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Trio of playoff contenders make waiver claims

by Corey Masisak
Two of the top six teams in the Eastern Conference have claimed players off waivers from Western Conference clubs Saturday while one of the teams just on the outside of a playoff position in the West also added some help.

Philadelphia picked up defenseman Nick Boynton from Chicago, Washington grabbed forward Marco Sturm from Los Angeles and Columbus claimed defenseman Craig Rivet from Buffalo.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren had previously said he might be interested in adding a depth defenseman after Oskar Bartulis was lost to injury, and Boynton could be the answer. Boynton had 1 goal and 8 points in 41 games for the Blackhawks this season, but had been scratched pretty regularly of late in part because of the development of young defensemen Nick Leddy. Boynton is scheduled to make $500,000 this season.

The once-vaunted Capitals offense has been sputtering or a large portion of this season, so adding Sturm could provide a spark. It will be his third team of the season -- he was traded from Boston to Los Angeles in because of salary cap concerns for the Bruins.

Sturm had 4 goals and 9 points in 17 games for the Kings, but he also missed time with tendinitis in his knee while with the Kings. He hadn't played for the Bruins earlier this season while recovering from a knee injury dating back to last spring.

He is in the final season of a four-year pact worth $3.5 million per campaign. Washington has been without third-line forward Eric Fehr because of a shoulder injury since mid-January.

TSN's Bob McKenzie reported the Capitals have also placed enforcer D.J. King on waivers. King has another year left on his contract at $637,500. He has played in 14 games for Washington this season with 1 assist.

Columbus claimed Rivet on re-entry waivers from Buffalo after the Sabres put their former captain on waivers. Rivet had 1 goal and 3 points in 23 games for the Sabres this season.

Rivet is in the final campaign of a four-year pact worth $3.5 million per season. Columbus will be on the hook for half of a pro-rated portion of that.

The Blue Jackets are currently in 12th place in the West but only 2 points behind eighth-place Chicago.

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