Sunday was the last opportunity for the Boston Bruins to place any players on waivers in hopes of having them clear and sent to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League in order to submit their cap compliant, 23-man roster to the National Hockey League by the 5:00 pm Eastern Time deadline on Monday.
Well, the Bruins waived three players that shocked many of fans: Nick Foligno, Mike Reilly and Chris Wagner.
Wagner isn’t a surprise even after comments made by Head Coach Jim Montgomery. But fans in droves displayed their surprise of General Manager Don Sweeney waiving Foligno with comments like “I never thought Sweeney would admit it was a mistake to sign him by waiving him.” An equal number of fans were surprised at the Reilly announcement with many fans claiming he deserved to be on the opening night roster after the camp he’s had.
Here’s the mistake many fans are making here: They automatically assume that waiving a player means demotion to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. Not so fast. These could all just be (and in the case of Foligno and Reilly) paper transactions in order to get the cap in line for Monday and then utilize Long Term Injury Reserve. It also allows them to maximize their LTIR space. Heck don’t be surprised if there is a callup on Monday in a paper transaction only to further maximize that space. (A quick look at just that on CapFriendly shows the Bruins recalled Matt Filipe to do just that).
I’m not going to go into the long, complicated and boring explanation of cap space. I will simply say that the closer they are to the $82.5 million upper limit before activating LTIR, the more space they’ll have to work with. All three players can be added back to the roster immediately afterwards and still be cap compliant.
But what are the chances any one of the three players actually gets claimed? Well, the definitive answer will come by 2:00 pm today, the deadline for putting in a claim. But if you had to put money on one getting claimed the general consensus is that Reilly would be the one teams would have interest in.
One team that could be of interest is Reilly’s old team, the Ottawa Senators. General Manager Pierre Dorian has made no secret about it: He wants to improve his defence and he has been scouring the market for the last several weeks to do just that. Would Reilly be an improvement over Nick Holden, Erik Brannstrom and Jacob Larsson? What about rookie Jake Sanderson? We already know Thomas Chabot is the top gun and on the left side, but those are the options at Dorian’s disposal for the left side.
And once the Senators get down to their 23-man roster, they will have the necessary cap space. I know it’s all speculation on my part, but it is based off information that is already out there.
There are others speculating that the Philadelphia Flyers and Head Coach John Tortorella may show some interest in Foligno because Torts wants to change the culture in Philadelphia and Foligno was his captain in Columbus.
There is no doubting that Foligno’s leadership would be a welcome addition in Philadelphia considering everything we know. But Foligno has one year remaining on his deal at a $3.8 million cap hit no less. I think we can all agree the Flyers aren’t going anywhere this season so what would be their motive? I find it hard to believe Foligno would want to stay in Philadelphia for more than just this season if they did put in a claim so I fail to see the interest the Flyers would have.
As mentioned earlier, being placed on waivers does not necessarily mean the players are headed to Providence, at least right away. If all three clear, they can be sent to the AHL without requiring waivers again over the next 30 days, or unless they play in 10 NHL games. Effectively, this allows the Bruins to send one of them down with a cap savings of $1.125 million and call someone else up who may be deserving of a look with the big club.
The question on most minds however is: What does this do for the cap?
The fact is, there are numerous different scenarios that would take forever to explain.
Let’s first get passed 2:00 pm today and see if anyone is claimed. Then let’s get to 5:00 pm to see the final roster. By then we will have a better understanding on how this all fits together.