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Sorting out the 2017-18 Vancouver Canucks Waiver Clearance

The Vancouver Canucks are, for the most part, set for the 2017-18 season. All they’ve left to do is sign Bo Horvat and reveal the names of their two professional tryouts, and they’re good to go.

Next up is training camp and the pre-season. That’s going to force some difficult decisions on the Canucks front office, some of which will involve trying to clear players through waivers for the purpose of reassignment to the Utica Comets. Last year, that meant cutting Emerson Etem after a lacklustre pre-season and losing him to the Anaheim Ducks along the way.

By the time the season had ended, though, the Canucks had added more bodies through waivers than they’d lost. Reid Boucher and Joseph Cramarossa joined the club near the end of the season, and Boucher remains with the club to this day.

Which Canucks players are susceptible to the waiver wire this season? Read on to find out!

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 and The Leafs Nation Managing Editor, 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.

Forwards

Waiver eligible locks: Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson, Brandon Sutter, Derek Dorsett, Bo Horvat, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Sam Gagner

Waiver exempt locks: N/A

Waiver eligible bubble players: Anton Rodin, Reid Boucher, Brendan Gaunce, Alexander Burmistrov

Waiver exempt bubble players: Jake Virtanen (2018-19 or 95 games), Brock Boeser (2020-21 or 151 games), Nikolay Goldobin (2018-19 or 137 games),

Waiver eligible long shots: Michael Chaput, Jayson Megna

Waiver exempt long shots: Joseph LaBate (2018-19 or 57 games), Michael Carcone (2019-20 or 160 games), Griffen Molino (2019-20 or 65 games), Zack MacEwan (2020-21 or 80 games), Jonathan Dahlen (2020-21 or 160 games)

There’s far more intrigue at the end of the Canucks’ roster this season than most, and for all the right reasons. Say what you will about the top of the Canucks lineup and how starved it game-breaking talent, but they’ve insulated it nicely with a series of additions to the bottom half of their forward corps.

Reid Boucher, Anton Rodin, Brendan Gaunce, Michael Chaput and Jayson Megna are all in serious danger of flirting with the waiver wire as the Canucks trim their lineup in time for the regular season. Of the four, I’d rate Gaunce as the least likely of crossing that bridge and Megna and Chaput as the most likely. Boucher and Rodin’s chances sit somewhere in the middle.

It seems almost inevitable at this stage that the Canucks will have to expose a handful of NHL-calibre talent to waivers. Might lose Megna, too.

Defence

Waiver eligible locks: Alexander Edler, Christopher Tanev, Ben Hutton, Erik Gudbranson, Michael Del Zotto, Troy Stecher

Waiver exempt locks: N/A

Waiver eligible bubble players: Andrey Pedan, Alex Biega, Patrick Wiercioch

Waiver exempt bubble players: Olli Juolevi (2020-21 or 160 games)

Waiver eligible long shots: Evan McEneny

Waiver exempt long shots: 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), Philip Holm (2018-19)

Canucks general manager Jim Benning often cites how playing in the Western Conference seems to deplete his team’s blue line like clockwork. He’s mentioned needing no fewer than 11 defencemen to get through an NHL regular season since joining the Canucks. After the summer he had, the Canucks are as close as they’ll ever get to that number.

Odds are they can’t stash all of their surplus defenders with the Utica Comets, though. Andrey Pedan cleared waivers at the end of last year’s camp, but might not a second time around. Alex Biega’s a safe bet to clear. It’s Evan McEneny who’s situation might be the most perilous.

McEneny reinvented himself last season, going from fringe to legitimate prospect status in just a year under Travis Green’s tutelage with the Comets. Now McEneny is waiver eligible. He’s not likely to make the Canucks — not this season — but might not be far off, especially if he continues on last season’s trajectory. A young team looking to rebuild their blue line might see McEneny as worth the trouble, especially if they can accommodate using him as their seventh defenceman.

Goalies

Waiver Eligible Locks: Anders Nilsson, Jacob Markstrom

Waiver Eligible Depth: Richard Bachman

Waiver Exempt Depth: Thatcher Demko (2020-21 or 60 games)

No surprises here. Barring something completely out of left field, Anders Nilsson and Jacob Markstrom will duke it out for tandem supremacy, and Richard Bachman will go to Utica at the end of the pre-season. Thatcher Demko is still a ways away, but isn’t waiver eligible, so there’s no need to fret.

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  • Peezy F

    Two guys who should be included in this analysis are Burmistrov and Chatfield. Start of the season is the best time of the year to get players through waiver as teams are too busy trying to set their 23 man roster. If we don’t lose anyone (let’s hope) the Canucks depth will be one of their strengths, eerily similar and arguably with better scorers and more skill compared to 14-15 when everyone wrote off the team in the summer.

    • Better scorers than three-years-younger Sedins with Radim Vrbata, Alex Burrows, and still-under-30 Jannik Hansen?

      This team probably has more bottom-six depth than the 14/15 team, but it definitely does not have the high-end skill that team had, just by virtue of the aging of the Sedins and the fact that 14/15 Vrbata was almost certainly a better scorer than 17/18 Eriksson.

      • Peezy F

        I was hoping someone would try to chirp…our team being a trap team is in my opinion, the main reason Danny didn’t score as much last year. Otherwise, he scored 28 the year before. If you want proof, find the article of Danny shot heat maps, high slot was heavy last year due to being 3rd man high on a trap team. If you watched as many games as I do, you would of noticed Danny got the puck alot in the high slot and fired from there way more than years past.

        Vrbata had 31, Danny 20, Burrows 18, Matthias 18, Sedin 18, Hansen 16, Bonino 15, Horvat 13, Higgins 12, Weber 11, Vey 10, Kassian 10, Richardson 8, Edler 8, Dorsett 7…….Sorry I only define Vrbata, Danny and Hank as skilled players that year. Horvat I wouldn’t define as skilled that year although we saw the glimpses. Everyone else didn’t have goal scoring or play making type skill sets.

        I project Granlund 20-30, Horvat 20-30, Loui 15-25, Danny 15-20, Boeser 10-20, Hank 10-15, Gagner 15-20, Sutter-15-25 (by the way Bonino has only scored over 20 once), Rodin (if healthy) 10-20, Baertschi (if healthy) 15-25
        Boucher 5-15, Gaunce 5-15…not to mention guys like Goldy who could prob score 10-20, Virty 5-15 and Dahlen 5-15 in Utica ready to score on a call up

        I peg Stetcher for 5-8, Hutton 4-7, Edler 5-8, Tanev 2-5, Guddy 1-4 and my bold pick on D is one of Del Zotto or Wiercoch push 8-11 goals.

        I consider Rodin, Baertschi, Boeser, Loui, Horvat, Granlund, Hank, Danny, Gagner, Goldobin as skilled players or goal scorer or playmaking type players.

        Rebuttal?

        • You guys know that assists are a thing, right?

          Bonino’s averaging 40+ points per 82 games over the past 5 seasons. Sutter’s averaging around 30, and Bonino’s done it with better possession stats.

          • Canuck Realist

            Remember when they said PIT wasn’t going to win the SC after the Sutter- Bonino trade? Remember when they said Sutter would score 25 goals 50 points and shut down all the top players in the Pacific . And all the math that showed Sutter wouldn’t do a single positive thing for them over Bonino was all wrong lol? ! I’ll never get over how dumb those fans are. Never. – Pens fans on SBN

          • bobdaley44

            Like I said Canuck Re Penguins hide his weakness’. Hagelin and Kessel eh? Two of the fastest guys in the league. Wonder why those are his line mates? He’s a decent power play guy with good offensive instincts but Canucks couldn’t absorb his lack of speed being they don’t have many guys who can fly. Sutter can skate, checkplay up and down the lineup, wins draws and can chip in offence. Why the hate for this guy?

          • Bud the Dud

            Laughing-Out-Loud ”Bonino is weaker defensively”

            Nick Bonino – reg season career plus 25
            Nick Bonino – playoffs
            G P
            75 40 plus 15 – two cups

            Sutterslug – reg season career minus 9 (minus 20 last season)!!!!!!!!!
            Sutterslug – playoffs
            G P
            33 12 – Zero Cups

            Buddaley the class clown humiliated again

          • bobdaley44

            The team you play on and talent level can skew analytics. Plus minus Bud? Really? Give me a break. Just watch Bonino and his stick waving while guy’s blow by him. But hey his analytics and plus minus are better.

        • Killer Marmot

          Many of this site, including some of the writers, do not like either Sutter or Gudbranson. I think their complaints are overblown.

          Management was hoping Sutter would blossom into a full-blown 2nd-line centre once he was out of the shadows of Crosby and Malkin. Instead he turned out to be a solid 3rd-line centre who is the go-to guy in defensive situations.

          And Gudbranson had a poor year last year, but one that was short and injury plagued. We have yet to see him when he’s fully healthy.

          • Sutter’s fine in a 3rd line role. He has a good shot, he’s good in the faceoff circle, he’s passable defensively. He does not bring more offensively than Nick Bonino, which is what Peezy was suggesting. This year’s Canucks will probably score more than last year’s, but I’ll wager dollars to donuts they do not perform better than the 14/15 team.

          • Peezy F

            Actually I never suggested anything, I simply stated Bonino scored over 20 once in his career. You assumed the 14-15 team was much more skilled because it had Bonino over Sutter, I don’t think Sutter is as good of a playmaking centre but I think he is a better goal scorer. SUtter has only 2 20 goal season but I think he was well on his way last year before he hurt his wrist in Pittsburgh or somewhere on that East coast road trip from hell where we lost baertschi in Nashville and Bo against Pittsburgh. Sutter probably had about 5 or 6 heavy cross bar or posts off his wrist shot last year too. Literally a few inches lower and its bar down. Not to mention, he started to show his ability step through guys from forehand to his backhand and get to the slot. Unfortunately, not much of a back hand. Best wrist shot on the team. I will say Bonino had a good wrister but I still think Sutter is above average.

            Also, a 20 goal, 52% face-off centre in the league is worth 4.5M a season in my opinion. Compare Sutter to other 20 goal scoring Centremen and I think you will realize hey, maybe this deal isn’t really that bad. Just hyped up like the Vancouver fan and media market.

  • Killer Marmot

    The Canucks hedged their bets with some of their summer signings. But if the Canucks lose some of them to waivers, it will be a sign of success. It means that young waiver-exempt players made their way onto the roster. Management might expect and even hope this happens.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    I imagine the team will try to time sending McEneny to Utica so that it’s on an early-ish day with a lot of waiver wire traffic. To my understanding, players claimed on waivers need to remain with that team or be waived to send down, and most teams want to evaluate their own players during preseason are unlikely to pick up anyone but a surefire roster player during the process. McEneny seems unlikely to make the Canucks out of camp but is the only guy destined for Utica that a team might take a flyer on under the right circumstances, so it’s important to time his waiver placement at the least opportune time for potential claimants.

  • “It seems almost inevitable at this stage that the Canucks will have to expose a handful of NHL-calibre talent to waivers. Might lose Megna, too.”

    Oh, burn. Expect to get a nasty phone call from Megna’s mom soon.

  • Waivers is a bi*ch. It is designed to keep teams from hoarding NHL players in the AHL, yet it keeps teams from calling up players due to fear of losing them to waivers. Guys like McEneny and Pedan could be stuck in Utica forever.

    • No, Pedan and McEneny are waiver eligible so once the season starts, they have to pass through waivers to get assigned to Utica. The trick for Benning is to put them on waivers while potential claimants are too busy evaluating the players they currently have to take on another contract (i.e. “sneak them through the wire”) or to waive them at a time when it is inconvenient for other GM’s to keep the claimed player for the minimum NHL roster period. Otherwise, McEneny or Pedan could easily get claimed at the start of the season.

  • Fred-65

    I don’t understand the hype for Molino, he has speed but that’ it. It’s not like it ends up with a big hit on the forecheck. Labate is an insurance policy if Dorsett isn’t ready to go and is Pedan is an insurance against Gudbranson. It’s going to interesting to see how Gudbranson plays in the pre-season. To me the the question mark is can Rodin come in and play injury free, he’s a high end performer and might surprise management and fans alike. Biega has done enough for some one to pick up if he’s waived ( and good for him if they do ) such as the Av’s. McEnemy from what I’ve seen is still nervous on the puck, not at ease on but has an upside. Let’s hope Megna and Chaput are waring Utica shirts next season

    • Locust

      Ask Canuck Realist, Bud the Dud, Freud et al…..

      Just about time for CA to do the biannual “roll over the trolls” … but ya gotta wonder, what names will they pick to start this season…. ?

    • Bud the Dud

      Yes – you send a private email to the site admin, don’t bother with jd burke, he is useless and lazy. List the following user idsand ask for an ip ban because they are ALL the same poster… Bud Poile, I Am Ted, apr, crofton, Jamie E, bobdaley44, backup bob, Locust, Cageyvet, Carl Jung, Green Bastard, Charlie Allnut, Silverback, MoeLemay, Whothesteal.

      • Silverback

        Yes, now that you know, our collective is expanding throughout the blogosphere, join us to become one voice, we are the Borg, resistance is futile.
        I am the beginning. The end. The one who is many. I am the Borg.

        Ok, that will be my only star trek reference on this site. Couldn’t resist…sorry.

      • Locust

        When calling the managing editor useless and lazy does not get the comment removed and/or replied to – well, that pretty much confirms to me that Canucks Army not only supports these trolls but they probably are the trolls.
        Sad.