As teams get closer to the start of the 2021 season next Wednesday, and rosters begin to take shape, groups of players will be on waivers over the next few days for purposes of reassignment. Monday at noon Eastern is the deadline for clubs to place players on waivers and have them clear before the submission of rosters for Opening Day, which are due on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
On Friday, the Anaheim Ducks placed eight players on waivers. Among what are likely the reassignments to the San Diego Gulls or the NHL’s new taxi squad is 36-year-old David Backes. Backes’ addition is certain to draw attention — in September, the Ducks chose to not buy out the final year of David Backes’ contract, and in fact, assured him he’d be a “regular” in the lineup in what will likely be his final NHL season.
This move, however, isn’t in opposition to that sentiment, despite Ducks general manager Bob Murray also believing a roster including Backes can make playoffs this season. Instead, it appears to be a bit of cap management, as confirmed by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun:
David Backes placed on waivers by the Ducks today is Anaheim doing some salary cap stick-handling. Not about wanting to lose the player. Ducks have 9 players on waivers today.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 8, 2021
Backes carries a $4.5 million cap hit for the Ducks, who are tight against the cap.
Also among those on the waiver wire is goaltender Anthony Stolarz, who just signed a two-year extension with the team. All teams will be required to carry three goaltenders between their NHL roster and taxi squad, and Stolarz is expected to be the Ducks’ third-string goaltender.
Ducks Waivers List — Jan. 8, 2021
David Backes (C/RW)
Andrew Agozzino (C/LW)
Sam Carrick (C)
Vinni Lettieri (C/RW)
Chase De Leo (C)
Andrew Poturalski (C)
Christian Djoos (D)
Andy Welinski (D)
Anthony Stolarz (G)