Bruins place three players on waivers, including one big surprise

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There were a bunch of NHL players placed on waivers Sunday, and the three most intriguing names on the list are all from the Boston Bruins.

Those players are Bruins right winger Nick Foligno, right winger Chris Wagner and defenseman Mike Reilly. 

Foligno had a decent camp and preseason, but he played awful last season with two goals in 64 games. He's well past his prime and his ice time would be better used by a younger, more skilled forward. Wagner is in a similar situation. He played pretty well in camp and did enough to warrant consideration for a fourth-line role. 

Reilly is the real stunner here.

He was probably going to be the odd-man out once injured defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk returned to the lineup. The Bruins have too many left-shooting defensemen and a need to clear salary cap space, which made Reilly a prime trade candidate with his $3 million cap hit for this season and 2023-24.

But McAvoy isn't expected to be back until around Thanksgiving and Grzelcyk could potentially miss a few more weeks. Reilly's offensive-minded skill set would be valuable during that time, and he also played quite well in camp and the preseason. However, Grzelcyk has been practicing in a full-contact sweater recently, so it's possible he returns sooner than anticipated. If the Bruins end up signing veteran defenseman Anton Stralman, who was brought to camp on a PTO, that's another potential spot for Reilly that's taken.

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Maybe the Bruins weren't able to find any takers for Reilly on the trade market, or at least not in any deals they felt comfortable executing. Now the whole league has a chance to claim him, plus Foligno and Wagner, off waivers. It's possible Reilly gets claimed, but it's unlikely that Foligno ($3.8 million cap hit) and Wagner ($1.35 million cap hit) get scooped up. 

These three players being put on waivers also doesn't mean they will ultimately report to the AHL's Providence Bruins. It's still possible for all three of them to be on Boston's Opening Night roster. The Bruins begin the 2022-23 season Wednesday against the Washington Capitals on the road.

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