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Teams Holding on to Unready Defensemen

Multiple teams around the NHL are looking to carry an extra defenseman with them heading into this season in order to keep from sending a big and young but unproven defenseman through waivers. This means that a couple of young d-men may be forced into making an impact at the highest level of hockey this year. And if not, they will likely be dealt to another team before going through waivers.

As per The Dallas Morning News’ Mike Hieka, the Dallas Stars are opting to carry eight defensemen, including waiver-eligible Jamie Oleksiak. This is likely in fear of another team claiming the 22-year-old off of waivers.

Oleksiak, six-foot-seven, is clearly not ready for the NHL just yet. After coming off of a poor performance in the AHL playoffs, Oleksiak is attached to the worst plus-minus rating of -5, and the Stars are 0-3 this preseason when Oleksiak is in the lineup. Yes, that is a small sample size, but the Canadian has yet to stand out this preseason and is currently at the bottom of the team’s depth chart. However, evidently, the Stars aren’t ready to lose this kid and get nothing in return.

A similar situation is also taking place in Montreal as the Canadiens seem unwilling to waive Jarred Tinordi. The 24-year-old has impressive skating abilities for a six-foot-six, 230-pound defenseman but, like Oleksiak, Tinordi has yet to show signs of NHL-readiness this preseason. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Habs GM Marc Bergevin would rather not take his chances with waivers. Friedman also reported that several teams have shown interest in Tinordi. If a trade doesn’t get worked out, Tinordi will most likely be a part of the Canadiens roster to start the season.

The New York Rangers chose to waive Raphael Diaz, an NHL-ready defenseman, in order to avoid the risk of losing Dylan McIlrath, six-foot-five, to waivers. Diaz, a proven NHL defenseman, is without a doubt the better player but the Rangers see potential in McIlrath, who they drafted 10th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Since being drafted, McIlrath’s career has been plagued with injuries which have certainly taken a toll on his development. However, the 23-year-old has had a strong performance this preseason.

Diaz, however, could be a worth-while pick up for any team willing to grab him off of waivers.

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