The 10 Most Interesting Players on Today’s Waiver Wire

Jonathan Willis
January 13 2013 01:18PM

The return of the NHL season means the return of the waiver wire! TSN’s Bob McKenzie, as he always does, has today’s news on that front. After the jump, a look at the ten most interesting available players.

1. Patrick Maroon. Despite having just two NHL games under his belt, Maroon is one of the most interesting players on the list. The 6’4”, 225 pound power forward recorded 32 goals, 74 points and 120 penalty minutes in 75 games last year, and has 11 goals and 98 PIM in 34 games to start 2012-13. His size is great, his numbers are great, and his aggression level is great; the knock is his skating (not good) and his age (he turns 25 in April). Conditioning issues were a problem in the past but he has reportedly overcome them. Former NHL coach Trent Yawney and future NHL coach Jon Cooper both raved about him in a December 28 article.

2. Steve MacIntyre. A veteran of 90 NHL games and no fewer than seven leagues since graduating junior, Steve MacIntyre’s playing style is summed up in his stats line: 90GP, four points, 163 penalty minutes. He’s as tough as they come and fits the bill for any team looking for an enforcer to play three minutes per night, once every three games or so.

3. Nick Drazenovic. Drazenovic is a little long in the tooth to be considered a legitimate prospect (he turns 26 tomorrow) but he’s been a pretty good AHL scorer for the last two seasons. Drazenovic played three games with St. Louis in 2010-11, and since then has been a point-per-game guy in the minors. He managed the feat last year despite being limited to 41 games with concussion and knee injuries. He has 30 points in 35 games this year in a lockout-strengthened AHL. He is reputedly a good skater but in the past has been knocked for having a middling physical game.

4. Ryan Russell. The twin brother of St. Louis Blues defenceman Kris Russell, Ryan Russell spent 41 games in the NHL last season with Columbus. The defensive forward had an underwhelming stats line – he picked up just two points in 41 games – but he did solid work on the other side of the puck, posting a minus-7 on a terrible Columbus team despite being leaned on as a defensive zone specialist. Despite his good work in that department, his offensive track record in both the minors and the majors makes it difficult to imagine him as an NHL’er.

5. Nate Guenin. Guenin has the distinction of being the best defenceman on the waiver wire today. He is a primarily defensive defender who earned a 15-game look one year ago and has filled the reserve role for four different NHL teams now. He has decent size (6’2”, 210 pounds), a right-handed shot and plays a rough and tumble style of game. He would be a solid number eight defenceman for a number of different teams.

6. Cody Bass. A utility forward who has skated in 48 regular season NHL games, Bass adds size (6’1”, 213 pounds) and energy to the lineup. In 201 AHL games he’s managed 53 points and 378 penalty minutes. Aside from the fact that aside from his physical game he’s a sub-NHL player, Bass hasn’t played in the minors since suffering an injury in late October.

7. Cedrick Desjardins. A now 27-year old goaltender, Desjardins has had a solid minor-league career. He posted the best save percentage (0.932) in the AHL in 2011-12, was an AHL second-team all-star in 2009-10, and over a 163-game AHL career has managed an average save percentage of 0.917. He’s a good goalie, and a very capable third-stringer. If he’d had a good start to the season he might be worth a flyer for a team needing a backup, but he’s managed just a 0.898 save percentage with a lousy Hamilton team to start the year.

8. David Leggio. Another third-string goalie, Leggio is actually having the best season of the puck-stoppers on waivers today. He has a 0.913 save percentage through 30 games with Buffalo’s AHL affiliate in Rochester, and this marks the third consecutive year he’s been a solid minor-league goaltender.

9. Ben Maxwell. Maxwell has played the role of ‘tweener the last few years, most recently in Winnipeg. He’s appeared in 47 NHL contests since 2008. He has decent size (6’1”, 195 pounds), plays a relatively physical game without taking a lot of penalties, and has been a capable auxiliary socorer for years in the minors. He’s had a rough start to this season – he has just two goals and 13 points in 37 games, along with a minus-13 rating in the AHL.

10. Jordan Hendry. The undrafted defenceman played 144 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks in the late 00’s, including 15 playoff games with the team when it won the Stanley Cup in 2010. The undersized (6’, 197 pounds) rearguard split 2011-12 between Switzerland and the AHL, and has four points in 29 games with Norfolk in the latter league to start the season. He’s a reserve defenceman that should clear waivers easily.

Bonus. Matt Smaby. A 122-game NHL’er (all of them with Tampa Bay), Smaby now plays in the Ducks’ organization. The 6’5” rearguard used to be a player of interest, but his career has been heavily impacted by a series of injuries, and that’s been the case this season as well. He played three games before suffering a leg injury that knocked him out for a month, came back and played three more games before sitting for two months. He’s playing now, but quite clearly isn’t 100%; he’s been a minus-4 over four games since coming back and now sits minus-8 in the seven games he’s played since first being hurt back in October.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Bonvie
January 14 2013, 01:21AM
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@Wax Man Riley

If what you say about MacIntyre's defensive game and positioning was true why did he only have a plus minus of -3 in the entire time he was was playing for the Oilers? During this time period very few players could have said they were a plus player. I watched the games, and I thought he played within his limitations during his 3+minutes a game, he threw hits, tried to move the puck up ice, and then got off the ice, he kept it simple the way a fourth line player should. When players are a train wreck defensively they have plus minus stats that look like a disaster see (Patrick O Sullivan).

I can hear you on his skills because we all can see this in the warm ups, but the fact is on his last stint he was a -1 in 34 games. There was only one positive player with more than 2 games played on that entire team and his name was Ales Hemsky with a whopping +3. What I consider a train wreck defensively would be Patrick O Sullivan or Linus Omark, yet some people thought they were somehow effective players cause they looked nice in the warm-ups.

I would accept your arguement that "the enforcer role is dead" I don't agree with it though. But don't try and sell me Darcy Hordichuk is somehow so much better defensively or can do anything but be an enforcer. Hordichuk's skating is marginally better than the "best enforcer in hockey". And if you look at his plus minus last year it was a minus 3 which again is pretty decent but it is very similar.

Clyde said,"Hurting our chances of winning!!!! he was on the ice for a staggering three goals against all season the last year he played for us, and was on for two. "Hurting our chances of winning." see Linus Omark with his -21 in 64 games, couldn't take a hit on the boards to make the play and win a battle if his life hung in the balance but whoa he looked skilled in his practices.

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#52 Rocket
January 14 2013, 02:38AM
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I think a lot of these arguments are redundant. we all know enforcers like MacIntyre are useless now in the new NHL.

There is no such thing as deterrent any more. L.A. rolled four lines throughout the playoffs with physicality throughout they're line up. They play a smothering style of play with a crazy amount of blocked shots & superb goltending.

The Oilers don't need enforcers in their bottom six just shut-down types which limit chances against.

Of course it helps that Smid blocks a lot of shots...

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#53 Clyde Frog
January 14 2013, 08:26AM
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@Bonvie

Simple.

Steve MacIntyre: average's 22.5 games played a season with ~3 minutes of ice time a game.

Darcy Hordichuk: averages 46 games played a season with ~6 minutes of ice time a game.

So, historically we can see which player is trusted to actually play the game of hockey and which one wasn't.

IMO the more your enforcer touches the ice the more effective he actually is. That and the fact that we had some of our worst injury laden seasons with MacIntyre in the line up already.

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#54 Spydyr
January 14 2013, 10:40AM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

Simple.

Steve MacIntyre: average's 22.5 games played a season with ~3 minutes of ice time a game.

Darcy Hordichuk: averages 46 games played a season with ~6 minutes of ice time a game.

So, historically we can see which player is trusted to actually play the game of hockey and which one wasn't.

IMO the more your enforcer touches the ice the more effective he actually is. That and the fact that we had some of our worst injury laden seasons with MacIntyre in the line up already.

Mac may have been in the lineup but his hands were tied.

The team was worried about an instigator penalty. I'am saying anyone run or cheap shot one of the kids. Mac comes off the bench your next shift. No staged fight, no taking no for an answer. If you turtle he Ragdolls you.

Back in the day if you looked at 99 wrong 27 would beat you to a pulp. Everyone knew that. The whole league. When 99 went to LA there was a reason he INSISTED on 33 going with him.

Tell Mac to destroy anyone who takes any liberty with the kids. Instigator penalty or suspension be damned.

Protect this house.

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#55 Wax Man Riley
January 14 2013, 05:47PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Mac may have been in the lineup but his hands were tied.

The team was worried about an instigator penalty. I'am saying anyone run or cheap shot one of the kids. Mac comes off the bench your next shift. No staged fight, no taking no for an answer. If you turtle he Ragdolls you.

Back in the day if you looked at 99 wrong 27 would beat you to a pulp. Everyone knew that. The whole league. When 99 went to LA there was a reason he INSISTED on 33 going with him.

Tell Mac to destroy anyone who takes any liberty with the kids. Instigator penalty or suspension be damned.

Protect this house.

McSorley could actually skate, pass and play the game. That is why he went with Gretzky. Plus, that was 25 years ago! The game is not the same anymore.

When MacIntyre learns to skate and learns to stay in position, then maybe he can be on my team.

He is a big guy. Toughest in the NHL if he were in the league, but he is also the worst player in the league, and that will not help wins.

Plus, the years he was here were the worst injury years the Oilers have ever had.

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#56 Wax Man Riley
January 14 2013, 05:51PM
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Bonvie wrote:

If what you say about MacIntyre's defensive game and positioning was true why did he only have a plus minus of -3 in the entire time he was was playing for the Oilers? During this time period very few players could have said they were a plus player. I watched the games, and I thought he played within his limitations during his 3+minutes a game, he threw hits, tried to move the puck up ice, and then got off the ice, he kept it simple the way a fourth line player should. When players are a train wreck defensively they have plus minus stats that look like a disaster see (Patrick O Sullivan).

I can hear you on his skills because we all can see this in the warm ups, but the fact is on his last stint he was a -1 in 34 games. There was only one positive player with more than 2 games played on that entire team and his name was Ales Hemsky with a whopping +3. What I consider a train wreck defensively would be Patrick O Sullivan or Linus Omark, yet some people thought they were somehow effective players cause they looked nice in the warm-ups.

I would accept your arguement that "the enforcer role is dead" I don't agree with it though. But don't try and sell me Darcy Hordichuk is somehow so much better defensively or can do anything but be an enforcer. Hordichuk's skating is marginally better than the "best enforcer in hockey". And if you look at his plus minus last year it was a minus 3 which again is pretty decent but it is very similar.

Clyde said,"Hurting our chances of winning!!!! he was on the ice for a staggering three goals against all season the last year he played for us, and was on for two. "Hurting our chances of winning." see Linus Omark with his -21 in 64 games, couldn't take a hit on the boards to make the play and win a battle if his life hung in the balance but whoa he looked skilled in his practices.

it is pretty hard to get a plus or a minus when you are on the ice for 2 minutes a game.

this is a great example of how +/- is a very flawed stat.

for the record, I don't want Omark on my team for the same reason: He isn't a very good NHL hockey player. He is as one-dimensional as SMac.

When I say "the enforcer role is dead," I mean that having a guy that goes out only to pound Daniel Sedin does not exist. The NHL has changed.

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#57 MC Hockey
January 14 2013, 10:44PM
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Oilogosphere.com wrote:

All the talk about picking up Macintyre; a tough defenseman would be preferrable. A player who is on the ice for a duration of a game and not somebody taking up a roster spot during a condensed schedule so he can play every third game (4 minutes at best).

The Oilers need a veteran defenseman and if they were to inquire for one I'd hope they would aim for someone that deliver a hard check and a few fights.

What good is it when opposing teams take a run at the first two scoring lines, a scrum erupts, and nobody is on the ice to bail them out. I fear for two lines made up of Hemsky, Yakupov, Gagner and Hall, RNH and Hall with nobody on the back end to offer some toughness.

Try, oh, I don't know, Mark Fistric in Dallas? Oilers got him TODAY in a trade.

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