Photo Credit: Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY SPORTS
Another year, another pre-season waiver claim from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Last season, the blue and white took advantage of the Vancouver Canucks’ roster crunch and claimed Frank Corrado off waivers just before opening night. Today, they have done some divisional damage, plucking Seth Griffith off the wire from the Boston Bruins.
Griffith is an incredibly curious and intriguing addition to the organization. Many had their eyes set on Red Wings cut Teemu Pulkkinen, who lit up the American Hockey League in 2014/15 but struggled with Detroit last season, but Griffith is no slouch either. Despite playing just 57 games, the 23-year-old native of Wallaceburg, Ontario put up an obscene 77 points (24 goals, 53 assists) with the Providence Bruins, leading his team and finishing just three points short of the AHL’s scoring title.
Griffith, along with Alexander Khoklachev, Auston Czarnik, and Frank Vatrano, was a key part of Providence’s turnaround from the league’s basement to a Calder Cup Playoff spot.
From a qualitative standpoint, Griffith is a bit undersized at 5’9, but is extremely good at finding the right place to be from an offensive standpoint and plays with enough of an edge to make up for the lost inches.
The Leafs are no doubt familiar with the player. Beyond seeing him in the AHL and NHL, he was also a four-year member of the London Knights, making him yet another Mark Hunter product.
Griffith’s price for the year comes very low, as well; he’ll make just $625,000 and will be an RFA at the end of the year.
There will be much debate over how to integrate him into the lineup. The good news is that he’s a natural right winger, something that the team doesn’t have a ton of from a high-skill perspective. Presently, William Nylander and Mitch Marner have been converted to that side, with Marner likely to stay there. After that, though, it’s an area filled with middle to bottom six dual-wingers that are there to make up for the abundance on the left side.
The best seasons by 22-year-old AHL forwards in this decade, FWIW pic.twitter.com/9c3FRItbSc
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 11, 2016
At first impression, this is a massive slam dunk by the Leafs. Quite frankly, Griffith and Pulkkinen were the best under-25 players available on waivers this preseason, so getting another free asset and pulling no-cost youth away from a divisional rival that actually has a few prospects is a huge win. We’ll have to see who he plays with and how much ice time he gets, but there’s a very real chance that he makes an immediate impact on this lineup.
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