The Vancouver Canucks gambled trying to get left winger Aaron Volpatti down to the minors for him to play some more minutes and do some penalty killing work.
The hope was Volpatti would clear waivers and spend sometime with the Chicago Wolves and be able to play some more minutes for the Canucks down the road. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it through as the 28th ranked Washington Capitals claimed the winger off waivers on Thursday morning.
According to Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault, the decision to waive Volpatti was not related to Ryan Kesler‘s broken foot. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the decision was driven by the imminent return of right winger Steve Pinizzotto, who is currently on the team’s injured non-roster list.
Pinizzotto suffered a partial groin tear back on November 24 while playing with the Wolves on an American Hockey League contract. In order to play in the AHL during the lockout, players had to be waived by their NHL clubs and assigned to the minors, but Pinizzotto was never waived nor assigned by the Canucks. Since he sat out the entire 2011-12 campaign with an injury, he was given special permission by the AHL to sign a standard player’s contract with the Wolves for the duration of the lockout.
With the lockout over, Pinizzotto cannot return to the Wolves without being first activated from the non-roster injured list. The Canucks need to open up a roster spot to do this and Volpatti was placed on waivers for this reason according to McKenzie.
The move makes you wonder if the Canucks could have managed their assets a little bit better.
The Canucks do not play until this Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, so one thing the Canucks could have done was to temporarily send centre Jordan Schroeder down to the minors for a day or two. This would have opened up the necessary roster spot to take Pinizzotto off the non-roster injured list. Once off the list, the Canucks could have waived Pinizzotto and as a player coming off an injury, his chances of clearing would be high.
Also, could the Canucks have traded Volpatti instead of losing him for nothing on waivers? There were a number of teams that expressed interest and the Edmonton Oilers were reportedly one of the teams interested.
Source confirms Oilers were one of several teams who had a claim in on Volpatti.Caps lower in standings, they got him.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) February 28, 2013
It’s either the Canucks made boo-boo or they were much more worried about losing Pinizzotto on waivers.