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What Does It Mean To Clear Waivers In NHL?

By Swikriti Kandel / 4 June 2023 05:39 AM

John Hayden Has Been Sent Down To Play With Coachella Valley Firebirds Of The AHL
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What Does It Mean To Clear Waivers In NHL? To clear waivers in the NHL means that players can report to the minor league team.

It happens when none of the teams in the NHL claim the player. When claimed by another team, they get a chance to continue their journey in the league.

Waivers in sports are a procedure to manage labor. In this process, the club with which the player is associated makes the rights and contracts of the player available to other teams of the league.

The NHL teams keep those players on waivers who are either to be assigned to the minor league affiliate or to be released. The process is known as being placed on waivers.

Every player associated with the franchises of the National Hockey League signs an exclusive contract. The deal mentions that the team has rights over the athletes playing in the NHL.

When the player has signed their first contract and has competed in a certain number of seasons or games of the NHL, they have to be placed on waivers before being assigned to the minor league affiliate.

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NHL Waiver Rules

NHL Waiver rules govern the process by which the teams can place players on the waivers and provide a chance for other teams to claim them.

Before diving deep into the rules of the waivers, let's understand more about them. There are four types of waivers and they are as follows:

  • Regular: In this procedure, the team places eligible athletes on waivers in order to send them to minor leagues or transfer them to other clubs.
  • Unconditional: It is placed by a team in order to terminate the player's contract. Athletes can not be claimed by other teams but can become free agents.
  • Return: In it, the players who competed in a non-North American league during the regular NHL season should clear a waiver or be claimed by the team before re-entering the National Hockey League.
  • Re-entry: A player who has already cleared a waiver had to undergo a re-entry waiver to play in the NHL. It has been eliminated by the CBA in 2013. 

Rules Of NHL Waiver

The rules of the NHL waiver are easy to understand and apply. Some of the important rules as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA) are as follows:

General Rules

  • A club cannot loan an athlete to another league without following the waivers mentioned in the agreement.
  • The playing season waiver period begins 12 days before the start of the regular season and concludes on the day following the last day of the club's playing season.
  • To loan the player to another league, two conditions must be met. The regular waivers should be requested and cleared during the playing season waving period. Since the last cleared waivers, the athlete should not play 10 or more NHL games or be on the roster for more than 30 cumulative days.
  • If more teams claim the player, they will be transferred to the team with the lowest standing order.


The eligibility criteria of players for the regular waivers are as follows:

AHL All-Star Vinni Littieri Is Associated With The Providence Bruins Of The AHL
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  • The players who signed their contract with the National Hockey League at 25 years or older will be exempted from the regular waiver if they have played one or more professional games that season.
  • The players who signed the deal at 20 years or older will be eligible for waivers after the 3 years or after completing the 160th game with the league.
  • Skaters who have signed the NHL contract at 18 years old are eligible for regular waivers in 5 years if they have not played 11 or more games and 3 years if they have.
  • Athletes who have signed the NHL contract at 19 years old are eligible for regular waivers in 4 years if they have not participated in 11 or more games and 3 years if they have.
  • In both cases, if the players have completed their 160th NHL game then they can be placed on the waiver.
  • Goaltenders who signed the deal with the league at 18 years are eligible for regular waivers in 6 years if they have not competed in 11 or more games and 4 years if they have.
  • Goaltenders who signed the deal with the league at 19 years are eligible for regular waivers in 5 years if they have not competed in 11 or more games and 4 years if they have.
  • In both cases, the goalies become eligible for the waivers after they completed the 160th league game.

Waiver Expiration

The waiver expires when a player clearing regular waivers meets with one of the following conditions:

  • They are not loaned to a minor club.
  • They are recalled from the minor league club and are on the NHL roster for 30 cumulative days. 
  • They play 10 or more games in the NHL.

Other Rules

  • If a player becomes disabled while on an NHL roster, they can be placed on regular waivers before receiving medical clearance. It is available if the player was on NHL recall when injured and has not played 10 NHL games or remained on the NHL roster for 30 days since the recall.
  • Whenever a player is placed on waivers, clears it, or is claimed, then the NHLPA(NHL Player's Association) should be notified.
  • A waived player can request permission from the club to persuade other ones to claim him.
  • When the player is either loaned to or recalled from a minor league affiliate then a transfer form should be sent to the NHLPA or the NHL before the player enters the arena.
  • In the case of unconditional waivers, the team can not terminate a player's contract until they have cleared it.
  • If the owning team reclaims the players from the waivers and places the same player in the waiver in one season, then they can loan the player to the minor club within 30 days without going through the waiver process again.

What Is NHL Waiver Claim Order?

NHL waiver claim order is what determines the priority of teams while claiming the players that are placed on the waivers by their respective teams.

It is based on the reverse order of the regular season standings. The team with the lowest points rank first and the ones with the highest point rank last.

Despite the owning team, every other team in the league can put a claim on the waived athlete. If only one team claims the player, then the team gets the player.

However, if many teams claim the athlete then the one with the highest waiver claim order(with the lowest regular season standing) gets hold of the player.

This kind of system in the league provides a golden opportunity for teams with poor standings. Such teams can claim the worthy players and improve their roster.

NHL Waiver Wire Today

NHL Waiver wire today includes John Hayden who cleared the waivers. As a result, he was sent to the Settle Kraken minor league club.

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The players who are placed on the waiver wire in 2023 are listed below:

  • Jordie Benn
  • Jake Leschyshyn
  • Vinni Lettieri
  • Micahel Houser
  • Scott Harrington
  • Brock McGinn
  • Mark Friedman
  • Evan Cormier
  • David Gust
  • Derrick Pouliot
  • Jean Francois Berube
  • Evan Fitzpatrick
  • Pavel Gogolev (unconditional)
  • Carl Dahlstrom
  • Jordan Gross
  • Joey Anderson
  • John Leonard
  • Noah Juulsen
  • Christian Wolanin
  • Kiefer Sherwood
  • Michael McCarron
  • Mark Jankowski
  • Nicolas Petan
  • Jesper Froden
  • John Hayden

All of them have cleared waivers except for Scott Harrington. Harrington was claimed by the Anaheim Ducks during the waiver. 

Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire

Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire 2023 includes David Perron, Mattias Maccelli, Morgan Frost, Sammy Blais, and Casey Mittelstadt.

Sean Durzi and John Klingberg reached the wire as defensemen. Likewise, goalies Devon Levi, Alex Lyon, and Alex Nedeljkovic also made up to the list.

Fantasy hockey or hockey pool is an e-sport where the players build a team and compete with each other. The team is created on the basis of real-time statistics of a player or a team.

Usually, such pools consist of 8 to 12 teams. Though the rules are somewhat different, the online game has the same format of draft, transfer, waiver, and more.

The National Hockey League has also given a special place to the fantasy hockey. They have covered the games, rankings, news, and advice on their website.

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