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How could waiver status impact the Flames opening night roster?

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.

Waivers 101

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.

  1. G Mike Smith
  2. D Mark Giordano
  3. D TJ Brodie
  4. D Noah Hanifin
  5. D Travis Hamonic
  6. D Michael Stone
  7. F Johnny Gaudreau
  8. F Sean Monahan
  9. F James Neal
  10. F Matthew Tkachuk
  11. F Mikael Backlund
  12. F Elias Lindholm
  13. F Michael Frolik
  14. F Derek Ryan
  15. F Sam Bennett
  16. F Mark Jankowski
  17. 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.



    • canadian1967

      Dube looks great, but how is it short-sighted to put him in a position to succeed in Stockton while retaining a player like Klimchuk to see what he can do at the NHL level.
      What if Klimchuk is waived, claimed and turns into another Paul Byron? You were one of the biggest critics of the Flames trying to sneak Byron down to The AHL when it happened, remember.
      It’s really going to be a case of protecting our assets. Hathaway is never going to be a Byron while Klimchuk could be that good and with 50 games experience will surely be at least better than Hathaway?

      • Baalzamon

        1. Who said anything about waiving Klimchuk?
        2. Klimchuk would almost certainly clear
        3. waiving Byron was a mistake because he was better than the players who weren’t waived instead

        • canadian1967

          I’m not sure that Klimchuk would clear, but I am sure that Dube and Mangiapane can go down and play top minutes while we FOR SURE find out what Klimchuk is.

          Some time in the minors won’t hurt Dube. At all.

          • Cheeky

            Unfortunately Klimchuk will never amount to more than a 4th liner, similar to Lazar. Can’t see anyone picking him up now, this is his year to prove me wrong and dominate the AHL or face the fate as our other 2013 later first rounders…

          • The Doctor

            We may never find out what Klimchuk could have amounted to, because he’s been this organization’s forward equivalent of Wotherspoon (though not a perfect analogy). He never got all that much of a look on the big club.

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    I’m surprised that Stone is considered to be a lock, based on his play to date. Has not done any more than the AHL guys or Kulak. But that’s not a big concern, since they really shouldn’t waive him. He would be an immediate upgrade to the Oilers, so I wouldn’t help them at all.

    I would be (will be) more concerned if he’s on the opening roster and plays every game. He hits and blocks shots. That’s about it. Another Russell.

    • HOCKEY83

      You consider him to be an immediate upgrade over Nurse Klefbom and Larsson but also he’s done nothing since he’s been a flame. The comment doesn’t make sense.

  • canadian1967

    I think that Klimchuk is far more likely than Hathaway to become anything more than a replacement level player(and surely the other 30 NHL Teams would alos think that), so I’d have to keep Klimchuk and play him 10 games while sending Dube and Magiapane to the minors because of waivers.
    These guys are Professional Athletes and it didn’t hurt Janko to go back and play in the AHL for a few weeks. As a matter of fact it helped Hathaway be what he was in the A last year and earn his place up here.

    Remember that we have 2 players on our team already that should have spent time in the AHL and One (Lazar) got ruined because he didn’t, and the other (Bennett) should have gone spent some time down there but couldn’t because he was rushed.

    Nothing wrong with leaving a player in the minors to play top minutes while they are still on the first year of their 3 year ELC.

    • Kevin R

      Not sure why everyone thinks Bennett was rushed given the rules. First off, Bennett had a great playoff & was full value being on the roster. The following year under hartley, he had better numbers in his “rookie” season than Monahan.
      Second, the choice wasnt AHL, he wasnt eligible for AHL, he would have had to go back to the CHL, which would have not made any difference. Look at Drouin in Tampa where he was sent back to the CHL, did nothing but make a high pick/ceiling player bitter. By the time we could have sent Bennett to the AHL, he would have had to clear waivers. Rules are a little screwed up.

      • canadian1967

        I think with Bennett, the difference was Physical. He needed Surgery right after being drafted, then dominated for a short time in Kingston, then was given 10 games in the playoffs to burn his first year. That should not have happened.

        I believe that his body wasn’t ready to be the type of player he is while playing against Men, but since he is such a good skater and hard headed as F__k he was able to show out on what turned out to actually be a pretty horrible team.

        He should have gone back to Jr for his Draft +2 year and played for Canada just like Dube did and then come in and probably spend some time in Stockton.

        Tkachuk and Monahan were Physically ready to play against Men while still playing their type of game. Bennett is not a finesse type of player and I think he wasn’t handled properly at all and this is why is is the player he now appears to be.

        I remember leaving Juvenile and playing Senior and all the bruises that came with playing against all those 30 year old farmers. There was no way to match them Physically and I had to learn to play a different way.

        • Kevin R

          Not sure I agree, expectations & appearances are so much different than a 4th over all versus a 2nd round pick. Dube having that extra year in junior didnt attract any attention versus if Bennett was sent back ala Drouin. Just saying.

          • canadian1967

            Do you actually think the Flames Management cares what the fans think when they are planning out a Prospects road to greatness? (Trust me, they don’t care what we think)

            Just think about the Arena process and then you will know how much they care about what anyone outside the Organisation thinks about them.

      • mrroonie

        When a player has 187 AHL games under his belt, his junior numbers don’t clearly show anything. Hathaway’s AHL numbers are better (22 more points in 14 fewer games).

  • freethe flames

    I expect the Flames to make major cuts and will likely get down to 24/25 players leaving 1 or 2 guys to be sent down after the next preseason game. At this point I would go with the following line up:
    Johnny/Monny/Neal ( I am being patient and hopeful that they will click) Almost exclusively Ozone starts and PP time. Hoping for 80+ goals.
    Tkachuk/Backs/Czarnik: this line can be tough defensively and can still produce 50+ goals. They already have chemistry. I watched Czarnik carefully yesterday in the Dzone and he was better than I had thought he was.

    Dube/Ryan/Lindholm: again a line that can be defensively responsible and play the system and produce it’s own offence. I could see them scoring 50+ as well.

    Bennett/Janko/Frolik: I loved their chemistry and their work ethic last night. Again a very good line in their own zone. I also think they could reach the 50 goal level.
    All three of these last 3 lines have speed, multiple centers and guys who can bring energy to their respective lines. They all can play special teams and still be effective players.

    My 13th and 14th forwards would likely be Hathaway and Mangiapne.

    On D:
    Gio/TJ
    H&H
    Kulak/Andersson
    Stone as my 7th. Yes it’s a lot of money to pay for depth but I would rather keep some depth now than pay for it at the trade deadline.
    Goalie: Smith and I really don’t know. I was leading towards Rittich but I have really liked Gilles the last 2 viewings. Like many here I wonder if there is someone who is going to be waived that is an upgrade.

    • Burnward

      I’d love to see:
      Johnny-Mony-Tkachuk
      Bennett-Lindholm-Neal
      Frolik-Backlund-Ryan
      Dube-Jankowski-Czarnik

      Gio-TJ
      Hanifin-Andersson
      Valimaki/Kulak-Hamonic
      Stone

    • cjc

      I think it’s overly optimistic to think that Bennett/Janko/Frolik can clear 50 goals if they are getting fourth line minutes. Even if they all tied their career bests, that is only 56 goals, and they are not going to do that with limited ES minutes and no powerplay time.

      The third line production estimate is optimistic too. Again, if Ryan and Lindholm match their career bests, and Dube scores 18 goals, then they will hit 50 goals. I don’t know if we can expect defensive responsibility from Lindholm and Ryan – both were heavily sheltered in Carolina by Peters. And Dube would be a rookie, coaches don’t usually throw them to the wolves.

      That said, I’d be shocked if a Tkachuk/Backlund/Czarnik line didn’t score 50 (though even here they’d all need at or close to career bests).

      80 goals seems like a reasonable expectation for Gaudreau/Monahan/Neal, they scored 76 last year, that was with Moneyhands injured and then missing significant time. If Neal is as advertised, he should pot a few more than Ferland, and I think Gaudreau is better than the 10% shooter he has been the past 2 seasons. It should be harder to line match against them now.

      Calgary got 40 goals from their D last year, but they traded almost half of that away for a guy who’s career best is 10 goals. I think it will be tough for them to get 40 again this year.

      • 左翼二

        You got me thinking.
        Johnny, Monny, Byng, Lindy, Benney, and Janko should all be getting BETTER than the career best in goals because they are all young and shouldn’t have reached their peak yet. And this should be true for all of them for a few more years each, at least.
        Neal, Backs, Fro, and Ryan should all be around their peak for a few years as well.

        The next few years could be really good offensively for the Flames forwards.

      • freethe flames

        CJC one of the differences between us is I don’t believe these 3 lines Backs/Ryans/Janks as I outlined them will be used in the classic traditional 1-4 method. On any given night one of these lines can catch fire and the second O line. And only any given night a line can struggle offensively but still contribute defensively.

    • oilcanboyd

      Major cuts, but they will keep 30 around until after Thursday’s exhibition…

      Gillies gets another start…Thursday?
      Shinkaruk was placed on waivers yesterday.

  • everton fc

    I think Kulak’s already cleared waivers, correct? If they send Kulak to Stockton, and keep Prout… Would be like going back in time, for this organization.

    Of this group below;
    Tyler Graovac, Garnet Hathaway, Morgan Klimchuk, Curtis Lazar, Anthony Peluso, Alan Quine, Buddy Robinson and Kerby Rychel –

    I think Hathaway would get claimed. Everyone else clears, but maybe Klimchuk stays in Calgary, as they probably are not as concerned losing the others, who have already proven what they are, at the professional level, Lazar included. I think Klimchuk should be retained as an extra forward. Dube’s going to Stockton, unless he’s the 4th line RW here, which he won’t be. So Lazar may be safe, unless they prefer Peluso. Or give one of the kids a chance.

    If Peluso and Prout make the team simply to battle a guy like Reeves… And guys like Kulak, Andersson, Klimchuk, even Dube and Mangiapane go down to Stockton… I think that’s a big mistake.

    Perhaps Stone should be waived, as well. See if anyone claims him. Andersson’s looked better, regardless of who he was paired with.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Hathaway and Lazar can sleep comfortable, nobody is going claim either of them. I would think BT will be keeping a very close eye on the waiver wire for a goaltender.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    Nice breakdown by author. My bold (not really predictions) besides the top group of 17 mentioned who obviously stay:
    Goalie: Rittich from 2nd group stays (waiver status matters, sorry Gillies who goes down).
    Defense: Sorry Kulak, Ras is better…you gone to AHL and maybe claimed. And Prout stays to sit alot.
    Forward: Dube with the win and stays as forward 12, Robinson is surprise winner along with non-surprise ‘character guy’ Peluso. Bye bye Lazar and Hathaway, we may not see you for awhile but it’s good for both, especially the lazer fast one.

    • everton fc

      Hathaway is better than Robinson. Every forward left in camp is better than Peluso, who hasn’t played much, this camp.

      Andersson is better than Stone. Kulak is better than Stone. Stone is better than Prout.

      If Dube stays, Hathaway’s one of the two extra forwards. The final extra forward is a toss-up, which doesn’t really matter much – could be any of Lazar/Peluso/Klimchuk/Foo/Robinson…

      I do think Rittich stays, though I also think he’d clear waivers.

      • RealMcHockeyReturns

        everton – we will see but I don’t mind my way or your way (I just think why burn time of 2 prospects/middling players who just “practices all the time” with NHL team, keep Peluso for 1 of those roles). Overall, just want to see great performance (first and foremost) and development from all prospects and no loss when putting in the middling guys. Sorry the old school mentality will likely see Peluso stay (besides his Dad played, that helps unfortunately).

        • everton fc

          We want the same thing – a winning team! And I’m w/you, on wanting to see the prospects shine. But I like the Babcock quote, above. It’s worked for him, in the past.

          I do like Robinson. Everyone here knows I like Hathaway, and Kulak. I think Hathaway adds value, and would be an ideal extra forward. And I think Kulak is better than Stone. I like Rittich, but I am getting the feeling, if Gillies finds his game, he may become quite good. Somewhat big “If”…

          Peluso is obsolete. Like Bollig. No room for him on the roster. He’ll get to protect the kids, in California.

  • Sea of Redd

    I don’t think losing any of those players would be a big loss. I think this is the year where they’ll keep the players that played their way onto the team. At the risk of losing Klimchuk or Lazar. Call me an optimist.

    The only exception may be in net. If its even close, Rittich will get the backup spot.

  • cjc

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but a team needs to keep the player on the active roster for 30 days if they claim them, right? Or is that only after the October 1 roster deadline?

    Anyway, the only player I’d be sad to see go would be Kulak, but really he’s the only guy teams might be interested in and he’s already cleared waivers once. And there are two other LHD waiting to take his place. Most teams have a Hathaway or a Kulak lurking in their system.

  • MDG1600

    I have to admit I am mystified by comments supporting keeping Klimchuk on the NHL roster, its not like he has blown the doors off at training camp or has a created an impressive resume of achievements down in Stockton. I’d be shocked if he didn’t clear waivers

        • everton fc

          As much as I like Klimchuk, and am pretty certain he’ll clear waivers (McCarron did). And there will be some possible attractive options that are far better for us than guys like Lazar, or maybe even guys like Foo, who I like.

          We shall see…

    • canadian1967

      I guess I just want to see what he can do given extended time before he is “lost to us without ever finding out what he has to offer at the top level.

      We have enough depth to finally let players rise up through the minors. It has been proven that playing in the AHL for a year or two never hurt anyone, whereas jumping into the NHL too early is a death knell.

      Babcock says

      “What’s the matter with being the best player (in the AHL) and having the puck all the time and getting better and being confident? That to me is what makes sense. We’re in such a hurry to rush these kids. They’re not ready. They’re not strong enough and they’re not mature enough.
      Arrive when you’re ready; be good right away.
      and
      “When you get to the National Hockey League and you don’t score for a few years, you check for the rest of your career.”

      Since Klimchuk has cleared today, he is being sent down and that’s fine. It would have been a shame if he had been claimed though.

  • Squishin

    One thing that has to be mentioned is that the team claiming a player off waivers has to put that player on their NHL roster. Will teams have extra space for tweeners? I think not, every team has plenty of tweeners. The only players I would send down would almost certainly clear.