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Playing season waivers begins today

Don’t expect Leafs cuts yet, but the movement of players off the training camp rosters will pick up steam.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

In case you missed it, waivers deadlines each day, which are mandated in the CBA, have been moved to 2 p.m. New York time. This was at the request of western teams where noon is 9 a.m. and that early time made it difficult to get the paperwork filed for claims or assignments considering it was well before practice.

To review the basic process:

  • All players on NHL contracts must clear waivers to be assigned to the AHL unless they are exempt
  • Waivers don’t apply to anyone on an AHL contract
  • Players who have previously cleared waivers and haven’t been on an NHL roster for more than 29 days or 9 games played are exempt — this does not carry over from one season to another
  • Players at the start of their NHL careers who have not met the games played/seasons in pro hockey thresholds are exempt
  • Players have to be placed on waivers by 2 p.m.
  • Teams have 24 hrs to file a claim
  • The claim is awarded by the priority list if there is more than one claiming team
  • The list is the reverse order of the regular season standings (not the draft order) from the prior year until a month or so into the regular season
  • Claims are announced at 2 p.m.
  • The claiming team may not assign the player to the AHL without placing the player on waivers
  • If the original team re-claims the player off waivers — and no other claim was made — the player is considered to have cleared and my be assigned to the AHL

The thresholds for exemption are complicated, and depend on age at signing and games and seasons played since. They also contain two separate proration formulas for the two most recent NHL seasons. The waivers calculator at Cap Friendly, linked above, is your answer to who is exempt.

There were 21 waiver claims made last year, nine of them were goalies, and three goalies were claimed more than once. In every NHL season, the number of claimed players is low, and the proportion of goalies is high.

Most players who require waivers fall into two categories: the career AHLers on NHL contracts, who will clear easily and are waived at a point convenient for the team in setting up their minor league training camp, and the borderline cases, where there is a risk of a claim, who will be waived en masse on the last two days of camp.

Most players clear on the last two days because most teams have already used all their cap space or roster slots. Cap compliant rosters are due at 5 p.m. New York time on the last day of training camp, which is October 11 this year.

The Leafs are not expected to make cuts until the weekend, and there is no chance that any potential NHLers will be cut at that time.

The following players are waivers exempt:

  • Rasmus Sandin
  • Pavel Gogolev
  • Alex Steeves
  • Kirill Semyonov
  • Mikhail Abramov
  • Nick Roberson
  • Semyon Der-Arguchintsev
  • Timothy Liljegren
  • Filip Král
  • Mac Hollowell
  • Kristians Rubins
  • Joe Duszak
  • Ian Scott
  • Erik Källgren
  • Joe Woll

If Evan Cormier is signed to an NHL deal, he would also be exempt. The two other PTO players, Josh Ho-Sang and Nikita Gusev, would not be.

The Leafs can make a roster with no difficult decisions, and the risk of claim falls heaviest on Adam Brooks and Michael Hutchinson. It is extremely unlikely that waivers exempt players make the roster unless the Leafs make a trade in the next 11 days. So at the moment, this looks like a drama-free preseason.