Yesterday, the Boston Bruins placed Chris Wagner and John Moore on waivers. Now, it’s official that the pair have gone unclaimed and will remain under contract with the Bruins. Like we stated yesterday, it was rather apparent that Moore was going to successfully be sent down because of his expensive contract. Wagner, on the other hand, seemed to have a small chance of being claimed. Yet, that did not occur, and he will remain as a depth forward in Boston’s system.
With these two now officially in the minors, the Bruins have freed up $2.25 million of cap space. Although it didn’t end up being the $4.1 million they technically could have saved if both were claimed, it’s still a win for the team. They now have more wiggle room when it comes to making future moves. Whether it means they re-sign Tuukka Rask to a cheap deal or look to make a splash via trade, it’s just nice that they have options. Perhaps they could even elect to bring in more depth from the waiver wire.
Furthermore, if the Bruins have a change of heart and recall either Moore or Wagner, they won’t be waiver eligible again until they are on the NHL roster for 30 days or play in 10 contests. Therefore, it would not be too surprising to see them occasionally called up when injuries inevitably occur, at a minimum.
So, what happens now with the Bruins’ lineup with these two off the NHL roster?
Even with Curtis Lazar out with an injury, Wagner still couldn’t secure himself a spot in the Bruins’ bottom-six. It’s a little strange to think about, as he had been the team’s fourth line winger for three straight seasons. However, it is important to note that he had struggled a lot this past season. In 41 games, he only had two goals and five points, which was a notable decrease in production. He also was held off the scoresheet in 11 postseason contests.
With all of this, perhaps it makes sense that the Bruins would rather have Karson Kuhlman as their primary depth forward. Until Lazar returns to the lineup, the 26-year-old will be taking on Wagner’s former role with the team. In 20 games last season, Kuhlman had two goals. Lazar, on the other hand, had seven goals and 13 points in 50 games between the Buffalo Sabres and Bruins. Truthfully, it wouldn’t hurt the Bruins to consider bringing in a stronger depth right winger.
Moore came into this preseason with the hope of making the team’s bottom-pair on the right side. However, it was easy to tell that Connor Clifton had an advantage over him. Clifton, a right-handed defenseman, played 44 games with the Bruins last season and had seven points. Moore was limited to just five games due to injury, but did have two assists.
Moore certainly would have been capable being the Bruins’ seventh defenseman, but the B’s have decided to go in a different direction. Former first-round pick Jakub Zboril will instead be handed this role. In 42 games last season, he recorded nine assists. Urho Vaakanainen also could serve as another depth defenseman for the NHL squad, but it may best for the 22-year-old to get more playing time in Providence.
Nonetheless, Wagner and Moore are still Boston’s property. It will be intriguing to see if they get any NHL time this season. Until then, they each will be leaders down in Providence.