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Philadelphia Flyers claim Mike McKenna on waivers from Canucks

Sometimes the best-laid plans don’t work out and that seems to have happened for the Canucks this morning.

The organization had acquired goaltender Mike McKenna from the Ottawa Senators that saw Anders Nilsson go the other way. The plan was to have McKenna back up Jacob Markstrom in the game against Ottawa, last night against Montreal, and then send him down to Utica after he cleared waivers today with Thatcher Demko coming up. Well, that last part hit a snag:

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This now means that the Canucks have two healthy goaltenders signed to contracts in Markstrom and Demko and no one available in Utica with Richard Bachman currently injured. The organization does have Ivan Kulbakov on an AHL deal but will have to find someone to back him up for the time being.

It was a good plan in theory but ultimately didn’t get all the way there and really throws a curve ball into how the Canucks can map out the season and how well they can help out Utica. Now the Canucks have to tread carefully with how they handle things because if an injury occurs to Markstrom or Demko in the near future, they will have no choice but to emergency recall Michael DiPietro to the NHL (and then send him back when they come back).

I’d expect that the organization will look at ways in the near future to help with the depth at the position and it’s fair to believe that teams will be willing to trade a goalie for a future asset, but that is where the issue comes up. If the Canucks do have to give up any sort of asset to get a goalie, then they aren’t really any further ahead in that aspect than they were earlier this week.

With that being said, Jared Coreau was traded earlier this week for future considerations, so it is possible that they can find a way out of it without giving up tangible pieces. It just means that they are treading a thin line for the next little bit.

As for McKenna, his time with the Canucks was brief but he continues to make an NHL salary over an AHL salary. If the Flyers place him on waivers again, the Canucks can explore claiming him back and if they are the only claiming team, send him straight to Utica.

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We’ll just have to see how it plays out over the next few weeks.

  • FairPM

    i’d say that’s a glass half empty approach. They just got freed up from a bad contract (NHL salary for an AHL goaltender). Signing a backup AHL goaltender is nothing to fret about.

    • Killer Marmot

      Definitely worse off than before. That “bad contract” lapsed at the end of this season, and the Canucks are under no cap space pressure this year.

      • Puck Viking

        I think they might have done this so they can waive Lyon who has an extra year on his deal or Neuvirth who makes 2.5 (cost saving).. as of now they have Hart and 4 goalies that require waivers.

      • Ryan Biech

        Yeah, which is why I was clear in the ‘in that aspect’ point. They saved cap space and fixed an issue with Utica, but if they have to give up a pick to get a goalie, then they aren’t farther ahead.

        It’s an unfortunate situation but interested to see how it shakes out.

    • Defenceman Factory

      And that seems like looking at a half full glass and declaring it full.

      The Canucks need a starting AHL goalie not a back up and this development means Utica is likely to have pretty poor goaltending for as long as Demko is with the big club. Nilsson’s contract ends this season and although a bit rich wasn’t a bad contract as it did not hinder the club in any way.

      The Canucks essentially got a 6th round pick for Nilsson and it was probably worth the risk of losing McKenna to get it but this is not a good situation. I hope the Canucks have or can find a decent contingency because giving up any kind of a serviceable player from the Comets means Nilsson didn’t really return anything.

      Not that Benning’s job is to keep farm team fans happy but the the GMJB fan club lost some members in Utica this week.

        • DJ_44

          I am sure this was discussed. I imagine Ottawa decided not the take the risk of being without an NHL goalie and that was a factor in the trade (so insistence would have resulted in no deal). Make the choice.

  • Puck Viking

    Odd move by the Flyers. They claimed him just to send Hart down? Hes been the better of the 2 goalies they currenly have up right now. Then they have Stolarz back in a week and Elliot back in a couple weeks.

  • North Van Halen

    If the Flyers think McKenna is an answer, I wonder what the question is?
    Between Philly & Toronto, someone is dropping an AHL caliber goalie in the next week or so. Sign a goalie to back up Kublakov for the next 2 weeks then pick up the next serviceable guy to go on waivers.
    There is no need to waste an asset unless Markie or Demko get hurt in the interm.

    • Defenceman Factory

      if you take a goalie off of waivers he has to go into your NHL roster. You can waive him again but everyone gets a chance to claim and the team that waived him in the first place can claim him and put him straight to the AHL if no one else claims.

      • North Van Halen

        Considering the caliber of goalies we’re talking about I’m not sure thats an issue but it may mean Demko gets another short tour of the ‘A’ before his permanent promotion.

  • Holly Wood

    So far in 2019 there has been 8 transactions involving goaltenders not named McKenna or Demko. Some required waivers some not. No need for concern as a goaltender will become available very soon.

    • Killer Marmot

      The trouble is that even if the Canucks claim a goaltender, they will then try to send him down, which means he could get claimed by a team lower on the waiver pecking order.

    • I don’t think it’s an issue of getting an AHL goalie, it’s getting a *capable* AHL goalie. We’ve all seen how bad goaltending can kill a team…is Joacim Eriksson interested in coming back? Despite good numbers in the SHL, he was loaned to an Allsvenskan team.

  • Holly Wood

    Canucks have a favour or two in the bank with the Gagner situation. Michael Gartieg is currently with the Marlies. perhaps when the dust settles he winds up in Utica. Because he is an ECHL tender up with the Marlies I don’t believe he requires waivers

  • Kanuckhotep

    They got rid of Nilsson to make room for Demko and got a 6th rounder out of the deal. However the AHL goaltending situation is precarious and Benning may have bungled this one slightly. It may help the big club but not Utica. You can see the priorities on this one.

    • Can you even do that? DiPietro is 19 so he doesn’t meet the age threshold. He’s in his 4th year in the CHL but I’m not sure if it counts towards the 4 season requirement. Not that I would, to rush him into the AHL to cover a roster issue is bad development.


    Getting a pick for Nilsson was a gift. Sorry for the Utica fans, but it means the young forwards have to score more!

    AHL clubs are there to develop not win championships. A winning culture is great, but when it’s time to go up a level. Go!

    Dahlia is a perfect example last yr in the SHL… don’t make me spell the leagues! It was admiral and loyal that Dahlin wanted to stay with his 2nd tier team to promote them to the 1st tier. I was impressed, but would it have been better for his personal development to move up a level and challenge himself.

    He struggled at first in Utica, maybe? If he ends up a top six forward… no worrries, if he ends up back in the SHL. Problem