January 04 2017 10:24AM
It was announced this morning that the Vancouver Canucks had claimed forward Reid Boucher on waivers from the New Jersey Devils.
VAN claims Boucher— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 4, 2017
Boucher had been previously waived by New Jersey in early December, and was claimed by the Nashville Predators. Nashville then placed him on waivers on January 2nd, hoping to send him to the AHL, but New Jersey claimed him back and then placed him on waivers the next day.
This time, the Canucks claimed the 23 year old winger.
Given that the New Jersey Devils were the claiming team, and they had previously waived him, had they been the only team to claim him on January 2nd, they could've just assigned him to the AHL. This means that another team, with a lower priority had placed a claim on the forward. That team could've been the Canucks, but we will never know.
Yesterday, I had suggested that the Canucks place a claim on Ty Rattie, who was also on waivers and was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes. But taking Boucher is a worthwhile venture. The 5'10" winger, who can play both sides, has 12 goals and 18 assists in 85 career NHL games. Like Rattie, Boucher has put up points at the CHL and AHL levels, but just hasn't been given a full opportunity.
His versatility of being able to play LW and RW, and his age of 23 makes sense for the Canucks. It gives them a forward who has shown that he can keep up at the NHL level. If they can provide the forward with a larger role, there may be more to give. Looking at his underlying numbers, Boucher has produced at a second line rate for his career, and his shot generation rate is very favourable.
Boucher will be an RFA at the conclusion of the season and he carries an annual cap hit of $715,000.
This is something that I have been advocating for the Canucks all season, grab a player on the waiver wire who has upside. If he doesn't work out, then you just let him walk at the end of the season, but if he shows the same offensive upside that he given at lower levels, then it adds a depth player for free.
The Canucks now have 46 contracts for this season, 4 below the maximum of 50.
There is a lot to like about this move, and no risk for the Canucks.