The Toronto Maple Leafs tried to sneak a goalie through waivers on Sunday afternoon in hopes of easing the burden that has been created by their crowded goal crease.
Dell is the third goalie on the depth chart behind veteran starter Freddy Andersen and backup goalie Jack Campbell. Dell hasn't appeared in a game for Toronto this season and likely will not be for the foreseeable future.
Dell, a 31-year-old veteran, played the last four seasons with San Jose Sharks prior to signing with the Leafs. Dell is a reliable puck stopper and will no doubt get snatched off waivers upon re-entry. Dell is the owner of a career 2.75 GAA and .908 SV%.
What makes me so confident that Dell will be claimed off waivers on Monday?
I know what I am talking about.
Earlier this week, four NHL goalies were claimed off waivers. The Winnipeg Jets claimed goalie Anton Forsberg. The Washington Capitals claimed veteran tendy Craig Anderson. Eric Comrie was picked off waivers by the New Jersey.
There are still several teams that are in need of an upgrade in their goaltending.
The Edmonton Oilers have lost veteran goalie Mike Smith to an undisclosed injury. I smell a rat. Smith was healthy enough to be the backup to Mikko Koskinen for the Oilers' first game of the season and suddenly he was placed on LTIR the next day. Smith, 37, will now be lost to his team for at least 24 days or 10 games. The Oilers have recalled Olivier Rodrigue from the Austrian League to join their taxi squad, however, Rodrigue will have to quarantine for 10 days. On Saturday, the Oilers claimed AHL goalie Troy Grosenick off waivers.
The order of teams for waiver claims does not paint a rosy picture for Edmonton:
The Red Wings, Senators, Sharks, Kings, Ducks, Sabres, and 12 other NHL clubs will have dibs on Dell before the Oilers. Good luck with that.
The Buffalo Sabres are a favorite to claim Dell off waivers as they have been looking to upgrade their goaltending for the past six months.
Sabres GM Kevyn Adams and head coach Ralph Krueger watched Carter Hutton allow 5 goals against on 27 shots faced in Washington 6-4 win in the season opener on Thursday night. The Caps added an empty net goal to seal the deal at the end of regulation. Hutton, 35, looked very shaky last season (12-14-0-4, 3.18 GAA and .898 SV%) and then again in his first start of the new season. Hutton failed to inspire confidence with his teammates by delivering a dreadful 5.12 GAA and.815 SV% against the Capitals in the season opener on Thursday night. On Friday night, the Sabres received dramatically better goaltending from Linus Ullmark (2.07 GAA, .905 SV%) by stopping 19 of 21 shots thrown at him by Ovechkin and Company.
I have been screaming from the roof tops for the past seven months that the Sabres cannot continue to wish and hope and pray that their goaltending is going to be playoff-caliber this season.
Ullmark is the starter. I feel that Hutton is skating on thin ice again this season. The Sabres have begun the season 0-2 and need to correct their course, like now. The pressure is now on Krueger and his Sabres to flex their muscles and earn points and respect from their new East Division foes in the Isles, Flyers, Capitals, Penguins, Bruins,Rangers and Devils. The early returns suggest that the Sabres offense will not have trouble scoring goals at even strength and on the power play this season. Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Victor Olofsson, Eric Staal, Samson Reinhart, Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Dahlin, and the Sabres will be able to out score some opponents on nights when their goalies are not sharp. Krueger is all about structure and order. He is not going to sit idly bye and wait weeks until Hutton cleans the rust and tarnish off his game. The Sabres will be playing 56 games in 114 games this season. It's time for Adams to improve his goaltending tandem.
Understandably, there is now a heightened sense of urgency to win and stack points in every game. The Sabres will win their share of blow outs and they will lose games, too. Playing opponents tight will get the Sabres points in regulation and will force overtime and shootouts. Points are good. Go get as many of them as you can. By my count, the Sabres will need to earn 68-70 points in order to punch their ticket to the Stanley The top four teams in each division will earn a playoff berth this season. I sincerely believe that when (not if) the Sabres upgrade their goaltending they will be a fourth place team in the East when the regular season comes to an end.
Go ahead, Kevyn Adams. Make a waiver claim on on Aaron Dell and his $800K AAV like the success and failure of your season depends on it.
The Sabres practiced Sunday before jetting off to Philadelphia their first road trip of the new season.
Wingers Samson Reinhart and Kyle Okposo did not skate on Sunday and are listed as day-to-day. Reinhart suffered a lower body injury in Friday night's 2-1 loss to Washington.
Reinhart and Okposo made the trip to Philly with team.
Casey Mittelstadt skated in Reinhart's place at right wing beside Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall.
Here are the forward lines from Sunday's skate:
Congratulations are in order for the Buffalo Bills, who have earned their first trip to the AFC Championship Game since 1993.
The NHL is doing #BillsMafia a favor by moving the Sabres vs. Capitals game to a new time on Sunday 24.
The Sabres and Caps game was originally scheduled to be played at 7:00pm EDT. However, due to the AFC Championship game being scheduled to begin at 6:40pm EDT on January 24.
Let's Go Buffalo!