Now that the NHL waiver period has officially opened, the Montreal Canadiens will have an opportunity to claim yet another player on waivers that could potentially help the team in their long-term goals.
Of course, finding extremely talented players on waivers is rare, but once in a blue moon, you can find an athlete who was not given a fair chance to prove their worth with their previous NHL organization.
For the Habs, players such as Paul Byron (Calgary Flames), Samuel Montembeault (Florida Panthers), and Johnathan Kovacevic (Winnipeg Jets) were all claimed on waivers, only to quickly cement a spot on their new team’s NHL roster.
Waivers (September 28, 2023)
The most interesting name to surface was Ty Smith, who was placed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday afternoon.
The 23-year-old offensively-inclined defenceman carries a salary cap hit of just $775,000 this season, making him a decent-value gamble for teams that are looking to reinforce their blueline.
— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) September 28, 2023
The Canadiens don’t necessarily need to add depth to their defensive core, and Smith is a left-handed defenceman, which mitigates his value to the team, but he could end up serving as an insurance policy for the Canadiens if general manager Kent Hughes decides he wants to give some of the younger defencemen more time to develop in the AHL.
Smith is a 2018 first-round pick, chosen 17th overall by the New Jersey Devils.
He was then traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenceman John Marino. Smith has scored eight goals and 39 assists in 123 games throughout his NHL career.
In addition to Smith, the Penguins placed two former Montreal Canadiens players on waivers: Rem Pitlick and Xavier Ouellet.
Goaltender Spencer Martin (Vancouver Canucks), forward Cal Burke (Colorado Avalanche), and defenceman Taylor Fedun (Penguins) were also added to the waiver wire.
Placed on NHL waivers today: Spencer Martin (VAN), Cal Burke (COL), Taylor Fedun (PIT), Jonathan Gruden (PIT), Xavier Ouellet (PIT), Rem Pitlick (PIT) and Ty Smith (PIT).
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 28, 2023
NHL Waiver-Wire Priority List
The waiver wire is not as straightforward as it may seem.
For now, the off-season priority list is locked in and will give teams that finished lower in the standings last year the first opportunity to claim a player that is placed on waivers.
For example, the Montreal Canadiens finished 28th last year, therefore they are the team with the fifth highest priority on the NHL’s waiver wire list. Teams have 24 hours to make a claim.
The off-season list will remain in place until November 1, when it will switch from using last season’s standings to this year’s standings to determine priority.
Simply put, the Canadiens will maintain the fifth-best position on the waiver wire priority list for at least a month.
To get a better understanding of the NHL’s waiver wire priority process, you can click here.
Here is the current NHL waiver-priority list, valid until November 1:
|Teams||Waiver Priority Order|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||2|
|San Jose Sharks||4|
|Detroit Red Wings||9|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||20|
|Los Angeles Kings||23|
|Vegas Golden Knights||28|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||29|
|New Jersey Devils||30|