Connor Zary and Jakob Pelletier will require waivers starting next season

Photo credit:Terence Leung/Calgary Wranglers
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Folks, the National Hockey League’s waiver wire is one of their many instruments aimed at creating competitive balance across the league. Specifically, the waiver wire aims to prevent NHL clubs from hoarding talent in the minors that otherwise could be good enough for a spot on another team’s roster.
A couple of very prominent Calgary Flames prospects will become waiver eligible for the first time next season. As the curtain has fallen on 2023-24, let’s delve into the waiver developments coming in future years. (Stick taps to Cap Friendly and @MtlfanSakic on Twitter for the data and formatting ideas, respectively.)

Becoming waiver eligible in 2024-25

The waiver exemption rules a bit wonky and usually are based on the age a player is when they sign their first NHL contract, but they basically boil down to every player is exempt for the duration of their entry-level deal – and goalies tend to get an extra year. (Cap Friendly has a great explainer.)
D Ilya Solovyov, F Cole Schwindt and F Jakob Pelletier are all pending RFAs. They’ve all played three seasons on NHL deals, which is what they were entitled to for waiver exemptions. They’ll all become waiver eligible next season.
F Connor Zary has played three years on his entry-level deal. His deal slid in 2021-22 because he was a late birthday that signed before 2020’s calendar year ended, so he has another year left on his ELC. But because he’s played his three seasons under that deal, his waiver exemption has expired and he’ll require waivers next season. (Barring his game imploding next season, I wouldn’t worry about it.)

Becoming waiver eligible in 2025-26

A lot of prospects are likely waiver exempt for the balance of 2024-25, but will become waiver exempt in 2025-26. The most prominent is G Dustin Wolf, who’ll be in his fourth pro season in 2024-25 (but, again, gets an extra year of exemption as a goalie).
Among the most notable prospects with 2024-25 as their final exempt year include D Jeremie Poirier, D Yan Kuznetsov, F Adam Klapka and F Matt Coronato.

Becoming waiver eligible in 2026-27

The two notables that become waiver eligible in two more seasons – as in, two players that just finished their first entry-level year – are F William Strömgren and D Artem Grushnikov.

Becoming waiver eligible in 2027-28

Finally, newly-signed players with three seasons of waiver exemption ahead of them are F Sam Honzek, D Joni Jurmo and F Hunter Brzustewicz.
Honzek could be in a situation similar to Zary’s where he could end up playing three seasons on his ELC but, because of the slide rule and his age when he signed, he could have a year left on his deal that’s no longer waiver exempt.
Anyway, if in training camp you’re wondering why Solovyov, Schwindt and Pelletier possibly get very long looks for prospective NHL jobs, their newly-eligible waiver status could be a contributing factor.
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