To explain waivers a little bit at a high level: it was implemented to prevent teams from trapping players in their minor leagues. When a player is waived, the 29 remaining teams have the ability to put in a claim for the player before he is sent to the AHL. Waiver priority is based on record (worst record gets top priority), and if none of the 29 teams put in a claim, the player goes to the AHL. This is how the Rangers acquired Erik Christensen.
Waiver eligibility is defined on a series of parameters, but centers around the year and age that a player signs their entry level contract (ELC), and the number of NHL games played up through that point. If a player crosses a certain games played or years since ELC threshold (which ever comes first), then he is no longer exempt from waivers. Games played can be met in the middle of the season. Note that two-way contracts have absolutely nothing to do with waivers, as two-way contracts only dictate financial terms.
The breakdown is below:
- ELC signed at 18 years old: first of 5 years since signing the deal or 160 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 19 years old: first of 4 years since signing the deal or 160 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 20 years old: first of 3 years since signing the deal or 160 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 21 years old: first of 3 years since signing the deal or 80 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 22 years old: first of 3 years since signing the deal or 70 NHL games played.
- ELC signed at 23+ years old: first of 3 years since signing the deal or 60 NHL games played.
I have written two posts about the waiver concerns of Michael Del Zotto and Mats Zuccarello, and have received numerous requests about (insert player here). So, I decided to just compile a list of the players signed to contracts and broke them into three categories: Exempt From Waivers, Not Exempt From Waivers, and Special Cases (players that will cross their games played threshold during the season). In the not exempt from waivers list, I bolded the ones likely for a call up when the season starts. I also added this information as a new page, and you can access it by clicking the “Waivers” link at the top. The full list is after the jump.
Exempt From Waivers (players in the NHL/AHL only)
Not Exempt From Waivers
Special Cases (games noted are NHL games)
Mats Zuccarello – no longer exempt from waivers after 18 games.
Michael Del Zotto – no longer exempt from waivers after 33 games.
Ryan McDonagh – no longer exempt from waivers after 35 games.
Chad Johnson – no longer exempt from waivers after 54 games.
Derek Stepan – no longer exempt from waivers after 73 games.