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NHL Trade Deadline: Fehr on waivers, Penguins clearing salary for a move?

The Pittsburgh Penguins place veteran forward Eric Fehr on waivers a day before the NHL trade deadline. Is this the first move before something bigger?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins are pretty much out of cap space, but they could have more tomorrow at noon. That's because they have placed Eric Fehr on waivers.

The Penguins have used Fehr on the 4th line, but he's also been a healthy scratch in recent weeks. When the forward corps returns to health, Fehr almost certainly is about 13th or 14th on the 12 man pecking order.

Fehr carries a $2.0 million salary for this season and next, so now about 3 things could happen:

1) Any team in the NHL could claim him (if multiple teams do, he would go to the one with the worst record of points % earned so far this season). Then Fehr is gone for good from Pittsburgh. Waiver claims are usually announced and known just a few minutes after 12:00 noon (Eastern time).

2) No team could opt to claim him, and the Penguins could assign him to the AHL as soon as tomorrow. But, due to NHL rules, only a maximum of $950,000 would come off the Penguins salary, and the remainder of Fehr's cap hit would still count against the NHL salary cap.

3) No team could claim Fehr, and the Penguins could decide to keep him in the NHL and carry on as if nothing has happened.

So why waive him now? The Penguins are close to the salary cap and saving half (or all) of Fehr's remaining salary would help them there. It also obviously opens up more room in order to make another trade. Since we'll know at noon if half or all of Fehr's cap hit is gone, that will give 3 hours to finalize a trade before the deadline.

Stay tuned, business could be about to pick up.