Quick Looks: #CBJ players on entry level contracts and their remaining waiver exemption status

Last week I sent out a few tweets on the remaining waiver exemption status of three of our players on entry level contracts. I wanted to expand on that list a little more and explain how the waiver exemption works.

Through a couple Google searches I was able to find this blog post from “McSorleys Stick” explaining how waiver exemption works for NHL players. Basically the gist of it is all players (regardless of one-way or two-way contract status) have a set number of games they are allowed to play in the NHL while still being allowed to be sent down to the AHL without having to clear waivers. That number of games is determined by the age the player was in the year that he signed the contract.

For example, even if a player signs their ELC at age 18, if they turn 19 that same year it is considered as having been signed at age 19.

From McSorley’s Stick:

In general:

  • The rules are different for goalies and skaters (i.e. goalies compared to skaters) who sign at ages 18-22.
  • Goalies who sign at 18-22 get an extra year of exemption, compared to skaters.
  • Goalies who sign at 18-22 get fewer games played of exemption, compared to skaters.
  • The rules are the same for goalies and skaters who sign at age 23+.

Some definitions:

  • For skaters, “games” means games dressed.
  • For goalies, “games” means games played (i.e. games in which the goalie actually played in the game).
  • “NHL Games” includes regular season and playoff games.
  • A “year” of exemption means a playing season.
  • A player’s age is defined as the age he will be on his birthday in that calendar year. For example, if a player signs his first contract in May, and in June he turns 19, he is considered to be 19 “when he signed.”

Here’s the accompanying chart:

Goalies Skaters
Age Years Games Years Games
18 6 80 5 160
19 5 80 4 160
20 4 80 3 160
21 4 60 3 80
22 4 60 3 70
23 3 60 3 60
24 2 60 2 60
25+ 1 1

So for example if a player signs his ELC in the year that he turns 19 there’s either 4 year or 160 NHL game threshold that he must reach before having to go on waivers to play in the AHL. Goalies get an extra year as they often take longer to develop.

However, because of the lockout some of these numbers were pro-rated in the new CBA (page 349) for players who played in games in the lockout shortened season. The modified chart for those players looks like this:

Goalies Skaters
Age Years Games Years Games
18 6 74 5 147
19 5 73 4 143
20 4 72 3 138
21 4 54 3 69
22 4 54 3 60
23 3 52 3 52
24 2 48 2 48
25+ 1 1

Here’s a look at where some of the players stand with their current waiver exemption status:

Ryan Johansen
2013 age: 21 (July 31)
Contract signed age: 18
Waiver exemption status: Exempt
Games remaining: 40
Seasons remaining: 1

“Joey” only has 1 year left on his waiver exempt status and has played in 107 of his 147 (prorated from 160) allotment. According to the chart(s), he should have an extra year of exemption left but upon looking at the special case rules in the latest CBA there’s the following clause:

For purposes of Regular Waivers, the five (5) year exemption for an 18 year old skater and the four (4) year exemption for a 19 year old skater shall both be reduced to three (3) years commencing the first season that the 18 or 19 year old skater plays in eleven (11) NHL  Games or more. The next two (2) seasons, regardless of whether the skater plays any NHL Games in either season, shall count as the second and third years toward satisfying the exemption.

Translated? Because Joey played 67 games in the 2011-12 season (his ‘age 19′ season) the number of years he can be waiver exempt drops to a maximum of 3 years starting with his first pro year of 2011-12. This means that regardless of how many games are played (even if he played zero NHL games in 2012-13 or 2013-14) the 2013-14 season will be the last in which he can be sent to the AHL without going on waivers. I find it highly unlikely that Joey will be here for less than 40 games this season so I would expect to see him lose his waiver exemption status long before the start of the 2014-15 season.

Tim Erixon
2013 age: 22 (Feb 24)
Contract signed age: 20
Waiver exemption status: Exempt
Games remaining: 89
Seasons remaining: 1

Timmy’s max number of NHL games he can play in is set as 147 (prorated from 160). In the past 2 seasons he’s played in 59 NHL games (18 w/NYR, 31 w/CBJ). This drops his number of remaining games to 89. Regardless of how many NHL games he plays this year this will be the 3rd pro season of his maximum of 3 so following this season he will no longer be exempt.

Dalton Prout
2013 age: 23
Contract signed age: 21
Waiver exemption status: Exempt
Games remaining: 36
Seasons remaining: 1

Because Prout signed his contract the year he turned 21 he has a maximum of 69 (prorated from 80) professional games he can play before he must clear waivers. Prout played 5 games in 2011-12 and 28 in 2012-13 for a total of 33. This is the final year of Prout’s exemption so regardless of number of games played he would no longer be exempt following this coming season.

Ryan Murray
2013 age: 20 (Sept 27)
Contract signed age: 19
Waiver exemption status: Exempt
Games remaining: 160
Seasons remaining: 4

Because Murray didn’t play any games in 2012-13 he is not subject to the prorated maximum number of games and has his full slate of 160 games available to him. Because he signed at age 19 he has 4 years of exemption and cannot fall subject to the rule that reduced Johansen’s years to a maximum of 3.

Ilari Melart
2013 age: 24 (Feb 11)
Contract signed age: 24
Waiver exemption status: Exempt
Games remaining: 60
Seasons remaining: 2

Because Melart did not play any professional games prior to/during the 2012-13 season he does not get prorated maximum number of games. Signing at age 24 gives him 2 year and 60 professional  games limit. Should he play in less than 60 total games this season (AHL/NHL combined) we can sign him to another contract next year at which point he could still be assigned to Springfield without clearing waivers until that 60 game limit is reached. Another interesting tidbit I learned is that the term “one-way” and “two-way” contract has nothing to do with a player’s ability to be sent to the AHL without clearing waivers. It simply refers to if they have one tier of pay or two. Melart could play 40 NHL/AHL games this season, be signed to a one-way contract in the off-season and still be sent down to the AHL without clearing waivers next season (until he hits that 60 games, that is).

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