The Calgary Flames have reportedly placed defenseman Brett Kulak on the waiver wire, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
The move comes in advance of Kulak’s arbitration hearing on Monday morning, which will determine the 24-year-old’s next contract.
CAL has put Brett Kulak on waivers…arbitration hearing for him is Monday
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 19, 2018
The waiving prior to an arbitration hearing is a bit of a rarity, but not unheard of. Essentially, the Flames are likely heading into the potential arbitration hearing arguing that Kulak is a fringe NHLer in an effort to keep his cap hit down. The Kulak side will be arguing that he’s a full-timer and making comparisons to similar players. Showing that Kulak cleared waivers prior to the hearing is primarily an attempt to erode the Kulak camp’s negotiating terrain.
In the event Kulak is claimed, the team claiming him would likely have to jump into a late-notice arbitration hearing (unless it’s Minnesota, who have a hearing with Mathew Dumba at the same time). There’s no definitive CBA rule for this situation, but hearings are originally scheduled so that no team or agent has multiple hearings at the same time.
(2/2) However, the flip side to this is that if another club were to claim him off waivers, they would then also inherit the Arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday, July 23rd, and left to prepare their brief against the player they just claimed at this late hour.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 19, 2018
It’s unlikely that Kulak will be claimed, though, given that teams have spent the last month shuffling their rosters and acquiring new faces, and probably want to see how those new faces fare before adding even more of them.