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The circle is now complete: Carolina claims Boychuk off waivers

Mar 21, 2013, 12:23 PM EDT

Zach Boychuk Getty Images

Zach Boychuk is right back where he started.

That was the word out of Carolina on Thursday as the ‘Canes claimed the 23-year-old forward off waivers — 49 days after putting him on waivers.

And what wild 49 days it’s been.

Boychuk was first claimed from Carolina by Pittsburgh, and proceeded to play seven games with the Pens, getting a crack on a line with James Neal and Evgeni Malkin.

The experiment didn’t work out, however, and on Mar. 5 he was waived again — only to be picked up by the offensively-starved Nashville Predators.

Boychuk got off to a decent start with the Preds, scoring in his debut and chipping in with an assist two games later against Vancouver.

But it recently became apparent he wasn’t going to stick with the club.

Following a 4-3 loss to Columbus on Tuesday, head coach Barry Trotz cryptically alluded to “some guys [that] quite clearly can’t play at this level,” when speaking about his team.

The next day, Boychuk was on waivers — and Trotz made it clear who he was referring to.

“I think Zach has a lot of ability, but we really just didn’t see enough bite in his game to go further right now,” Trotz explained. “He is a project, but I think in time he could play in the league if he makes some of the right adjustments in his game.”

Trotz’s analysis didn’t phase the ‘Canes, probably because they never wanted to lose Boychuk in the first place — they had, after all, made him their first-round selection (14th overall) at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and gave him a one-year deal last July.

“He’s a good player,” head coach Kirk Muller said upon losing Boychuk to Pittsburgh. “When you look at the type of player and the personnel we have, it was tough to fit him in. He certainly can fit in with certain players.

“We just felt he’s more of a guy that needs to be in the top nine. We didn’t feel like that spot was there right now.”

Maybe they do now.

  1. 19to77 - Mar 21, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    So if he scores in his first game back or goes on a hot streak or something, I expect “Now I am the master.” in the headline, just sayin’.

  2. jpelle82 - Mar 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    well he has gained some experience in his little tour, sure he has got some stories to tell his grandkids to go with it. playing with guys like crosby, malkin, weber, staal all in one season is pretty good

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Got some new Jerseys too…all I can think to say is “wtf”.

  3. tfaltin - Mar 21, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Being dropped from Carolina, Pittsburgh and Nashville in a month and a half should be enough of a wake up call and motivation to round out his game, if he’s capable of it.

    • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:00 PM

      The fact he couldn’t score on a line with Geno and Neal should have been the wake up call. If you can’t scratch together a single point with those 2 on your line you are running on the fast track to becoming a lost cause.

  4. dan46778 - Mar 21, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    At least he knows he wanted by by teams

  5. letsgopens8771 - Mar 21, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Wow. Wait, maybe this was planned. I can see Jim Rutherford saying, “I have a mission, should you choose to accept it.” The mission: Boychuk is a mole playing on other teams, learning their offenses, and reporting back home. He knows a little of Pittsburgh’s offense now since he has played with Geno and Neal. How ironic that Carolina claims him BACK.

    I was kind of hoping that he would pan out with the Pens, but he missed some wide open chances on breakaways and odd man rushes, but oh well.

  6. lonespeed - Mar 21, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    I don’t think Zach Boychuk was Nashville’s problem. I’m sure the Charlotte Checkers will be happy to see him back with the club.

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