Pettinger in, Koci out, Ward on waivers
Busy morning for the Lightning, which claimed forward Matt Pettinger on recall waivers from the Canucks, lost enforcer David Koci on waivers to the Blues and put Jason Ward on waivers as well.
Pettinger, who turns 28 on Wednesday, had three goals for AHL Manitoba, and has 56 goals, 105 points in 354 NHL games with the Capitals and Canucks. His contract calls for $1.1-million in salary. But since he was claimed on recall waivers, Tampa Bay is only responsible for half ($550,000). He is expected to join the Lightning and not be sent to AHL Norfolk.
Koci was put on waivers Monday and claimed by the Blues. That is the most interesting part of this process because coach Barry Melrose had hyped Koci since the summer. But Koci played only one game, Satruday against the Wild, and played just 41 seconds and had four minutes in penalties, and neither were good penalties.
Melrose even said he would be trying to get Koci more playing time. Anyway, asked before the announcement of Koci going to the Blues, Melrose said, "That's a business decision. David Koci did everything we asked of him. Obviously, going out and getting those two penalties, I was forced to play him a little bit different than I hoped. I hop David Koci doesn't get picked up. I want to keep him in the organization. We will have injuries and he wil be a guy we get back. But that's a business decision more than a hockey decision.
Still, it isn't as if there have been brawls breaking out all over the place that Koci has had to address. But as Melrose said (in what might be the quote of the year), "That's why the United States has a nuclear aresenal. It's called a deterent. Do you think (Minnesota's Derek) Boogaard is in the lineup because he's going to get 10 goals? I don't think so."
Vice president of hockey operations, Brian Lawton, was not immediately available for comment.
As for Ward, no surprise he is on waivers. He has not yet played this season, and tonight will be a healthy scratch for a fourth straight game. And the Lightning has numbers issues. The roster was at 22, one under the limit when the day began. Adding Pettnger and losing Koci keepis it static. With center Ryan Craig (groin) almost ready to return and defenseman Marek Malik close to being signed (we assume), that would bring the number to 24. Ward leaving the roser reduced the number to 23.
We'll know at noon tomorrow if Ward is claimed or if he is off the Norfolk.