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Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick / Canucks.com

Why Evan McEneny did not require waivers to be assigned to AHL

On Saturday afternoon, the Canucks further reduced their training camp roster by assigning ten players to the Utica Comets.

There weren’t any shocking surprises as all the players were likely to find their way to the Comets at some point. One player who did immediately jump out at me, though, was Evan McEneny. It wasn’t so much that the Canucks assigned him to the Comets, it was because he didn’t show up on most waiver wire updates.

CapFriendly is a fantastic resource that provides a wealth of information at a quick glance, that includes waiver exemptions. On the Canuck’s cap sheet, they have McEneny listed as no longer being waiver exempt:

The green arrow beside Stewart shows what it looks like when a player is waiver exempt.

Given this, I operated under the assumption McEneny required waivers for the upcoming season. I even tweeted out as much, as I hadn’t looked further into it… until he wasn’t on waivers on Saturday. So I decided to dig.

First, outlining the waiver exemption rules, which are located in Article 13.4 of the NHL/NHLPA CBA

To add on top of that, you also have to determine the ‘age of the player’ based on the CBA, and that is outlined in Article 9.2

McEneny was born on May 22nd, 1994 and signed his ELC with the Vancouver Canucks on September 14th, 2012. According to the CBA, he was 18-years-old. It’s obvious in this case but can get complicated with other players and their date of births, so it’s always important to double check.

Given that McEneny was eligible for five years or 160 NHL Games played of waiver exemption. With the 2017-18 season about to commence, it was fair to assume that his waiver exemption had expired as he had signed his ELC 5 years ago. But McEneny followed a different career path than “normal” and had returned to the OHL for an overage year in 2014-15 despite playing one game for the Utica Comets to close out the 2013-14 season.

Here’s where it gets complicated. Further down in Article 13.4, there are some outlines of what constitutes a year and how it is calculated.

For McEneny, because he did not appear in any NHL games during the 2012-13 or 2013-14 seasons, the 11 game requirement did not force the exemption to be shortened to three years. McEneny appeared in one AHL game during the 2013-14 season, but that was deemed as his ’19-year-old’ year. That is an important distinction. McEneny then went back to the OHL for the duration of his 20-year-old season in the 2014-15 season and did not appear in any professional games this season.

The third paragraph in the image applies and is outlined as:

The first season in which a Player who is age 20 or older plays in one (1) or more Professional Games shall constitute the first year for calculating the number of years he is exempt from Regular Waivers.

Since McEneny did not appear in any professional games during the 2014-15 season, his exemption clock did not take effect until the 2015-16 season when he played for the Kalamazoo Wings and Utica Comets. This deemed him as being 21-years-old and being bound by the exemption rules outlined above which means he is exempt for three years or 80 NHL games. That first year of exemption was 2015-16, where he mostly played for the Wings, the second year being the 2016-17 season, where he spent the majority of the year in the AHL and appeared in one game for the Canucks during the mumps outbreak. Thus this year, 2017-18, is the final year of waiver exemption for McEneny despite originally losing that exemption before this season.

If McEneny had appeared in one game for the Comets to close out the 2015-16, that would’ve activated the first year of waiver exemption and would’ve resulted in the young defenceman requiring waivers for this season. Since he appeared in that AHL game as a 19-year-old, it didn’t activate the clock. This waiver exemptions did not apply to the contract slide, as McEneny did use his first year of his ELC during that overage season in the OHL.

McEneny’s is a highly rare case, as he was assigned back to the OHL as an overage player and did not appear in any single game at the professional level. As outlined above, one contest with the Comets would’ve had a ripple effect that would’ve changed things now.

It is interesting that despite being outlined with exact ages, years and games played that one additional line in the text can adjust how the rules are enforced. McEneny’s ascension as a legitimate prospect created a spotlight on him that had people worried that they may lose him on waivers this season. But the slightly different development path, that one line within the CBA, and the fact that McEneny played that one game as a 19-year-old and not a 20-year-old gives the Canucks one more year or 79 NHL games before McEneny does require waivers.

  • truthseeker

    I read the first few sentences…then realized this at such a high level of “dork” that I didn’t have to read anymore. Anyone going that far for information on this guy and this subject…..I’ll just take your word for it.

    • Cageyvet

      I couldn’t agree more, this became a very quick read for me, but I’m glad we aren’t at risk of losing him, and happy that the Canucks got it right.

      They should get it right every time, don’t get me wrong, I’m not throwing excessive praise for being the professionals they’re paid to be, but it’s nice to read positive news about the dreaded “asset management” topic.

      • truthseeker

        True.

        Of course they should, wherever they can, do what they can to keep a player around. You just never know who might develop and at what point.

        Having said that, I’m also not opposed to the team “just losing” a player for nothing if it means giving someone who is performing better, a shot. There are situations where some guys just need to be dumped and if they somehow manage to become “players” on some other team then so be it. I factor in timing when I judge decisions. Like Kassian, for example. What else could the canucks have done to support that guy? He simply wasn’t in a place in his life to be mature. Now he is. That’s not a “loss” on Benning or the canucks. Just simply bad timing. And it’s OK. I would have even considered them dumping Kassian for absolutely nothing…just releasing him, as a decent move.

        And to whomever thumbed me down….relax…I actually meant that as a complement. To go to that extent to provide that kind of minutia of information speaks to a very high level of quality and standards. We are all guilty of being dorks about subjects we’re into.

      • DJ_44

        I think they sent him down because of the fact there are two pre-season games left. They now have 10 defencemen up, with Holm and Chatfield remaining. I think they will give both one of the remaining two games, barring some unforeseen even in the last week in camp. Neither will probably start with the big club, but that’s okay.

        They might believe that both Holm and Chatfield have been better then McEneny thus far, or that they want to see what they can do in the more competitive pre-season games that remain.

        Any work on Dahlen, is he skating and practicing with the main camp group?

  • Steamer

    Completely off-topic, but Tryamkin needs to go jump in a lake; why do we have to listen to some guy – who prefers to ‘play down’ rather than at the highest possible level – give us his pathetic insights into Van or NHL. KHL loser.

  • Larionov18

    The new home of the Canucks 650 sportsnet spends all day bashing Trump. I am sick of the politics in sports. Happy the Penguins did not get political. The left wing politics is ruining sports. All the virtue signalling is nauseating.

  • DB1282

    well based on what we’ve seen so far from all the Canucks, where do you think they will end up? dead last? 29th 30th? they are sure not making the playoffs with this team, the kids making it fun is all i’m hoping for