Coronavirus has forced many NHL clubs to stick a fork into most or all hockey-related operations. Transactions essentially halted as the league shut down indefinitely last week while the rapid spread of COVID-19 began to grind almost everything to a stand-still.
The Anaheim Ducks were open for business on Sunday, however, as the team put forward Kiefer Sherwood on waivers, per The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. It was the team’s first transaction since Thursday.
Sherwood cleared on Monday—before NHL rosters froze at 5 p.m. Eastern and the Ducks subsequently re-assigned him to their AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls. The end of the AHL’s regular season and playoffs are not picking up again anytime soon, so this seems to be a financial move more than anything—one that benefits the Ducks quite a bit more than the 24-year-old forward.
By putting New Albany native Kiefer Sherwood on waivers, #LetsGoDucks can send him to #AHL and pay him his minor-league salary ($70,000) instead of his #NHL salary ($925,000) for the final two pay cycles of the season.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 15, 2020
In theory, this move could or might have happened regardless, as Sherwood’s production—just one assist in 10 games since his recall on Feb. 23—hasn’t been eye-popping by any means. It’s also technically plausible that the move was made so that Sherwood could compete for the Gulls in the Calder Cup playoffs if hockey did resume at some point.
There’s also some other salary and financial implications at play here, as Cap Friendly pointed out following the news of Sherwood being waived:
Once a player clears waivers they can remain on the roster for 10 games or 30 days cumulative before they require waivers again.— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) March 15, 2020
With the season paused, the clock will only start if/when hockey resumes. At that time Anaheim can assign Sherwood.#Ducks just getting a head start. https://t.co/tyxaAUKgg2
It’s impossible for the timing of this not to raise eyebrows as the financial implications here are hard to overlook. Alas, professional hockey is business, as moves such as these like to remind us every once in a while.
Sherwood, a product of the Miami University (Ohio), was kept up with the Ducks after the team traded forward Ondrej Kase to the Bruins in February.
The Ducks weren’t the only NHL club making moves in the midst of the league’s coronavirus shutdown, though. The New York Rangers inked blueliner K'Andre Miller to a three-year, entry-level deal.
The Rangers’ signing of Miller, unlike Anaheim’s dealings, is much more of a hockey move than a financial one. The team’s 2018 first-round pick was likely destined for the Blueshirts upon the completion of his season at Wisconsin anyway.
The 6-5, 210-pound 20-year-old skated in 62 career contests with the University of Wisconsin Badgers over two seasons, posting 12 goals and 40 points. Those numbers tied him for second-most among NCAA defencemen who were in their U20 season or younger over that period, according to the Rangers’ release.
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