Fun with the CBA: Waiver Priority Order

Over the past couple of days, there have been some intriguing options placed on waivers. Dylan McIlrath, Magnus Paajarvi and Teemu Pulkkinen were all exposed over the last couple of days. Yes, these players have flaws to their games, but they are still quite young and given the Canucks current situation, might’ve been worth a flyer.

There is obviously a lot that goes into the decision to claim a player on waivers, thus there are many opinions on the subject matter. But that isn’t what I wanted to cover today.

I was listening to TSN 1040 this morning, when Canucks colour commentator Dave Tomlinson was a guest with Blake Price and Matthew Sekeres. The full interview can be found here:

I don’t want to focus on the entirety of the interview, although it was great listening, I want to key in on one specific thing that was mentioned by Tomlinson at the 11:35 mark, which is below:

Every time you make a waiver claim, you go to the back of the bus.  So you can’t just claim guys willy-nilly, three days in a row.

Please be aware, this isn’t to put Tomlinson on blast here, but I am concerned when things like this are said on the radio, because as we see below, it’s incorrect. Those kind of misunderstandings can then grow and cause confusion.

I have heard this statement/rule mentioned before, and it’s not a rule within the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA. Just something that is common in your fantasy hockey league. Article 13:19 in the NHL/NHLPA CBA speaks directly about the Waiver Priority:

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.31.04 PM

To summarize what is said there, in the event that multiple clubs place a claim, the Waiver priority is as follows:

  • Lowest winning percentage of pointsat the time of the claim during the regular season.
  • If claim is placed before November 1st, the previous season’s regular season standings are used. 
  • In the event that the clubs have the same winning percentage of points at the time of claim, the team with the lowest winning percentage would receive the player (excluding games won in shootout).
  • If still tied, then fewest number of points against each other.
  • If still tied, then the tim with the lowest differential between goals for and goals against will receive the player.

As you will see, there is no mention of the ‘back of the bus’ rule because of another successful claim. There are no other articles within the CBA that pertain to waiver priority, thus it doesn’t exist. 

This also means that until November 1st, the Canucks are currently third in waiver priority behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers. The draft lottery doesn’t affect the waiver priority, so luckily the Canucks bad-luck stops there, for now.

So in theory, the Canucks could’ve claimed all three players, and still remained as the third highest waiver priority while adding to the depth of the organization, but that part was covered yesterday by Jeremy Davis.

The Canucks currently have 45 contracts, so adding one of the aforementioned players doesn’t hinder their outlook for the season. If they don’t work out, place them on waivers and if they clear, send them down to Utica to help out of the farm club. They are all pending RFA’s, so once again, if they don’t work out, you just don’t qualify them and move on.

As we figured out above, it doesn’t affect their waiver priority which resets on Wednesday morning.


On Emerson Etem, and reclaiming the claimed.

  • Cageyvet

    It seems that the order is not a big deal anyway, as most of these guys sail right through, but thanks for the clarification.

    I admit to being starry-eyed over anyone who looks capable of 15 goals, even if he has gaping flaws in his game. This team needs something other than the hope that Rodin is the answer, it really underscores the lack of offensive depth.

    Honestly, as a patient fan and one who preaches cutting JB some slack given what he inherited, I have become confused as this season has begun.

    Tryamkin can’t even get in the lineup and Biega plays forward? Huh? Megna and Zalewski come up instead of Labate, Rendulic, Carcone? Bo starts on the 4th line and we can’t leave Baertschi and Virtanen with him long enough to even begin to get some chemistry?

    I am a die-hard fan, but come on, this team is marginal at best. I feel like this is going to be another lost season. Willie will do bizarre things with the lineup, and while we will get a good pick, the future of the team will still be stumbling along instead of allowed to just play hockey and learn on the job.

    I don’t know who the answer is, but more and more it feels like anyone but Willie. Burrows on the shootout? Didn’t we learn last year that’s not going to work anymore? Bo on the 4th line at any time? Get off the crack pipe. Power play? No, we should just decline the penalties, better that than passing to one guy on the point who is covered most of the time anyway, and if it’s a bad pass it’s off to the races for the shorthanded team.

    If there was ever a lineup that should stick to the basics, and stop juggling D pairs and forward lines it’s this one. Please name one move that Willie has made that surprised you and also turned out to be effective. Typically we all scratch our heads and he comes around to the average fan’s way of thinking several games later.

    I like Willie. I err on the side of sticking up for our coaches and players, because I’m a fan and want them to succeed. Still, tactical blunder after blunder leaves me wondering what a different coach could coax out of this lineup. Probably not a playoff spot, but maybe some entertainment? Some hope? Some progress in the guys who will be here in the next several years?

  • Locust

    Here is what we should do….
    Tank whilst building on the fly in an effort to make the playoffs while playing the kids and claiming everyone not forgetting to hoard draft picks and make every trade possible.

  • jeremybyington

    Canucks should pick up Paajarvi and put some pressure on Burrows and Dorsett to play better when they come back. Actually, he could put pressure on Baertschi and Virtanen as well. They are just two injured goalies away from being the worst team in the league, so they better figure out their offensive woes soon. I miss the old days of the tape-to-tape passing. Nowadays I do a double take when I see them execute such a pass.

  • crofton

    @ Ryan Biech
    I’ve also seen it reported that a claiming team must keep the claimed player in the NHL, that he cannot be sent to the minors. Hence last year for one, Corrado didn’t appear in a game after he was claimed by Toronto for ” a few months”. That would appear to be the stumbling block to claiming players. Or does it have something to do with 23 players only….”on the team” at once?