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Who is waiver exempt on the Leafs?

You can’t make fantasy lineups all summer without knowing who can be claimed on waivers.

Detroit Red Wings v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Leafs have an excess of players again, just like last year. The question of who will actually play in the NHL can now occupy our thoughts though the summer. But first we need to know who has to pass through waivers at the end of training camp to go to the Marlies?

The short answer is almost none of the expected AHL roster. The NHLers are the tricky ones.

We know Josh Leivo needs waivers, it’s why he sat in the pressbox last year. And the rest of the young players like Connor Carrick, Connor Brown and Zach Hyman are no longer exempt. The Big Three are, but we know they aren’t going anywhere.

There are a few interesting cases on the roster of players who finished out the year in the AHL. I’ve listed only the exceptions to full year exemptions:

Waiver exemption as of July 2017

Name Position Age Cap Hit Waiver exempt?
Name Position Age Cap Hit Waiver exempt?
Moore, Trevor LW, C 22 $925,000
Kaskisuo, Kasimir G 23 $925,000
Aaltonen, Miro C, LW, RW 24 $925,000
Grundström, Carl LW 19 $925,000
Rosén, Calle LD 23 $925,000
Borgman, Andreas LD 22 $925,000
Dermott, Travis LD 20 $863,333
Gauthier, Frederik C 22 $863,333
Kapanen, Kasperi RW 20 $863,333
Rychel, Kerby LW 22 $863,333 No
Bracco, Jeremy RW 20 $842,500
Valiev, Rinat LD 22 $778,333
Brooks, Adam C 21 $759,167
Johnsson, Andreas LW 22 $750,833
Greening, Colin LW 31 $750,000 No
Soshnikov, Nikita RW 23 $736,667 3 games
LoVerde, Vincent RD 28 $725,000 No
Nielsen, Andrew LD 20 $697,500
Lindberg, Tobias LW 21 $693,333
Timashov, Dmytro LW 20 $693,333
Sparks, Garret G 24 $675,000 No
Holl, Justin RD 25 $650,000 60 games
Mueller, Chris C 31 $650,000 No

Well, hello, Nikita Soshnikov. We meet again in a waiver discussion.

Perhaps you recall last year where Soshnikov was too banged up to play in the NHL right away? He went to the Marlies and he stayed there for a very precise number of days. He was called up at exactly the point where he’d still be waiver exempt at the end of the season. Now, as it happens, he was injured and couldn’t go play in the Marlies playoffs after all, but it was a good idea.

It was such a good idea the option is open to use his small window of remaining exemption to solve one of the excess winger problems by sending him to the AHL at the end of training camp. As soon as he plays three NHL games, however, that exemption vanishes forever.

Garret Sparks is the other interesting case. Antoine Bibeau, who is off in California and not our concern anymore, was waiver exempt, but Sparks is not. It’s not likely he’d be taken ever, but then I’m sure that’s what people thought about Curtis McElhinney at one time too.

And then there’s Kerby Rychel. Is he destined to be this year’s Josh Leivo? Left to moulder in the pressbox because of fears he’d be taken if he’s sent down. A better question is if he’s no longer exempt at 22 because he’s played too many NHL games, then is he an NHLer or not?

Consider this when you’re imagining the clever schemes to place players according to cap hits or waiver exemption. But remember last year’s panic over Connor Brown? He was never sent down, and Mike Babcock just played the players he wanted to play. The fringe players like Soshnikov might end up involved in clever schemes, and veterans with big salaries will get dumped if Babcock doesn’t want them, but if someone waiver exempt claims a roster spot in training camp, it’s theirs.

That’s why I think Kasperi Kapanen plays in the NHL from day one.


Do you think there is anyone at risk of being claimed off waivers on the roster?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Kerby Rychel
    (999 votes)
  • 6%
    Eric Fehr
    (73 votes)
  • 5%
    Garret Sparks
    (61 votes)
  • 2%
    Justin Holl
    (29 votes)
1162 votes total Vote Now