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Understanding Emergency Recall vs Regular Recall

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The Leafs have been dealing with injuries via emergency recalls. There’s a reason for that.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Leafs have had multiple forward injuries and multiple goalie injuries at the same time in the last few weeks, and they’ve been calling up players to fill in on an emergency basis. Emergency recalls have very specific rules, and there is one key reason whey they are being used right now.

The two relevant sections of the CBA cover the way waiver exemption is determined after a call-up and what the rules are for designating a call-up an emergency.

13.5 Waiver Expiration. The rights granted under this Article to Loan a Player(s) who is otherwise required to clear Regular Waivers to a minor league club expire for any Player(s) who, after clearing Regular Waivers:

(i) is not Loaned to a minor league club, or is Recalled from a minor league club (except on emergency Recall) and remains on an NHL roster for thirty (30) days (cumulative) or plays ten (10) NHL Games (cumulative),

or

(ii) is Recalled from a minor league club on emergency Recall and plays in ten (10) NHL Games (cumulative) while on emergency Recall. For purposes of clarity, games played while on regular Recall shall not count towards the ten (10) NHL Games in this subsection (ii).

13.12 Transfers To/From Minors.

(m) Emergency Recall.

(i) A Player on Loan to a club of any league affiliated with the League may be Recalled from such Loan under emergency conditions at any time for the duration of the emergency only following which he must be returned promptly to the club from which he was Recalled.

(ii) Emergency conditions shall be established when the playing strength of the Loaning Club, by reason of incapacitating injury or illness or by League suspension to its Players is reduced below the level of two (2) goalkeepers, six (6) defensemen and twelve (12) forwards. Proof of the existence of the emergency conditions including the incapacity shall be furnished to the Commissioner of the League upon request made by him.

(iii) For the purpose of establishing the existence of emergency conditions at any time, to support the Recall of a Player for participation in any Playoff Game, it shall be deemed that the Player(s) on Loan following 3:00 p.m. New York time of the fortieth (40th) day immediately preceding the last day of the Regular Season are continuing on Loan for the remainder of the season notwithstanding that the Loaned club(s) may have been eliminated from further play for the season.

-Article 13 Sections 5 and 12 of the CBA

When a player is called up from the minors, usually they are waiver exempt at that moment. They’re either just exempt all the time due to their years in the league, or they’ve previously cleared waivers when they were sent to the AHL in the first place. They keep that exemption as long as they don’t play in more than nine games or stay on the NHL roster for more than 29 days.

The key point about emergency recalls is that there is a separate count of games played before that exemption expires. So if a team can call up a player on emergency recall, they can play him for nine games, and then convert that player to a regular recall and the 9 games/29 days counter starts for that type of recall.

This mostly applies to Michael Hutchinson and Kasimir Kaskisuo. Both had cleared waivers already to play in the AHL, and their recalls have been adding up days on their emergency counter. If there comes a point where the Leafs want to keep one of them past nine games played, they can convert him to a regular recall and keep them for a while longer before they need to clear waivers to return to the AHL.

Once the Leafs have 12 forwards or two goalies healthy beyond their recalled players, they must send their emergency replacement players back to the AHL or convert them to a regular recall.

Trevor Moore is currently waiver exempt all the time. He has 75 more NHL games played before he loses that exemption, so that easily covers him for the rest of the season no matter how long the playoffs go. He will lose that exemption based on years as a pro next summer.

Michael Hutchinson is not waiver exempt, so his current NHL games played are counting down to 10 when his exemption will expire. The risk of losing a goalie on waivers at the moment in the NHL is very high.

Kasimir Kaskisuo is waiver exempt like Trevor Moore, and his exemption also expires on years as a pro next summer. He has 60 more NHL games played before he loses his exemption.

With Zach Hyman at practice on Sunday, it looks like the forward emergency will end first and a decision will have to made to convert Moore to a regular recall or send him back to the AHL.