The Leafs wasted no time picking a course of action for Jared Cowen this afternoon, placing him on waivers while also loaning Richard Clune back to the Toronto Marlies.
The #leafs have placed Jared Cowen on waivers.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 26, 2016
It’s very likely that the Leafs are going to spend the next few weeks seeing what they have in Cowen. We’ve previously talked about how his contract is the opposite of buyout-proof and allows a team to actually gain cap space next year, but those last two words are key to the situation; next year.
The type of teams that can benefit from an extra $700,000 in 2016/17 are up against the cap in the immediate, and in most cases, are making a push towards a deep playoff run. Not to say that Cowen is a particularly bad player, but after spending some time off rehabilitating a hip injury and strengthening up areas he’s hurt in the past, nobody is quite sure how he’ll react when he hits the ice.
Waiving Cowen now creates two possibilities; that a team will claim him, which cleans the books moving forward, or that he’ll make it down to the Marlies. That way, he’s able to no only have a lengthy conditioning stint, but he can also join the team in the playoffs if need be. The last thing Toronto will want is for this 0.796 AHL powerhouse to come off the rails due to a lack of support if players start getting injured. Having an extra player who is hungry to prove that he’s ready to come back to the NHL and make an impact is a logical decision.
Come draft day, the Leafs will have a better idea of whether he’s a player they’d like to keep for another season, or send to a team looking for that bit of cap relief.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 26, 2016
Clune has spent the bulk of the past two months up with the Leafs, and considering the “loaned” verbiage, it wouldn’t be a shock if this was a temporary move to get him into the Marlies lineup this weekend and save a little bit more cap space heading into Monday. Since coming up on January 13th, Clune has 3 points in 16 games. He was loaned to the Marlies once over that stretch and picked up a goal and an assist in a 6-5 overtime loss to Manitoba on February 6th.
Both teams play this weekend; the Marlies are staying home to take on Hershey tonight (7:00) and Rochester tomorrow afternoon (3:00), while the Leafs take on the Habs tomorrow night in Montreal (7:00).