Waiver status could factor into the Flames’ deadline decision-making

As you have probably heard if you have working eyes or ears these days, the National Hockey League’s trade deadline is rapidly approaching. On March 1, teams have to make a ton of quick decisions as the door to make transactions slams shut. 

The Calgary Flames are one of the teams who have to not only figure out their options for the rest of this season, but also project out what their plans are for next season. Waiver eligibility could be a big factor in the decision-making.

Why Waivers Are Important

If your star players, your highly-paid guys, are the entree of the meal that is your hockey club, your waiver eligible players are your side dishes. You’re not quite ready to make a meal out of them yet, but they’re important for rounding out your team.

Now, waiver exempt players are usually players on their entry-level deals and they can be sent back and forth from the minors without a worry. Once they’ve used up their exemption period – which is a set number of games played or years pro depending on the age when they signed – then they’re offered up to the NHL’s 29 other teams before they can go down.

If you have a few spots on your club for waiver exempt youngsters, you can try out kids in specific roles and send them back for more seasoning if they’re not great yet.

Waiver Eligible Soon

Two Flames roster players could become waiver eligible before the end of this season. Sam Bennett is waiver eligible after 15 more games and Garnet Hathaway is waiver eligible after 21 more games. Both players become waiver eligible when next season begins either way. Bennett is a full-time NHLer, so waivers aren’t really something to consider. In the case of Hathaway, he’s good enough to be in the NHL but seemingly not quite good enough yet to play every game.

Waiver Eligible Next Season

As soon as next season begins, minor leaguer Ryan Culkin and tweeners Brett Kulak, Emile Poirier and Hunter Shinkaruk will all be waiver eligible. Due to their struggles this season I’m not entirely convinced that Culkin and Poirier will still be in the organization next season, but regardless, waivers are something to think about because they limit a team’s ability to ferry a young player back and forth from the AHL.

Matthew Tkachuk will be waiver eligible at some point next season, basically as soon as he’s played 160 regular season games. Like Bennett, he’s a full-timer so it’s not really much of an issue.

Waiver Eligible Eventually

A lot of youngsters are a ways away from using up their waiver exemption.

Waiver eligible at the beginning of the 2018-19 season are Austin Carroll, Keegan Kanzig, Morgan Klimchuk, Kenney Morrison, Daniel Pribyl, David Rittich and Hunter Smith. Waiver eligible at the beginning of the 2019-20 season are Rasmus Andersson, Jon Gillies, Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane and Brett Pollock. At the beginning of 2020-21 waivers kick in for Oliver Kylington and Mason McDonald, while Nick Schneider won’t require waivers until 2021-22.

In terms of potential auditions for NHL jobs next season, waiver exemptions for Rittich and Gillies would allow both to be tried out as back-ups in Calgary if desired. Similarly, Klimchuk and Jankowski could be tested out in bottom six roles for the Flames in the future without fear of losing them on waivers upon their AHL returns. The same goes for promising blueliner Kylington.

Sum It Up

Waivers will probably factor into the decision-making that the Flames make going forward, particularly as the Flames figure out what to do with players like Kulak, Poirier, Shinkaruk and Hathaway that have yet to really cement themselves as full-time, everyday NHLers. Bear them in mind as the club works their way towards the trade deadline.

  • freethe flames

    There will be many things that go into trade deadline deals. These include cap, arbitration rights, length of term etc but these should not deter BT from trying to make this team better both in the short term and long term. I don’t think you can solve every problem this team has at the moment but I do believe you can fix one short term and experiment with one possible long term solution. This can be done without throwing the rebuild into turmoil. The only way you move the first or second rounder is for a 20′ something forward that you project to be an upgrade and a possible top 6 forward. Someone who you believe you will protect over Brouwer and to a lesser extent Ferland.

    Ideally you use your own UFA’s, RFA’s and B prospects to acquire a rental RHD that can play ahead of Wides and Engs. You also acquire and here you can use a draft pick a forward you want to try with Johnny/Monny that is in the right age bracket. I doubt we have the assets to go big game hunting.

  • Jakethesnail

    If no playoffs this year it’s one appearance in the last 8 years and it’s not looking a whole lot rosier with this group. Too small and not enough size with skill.

  • TrumpeterSwan

    If the flames are buyers they go out and get a defenceman and they protect 4 d 4 forwards. There really are not much more than 4 forwards to protect on this club anyways.

    If they are sellers. Wideman for a pick, versteeg for a pick, chaisson for a pick and anyone else on the team that you can get value for.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      Ridiculous! Flames are not doing that at all.

      They need to protect at least 5 forwards if they want to keep Sam Bennett and their other top players – as in they MUST protect Gaudreau, Monahan, Frolik, Backlund, and Sam!

      Yup….and whether we agree or not, they probably don’t want to lose Brouwer or Ferland. So the 4F / 4D protection option is HIGHLY unlikely to be done by the Flames.

      Count on the 7F / 3D option because in fact the Flames just jockeyed for that (got Bartkowski to allow Vegas to pick him).

      • TrumpeterSwan

        Ditch Bennett the bust or Frolik the replacement level player, your call. Either way when you look at what other teams are exposing I doubt Vegas goes looking for meat in our chicken scraps.

      • MontanaMan

        I am 50/50 on Frolik. Fringe player. Good on the PK but that’s about it. If the Flames fell into a good #4 d-man, I’d have no problem protecting him and not Frolik.

      • TrumpeterSwan

        Would you really protect Frolik? Not a bad season but hardly a top four player on any team. More like a replacement level third liner IMO.

        In any event if there is an opportunity to get a good #4, #5 D rental that can turn into a full time thing I say go for it. Most teams are gun shy about just such a deal due to the expansion, but we don’t have more than 4 forwards to protect (unless you think Frolik is an elite player) so I would say go for a deal for a D man that we can protect and benefit from our situation and the draft.

      • Greg

        I agree they have 5 forwards that HAVE to be protected, so I e been assuming they’d target a RWer if they buy anything more than a rental.

        But… it just occurred to me that they ONLY have 5 forwards that need to be protected (I love Ferland, but losing him isn’t catastrophic, and we all know the debate about Brouwer the player vs Brouwer the cap-space).

        If they can find a team that has 4 D they have to protect, but can’t live with only 4 forward protection spots, BT could pull a fast one on all of us and trade one of our top 5 forwards for a legit, long term, top 4 D.

        Take Winnipeg for example. Basically have to protect Enstrom (NMC), Myers, Buf, and Trouba, which means they’ll be forced to expose some good young players like Armia, Dano, and Lowry. Would they be interested in a Bennet for Trouba swap, since it gives them the ability to protect a couple of those guys, even with having to protect Bennet? Would the flames be interested? Giving up on Bennet now could be a huge blunder, or it could turn out to be a huge steal and give you one of the best top 4s for however long Gio holds up (and forwards are generally easier to replace).

        There’s a few other teams with similar situations that might be interested (Anaheim, Minny, etc), or other combinations that might land a smaller fish than Trouba but only cost you a Frolik instead. When you see the premium it costs for a good young D (think Hall for Larson), this might create a real interesting buy opportunity.

        • TrumpeterSwan

          Sami Vatanen for Frolik, might be a good deal for both the Ducks and Flames?

          Shattenkirk from St.louis if he would sign longer term here.

          Micheal stone from Arizona if he would sign here longer term.

          I like your suggestion of dealing with the Jets too, but the point is that there is an opportunity to deal for a defenceman with our relatively weak forward position to most other teams.

  • Newbietwo

    In no particular order

    First Round

    – Ryan Poehling
    Puck carrying centre and left wing that plays physical and is strong and gritty with a scoring touch.. a little Sam Bennet like

    – Callan Foote
    Very good point shot so pivot potential, skating an mobility not too bad and has upside as a 4 defender

    -Kristian Vesalainen
    Fast skater shoots left but plays RW.. is 6ft3 had a good shot and a two way type of player that could mold as a power forward with good defensive side.. one of my top first round options

    – Nicolas Haque
    Massive 6ft6 defender.. a real defensive minded defender and my second choice to take in the first round for us.. the guy will be a 4 defender at least

    – Nikita Popugayev
    6ft6 Right shot winger and my top target to draft in the first round for us.. this guy is going to be a monster and exactly what our future needs! I cannot stress how much I’d like us to take this guy although he is Russian

    – Kole Lind
    6ft1 current skinny but exceptional playmaker and scoring winger that can really skate well.. I’m not all in with him as I am the others

    I didn’t target anyone top ten cause we won’t be there.. I also didn’t include Matthew Strome because he can’t skate and is not even as good as his brothers who are struggling.

    Second Round

    I would suggest we trade Poirer for a second rounder in this draft if possible and move on or trade Mason McDonald and do the same also

    – Isaac Ratcliffe
    This is the reason I want an early second rounder.. 6ft5 left wing with major upside and again ticks all our boxes

    – Nate Scnharr
    6ft4 Right shot centre need I say more? My top target for us in second round

    – Ukko Pekka Luukonnen
    6ft4 Goalie “Finland” has greater upside than McDonald

    – Keith Petruzzelli
    6ft6 goalie and my three ranked player we should take in second round.

    Third Round

    We need another third round pick.. we need to get it somehow

    – Ostap Safin
    6ft4 Winger left shot but plays both sides.

    – Samuel Bucek
    Right shot winger that has a good shot and plays a two way game.. my top target for third round

    – Adam Ruzicka
    6ft4 centre plays well all around and has a scoring touch.. my second rated target for us in third round and why I think we should get another third round pick to use

    Fourth Round

    – Eemeli Rasanen
    6ft5 Right shot defensive minded defender and who is like to see us take this round

    – Morgan Barron
    Two way defender

    – Stuart Skinner
    6ft4 goalie my second target in this round

  • Newbietwo

    In no particular order

    First Round

    – Ryan Poehling
    Puck carrying centre and left wing that plays physical and is strong and gritty with a scoring touch.. a little Sam Bennet like

    – Callan Foote
    Very good point shot so pivot potential, skating an mobility not too bad and has upside as a 4 defender

    -Kristian Vesalainen
    Fast skater shoots left but plays RW.. is 6ft3 had a good shot and a two way type of player that could mold as a power forward with good defensive side.. one of my top first round options

    – Nicolas Haque
    Massive 6ft6 defender.. a real defensive minded defender and my second choice to take in the first round for us.. the guy will be a 4 defender at least

    – Nikita Popugayev
    6ft6 Right shot winger and my top target to draft in the first round for us.. this guy is going to be a monster and exactly what our future needs! I cannot stress how much I’d like us to take this guy although he is Russian

    – Kole Lind
    6ft1 current skinny but exceptional playmaker and scoring winger that can really skate well.. I’m not all in with him as I am the others

    I didn’t target anyone top ten cause we won’t be there.. I also didn’t include Matthew Strome because he can’t skate and is not even as good as his brothers who are struggling.

    Second Round

    I would suggest we trade Poirer for a second rounder in this draft if possible and move on or trade Mason McDonald and do the same also

    – Isaac Ratcliffe
    This is the reason I want an early second rounder.. 6ft5 left wing with major upside and again ticks all our boxes

    – Nate Scnharr
    6ft4 Right shot centre need I say more? My top target for us in second round

    – Ukko Pekka Luukonnen
    6ft4 Goalie “Finland” has greater upside than McDonald

    – Keith Petruzzelli
    6ft6 goalie and my three ranked player we should take in second round.

    Third Round

    We need another third round pick.. we need to get it somehow

    – Ostap Safin
    6ft4 Winger left shot but plays both sides.

    – Samuel Bucek
    Right shot winger that has a good shot and plays a two way game.. my top target for third round

    – Adam Ruzicka
    6ft4 centre plays well all around and has a scoring touch.. my second rated target for us in third round and why I think we should get another third round pick to use

    Fourth Round

    – Eemeli Rasanen
    6ft5 Right shot defensive minded defender and who is like to see us take this round

    – Morgan Barron
    Two way defender

    – Stuart Skinner
    6ft4 goalie my second target in this round

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Speaking of waivers … I saw Ty Rattie was on waivers again yesterday from Carolina.. LOL just checked and we was picked up by St.Louis, Never mind…

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Speaking of waiver wire, Ty Rattie was placed on wavers yesterday by Carolina and then claimed by St. Louis, who also shipped Kenny Agostino back to the minors. Jfyi~ Oh…. and the Heat Lost Again * sigh* The Heat are now 3-17(3 OTL) in their last 20 games? WTF? That Needs To Be Corrected! Damn!

    • Jakethesnail

      There was another in his draft year that was sent to the minors and he looks like a star in this league , but I won’t mention his name because people are quite touchy about it in Calgary.

        • Stan

          Yup, just like Bennett did after shoulder surgery. Besides, Draisatl is playing with Mcdavid and shooting at an incredibly unsustainable 16.8%.

          Which I’m not even really mad about because its just going to mean his contract after this year is gonna be inflated and help put the Oilers in cap jail.

          Go troll elsewhere Jake. Seriously, find a better use of your time.

        • Jakethesnail

          Haha you got 8 likes so far . Not sure why because he went to junior the year before. Last year he went to the minors at the beginning of the season? But thanks anyway!

  • Newbietwo

    In no particular order

    First Round

    – Ryan Poehling
    Puck carrying centre and left wing that plays physical and is strong and gritty with a scoring touch.. a little Sam Bennet like

    – Callan Foote
    Very good point shot so pivot potential, skating an mobility not too bad and has upside as a 4 defender

    -Kristian Vesalainen
    Fast skater shoots left but plays RW.. is 6ft3 had a good shot and a two way type of player that could mold as a power forward with good defensive side.. one of my top first round options

    – Nicolas Haque
    Massive 6ft6 defender.. a real defensive minded defender and my second choice to take in the first round for us.. the guy will be a 4 defender at least

    – Nikita Popugayev
    6ft6 Right shot winger and my top target to draft in the first round for us.. this guy is going to be a monster and exactly what our future needs! I cannot stress how much I’d like us to take this guy although he is Russian

    – Kole Lind
    6ft1 current skinny but exceptional playmaker and scoring winger that can really skate well.. I’m not all in with him as I am the others

    I didn’t target anyone top ten cause we won’t be there.. I also didn’t include Matthew Strome because he can’t skate and is not even as good as his brothers who are struggling.

    Second Round

    I would suggest we trade Poirer for a second rounder in this draft if possible and move on or trade Mason McDonald and do the same also

    – Isaac Ratcliffe
    This is the reason I want an early second rounder.. 6ft5 left wing with major upside and again ticks all our boxes

    – Nate Scnharr
    6ft4 Right shot centre need I say more? My top target for us in second round

    – Ukko Pekka Luukonnen
    6ft4 Goalie “Finland” has greater upside than McDonald

    – Keith Petruzzelli
    6ft6 goalie and my three ranked player we should take in second round.

    Third Round

    We need another third round pick.. we need to get it somehow

    – Ostap Safin
    6ft4 Winger left shot but plays both sides.

    – Samuel Bucek
    Right shot winger that has a good shot and plays a two way game.. my top target for third round

    – Adam Ruzicka
    6ft4 centre plays well all around and has a scoring touch.. my second rated target for us in third round and why I think we should get another third round pick to use

    Fourth Round

    – Eemeli Rasanen
    6ft5 Right shot defensive minded defender and who is like to see us take this round
    – Morgan Barron
    Two way defender
    – Stuart Skinner
    6ft4 goalie my second target in this round

  • MontanaMan

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Frolik is used as a trade chip heading into the final two weeks before the trade deadline. He is a solid defensive forward that a team may need heading into the playoffs and the Flames may get a decent return. Suggestion for FN – do an article titled “Does JG Want to Stay in Calgary?” I’m not convinced he wants to be with the Flames short term or long term.

  • Southalb43

    This expansion draft is a great opportunity to get rid of that Brouwer contract. Anyone who watched he game last night can see he is a 3rd line player being paid like and given the opportunities of a first line player (pp etc). Frolik seems to make the guys around him better and create space, kill penalties etc. His 4.3 mil goes a lot further than Brouwer’s 4.5 IMO

  • freethe flames

    Now we wait and see if BT does anything. 3 years in and it would good to see if he put his vision of the team at this time. Is this team one he sees as a playoff team or one that needs even more time.

    Personally I think this team needs to be given a chance to make the playoffs and a few tweaks could make that happen. These do not need to derail the rebuild.

  • everton fc

    Many here keep saying how we are not tough enough, have no size, no grit…

    And many of the same people seem to think losing Ferland’s a good thing.

    We have to protect Ferland. Why anyone would protect Brouwer over both Ferland and Frolik (Frolik is a very valuable part of the success of our “first” line this year – why can’t people see this?) Brouwer plays hard, but looks slow to this fan. Where does he fit here?

    We’ll protect our top 3 d-men. We’ll protect Monahan, Gaudreau, Backlund, Bennett and Frolik. The sixth forward has to be Ferland – he’s still very young. # 7 is probably Brouwer. Those are your seven. Gio/Hamilton/Brodie are our defencemen.

    The only thing that would alter this is a trade – say they move one of the 10 mentioned above. I see none moving.

    If they expose Brouwer, do you protect Kulak? Or do they sign Versteeg, expose Brouwer and protect Versteeg? Those are the only other scenarios I can think of, sans a trade. Neither likely.

    • freethe flames

      There are not many on this site that don’t want to protect Ferland but let’s be realistic he is third liner LW which tells me the sad state of this team. At this point based upon the play the Flames really only have 4 forwards worth protecting and those are Johnny/Monny and the 2 MIkes. You protect Sam because you project him to improve. After that you have Brouwer who has not been a good fit here. Personally I would not protect him. Ideally in the next 9 days you trade for an upgrade.

  • sathome

    It would be nice if the Flames had the depth on right wing to expose Frolik in the expansion draft. But they don’t. At all. It would be an amazingly bad idea.

  • 1_4theMoney

    Does anyone remember a rumor that TB wanted Sam Bennett for Drouin when he was requesting a trade?

    Hindsight. Drouin is looking like an allstar right now

    • everton fc

      I’m confident Sam will find his game. I do wonder if GG has had a negative impact on Sam and Johnny somehow. Then I see how good Tkachuk’s playing… Monahan back on the rails… Even Ferland’s playing well under GG.

      Who knows?!

      • calgaryfan

        GG has the team playing Ken Hitchcock hockey not a great style game to watch or play. Clog up centre ice and play for a break. Usually Johnny gets the puck and finds himself alone going into the offensive zone, very little support and no one to pass too.

  • TrumpeterSwan

    The nice thing about the expansion draft is that since the Flames roster is filled with utility players we have too many spots. Protecting 7 forwards, no problem we only need 4 of those spots. 4 defencemen, no way we only need 3.

    If the Flames GM had some balls they would call up Vegas and say hey you guys like to gamble down there. Why don’t you take our entire team, everyone from Johnny Hockey to Wideman and we will be the expansion team this year. It might be the best thing for all sides. Vegas has have an established bubble team and Calgary can get on with a full on rebuild which is what the fans want.

  • freethe flames

    Interesting to see how tight the playoff races are. The Jets are now in the Wild card race. In the East it is getting interesting; the Habs poor play has them looking in the review mirror, the Sens had a number of injuries last, teams are creeping up in that wild card race. Is there a hotter team than the Panthers right now? I wonder how this will impact the trade deadline?

  • Eggs Bennett

    All the Oilers trolls saying that they have a great team because of size and grit, get real… the main reason for EDM success this season is McDavid and partially Talbot/Draisaitl. The next scorer after that is Eberle with just over 50% of McDavid’s point total… the Flames need a bona fide SKILLED top line RW to give Johnny options (doesn’t need to be big to be effective, see Jiri Hudler 2 seasons ago…), a competent top 4 D, and more consistency from their current goalies. It is NOT time for BT to burn the barn down and rebuild the rebuild.