The Anaheim Ducks have placed Ken Klee on waivers as of 9:00 a.m. (PST) this morning.
If Klee is not claimed by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, the Ducks will reassign him to their AHL affiliate in Iowa. Klee will be a Chop.
Klee was acquired in the trade that sent Mathieu Schneider to Atlanta. To save salary room, the Ducks were hoping to trade Schneider in exchange for draft picks. But as opening night approached, Ducks' general manager Brian Burke ran out of time to negotiate a favorable deal. Atlanta agreed to take Schneider off of the Ducks' hands, but they forced the Ducks to take Klee and Brad Larsen off of their hands in return.
If Klee is claimed off waivers, the Ducks would be free of his salary but would probably need to call up an AHL defenseman to replace him. The most likely candidate is Brett Festerling, who had a terrific training camp and was the last player cut from the NHL squad.
Festerling's NHL contract amounts to $473,000, which would only save the Ducks about $777,000 in cap space. Burke has stated that he intends to leave a small cushion under the cap, in case the Ducks run into injury trouble and need to call up AHL players as substitutes.
Klee is also on a one-way contract, so if he is not claimed off waivers, the Ducks will be paying him his entire $1.25 million salary to play in the AHL.
Put simply, this move does not give the Ducks enough room to recall Bobby Ryan
This could be the first of a series of moves designed to bring Ryan back up to the NHL. The Ducks are in desperate need of scoring, and would also benefit from some stability on the top two lines. Even if Ryan is ineffective at first, he will at least fit-in with the scoring lines. It should reduce the frequency of head coach Randy Carlyle's ineffective line-juggling.
Klee leaves the Ducks with three games played and zero points. He wasn't with the team long enough to make an impression, so he won't be missed. But I wish him the best of luck with the rest of his career, wherever that may be.
Image: Courtesy of Anaheim Ducks official website