Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/26/09 at 04:26 PM ET
On Monday, the Hurricanes announced that they have waived veteran forward Stephane Yelle. If he isn’t claimed, he’ll clear waivers at noon Tuesday. Being placed on waivers doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Frantisek Kaberle was placed on waivers at least 37 times last season. He was never claimed, he was never re-assigned to Albany, and he was only bought out this last summer.
Unlike Kaberle, though, Yelle is cheap. His salary this season is $550k, and if a team claims him off re-entry waivers, they’d only be on the hook for half of that. This might be attractive to a team like the New Jersey Devils, who just learned that Jay Pandolfo will be out of the lineup for up to six weeks.
Depending on what happens with Yelle’s waiver situation, it could make a permanent spot for Brandon Sutter in the lineup. The 20-year old has been called up to fill a spot while Tuomo Ruutu is serving a three-game suspension. If Sutter stays, he’ll most likely be shifted to a wing position.
Yelle hasn’t had much of a chance. He’s averaging only 7:39 of ice time. He’s managed to rack up 10 PIMs, which is a concern since he’s not out there on the ice very much and he’s taking a lot (five) of minors. Most recently, he skated for only 2:19 against the Wild on Saturday. He also spent two minutes in the box that game.
Yelle was brought in to bring some veteran experience to the bottom six, to provide a little bit of leadership and a little bit of scoring. He’s doing neither. Through the first ten games, he’s only registered one assist and no goals. To be fair, that’s the exact same output as Chad LaRose has had, but we’re not worried about Sharpie here.
Even if Yelle clears waivers, there’s no clear statement of what the Hurricanes will do with him. It’s hard to imagine that they would send a 35 year old man to the AHL, but I suppose it is a possibility. My guess, though, is that they’re hoping that he’ll get claimed.
If Yelle is claimed or reassigned or released, there’s going to be a lot of shuffling. Paul Maurice would rather see Jussi Jokinen centering the third line and Brandon Sutter playing one of the fourth line wings. If it were me, I’d move Tom Kostopoulos from the left to the right and maybe bump him up to the third line. Since Tuomo Ruutu has two more games left on his suspension, this might necessitate calling up Zach Boychuk or Patrick Dwyer for two games.
Some Hurricanes fans have viewed this as a “message” from the top brass. I find that to be ridiculous. If they wanted to send a message, they’d put somebody more vital to the team on waivers. Not this guy, who’s barely clinging on to the remains of his NHL career.
The Canes are off until Wednesday, when they’ll be hosting the Blues.
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David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.