The Rangers have waved Valiquette. If he clears waivers, he will be assigned to Hartford. If someone claims him, he’s gone. Chad Johnson (who has been tearing up the AHL since being acquired from Pittsburgh) will be called up to replace him.
With regard to the on-ice hockey aspect, this is an understandable (given his 3.74 GAA) but pointless move. Not to be too melodramatic, the move is somewhat akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Vally plays only a handful of games, so while maybe we improve in those, that’s about it. And from all accounts he was a great clubhouse influence and a friend of Lundqvist, who needs all the friends/help he can get at this point.
What this move really is about is the salary cap. The Rangers needs space and calling up Johnson will save them a little. It’s only a hair, but in the Rangers cap situation, every bit counts. Especially if there is something on the horizon, like a trade (Drury, Kotalik), buyout (Rozsival…it’s very unlikely, though I can hope), or call-up (Grachev).
I like Valiquette a lot. Hilarious guy who worked hard to make the NHL. He’s a decent goalie who should stick somewhere if claimed on waivers. And at only $725,000 (prorated at that since we’re well into the season), a pretty good value. Good luck to him.