With the trade deadline just two days away, teams are looking to free up cap space and clear up roster spots any way that they can. With that in mind, a handful of players hit the waiver wire this afternoon. Specifically, Brandon McMillan of the Vancouver Canucks, Tim Erixon of the Chicago Blackhawks, David Schlemko of the Dallas Stars, Aaron Volpatti of the Washington Capitals, and Rob Zepp of the Philadelphia Flyers. Could any of these players make sense for the Leafs? Let’s take a closer look.
A 2008 3rd-rounder, McMillan is maybe most memorable as a forward for Canada’s 2010 World Junior team. McMillan has had an up-and-down pro career, with stints on the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, and Vancouver Canucks all before his 25th birthday. He has just 35 points in 166 NHL games, but he could be a useful depth player for the Leafs. After all, the roster is already getting pretty thin with all the moves the team has made. And with the potential for more trades on the way, the Leafs could use some warm bodies to finish out the season. And who knows, maybe a guy like McMillan works out and the team keeps him beyond this season. Here’s a look at how McMillan stacks up in the numbers game. As you can see, his best strength is limiting opposing shots against. That could be a useful skill for a team that just moved out it’s go-to shutdown forward in Daniel Winnik.
The most tantalizing part about Tim Erixon is that he was a first-rounder of the Calgary Flames in 2009. He was also a part of the deal that sent Rick Nash to the New York Rangers, so he at least used to have some pedigree. He’s had a rocky NHL career, playing mostly as a bottom-pairing guy, but at 24 years old this might be the most logical waiver claim for the Leafs. He’s still relatively young and used to be highly regarded. And when that sort of player comes free, that’s got to be attractive to a rebuilding team.
He’s 27 and long been a bottom-pairing guy, so this isn’t the sexiest of potential waiver claims. That said, the Leafs seem to be putting more emphasis on skill under the new management regime and Schlemko fits the bill perfectly. Here’s a look at how he stacks up in the numbers game. As you can see, he stacks up pretty well.
He’s 29 going on 30 and has just 7 points in 114 NHL games. Claiming him likely wouldn’t make sense. He’s a tough customer and might be well-suited as a “protector” of sorts for the younger guys, but with Zach Sill now a Leaf and the likes of Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren in the minors the Leafs don’t have much need for a player of Volpatti’s ilk.
Similar to Volpatti, this one wouldn’t make much sense. He’s 33 and carries an .888 save percentage with the Flyers this season. Maybe it would make sense if the Leafs were looking for goaltending depth within the larger organization, but the young trio of Chris Gibson, Antoine Bibeau, and Garret Sparks have played well in the minors this year. Zepp isn’t a fit.