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Penguins claim former first-round pick Zach Boychuk off waivers

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com
Boychuk had no points in his one NHL game this season. (Getty Images)

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The Pittsburgh Penguins made a waiver claim on Thursday, snatching away Zach Boychuk from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Boychuk was put on waivers by the Hurricanes on Wednesday with the hope of sending him to AHL Charlotte. But all other teams first had a chance to take him, and the Penguins seized the opportunity.

It's an interesting pickup for the Penguins. Boychuk hasn't done much at the NHL level, but there's no much doubt that he has some skill. He was the 14th overall selection by the Hurricanes in the 2008 draft but has played in only 73 NHL games with seven goals and 11 assists to show for it.

At the AHL level, though, Boychuk has been productive. In 64 games last season, he had 21 goals with 23 assists. Oh, and he's still just 23 years of age.

It's certainly possible that Boychuk's game won't quite click in the NHL with the Penguins the same way it didn't for Carolina, but maybe a change of scenery and a fresh start will do him some good. It might be tough to get a little more consistent ice time in Pittsburgh, though, you're probably aware they have some talented forward in their top six.

He's seen as a talented player but a bit of a tweener, not quite physical enough to be successful in the NHL. If it "clicks" with him, though, his skill might shine through.

Then again, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Boychuk could get time on a line with Evgeni Malkin. If that can't make a player click, then just about nothing will work.

It could be much ado about nothing, or it could be a solid, sneaky move for the Penguins if Boychuk reaches his potential. The Islanders have been one team that has had some success with waiver claims, getting guys like Michael Grabner off the ol' wire.

In another waiver-wire transaction, the Maple Leafs claimed Frazer McLaren from the San Jose Sharks.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @StubitsCBS on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube account and like us on Facebook.

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