The Carolina Hurricanes have made a bold move, although given the pattern that we have seen on waivers this season I suspect that they believe their risk will pay off.
According to a breaking news report from National hockey League insider Elliotte Friedman, the Carolina Hurricanes have placed veteran defenseman Jake Gardiner on waivers. Although Gardiner is certainly a serviceable NHL player at this stage of his career, I suspect that the Hurricanes are confident he will slip through the waiver process thanks in large part to the rather large cap hit he carries for a player at this stage of his career.
The Hurricanes signed Gardiner to a much maligned deal in the summer of 2019, one that carries an average annual value of $4.05 million per season. Making things even worse for any team that would consider claiming him however is the fact that he has 2 more years on his contract beyond this one, something I believe will assure that he is not claimed by another organization.
Fans in Toronto will be very familiar with Gardiner, a hit and miss player who's gaffes on the ice can be tough to stomach at times, but the reality is that his back problems have largely hampered his career. Since an injury that forced him to miss 18 games as a Maple Leaf I think you would be hard pressed to argue that Gardiner is the player he once was, something that no doubt contributed to today's decision from the Hurrcianes.
At this stage $4 million is an overpay for Gardiner and frankly I believe that teams would be doing the Hurricanes a favor if they claim him on waivers, something other NHL teams are no doubt fully aware of. There may also be another motivating factor behind this decision however, and that may be to accrue cap space with Gardiner sitting on the taxi squad.
Hurricanes beat reporter Sara Civian has indicated that the Hurricanes are indeed looking to get him to the taxi squad for cap purposes rather than due to his poor play. I on the other hand suspect that it is a combination of both factors, you simply wouldn't be sending Gardiner to waivers and risk potentially losing him if you felt he was contributing value for what you're paying him.