Predators Strike Gold in Zach Boychuk Waiver Claim

Earlier today, the Predators claimed winger Zach Boychuk off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins.  It’s not often that many positive things can be said about a player that has been waived twice in the same year by two teams, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Zach Boychuk has the potential to surprise not only the fans, but even the Predators Front Office.

Zach Boychuk waiver
Zach Boychuk (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Boychuk in the Burgh

After only playing one game this season in Carolina, receiving time on the wing of Alexander Semin and Eric Staal and then Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal, Zach Boychuk was waived by the Carolina Hurricanes and claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins.  When Zach Boychuk was claimed by the Penguins earlier this year, many Penguins fans had high hopes that even though he was a waiver wire claim, that he could be the young, top-six forward that they so desperately have been seeking for Malkin or Crosby’s line.  To put it lightly, it didn’t work out.

In only 7 games with the Penguins, Boychuk failed to produce a point, even playing alongside reigning Art Ross winner Evgeni Malkin.  Unfortunately for the Penguins, Boychuk did not fit what they were looking for in a winger for their top-six and have sat Boychuk since February 13th.  It wasn’t that Boychuk wasn’t a good hockey player with the Pens, but he did not create space and most importantly to Penguins management, score goals.

Boychuk Will Succeed in Nashville

After reading everything in this article, you’re probably wondering why in the world should I think this guy, who have been waived twice this year and couldn’t produce alongside the likes of Evgeni Malkin and Eric Staal will stand a chance at making a difference in Nashville?  The simple answer is that he does a lot of the little stuff right.

(Steven Christy/OKC Barons)
(Steven Christy/OKC Barons)

The things that Boychuk did right that weren’t enough in Pittsburgh are the type of things that Trotz and the Predators Front Office look for in players.  Boychuk may not put opponents into the third row with devastating hits, but he uses his body well and can separate players from the puck.  He may have not scored a goal in any of his 8 games this year, but in the few games he played alongside Malkin, created several solid scoring chances.

Boychuk stands a great chance at succeeding in Nashville because he’ll receive something that he really didn’t get in Pittsburgh or Carolina: Ice time and a more defined set of objectives.  With the Predators, the expectation isn’t for Boychuk to come in and be the next big thing alongside one of the best players in the game, the hope is that he’ll come in, get adjusted to the style that the Predators play, and help one of the most anemic offenses in the league find their rhythm.