Today it was announced that the Carolina Hurricanes had once again used the waiver wire to add to its NHL roster. Ron Francis has been a waiver wire regular since taking over as general manager just less than 3 years ago. The most notable example and modest win was the acquisition of Andrej Nestrasil from Detroit. Nestrasil became a Canes’ regular and is obviously still on the roster.
Ron Francis becoming a waiver wire regular
At the very tail end of the past summer, Francis made a big reach to the waiver wire when everyone was finalizing their rosters. He claimed Klas Dahlbeck from Arizona and also Martin Rrk from Detroit. Defenseman Dahlbeck has been in and out of the lineup but is still with the team. Forward Martin Frk had a very short, unsuccessful trial before going back on waivers.
The beauty of waiver wire acquisitions is that the cost/risk is tiny. In the case of Rattie, the Hurricanes are now on the hook for his 1-way contract even if he does not work out (unless they put him on waivers only to be claimed again), but the cost is only $650,000 through the end of this season before he becomes a restricted free agent.
Ty Rattie quick assessment
Rattie is a 2011 second round draft pick with 4 years of professional experience primarily at the AHL level with a few short NHL stints mixed in. He is a right shot who has primarily been a right wing, but he can also play on the left side. His skill set is that of a skilled playmaker with good hands who theoretically fits on a scoring line and the power play. The downside is that he is a bit undersized at 6 foot 0 and just under 180 pounds. Skill set-wise he actually compares a bit to Derek Ryan except younger and a natural wing.
Rattie has played his way up to the fringe that is the top of the AHL and bottom of the NHL. He has become a proven scorer at the AHL level consistently scoring at a 55-60-point pace projected over 82 games. His AHL production has earned him short NHL stints in each of the past 4 seasons totaling 29 games, but he has yet to stick at the NHL level.
Why I think Francis is interested
First, it is important to restate that waiver wire claims are low-cost trials. Francis claiming Rattie is not a big long-term commitment. When Frk was claimed in October, I predicted that he would be gone in a few weeks, and he was. The same could happen with Rattie if a short trial does not impress or even if Ryan and McGinn just keep playing well.
But I think the reason that Francis was at least curious is Rattie’s offensive upside. He is a skilled player who has scored at the AHL level but never really had an extended chance to do so at the NHL level. The Hurricanes lineup could benefit from another source of offense or 2. I think Rattie’s path to staying long-term is first looking at least adequate defensively (like Ryan and McGinn have) and then show the ability to generate scoring on top of that.
Where Rattie fits in Hurricanes lineup
Short-term for an audition, Rattie could step into the hole created by Lindholm’s injury but not necessarily in his slot. Once Lindholm returns, which should be fairly soon, Rattie would roughly be in the same group as McGinn and Ryan who are relatively low experience depth players/AHLers currently in the lineup and would also compete with Nestrasil for depth player ice time.
With the Hurricanes probably either at the airport or in the air to St. Louis when the transaction was announced, the start could be interesting with Rattie possibly set to just switch locker rooms and change jerseys before playing in a Hurricanes uniform against his old team only 1 day after leaving.