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The World’s Shortest NHL Waiver Primer

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The bare bones, in a form short enough you’ll still be awake at the end.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Toronto Maple Leafs
A tall man for a short article.
Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

This is my attempt at the shortest possible waiver primer:

Everyone on an NHL contract requires waivers to be loaned to any other league.

EXCEPT

  1. any who are exempt due to age/lack of NHL games played
  2. any who have less than 10 games played or 30 calendar days on an NHL roster since they last cleared

The waiver period is 24 hrs from noon to noon. The player stays on the NHL roster and counts against the salary cap for that time period.

Claim priority is in reverse order of the prior year’s regular-season standings by points percentage:

  1. Detroit
  2. Ottawa
  3. San Jose
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Anaheim
  6. New Jersey
  7. Buffalo
  8. Montreal
  9. Chicago
  10. Arizona
  11. Minnesota
  12. Winnipeg
  13. Calgary
  14. NY Rangers
  15. Vancouver
  16. Nashville
  17. Florida
  18. Columbus
  19. Toronto
  20. Edmonton
  21. NY Islanders
  22. Dallas
  23. Carolina
  24. Vegas
  25. Pittsburgh
  26. Philadelphia
  27. Washington
  28. Tampa Bay
  29. Colorado
  30. St. Louis
  31. Boston

On February 1, that changes to this year’s standings in reverse order.

Players are not required to be moved anywhere after they clear waivers.

The claiming team cannot put the claimed player in the minors.

The Taxi Squad is the AHL for all purposes of waivers and salary cap calculation.

Claiming teams can have a player listed as non-roster if they must quarantine. Non-roster players count against the salary cap, not the roster limit.

A claimed player who refuses to report is in violation of his contract, and the contract will be terminated.

If a claimed player is waived in the future and the original team makes a successful claim, he is considered to have cleared waivers and can be loaned to the AHL by the team getting him back.

Players can be waived multiple times, and teams can put a player on waivers who is currently exempt if they are trying to get someone claimed on purpose.

Most players are never claimed. Teams rarely want a player claimed. Most claimed players, and those claimed multiple times, are goalies.

The list in this post contains the Maple Leafs players who were at training camp and who are now waivers exempt:

CapFriendly shows the first time of exemption status on their main team page. This page shows who has been waived and when they cleared/were claimed.