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NHL waiver rules

Reading through the NHL collective bargaining agreement can be confusing. In many cases, it is difficult to penetrate legal terms and gain insight into the true meaning of the rules.

One of the more confusing rules involves the NHL exemption rules. This article will break down the various types of exemptions and provide examples to help make them easier to understand.

The original concept of exemption

The NHL exemption originated in the 1950s. Between the mid-1950s and 1975, the NHL conducted an intra-league draft. This is similar to the expansion draft when the Vegas Golden Cavaliers entered the league in 2017. Through the league draft, the team can protect some players, while other players can be selected by weaker teams.

The Robin Hood concept is believed to promote the NHL’s competitive balance. The league draft was later turned into an “exempt draft”, and it existed until it was suspended in 2004-05.

What is an exemption?

Abstention is a tool through which the team can send a player to a minor. Players who must pass the exemption are offered to all other teams before being placed in minors. If a team claims it, the team must assume the player’s existing contract and delete it from the player’s previous team’s books.

Waiver of claims will cost almost nothing to the team. They will not give up any of their players or picks, just like they would get players from another team in a trade.

Type of exemption

Before diving into the details, let us define three different types of exemptions: regular, re-entry, and unconditional.

Periodic exemption

Regular exemptions are exemptions that NHL teams make when they want to send players to the minor leagues. When a player is reassigned from the NHL to the AHL, he must pass an exemption (unless exempted). Abstention allows any other team to demand the right of players.

Unconditional Waiver

When a team wants to terminate a player’s contract, they will unconditionally abandon the player. This is usually to buy out the player’s contract. It is similar to a regular abstention, but no team has ever filed a claim against this type of abstention player. It can only happen within two weeks of June.

Re-entry exemption

As mentioned above, the re-entry exemption was a product of the CBA before 2012. They are no longer valid in the current 2013 CBA. They were written to prevent teams from hiding ringtones in the AHL.

Gary Bateman
NHL Commissioner Gary Bateman (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The “Wade Ryden Rule” (paragraph 50.5(d)(i)(B)(6)) states that in order to calculate the average salary of a team to meet the upper limit, the salary of one-way contract players is calculated to be higher than theirs Add 375,000 USD to the minimum wage in the NHL.

When is the exemption period?

The waiver takes effect 12 days before the start of the regular season. They will last until the next day after the end of the team’s season.

example: The Boston Bruins were eliminated from the playoffs on May 2. The Bears’ exemption period will end on May 3.

Who must pass the exemption?

The player’s abstention status is based on a combination of the age at which he signed the first NHL contract, the number of games since the contract was signed, and the number of years in the league. In addition, the exemption qualifications for skaters and goalkeepers are also different.

In most cases, the sooner a player signs his first contract, the longer he will be exempt from the exemption.

Determine the age of the player

According to CBA:

  • Players are considered 18 years old if they are 18 years old between January 1st and September 15th of the draft calendar year before the first season of the player’s entry-level contract
  • Players are considered 19 years old if they are 19 years old before December 31 of the draft calendar year before the first season of the player’s entry-level contract
  • If a player turns 20 years old before December 31 of the draft calendar year before the first season of the player’s entry-level contract, they are considered 20 years old, and so on.

The table below for the current CBA shows when players are no longer exempt from exemptions. For example, an 18-year-old skater with an entry-level contract will be exempted after participating in 160 NHL games or five seasons (whichever comes first).

If an 18-year-old or 19-year-old player plays 11 NHL games in an NHL season, the goalkeeper’s exemption will be reduced to four years, and the skater’s exemption will be reduced to four years.

For 20-year-old players (skating players or goalkeepers), participation in a professional game will be considered the first year of exemption. For 25-year-old players (whether they are skaters or goalkeepers), players participating in a professional game can only be waived for the remainder of the season.

Players who play in another league at the beginning of the NHL season must be exempted when signing with the NHL team.

Yevgeny Nabokov Islander
Nabokov’s return to the NHL was thought to have passed through Motor City, but he ended up on Long Island. (Jenny Rich/Icon SMI)

For example, Russian goalkeeper Evgeni Nabokov (Evgeni Nabokov) played in the KHL for the 2010-11 season. When he left Russia and returned to the NHL, he hoped to join the Detroit Red Wings. instead, Nabokov is exempted It was eventually claimed by New York Islanders.

Who gets the player if multiple teams submit a claim?

If a player is abstained before November 1, the order of abstention is determined by the reverse ranking of the previous season. This means that the team ranked last has the first opportunity to file a claim against the player.

If a player is waived after November 1, the order of claims will be based on the ranking of the current season.

Can you trade a player who is asked to abstain?

The player who is asked to abstain must be provided to the other team that made the original request before the player can be traded.

For example, if a player is abstained, and three teams file a claim against him. The team with the lowest standard wins first place. If they subsequently decide to trade this player, then he must first be passed on by the other two teams. If a team makes a claim, he will be theirs. If not, he can be traded.

How long does it take for players to abstain?

Once a player is abstained, other teams have 24 hours to file a claim. If no team claims a player, he can be formally assigned to a minor league affiliate of the team in the AHL.

In other words, the team does not have to place players among minors. In 2011, the Philadelphia Flyers Put Nikolay Zherdev in abstention And no team filed a claim. Subsequently, the Flyers had 30 days to assign Zherdev to the Adirondack Phantom team. The Flyers chose not to do this, and Zherdev had to stay in the team after the 30 days expired.

Will one-way and two-way contracts affect the exemption?

Simply put, no, they don’t. This is a common misunderstanding. One-way and two-way contracts have nothing to do with exemptions. They are only used for salary purposes between AHL and NHL.

The confusion is understandable. For the above reasons, most players with two-way contracts can be exempted. Most players with one-way contracts have no exemptions. When in doubt about a player’s qualifications, please remember that the above table is the only factor that determines the player’s exempt status.

Waiver process: Zach Bogosian

To better understand the exemption process, please consider Appendix A: Buffalo Sabres Defensive Player Zac Bogosian During the 2019-20 season.

Event timeline:

February 14, 2020: During the contract period, the Buffalo Sabres gave up Bogosian.

February 15, 2020: After 24 hours, no team has filed a claim against Bogosian, so he is eligible to be assigned to the team’s AHL affiliate Rochester Americans. Sabre sent him there.

Zach Bogosian Buffalo Sabre
Zach Bogosian, former Buffalo Sabre (Amy Owen / Hockey writer)

February 17, 2020: Sabres suspends Bogosian without pay Because it was not reported to the Americans. This prevents Bogosian from seeing the upper limit of the team from Sabres’ book. Although his value is not great, Sabres can still try to negotiate a deal. This may mean that the Sabres will retain all or part of his salary.

February 21, 2020: Sabres unconditionally abandons Bogosian to terminate his contract. This invalidates the remaining funds in his current contract and makes Bogosian an unrestricted free agent and able to sign with another team.

February 23, 2020: Bogosian signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Tampa Bay Chargers.

Waiver is beneficial and necessary

Waiver rules may be difficult to understand, but in essence, they are beneficial to the league and all its teams. This is a useful way to ensure that no team can hoard talented players and send them to the AHL when they are not needed. They bring balance to the alliance.


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