Unpacking the Waivers Claim of Samuel Fagemo by Nashville Predators

Samuel Fagemo of the LA Kings trains during a NHL Global Series practice session at O'Brien Icehouse on September 19, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)
Samuel Fagemo of the LA Kings trains during a NHL Global Series practice session at O'Brien Icehouse on September 19, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images) /

For the first time since January 2021, the Nashville Predators made a waiver claim on Monday by claiming winger Samuel Fagemo from the LA Kings.

The last time the Nashville Predators made a waiver claim? January 12, 2021 when they took defenseman Luca Sbisa, who is now retired and played just one game for the Predators.

Fagemo comes to the Predators with still a lot of upside according to scouts, and more or less just needed a change of scenery. He’s currently signed to a one-year deal worth $775K that was just inked this past July.

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Waivers can be a great way to find an exact piece you’re looking for without having to offer up anything in return. Fagemo is a player the Kings almost certainly didn’t want to lose, but their roster is loaded and has immediate expectations to compete for a Stanley Cup in 2023-24.

Fagemo now gets a much better opportunity to not only get consistent NHL starts, but also get elevated minutes and even power play chances.

How could a player that just got claimed on waivers and only has 13 games of NHL experience immediately be considered for a prime spot in the Predators lineup? Well, because Fagemo is joining a Predators team that’s still figuring out who they are and employing a new offensive system under Head Coach Andrew Brunette that everyone is still learning.

This could end up being the landing spot for Fagemo that really helps his NHL career take off. His original draft scouting reports describe a player who his creative on offense, has an accurate shot and also has superb stickhandling to create scoring chances all on his own.

There’s no reason to think that in any way Fagemo is a draft bust from 2019. He was taken 50th overall in the 2nd Round by the Kings and has since spent three seasons in the AHL with the Ontario Reign.

During his 151 games with the Reign, Fagemo showed he has a knack for being a pure goal scorer with back-to-back 20-plus goal seasons. Something the Predators need plenty more of after finishing 28th in scoring in 2022-23.

It’s being viewed by many that the Kings took a major risk by putting Fagemo on waivers. This wasn’t a situation of the Kings simply moving on from a player and being done. It’s a numbers game as your trim your roster down to 23 players, and while it’s a good problem to have if you’re the Kings, they had their fingers crossed that Fagemo cleared.

Can Fagemo Find a Place on the Nashville Predators Roster?

It’s important to first remember that Fagemo has to earn himself a spot on the Predators roster or end up being placed right back on waivers by the team that just claimed him. He’s on a standard contract.

That will put Fagemo in the spotlight for the Predators’ final two preseason games against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and Friday. The regular season opens at Tampa Bay just a week from now.

Fagemo will have to really stand out and show that he’s worthy of a spot somewhere in the Predators’ bottom six. An area that has been very up-for-grab all training camp, and there’s room for him to find a spot after the Predators announced their roster reassignments on Sunday.

Among the big names that were in play for a spot possibly in the Predators’ bottom six but have been reassigned to the Milwaukee Admirals are Joakim Kemell and Egor Afanasyev. Two players who would be in competition with the same spot that Fagemo will now look to take.

Players who are currently remaining among the 26 players on the training camp roster that will be in competition with Fagemo come down to veterans who would have to be placed on waivers if they don’t make the Predators final roster.

These players are Kiefer Sherwood, Cole Smith, Michael McCarron and Mark Jankowski. All have considerable NHL experience and played significant games for the Predators last season. But we’re talking about a new era of Predators hockey, and Fagemo could provide a new spark for this offense.

Fagemo essentially takes away a starting spot from all four of them if he earns his way onto the roster. If you look at Nashville’s starting four lines at forward, Fagemo could be the final piece to the puzzle you’re looking for.

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Every other forward I’m looking at on this Predators roster isn’t going to lose a spot to Fagemo, unless a trade happens. Aside from the veterans, players like Luke Evangelista, Juuso Parssinen, Philip Tomasino and Thomas Novak all are important parts to the Predators’ future.

This doesn’t open up the avenue for a possible trade in the works to acquire a late round draft pick or a prospect. There’s always the chance that Fagemo doesn’t do enough to claim a Predators roster spot, gets placed back on waivers and another team takes a flyer on him.

If unclaimed, it would be a perfect scenario for Fagemo to go down to the Milwaukee Admirals, although that seems highly unlikely.