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Blue Jackets claim Spencer Martin off waivers from the Canucks

Spencer Martin struggled in a starting role with the Canucks but could find more success as a backup in Columbus.
Spencer Martin has been claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets off waivers.

Spencer Martin is no longer a member of the Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks placed Martin on waivers on Thursday with the stated intention of sending him to the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL. Instead, he's heading to Ohio, as he was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday morning.

The goaltender struggled last season when thrust into a starting role after Thatcher Demko got injured. His .871 save percentage wasn't just the lowest in the NHL among goaltenders with at least ten starts — it was the lowest in the last five seasons.

That said, Martin was much more successful making occasional starts in a backup role behind Demko, including a run of ten straight games without a loss in regulation.

The Blue Jackets need help on the goaltending front. Elvis Merzlikins had the second-worst save percentage in the NHL last season at .876 and Daniil Tarasov wasn't much better at .892. In addition, Tarasov currently has a knee injury and is listed as day-to-day but the claim of Martin could indicate that he will be out longer than expected. 

Whether Martin is a legitimate upgrade on either Tarasov or Merzlikins is a question mark but he at least gives the Blue Jackets another goaltender to compete for a job. It is also perhaps a bit of a statement of how other teams in the NHL viewed the defensive environment in Vancouver last season that Martin was claimed.

As for the Canucks, once they traded for Casey DeSmith, the writing was on the wall for Martin. The waiver claim clears up a logjam of goaltenders in the AHL. The Abbotsford Canucks will have Arturs Silovs, Nikita Tolopilo, Zach Sawchenko, and Marco Costantini jockeying for starts. One or two of them will likely head down to the ECHL with the Kalamazoo Wings, but that still left little room for another goaltender.

Clearly, the crease was too crowded for Martin and he was no longer in the Canucks' plans.