The parade of veteran National Hockey League players with larger than ideal cap hits hitting the waiver wire continued on Sunday with two more big names added to the waiver pool.
According to a report from NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the New York Rangers and the Anaheim Ducks both placed veteran players on waivers today with the Rangers choosing to waive defenseman Jack Johnson and the Ducks electing to waive forward David Backes. It is a trend that we have been seeing all season long and if that trend continues I think it is safe to suggest that both of these men will clear the waiver process and be demoted to the taxi squad on their respective teams.
If either player has any chance of being picked up it would be Johnson, but I suspect that this is a huge long shot at best. Although he is earning a relatively modest $1.15 million on a one year deal, Johnson has looked like a shell of his former self with the Rangers this season and has often found himself left on the sidelines as a result. Team's desperate for defense could consider him an option, but it's not a stretch to say that he has at times looked like the worst defenseman on the Rangers' roster this season.
Backes on the other hand has absolutely no chance of being claimed by an opposing team. The veteran forward carries a massive cap hit of $6 million ($1.5 million of which is retained by the Bruins) per season and even though he is in the final season of his 5 year deal,no one is going to target a rental that expensive in this current era of the NHL, especially not one in the form that Backes is currently displaying. Through 10 games with the Ducks this season Backs has just 2 goals and no assists for a combined 2 points, and he currently sits with a plus minus rating of -3.
He's been playing fourth line minutes for the Ducks this season and even with the reduced cap hit of $4.5 million that is simply something that no NHL team is going to want to touch.