Goaltender Chris Driedger was placed on waivers by the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, potentially clearing his path to head to the American Hockey League for much needed game action.
Teams in the National Hockey League have 24 hours to place a claim on Driedger, who has been sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament since the gold medal matchup in the World Championships last May.
Driedger, 28, is in the second year of a three year contract, worth $3.5 million annually according to capfriendly.com. Should no team in the NHL claim Driedger, he is due to head to the Kraken affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds, where more appearances in net could aid his conditioning needs.
“That’s part of the process where ‘Dreegs’ is at,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “He’s worked really hard through his rehab here, he’s done everything he can do without getting into games.”
The 6-foot-4 goaltender’s injury occurred nine months ago on a game-tying, five-on-three goal by Mikael Granlund, who buried a rebound from the base of the left circle after Driedger was left to lunge unsuccessfully toward the blocker side post with his right leg. It came off the tail end of an injury and illness riddled 2021-22 campaign for Driedger, going 9-14-1 with a 2.96 goals against average, .899 save percentage and one shutout with the expansion Kraken.
He underwent surgery on the knee in June and has been seen in occasional practices and on-ice sessions with the Kraken in the last several weeks.
Helping offset the loss of Driedger last summer, the Kraken signed free agent Martin Jones to a one-year deal, who has mostly experienced a successful season spelling Philipp Grubauer with a 23-10-3 record, three shutouts, and an .892 save percentage.
Driedger is 30-23-5 in 65 career NHL games with Seattle, Florida, and Ottawa. He last appeared in an AHL game when he was 6-9 in 15 games for Springfield in 2019-20, nabbing a .932 save percentage.