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The last-minute waiver frenzy is almost here

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Cap-compliant 23-man rosters have to be filed on Tuesday. Getting there involves cuts and waivers.

NHL: Preseason-Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The deadline for each team in the NHL to submit their cap-compliant 23-man roster to the NHL is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3.

The Salary Cap

Teams have to have a roster whose salary adds up to $75 million. That includes all players on the 23-man roster, all players on any form of IR (there is a special season opening injured reserve for players hurt in training camp), the previous year’s bonus overages, retained salary, buyouts, and the salary of any player in the AHL over $1,025,000.

LTIR, as we now know with certainty, can be used year-round. So the oft-repeated story that teams have to get their roster under the cap for one day and then put any players like Nathan Horton on LTIR the next day is not true.

As of the game on September 30, and according to Sportsnet reports, the status of Joffrey Lupul is unknown. The league ordered an independent review of his medical status, but if his salary counts towards the cap, or can be shunted to LTIR, is unknown at this time. We should assume Nathan Horton is right now on LTIR, so the Leafs are allowed to go over the salary cap by the amount of his cap-hit.

This should be a simple enough task for the Leafs regardless of Lupul’s status.

The Roster

Teams cannot exceed the magic number 23 for their active roster. This includes all players not in the minors and not on some form of IR.

Joffrey Lupul again, comes into play here. If he may not be put on LTIR, then he counts as one of the 23. If the Leafs, as many people have suggested, put him on IR, he will not count.

The same is true of Josh Leivo, who is unlikely to be waived, but also won’t make the opening day roster. Last year, he spent some time on SOIR, which allowed the Leafs to run with 24-men. There can’t be any claim made with a straight face that he is injured this year.

However, we have now reached the stage where we clamour for proof that LTIR is valid, but expect IR to be used to solve roster problems at will. I’m not seeing the logical consistency there.

Waivers

To get to both targets, the cap and the roster limit, the Leafs will have to send some players through waivers to the AHL. This is not a big deal. Most teams have to do this, and there is usually no cause to assume a player is being dumped or that they will be taken.

Most teams will waive their whole list of cuts on Monday at noon. A player stays on waivers for 24 hrs, and they can be claimed the next day. This post has the waiver claim priority list:

The list of players waived on Monday will be very long and every team that might make a claim is also trying to get their roster down to 23 names. The chances of losing a player are low, but some players would surely be taken if they are good enough to make an NHL roster and have a low salary (Josh Leivo). Teams with a lot of waiver exempt players that they can instantly cut have more flexibility to make claims, but there aren’t that many teams that meet that standard.

Some players might be waived today. Last year, the Leafs waived Brooks Laich on the Sunday before the season started. That was very much a case of take this player, please. No one bit, but some other teams might try this out. The next day, Tuesday, October 11, 2016, five players were claimed.

A team can meet the 23-man or cap limit by waiving a player on Tuesday. They are considered off the roster when they are waived, as one way or another, they’re going somewhere. The non-buried portion of the salary has to be counted on the cap though.

Players to Watch

Chicago has to either run with three goalies or waive one of Jean-Francois Berube or Anton Forsberg. Detroit has to put goalie prospect Jared Correau on waivers. His short NHL career has been less than spectacular, but his AHL numbers are good. The same holds for Garret Sparks, and both should clear, although Correau has some buzz.

Las Vegas has a host of non-exempt players simply due to the expansion draft process. They have a surplus of NHL-capable left-shooting defenders. They have said they want to make a couple of trades, but they may have to waive a couple of them instead. Shea Theodore is not one of this number.

The Lightning may need to waive one defender, perhaps Slater Koekkoek.

Anaheim’s defender surplus is a problem for later, as they have some injuries freeing up space.

Colorado, who have the worst defence corps in the NHL, have top priority, so any young defender who is waived is at risk.

The Leafs

I will be shocked if the Leafs waive Leivo or Martin Marincin. They might waive Eric Fehr, because his salary should keep him from being claimed. They will waive Ben Smith and Kerby Rychel. Rychel has not made anyone think he’s an NHL-ready player in camp, so he’s likely safe.

Miro Aaltonen, Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman can all be cut without waivers, so they likely will be.

The time has come to find a trade for Leivo. He’s not cracking the Leafs roster, and they have Kasperi Kapanen and Nikita Soshnikov (neither of whom need waivers and will be cut) to call up.

We will update you with news when it happens, but check twitter at noon every day for what’s going on all over the league.