As we reported on twitter earlier this morning, the Kings have placed defenseman Christian Wolanin on waivers for the purpose of sending him to AHL Ontario. The move was necessary, as Olli Maatta is ready to return from injury and LA needed a roster spot.
With Olli Maata ready to go, LA Kings gave placed defenseman Christian Wolanin on waivers.
If he clears at 11am tomorrow, he'll be assigned to AHL Ontario.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) October 15, 2021
Maatta was originally acquired by the Kings in October 2020 with the thought being he could (a) provide some experience to a young blueline and (b) more importantly, would help the Kings meet the Seattle Expansion Draft requirement of exposing at least one defenseman with a certain amount of NHL games already played.
He started last season on the Kings top defensive pair, alongside Drew Doughty, a plan that was quickly abandoned for a variety of reasons. Once he settled in to a third-pairing role, Maatta’s underlying numbers dramatically improved. This season, he’s likely in a bit of a holding pattern. Currently filling LA’s seventh defenseman role, he isn’t expected to play very often. At least not at the moment. He will most likely draw in on occasion, perhaps replacing Toby Bjornfot or Alex Edler for a game here or there. A more likely scenario would see the Kings trading Maatta once another team loses a blueliner to injury and calls GM Rob Blake to inquire about the 27-year-old’s availability.
Which brings us back to Wolanin. One of the reasons the Kings would probably be willing to part with Maatta is they’re fairly comfortable with the replacement options they have waiting in the wings – Wolanin (left shot) and Austin Strand (right shot). The two former players also come with a lower salary (less than 800K each compared to $3.3M AAV), so there would be some cap savings involved, even if the Kings had to retain some money in any potential Maatta trade. Even on top of that, there’s also additional value in removing a contract from the books, as LA is near the 50-player NHL limit.
Wolanin’s stock has steadily increased since coming over in a deal with Ottawa earlier this year and Strand has seen equal improvement in the way he’s viewed by management, largely coming off of being thrust into NHL action last season.
Lead photo of Wolanin via ALo Images
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