The 10 Most Interesting Players on Today’s Waiver Wire

Jonathan Willis
January 13 2013 01:18PM

The return of the NHL season means the return of the waiver wire! TSN’s Bob McKenzie, as he always does, has today’s news on that front. After the jump, a look at the ten most interesting available players.

1. Patrick Maroon. Despite having just two NHL games under his belt, Maroon is one of the most interesting players on the list. The 6’4”, 225 pound power forward recorded 32 goals, 74 points and 120 penalty minutes in 75 games last year, and has 11 goals and 98 PIM in 34 games to start 2012-13. His size is great, his numbers are great, and his aggression level is great; the knock is his skating (not good) and his age (he turns 25 in April). Conditioning issues were a problem in the past but he has reportedly overcome them. Former NHL coach Trent Yawney and future NHL coach Jon Cooper both raved about him in a December 28 article.

2. Steve MacIntyre. A veteran of 90 NHL games and no fewer than seven leagues since graduating junior, Steve MacIntyre’s playing style is summed up in his stats line: 90GP, four points, 163 penalty minutes. He’s as tough as they come and fits the bill for any team looking for an enforcer to play three minutes per night, once every three games or so.

3. Nick Drazenovic. Drazenovic is a little long in the tooth to be considered a legitimate prospect (he turns 26 tomorrow) but he’s been a pretty good AHL scorer for the last two seasons. Drazenovic played three games with St. Louis in 2010-11, and since then has been a point-per-game guy in the minors. He managed the feat last year despite being limited to 41 games with concussion and knee injuries. He has 30 points in 35 games this year in a lockout-strengthened AHL. He is reputedly a good skater but in the past has been knocked for having a middling physical game.

4. Ryan Russell. The twin brother of St. Louis Blues defenceman Kris Russell, Ryan Russell spent 41 games in the NHL last season with Columbus. The defensive forward had an underwhelming stats line – he picked up just two points in 41 games – but he did solid work on the other side of the puck, posting a minus-7 on a terrible Columbus team despite being leaned on as a defensive zone specialist. Despite his good work in that department, his offensive track record in both the minors and the majors makes it difficult to imagine him as an NHL’er.

5. Nate Guenin. Guenin has the distinction of being the best defenceman on the waiver wire today. He is a primarily defensive defender who earned a 15-game look one year ago and has filled the reserve role for four different NHL teams now. He has decent size (6’2”, 210 pounds), a right-handed shot and plays a rough and tumble style of game. He would be a solid number eight defenceman for a number of different teams.

6. Cody Bass. A utility forward who has skated in 48 regular season NHL games, Bass adds size (6’1”, 213 pounds) and energy to the lineup. In 201 AHL games he’s managed 53 points and 378 penalty minutes. Aside from the fact that aside from his physical game he’s a sub-NHL player, Bass hasn’t played in the minors since suffering an injury in late October.

7. Cedrick Desjardins. A now 27-year old goaltender, Desjardins has had a solid minor-league career. He posted the best save percentage (0.932) in the AHL in 2011-12, was an AHL second-team all-star in 2009-10, and over a 163-game AHL career has managed an average save percentage of 0.917. He’s a good goalie, and a very capable third-stringer. If he’d had a good start to the season he might be worth a flyer for a team needing a backup, but he’s managed just a 0.898 save percentage with a lousy Hamilton team to start the year.

8. David Leggio. Another third-string goalie, Leggio is actually having the best season of the puck-stoppers on waivers today. He has a 0.913 save percentage through 30 games with Buffalo’s AHL affiliate in Rochester, and this marks the third consecutive year he’s been a solid minor-league goaltender.

9. Ben Maxwell. Maxwell has played the role of ‘tweener the last few years, most recently in Winnipeg. He’s appeared in 47 NHL contests since 2008. He has decent size (6’1”, 195 pounds), plays a relatively physical game without taking a lot of penalties, and has been a capable auxiliary socorer for years in the minors. He’s had a rough start to this season – he has just two goals and 13 points in 37 games, along with a minus-13 rating in the AHL.

10. Jordan Hendry. The undrafted defenceman played 144 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks in the late 00’s, including 15 playoff games with the team when it won the Stanley Cup in 2010. The undersized (6’, 197 pounds) rearguard split 2011-12 between Switzerland and the AHL, and has four points in 29 games with Norfolk in the latter league to start the season. He’s a reserve defenceman that should clear waivers easily.

Bonus. Matt Smaby. A 122-game NHL’er (all of them with Tampa Bay), Smaby now plays in the Ducks’ organization. The 6’5” rearguard used to be a player of interest, but his career has been heavily impacted by a series of injuries, and that’s been the case this season as well. He played three games before suffering a leg injury that knocked him out for a month, came back and played three more games before sitting for two months. He’s playing now, but quite clearly isn’t 100%; he’s been a minus-4 over four games since coming back and now sits minus-8 in the seven games he’s played since first being hurt back in October.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including the Edmonton Journal, Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.