The waiver period opens today, marking the serious business portion of training camp. Cuts can begin as teams have until 5 pm on October 9 to have a cap-compliant roster of no more than 23 players.
To review the process, note the time for waivers has returned to 2 pm, and that time will remain through the season and playoffs. All players can be placed on waivers – CapFriendly notes that injured players can be placed on waivers, but cannot be loaned to a new team until medically cleared.
Once a player has been waived, teams have 24 hrs to register a claim. The order of priority for claims is the reverse of last year's regular season standings. That order stays in place until November 1, when this year's standing are used. Note: the claim priority order is not the same as the draft order, which is determined by playoff results.
If a player is claimed, they must remain on the claiming team's NHL roster. If the new team wishes to move the player to the AHL, they have to put the player on waivers again. The original team can immediately claim the player back, and if no other team makes a claim, the player is considered to have cleared waivers, and can be placed in the AHL.
There is no salary cap in effect in preseason, so there is no pressing reason to put players through waivers now. The AHL preseason does not begin until October 3. The Marlies play twice on October 5th and 6th in games not open to the public. So the Leafs will need a roster of non-NHL players by that time, but they have a group of AHL-contracted players who will make up the bulk of it.
Some of the AHL-contracted players are on the Leafs training camp roster on PTOs. Joe Blandisi has made the most impact of those players. They can be moved to the AHL roster without waivers. Also on the training camp roster are some waiver-exempt players likely to play in the AHL this season:
- Roni Hirvonen
- Ryan Tverberg
- Max Ellis
- Dmitry Ovchinnikov
- Alex Steeves
- Braeden Kressler
- Ty Voit
- Nick Abruzzese
- Topi Niemelä
- Mikko Kokkonen
- William Villeneuve
- Marshall Rifai
- Vyacheslav Peksa
- Dennis Hildeby
- Keith Petruzzelli
In addition, some bubble players are waiver exempt: Pontus Holmberg and Nick Robertson.
For the group of non-exempt players likely to be cut to the Marlies – Kyle Clifford, William Lagesson, Max Lajoie, Bobby McMann, Dylan Gambrell – some are injured, but most will be put on waivers much closer to October 9.
The big decisions about goalies and extra defence and forwards will not be made soon.
Judging by past training camp process, expect the Marlies preseason games to be played almost entirely by players on AHL or ECHL contracts. While there already is a third group in training camp made up of the confirmed Marlies players who aren't involved in NHL preseason games, there's no imminent need to add to them as there are five more games to be played.
Brandon Lisowsky and Noah Chadwick have been returned to junior hockey, and Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten will eventually follow them. Next will come the AHLers moved off the roster and onto their own.