The Hurricanes placed another veteran player on waivers this afternoon, this time making Aaron Ward available to be picked up by another NHL team.
The move comes after a disappointing start to the season for Ward, who has posted six assists and a minus-15 plus/minus rating in 31 games. Ward is on the final year of a two-year contract paying $2.5 million per season.
If Ward were to clear tomorrow at noon, it’s unlikely that an assignment to Albany or other such move would be made, although he could eventually be placed on re-entry waivers. For now, he'll probably stick on the team similar to what happened to Stephane Yelle in late October. It should be noted that Yelle has since played his best hockey of the season.
Goaltender Michael Leighton is still on re-entry waivers, which he will not clear until Tuesday at noon unless he is picked up, since players waived on a weekend have a 48-hour window instead of the typical 24. Leighton is available for half of his NHL salary, meaning the Canes and a claiming team would each be on the hook for $300,000.
That would make Leighton an affordable addition to a team needing some immediate goaltending help. The Philadelphia Flyers, who will be without Ray Emery for the next several weeks, come to mind as a team in a similar situation as the Hurricanes were prior to signing Manny Legace. The Flyers recently signed former Hurricanes goaltender John Grahame, who has been out of hockey for just over one year, to a professional tryout contract with their AHL affiliate.
While the Canes still have a few more days until they play again at home on Wednesday, it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to field a full team with the players currently on the roster. Sergei Samsonov did not return to practice Monday, with Erik Cole and Chad LaRose still sidelined with longer-term injuries, leaving the team with just 10 forwards at the morning session.
That should prompt the team to make another call to Albany in the coming days, with one or possibly two forwards coming up, depending on the playing status of Samsonov. According to Coach Paul Maurice, Samsonov’s status is still up in the air. Maurice did not say whether the incoming players would be either of Patrick Dwyer and Jiri Tlusty, who were reassigned to Albany on Monday.
On the defensive side, Tim Gleason and Niclas Wallin did not skate. Gleason took a well-earned rest and is expected to play Wednesday, with Wallin’s status still undetermined. However, the team should still be able to dress six defensemen on Wednesday if no team steps up to claim Aaron Ward’s services.
Off to the team's annual hospital visits. Stay tuned to CH.com for photos and updates on that, as well as for waiver news on Leighton and Ward.