Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Would Nycholat Clear Waivers?

After the response I received from my article yesterday, this seems to be the burning question around both Washington and Hershey. First the facts:
(Photo Courtesy of Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Due to a rash of injuries to the Capitals defensemen, he was recalled on December 23rd to Washington. He preceded to fit right into the lineup and recorded 2 goals and 4 assists in his first 7 games. It was also evident that he was gaining the confidence of his coaches as his ice time continued to climb with each game. He reached a game high of 27:53 minutes in an overtime win over the division leading Atlanta Thrashers on January 6th.

Nycholat's downfall began in Washington's devastating 7-3 loss at the Florida Panthers on January 13th. In that game he was repeatedly exploited by the Panthers game plan that included a dump and chase attack followed by an intense forecheck. From that game on he was a -8 in the last 8 games he played in. The last game he dressed for was another devastating loss at Florida 6-3 on February 1st, in which he was on the ice for only 12:28. Since then he has been a healthy scratch for each of the Caps last five games. With Pothier, Erskine, and Muir close to returning, Nycholat's chances to crack the lineup would only diminish.

The debate now centers on what will happen to the 27 year old defenseman from Calgary, Alberta. Reporter Tim Leone brings up a good point in his article today in The Patriot-News. He seems to think that Nycholat would be claimed should he be subjected to waivers. He states:

"Nycholat is highly regarded in the Ottawa organization, which lost free-agent Pothier to Washington. He played for former Bears head coach John Paddock, an Ottawa assistant, with Hartford. He's also highly regarded by the New York Rangers, Hartford's parent. And Anaheim is looking to bolster defensive depth."

He's also highly thought of by Hershey Coach Bruce Boudreau who stated in the same article:

"Let's not forget, Lawrence Nycholat is the best defenseman in this league. Anybody else that clears to come down, I've got to believe, pales next to him. That's my guess. Then again, I'm a little prejudiced when I comes to Nychy."

Hershey fans on the popular message board seem to think that there would be a chance that Chicago might put in a claim for him as well. If for no other reason than to keep him away from the Bears, who are currently trying to catch the Blackhawks' farm team, the Norfolk Admirals, for 1st place in the East Division.

All of these factors are most likely contributing to the reason the Capitals have not made a move yet with Nycholat. While his value in the NHL may be questionable, there is no debating the fact that he is a valuable commodity in the AHL. As a former captain of the Bears this season, he was a key factor during their Calder Cup championship run last season. His presence with Hershey would go along way in helping their chances to repeat this season.


Biff said...

Has anyone considered the possibility of simply trading Nycho?

Capital Fanatic said...

What can you get for a 27 year old defenseman with 20 career games at the NHL level?

Anonymous said...

Boyd Kane was the "Captain" of the Calder Cup Champion, Hershey Bears, Nycho was/is our captain this year....

Capital Fanatic said...

Yea I just wrote that sentence wrong. Fixed it now.

Biff said...

Maybe a third or fourth round pick? It would still be more than if he were picked up on waivers by another team.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question:

Can you unwaive someone? In baseball, you can waive someone, but if claimed, you can essentially unwaive him and not lose them. If so, why not waive him, and then reclaim if he gets taken. The Bears need him more, and frankly, he won't be part of the plan here next year. We have several NHL caliber stay at home types (Morro, Erskine and Jurcina), one good offensive D (Pothier), a question mark in Shultz, and a bunch of god-awful offensive Ds (Green-good riddance, Emmo-way over-hyped, Heward-who plays offensive when he is in Europe). The team needs another good O-style D, but they hard to get, and they ain't cheap.

Capital Fanatic said...

Unfortunately no, you cannot pull a player back off waivers if someone claims him.