Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm Cursed by NHL Waiver Details

So I get a new Matt Carle jersey for Christmas, and what happens? He gets sent down to the friggin' minors. After the pasting by the Coyotes and the benching of Bell, Carle, and Bernier against Dallas, the latter two get sent down to Worchester.

All is not lost. Doug Wilson intimated that Carle may not be gone very long, but it did pique my interest in the business side of this transaction. If you are like me, and wonder about the minutia of NHL rules and regs, you might have asked yourself, "Why didn't they get claimed off of waivers?".

For those who don't know, generally when a player moves from a NHL team to the minors, they have to "clear waivers", which means the team notifies the league and all other teams that the player is available. Any team who wants that player can "claim him off of waivers" which means they assume his contract (and count half his salary against the salary cap). If more than one club wants the player, he goes to the team that has the worst record at the time. A player also has to clear waivers when moving from the minors to the NHL (called "re-entry" waivers), and there are more exceptions for this. Some players may not be exempt from "regular" waivers, but are "re-entry" waiver exempt. Jeez, how confusing is that?

Anyway, there is a "regular waiver exemption", which means that certain players young enough, and with little enough NHL experience can go straight to the minor league team without having to go through waivers (there are other exemptions as well, but I'm not going to mention them here- it's complicated enough as it is). The experience exemption is applicable for both Carle and Bernier. I'd bet at least half the teams in the NHL would claim these guys if they did have to go through waivers. If they weren't waiver-exempt, they wouldn't have been sent down.

The waiver exemption is 80 games for 21 year olds (Bernier) and 60 games for 22 year olds (Carle). Bernier has currently played 78 games in the NHL, and Carle 51. They barely made it under the wire for the exception, and it's extremely unlikely they'll get assigned again, due to their talents, and likelihood of being claimed.

For more interesting information about how waivers work in the new CBA, here's a great blog post I found. Very enlightening. You can even download the whole CBA (all 472 pages of it) here in PDF form. Works better than NyQuil.


Jason Mandell said...

just a point of clarification. Pretty sure every one of the 29 other teams in the league would have claimed both Carle or Bernier from waivers if they had the opportunity.

Mike said...

I'm sure you're right... I didn't want to overstate my case.