The New York Rangers placed two players on waivers on Monday morning, goaltender Martin Biron and winger Arron Asham, in an attempt to shake things up for a team that has had a rough start to the 2013-14 season.
Asham is in his 15th season in the NHL and has built up a reputation as a rambunctious fourth line player and solid middleweight scrapper. He backs down from nobody and has shown he can handle more minutes than the average fourth line bruiser.
The Vancouver Canucks already have a backup goaltender in Eddie Lack, so they won’t have much—if any—interest in Biron. Don’t expect the Canucks to have any interest in Asham either (at least not as a waiver claim) even though he might be an upgrade on the fourth line.
The Canucks currently have 49 players on their reserve list. Claiming Asham off waivers would put them at the maximum number of contracts allowed by the league.
It would affect the Canucks flexibiliy to make trades later on in the season and at the trade deadline. All trades would not only have to satisfy the demands of both sides, but must include the same amount of contracts.
If a much more desirable and “can’t miss” players hits the waiver wire later in the season, the Canucks would have no spots on their reserve list to do so.
The Canucks are also pretty close to the salary cap with approximately $1.2 million in cap space. Asham’s contract carries a $1 million cap hit and adding him would leave the Canucks with only $200,000 in cap space.
Asham is a good fourth line player and might be an upgrade over Tom Sestito, but is that enough of an upgrade for the Canucks to risk handcuffing themselves down the road? Probably not.
Expect the Canucks (and probably the rest of the league) to pass on claiming Asham off waivers. The Rangers placed Asham on waivers back in July and he went unclaimed.
The only scenario where the Canucks might have some real interest is if the two sides can orchestrate a trade where the Rangers retain part of Asham’s cap hit and the Canucks give them an unwanted contract. A possible deal might be Steven Anthony to the Rangers for Asham.
The Rangers only receive a $75,000 cap relief if they send Asham down to the minors. A trade where they retain part of Asham’s cap hit will give them the greatest cap relief, so they will probably have interest in doing this.