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The Most Intriguing Players To Pass Through Waivers on Roster Cutdown Day

A whopping 59 players cleared waivers on Monday ahead of the NHL's roster cutdown deadline. Let's take a look at the most intriguing names and where they could end up.
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A whopping 59 players cleared waivers on Monday as teams across the NHL work feverishly to set their rosters for opening day. 

Most of that crop were your usual suspects – the veteran roster hopefuls and career AHLers who faced long odds to make their big-league lineups out of camp in the first place. But a few of those names are pretty intriguing. 

Let's take a look at a few notable players who cleared waivers ahead of the roster cutdown deadline and where they could end up in the near future. 

Mike Reilly
Waived By: Boston Bruins

Look, there's always a reason why every player lands themselves on waivers. Reilly may be an intriguing talent, sure. But he's not a superstar, and the $3 million cap hit he's set to pull down this season, coupled with the fact that the Bruins have five NHL-caliber left-shot defenders on their roster, made him the odd-man out. 

Still, this is a big-league player. Reilly is a mobile defender – someone capable of jumping up into the rush and activating wingers out of the defensive zone to great effect. He's also under contract for both this season and next, affording whichever team may acquire him the cost control that could make Reilly an intriguing asset at the trade deadline. 

As for which team that might be? Well, Reilly is a native of Chicago, a factor that could make him an attractive target for his hometown Blackhawks who could pump him full of ice time on a horrid blueline and parlay him into futures later on. 

Either way, Reilly is capable of holding down a job in an NHL's top-six. It just depends on which one that turns out to be. 

Nick Foligno 
Waived By: Boston Bruins

It just feels like Nick Foligno is destined for the Philadelphia Flyers. The John Tortorella connection is strong with this one, given the pair's history in Columbus, and, as the Fourth Period's Anthony Di Marco noted on Monday, the Flyers were apparently looking for veteran leadership on the waiver wire and trade market with Ryan Ellis set to miss the entire season once again.

Foligno doesn't have a ton of value left these days – especially when accounting for his $3.8 million cap hit – as injuries and the inevitable progression of Father Time have sapped him of his strength. 

But that doesn't mean he's entirely washed, either. In 64 games with the Bruins last season, the 34-year-old finished with a surprisingly good 56.79 percent expected-goal share and an equally intriguing 54.72 percent of available scoring chances at even strength. 

Of course, those totals should be taken with a grain of salt given Foligno's sparse usage and predominantly fourth-line-quality competition. But for a team like the Flyers, who are not really expected to do much this season anyway, Foligno could be a decent flier to take in a trade. 

And now that he's already passed through waivers, the Flyers could toggle Foligno up and down between the NHL and AHL as much as they want for the next 30 days, affording them some roster flexibility that might come in handy in a pinch. 

Wayne Simmonds
Waived By: Toronto Maple Leafs

Wayne Simmonds still has some gas left in the tank. It might not be enough to earn him an everyday NHL job at this point, but the 34-year-old did seem to add a half-step or so of footspeed over the summer and is still able to set a physical tone in limited minutes. 

That, plus his relatively small $900,000 cap hit, makes him a worthwhile flier for a team looking to add one of the most beloved locker room presences in the sport. 

Similarly to Foligno, Di Marco reported that the Flyers have been looking at Simmonds as a potential target to help reset a culture that is severely lacking. He'd certainly help that cause and would be an even more flexible asset than Foligno given his smaller cap hit.

Simmonds is all but confirmed to be leaving Toronto when the regular season kicks off. Now we just need to wait to find out where he'll land. 

Emil Bemstrom
Waived By: Columbus Blue Jackets

It just never worked out between the Blue Jackets and Bemstrom. 

The former Swedish and Finnish league star who arrived in Columbus with some sneaky hype topped out at 10 goals and 20 points in 56 games for the club back in 2019-20, never managing to build on that promising rookie debut while proceeding to watch a few fellow prospects and roster hopefuls pass him by. 

All is not lost, however. 

Bemstrom is still just 23 years old, has never logged over 13 minutes in average ice time in a single season, and will count for just $900,000 against the cap in 2022-23. Each of those factors could convince a team searching for cheap young talent with upside that Bemstrom is worth a flier. And given that he's already passed through waivers, the ability to send him up and down between the NHL and AHL could come in handy for any team in a cap crunch. 

Playing predominantly with Eric Robinson and Cole Sillinger at even-strength last season, Bemstrom still nearly broke even in the expected goals and scoring chance departments, making one wonder what he could accomplish with a little more ice time and some more established linemates. 

Perhaps some team will feel strongly enough about his potential to give that to him. 

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