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Waivers: Players for nothin’ and rentals for free

Anaheims greatest and not so greatest Waiver hits

Ilja Bryzgalov Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

I realise it got a tad lost in the news this week but picking up JT Brown from the Lightning was such a positive shock to many Ducks fans that it got me thinking. Who is the best player the Ducks have ever picked up off Waivers? How many players have they ever claimed? How many have they lost? Which teams have they picked off of the most? Which teams have victimized the Ducks the most?

Well I went down a few winding holes to uncover as much info as I could to bring you this - the Waiver Almanac.

A brief timeline:

In their debut season Anaheim’s first ever waiver claim was Gary Valk from the Vancouver Canucks. His wikipedia page states he was selected during the expansion draft but he was actually selected in the waiver draft. He put up 45 points in 78 games, finishing 3rd on the team in scoring. Not bad for a waiver pick up.

Two years later Ferreira struck again, picking up Frederik Olausson from Edmonton in January 1996. The Swedish defencemen in total made 3 separate tours of duty with Anaheim, going to the Stanley Cup final in 2003 in his final stint. He is still 6th overall in franchise defencemen scoring with 127 points in 244 games, it is only fitting that fellow calm-calculated countryman Hampus Lindholm is due to pass him very soon.

Ferreira didnt really have any other standout claims or losses in his tenure. Kevin Todd is possibly the only other one of vague note - picked up from the Penguins in October of 1996.

There were various middling names that moved in and out in the late 90s (Brent Severyn from Colorado, Darren Van Impe lost to Boston, Pascal Trepanier from Colorado) but things steadily went down from there. Pierre Gauthier had the grand distinction of fare-welling fan favourite franchise all-time OG pick and goaltender, Guy Hebert. Hebert was picked up by the Rangers in March 2001. He retired at the end of the season.

Gauthier didn't really do much else with Waivers. Bryan Murray in his two year stint claimed ‘a’ Mike Brown but not “the” Mike Brown that most Ducks fans probably remember. There were actually two different Mike Browns that played for the Ducks. The one picked up in October 2001 wasn’t the good one we remember. Murray also picked up Todd Simpson from Phoenix in October 2003 in the last ever waiver draft - which given the names available in that draft was slightly disappointing but this was also the year before the lockout so possibly understandable.

Brian Burke did a few things with Anaheim, getting Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer and subsequently a Stanley Cup were definitely his highlights. He also lost Chris Kunitz in October 2005 to waivers. Thankfully the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers had the winger just under a month before putting him back on Waivers so that Burke could claim him back. A month later Burke snagged Todd Marchant from Columbus in what is now considered the birth place of No-Movement-Clauses as opposed to No-Trade Clauses. Marchant was originally part of the Federov deal but he invoked his no-trade clause, then Columbus GM Doug MacLean retaliated by putting him on Waivers for the Ducks to claim him (EDIT: Thanks Jake for the heads up there). The defensive specialist was critical for Anaheim in the Stanley Cup run and is still a part of the organisation today. He sits on a few of the franchise lists also - 11th in games played, 4th in short-handed goals and 8th in playoff games played. Burke lost Michael Leighton on re-entry waivers when both Jiggy and Bryz were injured in November of the 2006-2007 Stanley Cup winning season which caused some scrambling but then ended up deliberately letting Bryz go on Waivers just a season later in November of 2007. Losing Bryzgalov to Phoenix for “free” is still a black-mark against Burke that many Ducks fans remember and could possibly be the worst loss to waivers of the franchise.

Then the Bargain Bob era began.

From 2008 to now, the Ducks have lost 13 14 players to Waivers and claimed 7. In total from what I can gather from various sources (wikipedia, prosportstransactions, hockeyreference) they have lost 24 25 and claimed 18 all time. So Bargain Bob is responsible for just over half of all players lost in his almost 10 year tenure. I realise I said it already in my “who ran it best” piece, but Bob isn't very good at waivers.

Among the names Bob lost early in his time with the Ducks.

Brendan Morrison, Andrew Ebbett, Erik Christensen, Brendan Mikkelson and Troy Bodie. Some of those are failed signings, some of those are flash-in-the-pan scorers that couldn't stick. But worryingly some of those are also prospects that could have been developed further.

This is a trend that has followed Bob into this current decade. In 2015 he lost Chris Wagner to Colorado before thankfully getting him back a few months later. But not before losing Adam Clendening who had been acquired in a trade (along with David Perron) for Carl Hagelin. Last year he picked up Emerson Etem - which might have been a good pick up had Etem stayed healthy.

I am still very upset at him for losing Stefan Noesen to New Jersey last January, the Plano, Texas native has 12 points in 33 games with the Devils this year and was likely to become the Gulls first captain for the reborn franchise. He also lost Joseph Cramarossa to Vancouver - who if anything - could have proven a cheaper and more effective alternative to Jared Boll. Cramarossa is now a consistent thorn in the Gulls side whenever they face the Stockton Heat.

But enough beating on Bob. Maybe he has redeemed himself slightly with this Brown pickup. The analytics all point to him being an upgrade over Shaw at the very least but I do worry about the loss of chemistry Shaw and Wagner had going on the fourth line.

So lets break it down to conclude:

Best Waiver Pick Up Of All Time I have to go with Frederik Olausson. Just based on longevity and the numbers he put up. Followed closely by Todd Marchant and then Gary Valk.

Worst Loss To Waivers Of All Time This is a “future is cloudy” type of deal because I still feel Noesen has more to prove. But right now it is Ilya Brzygalov without a doubt. Kunitz and Wagner do not count as they were re-claimed at a later date.

Which Team Likes Us The Most? With a total of 3 Waiver pick-ups, the Toronto Maple Leafs love our sloppy seconds the most. Which makes sense since we love to draft awesome players with their draft picks.

Which Teams Did We Like The Most? With 4 pickups out of our total 18 all time, our GMs have cast a familiar gaze north to Vancouver the most. Followed by 3 from Colorado and 2 from Edmonton and Chicago respectively.

Here is hoping JT Brown is another we can add to the list of legendary pick-ups or at the very least one that will remembered fondly further down the line.