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Andersson (DEt) on waivers.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 22, 2016
Joakim Andersson is a pending UFA with 3 points in 25 games for the Red Wings this season. His cap hit is below the $950K threshold for buryable deals, so if he clears and is assigned to Grand Rapids, there will be no residual hit against the Wings for having done so.
What isn't entirely clear right now is the reasoning behind this move's timing. The Red Wings currently have only 13 forwards on their roster who aren't on injured reserve. Brad Richards is away from the team for the time being attending a family funeral, and Tomas Tatar is battling the flu. Andersson is expected to skate on the Red Wings' fourth line tonight against Buffalo (and this waiver move won't endanger that, as his being claimed would technically happen tomorrow at noon prior to the Anaheim game for which Richards should return). If Andersson is injured tonight, a team making a claim would be allowed to withdraw it.
Essentially, the Wings currently don't need Andersson's spot and they wouldn't benefit much from the cap space his assignment would give, especially considering that assigning him would bring the team down to just 12 healthy forwards on the roster. Many fans clamored that this is the move the team should have gone with when Landon Ferraro was ready to return from injury, when the Wings instead opted to waive and ended up losing Ferraro to Boston. Personally, I don't feel Andersson has much of a chance to be claimed.
We'll update when we know more about what's going on.
Blashill said the #RedWings have placed Andersson on waivers. It's cap related and he's expected to play tonight in Buffalo.— The Wheel Deal (@Bill_Roose) January 22, 2016
The "cap-related" issues of putting a guy who makes $815K on waivers are interesting. The amount is basically pocket change in a cap world, but it's possible the Wings are still trying to save as much space as they can in regards to avoiding bonus overages. This would mean Andersson getting assigned on days where the Wings don't need a 13th forward (like off days).
Alternate guess could mean a potential trade in the works, but this barely counts as smoke, let alone any hint of fire.
blashill said andersson waived to clear space for possible elevation of defenseman if necessary. does not mean he will be sent down for sure— gregg krupa (@greggkrupa) January 22, 2016
This has to mean cap space, considering the Wings already have roster space for one callup and could put Niklas Kronwall on injured reserve to clear another roster space in the short-term. Currently, with the range of salaries of the defensemen in Grand Rapids, the cap space saved by swapping Andersson for a defenseman goes from negative $135,000 (Kindl) to a positive savings of $227,500 (Jensen). We're talking about some real penny-pinching here.