Folks, we’re getting down to the brass tacks of the preseason and 2018’s training camp. The Calgary Flames begin today with 50 players on their roster and two preseason games remaining. By this coming Tuesday at 3 p.m. MT, they’re required to be down to their opening 23-man roster. The axe will definitely be swinging and the final roster decisions may be impacted by the waiver statuses of the bubble players.
If you’re unfamiliar with waivers and the waiver wire, here’s the gist:
- Once a player is out of their entry-level contract (or has played a season beyond their ELC for goalies), they need to clear the waiver wire to be assigned to the minors.
- The waiver wire is essentially asking the rest of the league if they want a leftover player before they get sent to the AHL.
- Waiver priority is based upon last year’s final standings: the worst team gets first dibs, the best team gets last.
- If a player is claimed, the claiming team pays the league’s waiver fee and then takes on the player’s contract.
- Unless only one team filed a claim earlier, a player claimed on waivers has to go through waivers again to be assigned to the AHL by the claiming team.
It gets a bit complicated sometimes, but those are the basic waiver rules.
Who are locks for the roster?
There are 17 players that probably won’t be cut from the team, so we can basically ignore their waiver statuses.
- G Mike Smith
- D Mark Giordano
- D TJ Brodie
- D Noah Hanifin
- D Travis Hamonic
- D Michael Stone
- F Johnny Gaudreau
- F Sean Monahan
- F James Neal
- F Matthew Tkachuk
- F Mikael Backlund
- F Elias Lindholm
- F Michael Frolik
- F Derek Ryan
- F Sam Bennett
- F Mark Jankowski
- F Austin Czarnik
If you’re really curious, Tkachuk is still waiver exempt but everybody else on this list would need to clear waivers to be demoted.
Who needs to clear waivers to go to the AHL?
Of the bubble players with active NHL contracts on the books for 2018-19, 11 players would need to clear waivers to be demoted:
- Goalies: David Rittich
- Defense: Brett Kulak and Dalton Prout
- Forwards: Tyler Graovac, Garnet Hathaway, Morgan Klimchuk, Curtis Lazar, Anthony Peluso, Alan Quine, Buddy Robinson and Kerby Rychel
Who doesn’t require waivers to be sent to the farm?
Conversely, 13 bubble players with active contracts would be able to go to the farm team without going on the waiver wire. Not surprisingly, they’re the team’s youngest prospects.
- Goalies: Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons
- Defense: Rasmus Andersson, Marcus Hogstrom, Oliver Kylington and Juuso Valimaki
- Forwards: Dillon Dube, Spencer Foo, Glenn Gawdin, Ryan Lomberg, Andrew Mangiapane, Matthew Phillips and Brett Pollock
Waivers and the roster races
Based on 17 players being roster locks, that leaves six open roster spots for a backup goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards. All things being equal, it’s natural to wonder if Flames management will opt to hold onto the players that require waivers rather than risk losing them on the wire for nothing. That said, Oct. 1 is the last day for players to be waived before the next day’s roster deadline so teams often try to “sneak” decent players onto the waiver wire in that day’s annual deluge of waiver activity.
If the Flames are going to send down somebody like Kulak, Lazar or Hathaway, Monday morning will be when we hear about it.