There seemed to be a fair amount of anticipation that now-former Florida Panthers forward Jayce Hawryluk would be claimed off waivers today. The 24-year-old has struggled with injury setbacks this season and has been unable to carve out a role for himself in Florida, but was a point-per-game player in the AHL last season before being called up an playing at a 24-point pace in the second half of the season with the Panthers. It seems that the expectations that teams would look beyond this season and grab Hawryluk for his previous displays of potential were well-founded. The young forward only lasted until the No. 3 waiver priority, as the Ottawa Senators announced that they have claimed Hawryluk.
The Senators are again heading toward a trade deadline in which they are expected to move a number of roster players. By claiming Hawryluk, the team adds a young player who can move into a regular role in the place of some of those absences. An increase in ice time should also give Ottawa a better idea of Hawryluk’s identity at the NHL level. A dynamic scorer in his junior days, Hawryluk has flashed that ability briefly in the minors but it has yet to show at the top level. Perhaps an expanded role could help him to re-discover that scoring touch. On the other hand, Ottawa may also be looking toward next year as the true test for Hawryluk, as he is an impending restricted free agent with arbitration rights and the cost-sensitive Senators may be hoping to re-sign him at a low cost before trying to inflate his stats.
Joining the waiver wire today are the Sabre’s Taylor Leier, who just signed a two-way NHL contract with the team today, and the Islanders’ Cole Bardreau, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Neither is expected to be claimed, but Bardreau has at least seen NHL action this year. The 26-year-old has skated in ten games with New York and another 29 with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, but has five points combined and is not likely a threat to be claimed. His waiving does indicate that the Islanders are opening up a roster spot for some other corresponding move, however.