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Spezza clears, Dell does not

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As expected, the retirement threat kept all hands off Jason Spezza.

the Toronto Maple Leafs hold their annual Blue versus White intersquad game Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Jason Spezza has cleared waivers while Aaron Dell was claimed by New Jersey.

Spezza, whose agent assured the NHL he’d retire if claimed, isn’t necessarily going anywhere but the Leafs fourth line tonight. The exact forward lineup is not yet confirmed. He remains waivers exempt for nine NHL games played or 29 calendar days, but this exercise has rendered him effectively waivers-exempt all year.

This doesn’t seem to actually be in violation of any specific CBA rule, but Gary Bettman may have something unkind to say on the phone to Brendan Shanahan at some point. I’m sure he’ll cope okay.

Dell will have to remain on the NHL roster of the Devils. They currently have the following goalies:

Mackenzie Blackwood as starter with Scott Wedgewood as backup, neither waivers exempt. And Eric Comrie, a prior waiver claim from Canada is non-roster and on the COVID protocol list. As well, Gilles Senn is on their Taxi Squad, and Evan Cormier is on their AHL roster.

If the Devils waive Dell again, and Toronto puts in the successful claim, he can be moved to the Taxi Squad, and all this business can end.

For now, to meet NHL requirements, the Leafs have to move one of their three AHL goalies to the Taxi Squad. That will likely be Michael Hutchinson.

Chances are this is just the first phase of some roster moves that will see a lot of interesting things done Tuesday ahead of the Oilers first visit to Toronto on Wednesday.

That is a perfect amount of time to have Robertson on LTIR (the minimum is 24 days).

Remember the day changes at 5 pm, so anyone playing in the NHL tonight has to be on the roster at that time, but with Dell gone, there isn’t a need to use LTIR to fit in a full healthy set of 20 skaters and Leave Robertson on IR.