By Thomas Harrington
The Anaheim Ducks placed six players on waivers today: defenseman Nate Guenin, goaltender Matt Hackett, defenseman Andrew O’Brien, defenseman Jeff Schultz, forward Corey Tropp, and forward Stefan Noesen. Five of these six names are not surprising to see on waivers, though Noesen definitely is.
Before we go over these six players, first, a bit of background on waivers. Players are placed on waivers with the intention of assigning them to the AHL. Younger players are exempt from waivers, but players who have played a certain number of professional years or a certain number of professional games have to pass through waivers when a team wants to send them to the AHL. Players are placed on waivers at 9 AM Pacific and remain there for 24 hours. When a player is on waivers, every other team in the league has the option of claiming that player for their own club. The order of who gets the first choice is based on the current league standings. Since the season has yet to start, the current waiver order is based on last year’s standings. We’ll find out if anyone was claimed at about 9 AM PT tomorrow. If a player clears waivers, they do not immediately need to be assigned to the AHL and can still play in the NHL. The player can still be assigned to the AHL as long as they play in fewer than 10 NHL games or less than 30 days have passed with the NHL team. Once a player reaches one of those two thresholds, they have to be placed on waivers again if a team wants to assign them to the AHL. (For more detailed information visit: Cap Friendly Waivers FAQ)
Coming into this season, it was pretty much a given that Guenin, Hackett, O’Brien, Schultz, and Tropp would spend most, if not all, of the year in San Diego. If the Ducks run into enough injury issues this year, it’s possible that Guenin, Schultz, or Tropp could be called up at some point, as they are all veteran hockey players, but none of them are in Anaheim’s plans for this year. With San Diego’s training camp set to begin tomorrow, all of these players were placed on waivers today in order for them to be able to attend. If they were not placed on waivers today, none of them could report to San Diego tomorrow. Tropp, Hackett, and O’Brien were all in San Diego last year and will look to build on last season’s success. Guenin and Schultz were brought in to help lead San Diego’s young blueline. If Shea Theodore and/or Brandon Montour spend a lot of time in Anaheim this season, San Diego will really be counting on Guenin and Schultz this season. Assuming all five clear tomorrow, they will all be part of Anaheim’s third round of roster cuts as San Diego’s roster starts to come together.
As I already said, Noesen was definitely a surprise to see placed on waivers, but given how Bob Murray has operated in the past, it’s not as shocking as it initially seems. I think Murray and the Ducks are trying to sneak Noesen through waivers in order to be able to assign him to San Diego if he does not make Anaheim’s roster. Last year, at about this time, Max Friberg was placed on waivers. He went unclaimed and the Ducks were allowed to assign him to San Diego if they needed to over the next 30 days. The reason why Noesen was placed on waivers today is because AHL training camps are due to start tomorrow October 3. As a result, a large number of players were placed on waivers. With so many players on waivers, it’s easier to have certain players pass through them. A player is more likely to be claimed when they are the only player on waivers that day. Also, given Noesen’s offensive struggles last year (he only had 10 goals in 65 games) and injury history in the prior years, he may not be the most desirable player placed on waivers today.
Noesen is far from a lock to make Anaheim’s roster, but I don’t believe that him being on waivers means he’s already AHL bound. He could be, but I think that it’s much more likely he’s being put on waivers so it will be easier to assign him to San Diego later in training camp if the Ducks feel he needs to be with the Gulls. It also could be a signal to him that he needs to play better going forward through the rest of training camp if he wants a spot in Anaheim. Noesen is a goal scorer who plays on the right side, something that could be very useful for Anaheim this coming season, but he needs to show that he’s NHL ready. He hasn’t done that yet, but hopefully, he’s able to before the regular season begins.
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