winnipeg Jets factor, which sees them gobbling up every passable (or non-passable) NHL defenseman they can find in an attempt to stop their bleeding on the blueline.
If Marincin is claimed, it’s far from the end of the world, as Sandin, Liljegren, Gravel, and Schmaltz is a pretty good starting point for injury replacement depth. As it’s been for the past few years, the Leafs issue isn’t the their depth defense, it’s the defense they have in the lineup.
Next up, Petan…
So this one is a bit more interesting as the Leafs recalled him, knowing they’d have to waive him again, gave him a quick look last game on the Tavares line after a strong weekend with the Marlies, and immediately waived him again.
The story here is that the Leafs might be trying to give Petan a chance somewhere else around the league and are happy to just clear a standard player contract out of their system as the trade off. That might seem a bit strange, but that flexibility could help the Leafs down the stretch, and I certainly wouldn’t doubt that Petan gets claimed.
The Leafs still have some solid callup options with Korshkov and Engvall who wouldn’t require waivers at all, as well as some of their veteran hired guns like Aberg and Agostino (when healthy).
Now, if Petan doesn’t get claimed, that’s pretty good too, as the Leafs get a strong Marlies performer out of it, and a player who is a pretty good callup, and one that wouldn’t require waivers again for 30 days.
It’s the NHL, no one gets claimed.
Well, there’s still one more roster spot needing to be cleared, and while Jason Spezza looks like the front runner for that, it’s perhaps too early to dismiss Nick Shore and Freddie Gauthier from consideration. Mike Babcock might prefer Shore and Gauthier, but this is Dubas’ call and Spezza is the only one of those players who can safely venture beyond the confines of the 4th line.
If you want to look at this from a more interesting perspective, the Leafs clearly were cleaning up their waivers situation today to be ready for adding Hyman, and if they didn’t take care of one the necessary moves, is it possible there is a trade in the works?
Who doesn’t love that intrigue?
Anyway, for now most of you are reading this doing a victory dance about Marincin being gone and an equal number of you are pouring one out for Nic Petan departing. We’ll be back on this tomorrow to tell you where they landed.