If you made an All-star team of players claimed off waivers in the salary cap era, what would it look like? Players are being judged based on what they did after being claimed, not prior. Some had good careers before being a waiver claim, and did nothing with their new team. Those guys don’t count. This is what they did afterwards. Malcom Subban is worthy of consideration, but it’s still a bit fresh. I’d like to see how he finishes the season first. These are all 2006 to 2016 seasons.
Warning that there is a bit of satire below, but if you can't spot what it is, then I'm not going to tell you.
1) Chris Kunitz, 2005/06 Anaheim: The Winnipeg Jets let him go and he’s gone on to win 4 Stanley Cups. Maybe the Jets should have held on to this guy.
2) Rich Peverly, 2008/09 Winnipeg: The Jets claimed him from Nashville and he went on to score 124 PTS in 180 GP in a Jets jersey. The Jets then traded him to Boston for Blake Wheeler, and the rest is history.
3) Craig Adams, 2008/09 Pittsburgh: The only guy on this list who won a Stanley Cup the season he was claimed. Do the Pens win the Cup without him? Maybe not. They shouldn’t have won the Cup that season anyway.
4) Michael Grabner, 2010/11 Islanders: Grabner scored 34 goals for the Islanders this season in one of the best offensive years for a recent waiver wire claim. He's gone on to score 140 NHL goals since being claimed.
5) Paul Byron, 2015/16 Montreal: Byron has scored 74 PTS in 175 GP for the Habs (and counting) after claiming him from Calgary.
6) Mark Recchi, 2007/08 Winnipeg: The Jets claimed him from Pittsburgh and he scored 40 PTS in 53 GP. Mark is the only Hall of Fame player on this list.
7) Dominic Moore, 2007/08 Toronto: In this stint with the Leafs he played 101 games scoring 55 PTS. That's good for a waiver add. The Leafs traded him to Buffalo the next season for a 2nd round pick.
8) Sean Avery, 2008/09 Rangers: Avery went on to play 178 games for the Rangers, scoring 70 PTS and racking up 389 PIMs. His personality was a perfect fit for that market.
9) Jeff Cowan, 2006/07 Vancouver: If you want to argue that 88 GP, 7 Goals, 11 PTS, 203 PIMs is not worthy of being on an “Allstar” list, that’s fine. But for a few of those 7 goals, some women threw their underwear out onto the ice. So yes, I’m putting “Cowan the Brabarian” on this list.
1) Kyle Quincey, 2008/09 LA: This would be the best season of Quincey's career offensively with 38 PTS. It’s very rare to get this many blueline PTS from a waiver wire claim.
2) Thomas Hickey, 2012/13 Islanders: At the moment he was claimed, Hickey had not played a game in the NHL and was considered to be a huge draft bust. He has only played NHL games since then, accumulating 361 games with the Islanders thus far (and still counting).
3) David Schlemko, 2014/15 Calgary: He did not do much to help the Flames, playing 30 games scoring 1 point. Calgary did not sign him. Schlemko went to New Jersey and became a good defenseman.
4) Ron Hainsey, 2005/06 Columbus: Hainsey went on to score a decent 17 PTS in 55 GP. He had mostly played AHL at the moment he was claimed, and hasn't played in the AHL since.
1. Ilya Bryzgalov, 2007/08 Phoenix: The Bryz played 55 games for Phoenix that season with a 2.42 GAA and .921 SV%. This was mostly a case of Anaheim having too many goalies and in the game of roster spot musical chairs, sometimes a good player loses.
2. Michael Leighton, 2009/10 Philly: He played 27 regular season games for the Flyers (2.48 GAA, .918 SV%) and 14 more games in the playoffs as the Flyers went to the finals. Because of the finals run, I’m putting Leighton over Malcom Subban for now.