Canucks Tuesday Transactions
Coming off two surgeries for a sports hernia that sidelined him all of last year, Bitz was excited for an opportunity with the Canucks.
Yet somehow, he’s been a worse signing than Marco Sturm as groin problems have kept him from practicing with the team since before training camp.
Today, the Canucks placed Bitz on waivers and reassigned him to Chicago, a move that could mean a few things.
It could mean he’s finally healthy and looking to shake off the rust in the minors. If this is the case, the 27-year-old former Nanaimo Clipper could be a nice physical presence for the Canucks.
A conditioning stint could also have been an option, but that would require the Canucks to recall him after two weeks regardless of his play.
But it could also mean the Canucks are more interested in the waiver part of the transaction and are looking to shed his salary ahead of the deadline.
The Canucks are right against the cap and any space they can free up before the deadline is pro-rated. Byron Bitz makes $700,000.
His injury history makes it unlikely he will get claimed, and Bitz will most likely become another piece for Craig MacTavish to play with on the farm.
The fact that the Canucks can put him on waivers and re-assign him, something forbidden when a player is injured, tells us that there at least some progress in his injury rehab.
If the Canucks do decide to re-call Bitz, he will subject to re-entry waivers, the same rule that has kept Ryan Parent from seeing the light at the end of the AHL tunnel.
It’s hard to say what this move means, but most likely Byron Bitz will play out the year in Chicago and move on when his contract expires in July 1, relegated to trivia questions.
Of course, there is also the chance that he’s finally past his groin issues and becomes a de facto trade deadline acquisition in a couple of months. Even with re-entry, it’s hard to imagine too many teams will bite.
The Canucks also re-assigned Mark Mancari to the Wolves today. Mancari, 26, has appeared in six games for the big club this year.
In 26 games this year in Chicago he ranks second in scoring with 24 points.