Let’s talk about the Flames and waivers for 2016-17

We’re deep down in the July hockey news dregs, ladies and gentlemen. So as we all wait patiently to find out when Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau will sign with the Calgary Flames, and for what term and cap hit, let’s take some time to ponder some other things that will undoubtedly factor into decision-making over the next while.

First up? The waiver wire.


Much like asking your friends if they want the last slice of pizza before you take it or throw it out, the waiver wire is the NHL’s mechanism for ensuring each team can’t stockpile good talent on its minor league roster. As a result, after a certain age (or experience) cut-off, players must be offered to the rest of the league before being placed in the AHL.

(Jeff Veillette did a great rundown of the rules over at The Leafs Nation, so we basically just stole it.)

  • Based on your age and whether you’re a skater or a goalie, you’re allotted a certain amount of years of waiver exemption. The general rule is you’re waiver exempt for your entry-level contract, though it varies depending on what age they signed their first contract and how many NHL games they play.
  • If a player is waived, clears, and comes back up, he has 30 days or
    10 games of NHL time (whichever comes first) where he is temporarily
  • Players can be sent on waiver-less “conditioning stints” for 14 days
    if for a reason deemed acceptable by the league, usually due to injury or lack of playing time (*cough* Ladislav Smid *cough*).

The Flames have 38 players under contract, plus another four restricted free agents. The waiver eligible/waiver exempt split is 20 eligible, 22 exempt.

Here’s a rundown of who’s doing what, waiver-wise. Waiver exempt players are listed with when their exemption ends in brackets. If a player has a season and a number of games listed, it’s whichever comes first.


    Waiver Eligible Locks: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Troy Brouwer, Michael Frolik, Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, Micheal Ferland, Alex Chiasson

    Waiver Exempt Locks: Sam Bennett (2017-18 or after 71 games)

    Waiver Eligible Bubble Guys: Brandon Bollig, Linden Vey, Freddie Hamilton

    Waiver Exempt Bubble Guys: Hunter Shinkaruk (2017-18), Emile Poirier (2017-18), Garnet Hathaway (2017-18 or after 46 games), Daniel Pribyl (2018-19 or after 60 games), Matthew Tkachuk (2020-21 or 160 games)

    Waiver Exempt Long Shots: Morgan Klimchuk (2018-19 or 160 games), Hunter Smith (2018-19 or 160 games), Austin Carroll (2018-19 or 80 games), Mark Jankowski (2019-20 or 70 games), Brett Pollock (2019-20 or 160 games), Andrew Mangiapane (2019-20 or 160 games)

    Aside from Bennett losing his waiver exemption late in the season, there’s not much to fret about for the Flames forward ranks… this season. Shinkaruk and Poirier have more games of exemption left than seasons, so they’ll both become waiver eligible to begin 2017-18 (as will Hathaway, unless he plays 46 games first). The remainder of the waiver exempt forwards in the system will remain so for at least another season, some longer than that.

    In terms of the Flames’ 2016-17 roster, there likely won’t be many waiver complications. Even if Bollig, Vey and Hamilton all make the team, there’s room for some youngsters (such as Shinkaruk or Tkachuk).


    Waiver Eligible Locks: Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Ladislav Smid, Deryk Engelland, Jyrki Jokipakka

    Waiver Eligible Bubble Guys: Tyler Wotherspoon

    Waiver Exempt Bubble Guys: Oliver Kylington (2020-21 or 159 games), Brett Kulak (2017-18)

    Waiver Exempt Long Shots: Kenney Morrison (2018-19 or 60 games), Rasmus Andersson (2019-20 or 160 games), Ryan Culkin (2017-18 or 80 games), Keegan Kanzig (2018-19 or 160 games)

    There’s a slight possibility that Wotherspoon could get poached off of waivers if sent to the farm this season. In addition, the Flames are basically into the deciding zone when it comes to Kulak as his waiver exemption is used up after this season. Culkin is also eligible next season, but probably isn’t as tempting to another club on the waiver wire. Everyone else has a fair amount of runway left.

    Outside of Wotherspoon, there are likely no waiver concerns this season.


    Waiver Eligible Locks: Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson

    Waiver Exempt Long Shots: Jon Gillies (2018-19 or 80 games), David Rittich (2018-19 or 60 games), Mason McDonald (2020-21 or 80 games), Nick Schneider (2021-22 or 80 games)

    If you want a glimpse into when the Flames think Gillies’ window is, here it is: he has two seasons to get himself NHL-ready (because after that he’s waiver eligible). Beyond him, there’s a fairly decent progression of McDonald and Schneider in terms of their eligibility.

    As with forwards and defenders, there will probably be no waiver drama in net this year.


    A year ago, the Flames got themselves into all kinds of avoidable trouble with waiver eligible players. Due to fear of losing third-string goalie Joni Ortio on waivers, they ended up losing Paul Byron instead. Such a thing won’t happen this season, as the Flames have 23 roster spots and only 20 waiver-eligible players for them. They have some decisions to make down the road, but this season they should be fine.

    • supra steve

      “A year ago, the Flames got themselves into all kinds of avoidable trouble with waiver eligible players. Due to fear of losing third-string goalie Joni Ortio on waivers, they ended up losing Paul Byron instead.”

      “all kinds of avoidable trouble”?

      Really? So if the trouble was avoidable, what was the solution?

      • Greatsave

        One solution, if I recall last season’s situation and understand the CBA correctly, was to send Ortio to the farm more than 12 days prior to the start of the season, in other words before the waiver period started. This would have had the added advantage of avoiding the three-goalie fiasco.

        • supra steve

          And if it was that easy, does that tell us anything about the value that the club assigned to Paul Byron at that time? Ortio was still a compelling asset, once they let that 12 day limit pass…what was the solution?

          Was too bad that the Flames lost an asset for no return, but that is how waivers work, and the Flames have picked up players in the same way. If Byron had played out the year with the Flames, would he have been re-signed for 2016-17? Jooris has not.

          • Greatsave

            I don’t know what we should decipher about how much or how little the club valued Byron at the time. Do I think they should have kept him over Bollig? Absolutely. Do I think Treliving would have wanted to? Absolutely. But “how much the club values Player X” isn’t the only factor in waiver decisions. I would think the coach’s preference, for example, may have played a role.

            If Ortio was, as you suggest, a compelling asset, then the sensible thing would have been to *not* re-sign Ramo to a 3.8m deal, especially when you knew Ortio was entering the one-way year of his contract. Once you have signed Ramo, the next sensible thing would have been to ensure you hung on to Ortio by sending him to Stockton early. Instead, what ended up happening was losing Byron for nothing, and then having to send your 3.8m goaltender through waivers to the AHL.

            Your Jooris point is moot. He was not QO’ed, but Treliving said they would circle back to him, so it’s not out of the question yet. All it means was that Treliving didn’t want to be tied down to a raise for him. No reason why they can’t work out a low-cost deal over the summer. Ditto Nakladal.

            Byron went and scored 11 goals for Montreal (that’s more than Bollig, Raymond, and Bouma combined), including 2 SHG’s in his first 3 games with them. They extended him for 3-years, 3.5m back in February. Obviously we’ll never know how well he would have played for Hartley this past season or whether the Flames would still want or could afford to extend him, but things have not worked out too badly for Byron himself.

    • Kevin R

      Take out Smid & Wideman & substitute Tspoon & Nakky & I think most would be pretty happy going into the next season.

      Any Smid health updates? There is a 2nd round of buyouts coming up, anyone know when that window is & is Wideman going to be considered?

      • Hubcap1

        No idea about Smid but I wouldn’t count him as a lock for the team if he’s healthy (just my opinion). As for the buy outs I think the second round is only for teams with players going to arbitration, of which I don’t believe the Flames have any unless I missed something. So no more buy outs for them.

      • Parallex

        “There is a 2nd round of buyouts coming up, anyone know when that window is & is Wideman going to be considered?”

        Not for the Flames there isn’t… you had to have an arbitration case to get the 2nd buyout window.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Gaudreau still not signed…

      Pavel Zacha not skating at the Devil’s development camp….

      Conspiracy theorists may conclude there is a Gaudreau for Hall and Zacha trade in the works….


      • Rockmorton65

        Gave it some thought and I’m not 100% against it.

        With the team seemingly having hockey wood for Mangiapane, I can’t see then having two sub-5’9 players. Hall/Money/Brouwer would make a good sized top line.

        Could be I’m just starved for hockey talk…lol

      • McRib

        Gaudreau is a lock to be signed long term, as the Flames will give him whatever they want he is already a Top. 15 producer in the NHL, I wonder though about Sean Monahan? I mean it kind of sounds like he is asking for too much and it’s possible Gaudreau’s camp is asking for less, which is why they are trying to get Monahan down (obviously all speculation).

        Looking at comparables Monahan is barely worth $6 Million per (especially considering Adavanced Stats figures and fact everyone knows he is benifiting playing with Gaudreau), also the Flames signing him sets a precedence for Bennett, who I believe one day soon will surpass Monahan as our top centre (eventually I think Monahan should be moved to the wing, as most top goal scorers play along the wing and he isn’t dominant possessionaly).

        Just take this with a major grain of salt, but if anyone is holding up the contracts it’s Monahan, IMO. Maybe the Flames are pushing for bridge deals? The Flames know they can’t loose Gaudreau. Is Sean Monahan untouchable if we could get a young better possesion forward with similar production in a trade, old guard GMs would definitely over value Monahan? All this is massive speculation, but something to considered if only for a moment. Don’t get me wrong I like Monahan, but if he is asking for 7-8+ million he ain’t worth that, Guadreau is absolutely worth that.

        • supra steve

          Since none of us had any clue what was to come in the previous deals that were signed by Brodie, Gio, and Hamilton…how can you say any of this?

          Deals will be announced when they are completed. Hopefully they are fair for both sides.

        • Kevin R

          Good speculation & I agree it’s probably Monahan’s asking price that is holding things up a bit. But, Gaudreau & Monahan are pretty tight & they happen to have a chemistry we all search for, look at our desire that Tkachuk will be Sammy’s Gaudreau. The other market deals are pretty well a no-brainer & at some point both Agent & GM have to meet close to the established market. I can justify over paying Monahan slightly (up to 6.5mill for 8 years) max, just because Monahan has hit 30 goals twice already & the others haven’t. That is significant & can justify a slight overpay. I can’t imagine Management having any inclination to trade Monahan.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Ryan, do you consider Bouma to be a lock this season? Maybe just me, but I feel that Treliving soured on Bouma after the signing and his failed season. One EN goal and one insurance goal over 44 games don’t look very impressive for guy just receiving $2.2m per season.

      He was rumored to be on the block at TDL. I can’t see being a lock for the season.

      • Primo

        Treliving soured on Buoma when after partying all night with Mony and Johnny all night he actually threw up on the ice next day at practice…making it necessary to bring in the scrapers and interrupt the practice…..

    • Baalzamon

      I don’t expect we’ll see too many waiver claims this year. I mean we don’t generally see them anyway, but teams might be looking to keep their reserve lists a little leaner this year with the expansion draft and all.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I have to think that BT has communicated with Jooris and Nakladal about their future and given them a date otherwise they would have signed elsewhere. Nakladal made the Czech World Cup team…why wouldn’t a team take a chance on him. As for, Jooris he is under appreciated but can at least play in the NHL on a cheap contract…so why no interest.

    • deantheraven

      By my count , you have 9 forwards as locks,and 7 defensemen (with no Nakdaddy!). Best case scenario is Bouma gets traded (for whatever BT can get)and Bollig goes down (’cause nobody wants him+ his contract). It doesn’t look like Stajan is going anywhere this year but hopefully in the expansion draft.

      That leaves 3 for-sure openings up front, ideally 5 spots, which would be ideal for the ‘bubble’ guys to compete for. I hope Tkachuk gets his nine and then goes back down for another year of development, only because there are too many others ahead of him that should be given a longer look during the rebuild.

      If Bollig is waived and Bouma is traded, that’s about 3 mil saved, which would be handy this season when a nice young top-6 RW falls out of favour somewhere in the East.

      On the back end, we all agree that Smid should either retire or be LTIR’d, and it would be better if Wideman were wearing a different jersey at the start of the season if not at the trade deadline (hopefully the former, not the latter).
      That gets 5-8 Mil off the books, leaving lots of room to sign Nakladal (please!), and put one or two of the top ‘bubble’ guys on the roster. Engelland would be fine again on the 3rd pairing (and ‘in the room, if that’s still a value point) with one of T’spoon, Kulak or Kylington. These young’uns need to be getting the ice time now, and it’s not good asset management to wait until the heavy contracts walk as UFA’s next summer.
      Or maybe BT deals one of the D- prospects. I kinda hope that’s not his plan but it may be the only option if #6 and #15 aren’t dealt (with).

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I can’t see it. Even Monny’s agent is not dumb enough to think Monny is the straw that stirs the drink between the dynamic duo. Monny is a lot easier to walk away from than Johnny, but if they have some how formed a united front then it complicates matters. Monny’s comparables are pretty cut and dry while Johnny’s are less obvious. I can see why Johnny’s agent is pushing for Tarasenko money because Johnny’s ceiling is so high.

      Johnny is a top 10 scorer in only his second year, he has done this on a top line with revolving RWers, he has done this on a team with one of the worst PPs,he has done this without any PK time and with very little production on the road.

      Even more impressive, most of his goals have come within 6 ft of the net, I can only think of one wrap around goal, a couple of backhand goals, and no goals from slapshots. My point is that, his shot will improve, he will start scoring more on the PP, he may now get some PK time, and he is going to start scoring away from the dome. We have only seen a few dimensions of his game yet he is already an elite talent and top 10 scorer. If I am his agent, I am referencing all of this in the deliberation.