After being a healthy scratch for several consecutive games, Mark Recchi was finally waived this week by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He went unclaimed.
In a transaction that only occurred on paper, Pittsburgh then recalled Recchi, allowing another team to grab him for half of his current contract—with the Pens on the hook for the other half.
Surprisingly, none of the NHL's cellar-dwellers bit on the bargain. Teams like the Washington Capitals and Phoenix Coyotes passed on Recchi, allowing the Atlanta Thrashers to land him instead.
For the life of me, I cannot figure out why a team like Washington wouldn't take a gamble on the veteran winger—for just half of his $1.75 million contract.
Wouldn't Recchi have looked nice skating alongside Alexander Ovechkin?
I am shocked that Wayne Gretzky, known for his loyalty to veteran players, wouldn't have taken a chance on the 39-year-old in Phoenix.
As it stands, the Thrashers will likely play Recchi on their second line with Bobby Holik and Slava Kozlov. That trio could very well slip under the scouting radar as opponents focus on Ilya Kovalchuk, Todd White, and Marian Hossa.
Atlanta is battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and stands to benefit tremendously from the 500-goal scorer's services. The signing is a very good low-risk move for the Thrashers. With a third of the NHL season already in the books, Atlanta's cap hit is really only two-thirds of half of Recchi's salary.
That's a steal.
Despite his age, Recchi is still a capable NHL player. The scouting report on him says he "has relentless energy on the ice and is one of the most durable forwards in the league."
In my opinion, "Rex" is one of the good guys in the NHL. It's a shame the Penguins couldn't find a role for him, but coach Michel Therrien wants to pass the leadership torch to Sidney Crosby.
In order to do that, he needs to make it clear that "Sid the Kid" is the man in Pittsburgh—which means other leaders have to go.
I wish Recchi the best in Atlanta, and hope that he pots a goal tonight against the Capitals—the team that passed on him.
How would that be for poetic justice?