In case you missed it, three NHLers hit the waiver wire this morning. The Pittsburgh Penguins have waived forward Derek Grant, the Calgary Flames have waived defensemen Matt Taormina and, perhaps the most surprising move, the New York Islanders have waived former KHL sniper Jan Kovar for the purposes of contract termination.
Check it out:
Grant (PIT) & Taormina (CAL) on waivers
Kovar (NYI) on unconditional waivers to terminate
While the names Grant, Taormina and Kovar aren’t likely to set off alarm bells around the NHL, it is surprising to see these three players on the waiver wire.
In Grant’s case, the 28 year old forward was signed to a one year, $650,000 contract this past offseason and was expected to push for a fourth line spot on a deep Penguins squad. The 6 foot, 3 inch, 215 pound forward played 66 games with the Anaheim Ducks last season, scoring an impressive 12 goals and 24 points. He’s bounced around the NHL a lot since being drafted in the 4th round (119th overall) by the Ottawa Senators back in 2008. In 152 NHL games split between the Ducks, Nashville Predators, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames and Senators, Grant has 12 goals and 31 points, again with almost the entirety of those coming last season with the Ducks.
As for Taormina, the journeyman AHL blue liner was acquired by the Flames in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens earlier this month. Taormina and fellow blue liner Rinat Valiev were acquired by the Flames in exchange for Brett Kulak. The 31 year old Taormina is likely headed to the Flames’ AHL affiliate Stockton Heat if and when he clears waivers. In 63 games with the AHL’s Laval Rocket last season, he put up an impressive four goals and 52 points.
As for Kovar, it appears as though the short lived relationship between the Czech sniper and the Islanders is officially over. Signed by new GM Lou Lamoriello to a one year, $2 million deal this past offseason, Kovar turned down offers from multiple teams to come to Long Island. After a dismal training camp and preseason, Kovar was demoted to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers earlier this month, but refused to report. As a result, the Islanders have essentially ripped up his contract for insubordination. Ouch. Thanks for nothing, buddy.