clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Training Camp Waiver Wire Explained

New, comments

The organization caused some ruckus on Twitter yesterday, but no need to worry.

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

As the preseason calendar winds down, NHL organizations are making moves to reassign players to the AHL or their junior clubs. Yesterday was a busy day for waivers in the NHL, and Nashville made no exception, placing six players on the wire for purposes of reassignment: Colin Blackwell, Anthony Richard, Alexandre Carrier, Matt Donovan, Troy Grosenick, and Laurent Dauphin. (All six did clear.)

Throughout the afternoon, there was a decent amount of concern at Nashville’s exposure of Anthony Richard and, to a lesser extent, Alexandre Carrier. I wanted to take a minute to explain this waivers process and, hopefully, eliminate any worry when it comes to training camp assignments.

Waiver Eligibility Explained

During the regular season, when a player is assigned to the AHL, they often have to pass through waivers first. This gives every other team 24 hours to submit a claim for that player, which is awarded to the highest bidder determined by league standings in reverse order.

Most of the time, players who are reassigned are waiver exempt—which I’ll get to in a minute. When the waiver wire is exciting is when there are a handful of veteran names available on it (often for reclamation project purposes). I think this leads to the misconception that a player on their entry-level contract is automatically exempt from waivers.

In the 2012 collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the league and players’ association agreed on a timeline for players' waiver eligibility based on the age they signed their entry-level contract (ELC). Below are those parameters:

...

ELC Signing Age Seasons After Signing NHL GP Goalies ELC Signing Age Seasons After Signing NHL GP
ELC Signing Age Seasons After Signing NHL GP Goalies ELC Signing Age Seasons After Signing NHL GP
18 5 160 18 6 80
19 4 160 19 5 80
20 3 160 20 4 80
21 3 80 21 4 60
22 3 70 22 4 60
23 3 60 23 3 60
24 2 60 24 2 60
25+ 1 -- 25+ 1 --

This seems fairly clear-cut, but there are some stipulations to the above rules.

  • Waiver exemption ends when a player accrues the necessary seasons or games played—whichever comes first.
  • If a skater age 18 or 19 plays 11+ NHL games, their seasons of exemption reduce to three.
  • If a goalie age 18 or 19 plays 11+ NHL games, their seasons of exemption reduce to four.
  • Skaters and goalies age 20+ begin their first season towards waiver exemption after playing just one game.
  • When it comes to age, the CBA has a more complex definition. If a player turns 18 between January 1 and September 15 during the year of the entry-level draft before the first season of their ELC, their CBA age is 18.
  • If a player turns 19 before December 31 of that year preceding their first ELC season, their CBA age is 19. This is repeatable with ages 20+.
  • Entry-level slide seasons do count towards waiver exemption; I’ll explain this further in a moment.
  • Playoff games do count towards the games-played mark.

Nashville & Waiver Eligibility

...

Player Pos. Draft Year Draft Age ELC Year Signing Age Last Year of Exemption GP Threshold
Player Pos. Draft Year Draft Age ELC Year Signing Age Last Year of Exemption GP Threshold
Matt Irwin D -- -- 2010-11 23 2012-13 370/60
Matt Donovan D 2008 18 2011-12 21 2013-14 71/80
Jarred Tinordi D 2010 18 2011-12 19 2014-15 58/160
Troy Grosenick G -- -- 2013-14 23 2015-16 2/60
Miikka Salomaki F 2011 18 2013-14 20 2015-16 192/160
Daniel Carr F -- -- 2014-15 23 2016-17 100/60
Rocco Grimaldi F 2011 18 2014-15 21 2016-17 97/80
Laurent Dauphin F 2013 18 2014-15 19 2017-18 35/160
Frederick Gaudreau F -- -- 2015-16 22 2017-18 92/70
Steven Santini D 2013 18 2015-16 20 2017-18 114/160
Colin Blackwell F -- -- 2018-19 25 2018-19 --
Alexandre Carrier D 2015 19 2015-16 19 2018-19 2/160
Anthony Richard F 2015 19 2015-16 19 2018-19 1/160
Frederic Allard D 2016 19 2016-17 19 2019-20 0/160
Yakov Trenin F 2015 18 2015-16 18 2019-20 0/160
Dante Fabbro D 2016 18 2018-19 20 2020-21 10/160
Connor Ingram G 2016 19 2017-18 20 2020-21 0/80
Tanner Jeannot F -- -- 2018-19 21 2020-21 0/80
Zach Magwood F -- -- 2018-19 20 2020-21 0/160
Rem Pitlick F 2016 19 2018-19 21 2020-21 1/80
Lukas Craggs F -- -- 2019-20 23 2021-22 0/60
Mathieu Olivier F -- -- 2019-20 22 2021-22 0/70
Eeli Tolvanen F 2017 18 2017-18 18 2021-22 7/160
Niclas Westerholm G -- -- 2018-19 21 2021-22 0/60
Josh Wilkins F -- -- 2019-20 22 2021-22 0/70
Jeremy Davies D 2016 20 2019-20 23 2022-23 0/60
Brandon Fortunato D -- -- 2019-20 23 2022-23 0/60

Above is a table relating waiver eligibility to Nashville’s bubble players and prospects on entry-level contracts. Up through Anthony Richard, those players are not exempt from waivers; the players below that have yet to accrue the necessary seasons or games played. Here are a few notes on the details of these players:

  • Colin Blackwell’s games-played threshold is negligible because he signed his ELC at age 25.
  • Laurent Dauphin, Frederick Gaudreau, Matt Donovan, Troy Grosenick, and Steven Santini have previously been waiver eligible. Alexandre Carrier and Anthony Richard lost their exemption status after this past season.
  • Frederic Allard signed his ELC in September of 2016—the same year he was drafted. But, since he did not play 10 or more NHL games in 2016-17 or 2017-18, his ELC ‘slid’ for those seasons because he was age 18 and 19. So, the contract doesn’t begin until 2018-19, but the seasons accrued towards waiver eligibility still began at the time of signing.
  • Anthony Richard was drafted in June 2015; he was 18 years old on draft day. However, he turned 19 on December 22 of that year. Since he signed his ELC that November, his signing age is 19 (because he turned it before December 31) despite the fact that he was literally 18 on the day he signed.
  • Regardless of games-played, Yakov Trenin and Frédéric Allard will lose their waiver exemption after this season.

Will the organization lose Anthony Richard?

No. That is all**.

**I stress this because of the shock there was to seeing his name on the waiver wire yesterday. While he likely has the most potential of anyone on the wire yesterday league-wide, there was no fear Richard will be claimed.

The CBA dictates a weird calendar with an arbitrary waivers deadline in the middle of training camp. A GM could, in theory, assign a waiver-eligible prospect before that deadline, but it would eliminate any training camp time for said prospect.

To be clear, teams did have the ability to claim Richard and players have been claimed during this period (although Nashville has never done so). There is, however, an unspoken league-wide agreement that prospects should go untouched during the training camp waiver period.

The waiver-eligibility rule is excruciatingly complicated and, at times, unnecessarily so. But, during training camp, there is little worry about other than being scared by Renaud Lavoie screaming through Twitter.com.


Contract information is courtesy of capfriendly.com. They have an excellent waivers tool that’s worth using when unsure of a player’s eligibility.