Sorting out the confusing-ness of waivers and 1 or 2 contracts

I've noticed a lot of people in the comments asking questions about, or being confused by who goes on waivers and why, and whether or not Player X has to be waived or can be just sent down.

The common misconception is that waivers has to do with the 1-way and 2-way salaries.  In short, waivers has NOTHING do with whether a player is on a 1-way or 2-way contract.  The 1 and 2 way dealio is only about pay scale.

A 1-way contract simply means they get the same salary whether they are in the NHL or the AHL.  A 2-way just means they have different salaries.

EXAMPLE: Tambo is on a 2-way:  500K in the NHL, and 105K in the AHL.  Perreault is on a 1-way, so he gets his full salary regardless of where he is, but both have to go through waivers.  (Fun fact: Tambo, however, does NOT have to go through recall waivers, which is why if they can get him through now, we're golden to bring him back whenever).

Why push for a 1 way contract then?  Because it IS true that a 1-way deal might discourage your team from sending you down.  When you get sent down, your salary is paid by the team you are sent to, unless other arrangements are made.  Most AHL teams don't have the resources to be paying tons of guys the NHL minimum or more, so the 2-way deal allows the AHL team to be able to afford the player after they are sent down without blowing their budget.  THIS is why, whenever a Vancouver writer talks about Perreault, they always mention how the Canucks have agreed to pay the tab on his salary.  By offering Perreault a 1-way deal, they guaranteed a guy an NHL salary regardless of where he plays (a huge advantage compared to other offers), provide the Moose with a great centre, and save the Moose some money by arranging to pay his tab too.

Clear as mud?

Take the jump, for a full run-down of how waivers actually works and how players become eligible. We're not CDC, so let's get edumacated!

The CBA can be a bit laywer-ish, but waivers IS easy to understand if you take the time to follow it.  If you follow the link below, it will take you over to Pension Plan Puppets, where (after swallowing back down that bit of Leafs bile that just came up) you can read the post by Cirkaitken where he does a fantastic job of compiling some of his stuff (with help from Mirtle, I think) in order to explain waivers:

Explanation of Waivers (fair warning: this leads to a Leafs blog, even though the folks at PPP are good guys).


If you don't want to link to it, here are the important parts:

Exempt Due to Experience

This is the meat and potatoes of determining waiver eligibility. Three key factors determine whether a player is waiver eligible; age, years of experience, and # of games played..

Age is defined as the age of the player when he signs his entry-level contract with an NHL club. This is used to determine the thresholds for the players' waiver eligibility. The thresholds are the number of years from signing a professional contract, and the number of professional games played.

Depending on the age as determined above, a player is waiver eligible for a certain number of years from the year in which he signed his first contract, as shown below.

Goalies                         Skaters
Age   Years                   Age   Years
18      6*                         18      5*
19      5*                         19      4*
20      4                           20     3
21      4                           21     3
22      4                           22     3
23      3                           23     3
24      2                           24     2
25+    1                          25+    1

For anyone 20 or older, the year in which they play their first professional game is considered the first year counting towards the number of years they are exempt from waivers.

*If an 18 or 19 year old plays in 11 or more NHL games in a season, then the eligible period drops to 4 years for a goalie and 3 years for a skater, with the first year of that period being the year in which the player played 11 or more games. 

(Example: Nazem Kadri & John Tavares both signed their first NHL contract as 18 year olds. However, Tavares has played more than 11 games as an 18 year-old. Therefore, Tavares is now waiver-exempt for 4 years (this year, and the 3 ensuing years), while Kadri is waiver-exempt for 6 (this year and the 5 ensuing, although this could change if he plays next season).

The other factor is games played. Once a player reaches the threshold (again based on the age at which they signed their first professional contract), they are eligible for waivers. The language of the CBA is very clear that while there are two distinct thresholds, this is an "earliest of" scenario. If a player reaches their games played mark before the reach the years mark (or vice versa), they become eligible for waivers.

Goalies                         Skaters
Age   Games                 Age   Games
18      80                        18      160
19      80                        19      160
20      80                         20     160
21      60                         21     80
22      60                         22     70
23      60                         23     60
24      60                         24     60
25+                                 25+   


Professional Games is typically defined as all NHL regular season and playoff games. However, for players older than 20 years of age, the definition expands to include AHL regular season and playoff games, as well as any other professional game played in Europe while the player is under contract to an NHL team but on loan to a European club. A 25 year old or older basically gets his first year waiver eligible and that's it.


So basically, it has everything to do with years and experience (in that, way it's similar to RFA and UFA status).

So now you know.  The reason Pannick-Jannick pushed for the 1-way deal in the off-season had more to do with being sick of AHL salaries than being guaranteed a spot in VAN. 

Hope this helps clear some things up!

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