The Panthers announced Saturday afternoon that they claimed forward Seth Griffith off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs and is expected to join the team soon.
Griffith, who can play on either wing or at center, will give the Panthers yet another forward option with Nick Bjugstad inching towards a return and Jonathan Huberdeau likely out until at least mid-January with an Achilles’ injury. The 23-year old is fresh off a monster year in the AHL where he tallied 24 goals and 53 assists for 77 points in 57 games with the Boston Bruins’ affiliate and was 3 points off the league lead in scoring despite playing in 15 fewer games.
The season before that, Griffith tallied 31 points in 39 games for Providence and 50 points in 69 games in his rookie campaign. Despite the fact that he’s produced well at every level he’s played at, it was a struggle for the Bruins to find a spot for him in their top-9, so he bounced back and forth between the NHL and AHL. He played 30 games with the big club during the 2014-15 season during which he recorded 6 goals and 4 assists and played just 4 games last season before being claimed on waivers by the Maple Leafs in early October.
Griffith went on to play in 3 games for the Leafs, including one against the Panthers on October 27th. Like Jonathan Marchessault, Colton Sceviour, and Reilly Smith before him, Griffith’s underlying numbers suggest that he could be an effective offensive player if used properly in the lineup, and since it’s essentially risk- and cost-free to acquire him off waivers, the Panthers decided it would be worth it to do so. He possesses a high skill level and plays a fast, smart, offensive game, so he should compliment the Panthers’ forward group well.
The claim comes a day after the Panthers placed forward Shane Harper on waivers with the intention of sending him down to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds. He cleared on Saturday and will report there immediately. Griffith puts the Panthers back at the 23-man roster limit and he’ll need to remain with the team for at least 30 days before they can assign him to the AHL if they wish, at which point he’ll need to clear waivers again.
Griffith has a working visa for the United States from when he was with the Bruins (despite playing for the Leafs most recently), so there won’t be a delay in him being able to enter the lineup. He’ll be joining the Panthers on Sunday and will wear jersey number 24 which was last worn by Brad Boyes.