Waiver Eligibility and Your 2016-17 Vancouver Canucks

Though they may appear inconsequential at first glance, waivers have proven an important element of roster composition for the Vancouver Canucks.

On the positive side of the ledger, the Canucks added Ryan Stanton and Dale Weise for, well, nothing, and even got a few years out of each player for their troubles. On the not so bright side, they fumbled the Frankie Corrado situation (in spite of having their hands held by the NHL throughout the entire process) and lost him when it wasn’t just possible to keep him, but excruciatingly easy — sorry to beat that drum again, it’s post relevant though. Oh, and I think there’s still some small section of the fanbase inexplicably upset about losing Aaron Volpatti that one time, too.

Waivers giveth and waivers taketh. The Canucks have a few players, some of which are on the roster bubble, who will require waivers to be sent down to the Utica Comets again this season. So let’s look at which players qualify and whether they’ll have to clear.

Waivers 101

The league instituted waivers as a means of preventing powerhouse teams from hoarding NHL calibre talent in their farm system. Basically, it keeps NHL talent playing in the NHL and levels the playing field for down on their luck franchises that haven’t had such luck in the draft or free agency. It’s a mechanism that ensures any one player will get their opportunity if any one of the thirty teams in the NHL thinks they’re worth it.

I won’t get into the minutia of each individual rule because reading and interpreting the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement can be migraine inducing at the best of times. If you feel so inclined to give it the old college try though, here’s the www.CapFriendly.com Waivers FAQ.

Former Canucks Army Managing Editor and current The Leafs Nation overlord, Jeff Veillette, provided the too long, didn’t read of it all when detailing the waiver quandaries facing the Maple Leafs roster this season. The details are as follows.

  • Based on your age and whether you’re a skater or a goalie, you’re allotted a certain amount of years of waiver exemption.
  • If you signed as a teen, non-NHL leagues are treated as a slide, much like they are for your ELC.
  • Players can also hit a certain Games Played threshold sooner than their allotted exemption years to become susceptible to the process.
  • If a player is waived, clears, and comes back up, he has 30 days or 10 games of NHL time (whichever comes first) where he is temporarily exempt.
  • Players can be sent on waiver-less “conditioning stints” for 14 days if for a reason deemed acceptable by the league.
Of the 46 salaried player contracts the Canucks currently carry, 18 of those players are waivers exempt. 

Forwards

Waiver eligible locks: Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson, Anton Rodin, Brandon Sutter, Derek Dorsett, Jannik Hansen, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Alexandre Burrows, Emerson Etem

Waiver exempt locks: Bo Horvat (2017-18 or four games)

Waiver eligible bubble players: Michael Zalewski, Alexandre Grenier

Waiver exempt bubble players: Brendan Gaunce (2017-18), Jake Virtanen (2018-19 or 105 games)

Waiver eligible long shots: Michal Chaput, Jayson Megna

Waiver exempt long shots: Yan-Pavel Laplante (2019-20 or 80 games), Joseph LaBate (2018-19 or 70 games), Michael Carcone (2019-20 or 160 games), Cole Cassels (2018-19 or 160 games), Borna Rendulic (2017-18 or 56 games)

There’s really just the one forward that the Canucks should fret about losing during their final cuts. That would be Alexandre Grenier. He’s been on the cusp of the Canucks lineup for the better part of two seasons and even sipped the odd cup of tea with the club last year, suiting up in six games.

That Grenier hasn’t been able to break through to this point in his career is concerning, especially in light of the fanfare the Canucks engendered of Grenier in the 2014-15 season. He’s 24-years-old now, so it’s time for him to put up or shut up, as they say.

Defence

Waiver eligible locks: Alexander Edler, Christopher Tanev, Ben Hutton, Erik Gudbranson, Luca Sbisa, Philip Larsen

Waiver exempt locks: Nikita Tryamkin (2018-19 or 67 games)

Waiver eligible bubble players: Andrey Pedan, Alex Biega

Waiver exempt bubble players: None to speak of

Waiver eligible long shots: Chad Billins, Tom Nilsson

Waiver exempt long shots: Troy Stetcher (2019-20 or 70 games), Jordan Subban (2018-19 or 160 games), Guillaume Brisebois (2020-21 or 160 games), Ashton Sautner (2018-19 or 80 games), MacKenze Stewart (2018-19 or 160 games), Anton Cederholm (2018-19 or 160 games), Evan McEneny (2017-18 or 160 games)

This is where things get interesting. The pre-season is going to have a serious battle brewing between Andrey Pedan and Alex Biega for the eighth and likely final spot on the Canucks roster earmarked for defencemen. 

The Canucks signed Biega to a two-year, one-way deal last season, so the likelihood another team poaches him on waivers is unlikely. That’s a hefty ask for a not-very-good defenceman. Putting Pedan on waivers, though, carries a high level of risk, given his youth and the potential he’s flashed with the Utica Comets.

If Biega is a better defenceman than Pedan (and I’m not certain that’s the case going into this season), it’s not by much. There’s much more room for Pedan to grow into a top four role or even a slightly better third pairing defender in time. He’s only 23-years-old, after all.

Besides, I can’t imagine the Canucks want to go through a repeat episode of the Corrado situation. That wasn’t a particularly good look. The parallels would be painfully obvious, too.

Goalies

Waiver eligible locks: Ryan Miller, Jacob Markstrom

Waiver eligible depth: Richard Bachman

Waiver exempt depth: Michael Garteig (2017-18), Thatcher Demko (2020-21 or 60 games)

There won’t be an awful lot of intrigue in the Canucks net, weird as that sounds. The Canucks appear to have a short and long-term plan in place and by all accounts are sticking to it.

I guess it’s possible, though highly unlikely, that Richard Bachman is claimed. His two-way deal with a cost-prohibitive AHL salary almost ensures he’ll clear waivers, though. In theory, anyways. Maybe another franchise sees that as their own opportunity to grab an expansion draft fodder type of goaltender.

  • detox

    The only way I see Biega picked up by another club is if they have a serious lack of d depth and he is just picked up as insurance for the press box.

    Pedan is not getting waived.

    Regarding Corrado, if he was still with the Canucks, he’d be fighting over the #7/8 spot. Edler, Tanev, Gudbranson, Hutton, Sbisa, Tryamkin, all ahead of him. Corrado would be bunched in with Larsen, Pedan and Biega.

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    Oh for the love of everything holy – can we please, please stop beating the Corrado dead horse. Corrado is not Bobby Orr, was not good enough to play for the Leafs until they had injuries and is worse than every other roster defenceman we have. Every team has to make these kinds of decisions, from time to time. C’mon, let it go already.

    If Frankie showed up at training camp and played better, he would of made the team. Hutton deserved his spot and Biega is a much better 7 or 8 guy to keep on your roster.

    • DJ_44

      Certainly Corrado is not Bobby Orr and nobody expects losing Corrado will make or break the Canucks in the future.

      Otoh, the point being made is that, having lost a depth defenceman on waivers when they didn’t need to, the Canucks are likely going to be be wary of losing another. Imo it’s perfectly reasonable to make that point.

      I realize making that point is going to get me so many trashes that NM0001 (or whatever the name is) looks popular by comparison, but it seems to me when a point is relevant there’s nothing wrong with making it.

  • DJ_44

    Thanks for the information past the introductory section.

    The Corrado bit is disingenuous. “Fumbled” would imply they did not mean to waive Corrado. The events suggest that is exactly what management wanted to do, and exactly what they did. You may not agree with the coarse of action (and I realize this is the only criticism you have with GMJB).

    Me? I had and had no problem with losing Corrado on waivers; work harder, play better, and if you get lost on the way to Utica, we won’t send a search party.

    • detox

      Double thumbs up, you nailed it DJ.

      Canuck management followed the spirit of the waiver rules by giving a young player who needs ice time a ticket to the AHL or another chance at the NHL if another team can use him.

  • Bud Poile

    Do you remember Burrows unnecessarily pounding Corrado into the ice one game WAY off the play, kind of “making a statement” kind of thing? I always wondered what that was about. I think it was his first game vs. Vancouver after getting picked up by Toronto. Anyway he is gone – whatever.

    It is funny that the waivers, as JD said were made to keep players from being hidden on good teams in the farm system, worked the exact opposite for Corrado. He got picked up from a team he would have had lots of play for and then got hid in Toronto with none.

    Regarding Biega/Pedan, I don’t think the choice is so clear cut. They may like the potential of Pedan and the style of his play, but Biega (although low ceiling) has smarts, and more importantly consistency. In a back end with way too many question marks at the beginning of this season they may choose to protect him for that reason. They also chose to play him most times over Pedan last season. I hope they somehow make a trade and don’t have to face this situation. Pedan’s got the shot the speed, the grit, all he needs is to put it all together. Hopefully they protect him, but my hunch is they keep Biega,

  • TheRealPB

    I don’t disagree that the Canucks made a mistake in exposing Corrado but only because they didn’t have to — they could have easily placed Higgins on waivers and protected him in the short term. But as has repeatedly been pointed out at least in the comments section, this situation arose because Corrado was outplayed in camp by Hutton and was on par with Biega, Bartkowski and Weber — which really doesn’t say much. If you look at the Leafs boards and their discussion of their roster, Corrado remains a 6/7 D at best. He only made the Leafs roster after they traded half their D. He’s so highly valued that they re-signed Polak this offseason who is not good.

    None of this is to suggest that the Canucks should discard players with some value — which Corrado has, even if limited — for no reason. But I also doubt that the Canucks didn’t know what they were doing. They rolled the dice earlier with Vey (no big deal) and Markstrom (a far far greater risk) and are batting 66% on these gambles. I’m glad that we have a solid NHL-calibre goalie as a result of these dynamics rather than a fringe D. But I think we would be foolish to tempt fate again with Pedan, a much better prospect and player than Biega and potentially Sbisa.

  • DJ_44

    Every time I read Corrado’s name I cringe.

    So we lost out on a low pick for a player that is really an AHLer. That low pick would have turned into an AHLer.

    So people are upset that we let a below average defenceman (Who wouldn’t crack the current roster and would play in Utica) walk for free? A guy that didn’t fit on the team at the time and now our D is better wouldn’t have a show in the big club, when the best we would have got back is a career AHLer?

    Definitely doesn’t seem bad enough to be talking about it regularly 8 months later… Especially as the leafs sat him for the first 10 games.

    20 players were claimed off waivers last season, and Corrado was no way the best player. Give it a rest already.

  • TheRealPB

    Long time reader, first time poster. Enjoyed and appreciated the article and found it timely. I think JD generally gets it pretty rough in the comments section. I used to enjoy reading through the comments after each article, but now it mostly just seems a lot of venom. That said I think JD has a lot of supporters who appreciate his takes even if/when we don’t always agree with them. (Though I do happen to much of the time). BTW how did so much of this comments discussion center on Corrado (one sentence in his whole piece) instead of, you know, all of the rest of it?

    (Appreciate those who did/do make substantive comments, here and in other articles. It just takes a while to comb through and find those though 🙁

    • DJ_44

      …one sentence and the picture lead….

      Speaking for myself, I appreciate the informative pieces.

      What is not appreciated, and reduces the credibility of the writer, is the disrespectful tone that permeates a lot of the articles. It reeks of a Twitter echo-chamber of clueless idiots that, for some reason, feel they are the smartest people in the room.

      If you feel inclined for that level of journalistic excellence, read Botchford.

      CA readers hold to a higher standard: present a thoughtful argument for or against, and comments will reflect that.

  • TheRealPB

    “Sorry to beat that drum again”

    JD, you’re not sorry about bringing up Frankie one more time. Why lie? If you were really sorry, you would not have inserted him into yet another article.

  • Bud Poile

    Corrado was easily replaced and usurped by Biega as 6-7th depth. Players are waived all the time and sometimes these players get picked up. Benning has added many defensive prospects into the system in but two years so that the continuous lament over one marginal player seems disingenuous and even petty.