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Sami Niku clears waivers

The defenceman stays in the organization.

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens defenceman Sami Niku has cleared waivers.

The 25-year-old was signed to a one-year contract with the Canadiens on September 24 after being bought out by the Winnipeg Jets. The contract pays Niku $750,000 in the NHL and $425,000 in the AHL, with a guaranteed salary of $475,000.

He has six assists in 13 NHL games this season. He has dealt with COVID and also injuries this season. In 67 career NHL games, he has two goals and 14 assists. He has also played 114 games in the American Hockey League, scoring 22 goals and adding 58 assists.

In 2017-18, Niku was the AHL’s Top Defenceman and named to the All-Rookie team when he had 16 goals and 38 assists in 76 games with the Manitoba Moose.

Niku was a seventh round pick by the Jets in the 2015 NHL Draft.

The Canadiens have Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher approaching a return, and need roster space. They had eight defencemen on the active NHL roster prior to placing Niku on waivers.

Niku will remain with the taxi squad as the Laval Rocket are currently in Texas.