Wild play chicken with Veilleux
The Wild won their game of chicken with Stephane Veilleux this morning when the checking wing cleared waivers.
Minnesota placed Veilleux, 26, on waivers Wednesday when the restricted free agent turned down the team's latest contract offer. The Wild hoped Veilleux would clear waivers and realize his asking price was too steep.
Or does it?
Veilleux's not a household name, but he's a pretty useful player, and by my math was one of the better defensive forwards in the league last season.
Wild beat writer Michael Russo has a pretty solid take on what's going on here:
As somebody just told me on the phone, and this quote regards a team that “100 percent would like to claim Veilleux, 100 percent likes his game and 100 percent could guarantee him a spot,” this person said, “Say I want to claim Veilleux, take him and find out we’re going to arbitration. Well then I have to start from scratch. Think the Wild’s going to give me their arbitration brief? I think the Wild knows nobody’s going to claim him because it’s 24 hours before briefs are to be exchanged.”This makes me wonder if players headed for arbitration should be exempt from the waiver process. If no team can reasonably step in to take over the process, what purpose — other than the humiliate the player — could this possibly serve?
In other words, if Veilleux clears waivers, the Wild — as stated in today’s article — is going to tell Veilleux, “See, nobody took you. Your value is not as high as you think it is,” when that’s not entirely true.
It strikes me as a case of a veteran GM bullying a player that doesn't have an agent.
Look for Veilleux to take a one-year deal and leave Minnesota next summer as an unrestricted free agent, when he'll definitely have suitors.