Staffan Kronwall has been claimed by the Washington Capitals off of re-entry waivers in what appears to be a stroke of respect and altruism by Brian Burke. With the re-entry waiver distinction, Kronwall was pretty much trapped in the minors. Burke’s hands were tied in terms of flipping Kronwall for assets as any team acquiring the rearguard would similarly have to pass him through re-entry waivers and would therefore risk sacrificing assets for a player that may be gone the next day (thanks to Spitfire for pointing this out).
Off goes a player that got a really raw deal in Toronto, partly because of untimely injuries during training camp and in large part due to his contract situation. It was always a mystery to me as to why the Leafs continued to turn to Andy Wozniewski last season instead of Kronwall, who to me was just way better in every aspect of his game. Kronwall was having a breakout season offensively this year as well, recording 25 points in 42 games thus far. Kronwall, a 9th rounder in 2002, appears another coup by the Leafs’ underappreciated scouting staff that’s gone all for naught, although we’ll have to see how his career transpires going forward. It would’ve been interesting to see if Kronwall could’ve provided the steady, defense-first, physical presence the Leafs could use right now. Nonetheless, a classy move from Burke and one that we can all understand, as tough as it is to lose a 6’4, 220 pound rearguard that appears to be breaking out of his offensive shell without any sort of return. Kronwall deserves a shot at an NHL career and it was obvious Toronto was not where he was going to receive one.
Circle March 5th on your calendar – Kronwall to score his first career NHL goal versus the Blue and White.