It was announced about 20 minutes ago by Chris Johnston of Sportsnet that many players had been placed on waivers today, likely to be sent to the AHL. It was also announced by Johnston that Pittsburgh had placed Frederik Tiffels on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. So, what’s the story here?
Tiffels was a 6th round draft pick in 2015. He played his college hockey at Western Michigan, and last year was his first season under Penguins control. He played the majority of the season last year for the Wheeling Nailers, 44 games there, while only 12 games for WBS. Tiffels is 23 years old, and turns 24 in May. He’s not a high end prospect by any means, but I will say that it looked like he had improved in camp this year.
I think this is quite simply a numbers game for Tiffels. He spent more time in ECHL than AHL last year. He doesn’t appear to be close to the NHL level, at least with the Penguins. On the AHL callup depth chart, I have Tiffels behind Blueger, Johnson, DiPauli, Dea, Garrett Wilson, and Angello. Add in guys like Hayes, Grant, ZAR, and Simon who may already be playing bottom line minutes, and there just doesn’t seem to be a high likelihood that Tiffels was ever going to see NHL action with the Penguins.
We may here more here in the next few hours/days, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Tiffels asked for his release, seeing the depth chart ahead of him. If Tiffels can get picked up by another NHL team, he may have an easier path to the NHL. Otherwise, it is likely back to Europe for Tiffels.