The Toronto Maple Leafs have picked up 24-year-old right winger Seth Griffith off of the waiver wire for the second time this season.
Griffith, a former London Knight, was originally claimed by Toronto the day before the season opener as the Leafs looked to find options for the final forward spot on the right wing (Nikita Soshnikov started on the Marlies due to an injury in camp). Griffith sat out the first six games as Mike Babcock got him acclimated in practice before he entered the lineup for three games in late October. He averaged just 9:28 a night over those three games, primarily skating alongside Ben Smith and Matt Martin. With Soshnikov returning at the start of November, Griffith sat out the next five games before getting passed through waivers, where he was claimed by the Panthers.
In his stint in Florida, Griffith accumulated five assists in 21 games playing just over 13 minutes a night on average, including 1:24 on the powerplay. He spent some time on a line with Jaromir Jagr and Aleksander Barkov, sharing 140 of his 265 even strength minutes with Jagr and 92 minutes with Barkov. He put together one stretch of three points in four games in mid-December, but battled eight and six-game pointless streaks and put just 18 shots on goal in those 21 games.
Seth Griffith was also a part-time NHLer in 2014-15 (30 games), notching 10 points and a 49.5% CF while playing 13:26 a night, including 1:45 on the powerplay. He saw significant time next to Milan Lucic and David Krejci when he was in the Bruins lineup (253 5v5 minutes with Lucic, 161 minutes with Krejci) — so it’s not as though Griffith hasn’t received some looks higher up an NHL lineup.
There is currently no spot available in the Leafs forward group, meaning Griffith will join the Marlies right away – a luxury they didn’t have available when they claimed Griffith in October, as no other team put in a waiver claim outside of the Leafs this time around. The Marlies, sitting 28th in the AHL standings and 19th in goals for, desperately require the offensive help, especially with leading goal scorer Kasperi Kapanen out injured. Last in the North Division standings, a big second half is required if they are going to extend their postseason streak to six years in a row.
An elite player at the AHL level, Griffith should provide a significant boost. The former fifth-round draft pick in 2012 put up 77 points in 57 games for the Providence Bruins last season to lead all AHL players in points per game (and finish second in overall points).
The claim moves the Leafs back up to 48 Standard Player Contracts.