In a surprise move, the Leafs placed forward Peter Holland on waivers today. Holland has an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 25th.
The move appears to be, in essence, posturing ahead of the hearing. Placing Holland on waivers tangibly demonstrates both to the arbitrator and to Holland’s camp that he’s a player the Leafs are willing to lose. That in turn suggests a lack of value for Holland, which in theory strengthens the Leafs’ case (both in negotiating with Holland’s agent trying to get a deal done ahead of the hearing and at the hearing itself). The Minnesota Wild did the same thing with Jordan Schroeder.
So the Leafs are trying to shame Holland into a two-way contract. Neat.
— Ryan (@ryanfancey) July 22, 2016
It’s a risky move though, as Holland is a legitimate third-liner that can play up and down your lineup. Couple that with the fact that he’s 25 years old and isn’t likely to make a lot on his next contract regardless, and this is a player that you wouldn’t want to lose for nothing.
Another interpretation, though, is that the Leafs want to move on from Holland, and are willing to lose him for nothing. James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail thinks Holland won’t be back with the team next season.
It’s possible though that the Leafs aren’t in any risk of losing Holland. Maybe there’s some sort of unwritten rule, or an unspoken “code” that GMs abide by that says they aren’t going to claim a player in a situation like this. Think of it as a similar situation to a GM signing another team’s player to an offer sheet — it’s a big no-no with the old boy’s club.
That’s just speculation on my part though. I think just about any team would be wise to make a claim on Holland, as he’s good enough to provide affordable depth to a team’s forward unit. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, and the Leafs are able to sign him to a cheap deal in the next couple of days.