Raffi Torres cleared waivers on Saturday, freeing him to continue his rehabilitation assignment with the AHL San Jose Barracuda. However, his future with the Sharks franchise is very much uncertain.
The Sharks somewhat surprisingly waived Torres, 34, on Friday, allowing the other 29 teams in the NHL to make a claim on him. Over the 24-hour waiver period, no other club saw fit to pick up Torres and his $1.5 million base salary. With no takers, Torres is free to play for the Barracuda on Saturday night, when they visit San Antonio to take on the Rampage.
The Sharks were forced to either waive Torres or bring him up to the NHL club after his two-week conditioning assignment expired earlier in the week. Two complications made the Sharks go the waiver route: 1) Torres suffered a “setback” with his knee and missed three games, and 2) the Sharks don’t have room on a big league club that is 8-0-2 over its last 10 games.
When Torres is available, he is a tremendous catalyst for the Sharks and a key contributor to their success. He has the speed and grit to aggressively forecheck, and his impassioned play lifts the entire club. He add depth to the Sharks’ third and fourth lines and is a difference maker
However, Torres is not always available. Since joining the Sharks via trade in 2013, he has played only 16 regular season games and 12 playoff games, the result of both his severe knee injury and two suspensions, the last of which wiped out the entire first half of this season.
The Sharks only have 22 players on its active roster, so the club can bring Torres, a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, up to the NHL team at any time, including, of course, Friday when he was placed on waivers.
So, now it’s wait and see time. Maybe the Torres just needs time to more fully recover from his injury, and perhaps the Sharks will bring him up after the All-Star break. Or, maybe the Sharks are shopping Torres for a trade deadline roster maneuver.
Either way, Sharks fan will be kept wondering if Raffi Torres’s days with the club are numbered.
Photo Credit: Tom Mihalek/AP Photo
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