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Photo Credit: © Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Everything about waivers and Canucks for 2019-20

We are obviously still in April and there will be a plethora of changes between now and puck drop in October but it’s a good time to get our ducks in a row and give us a sense of what we might expect this summer and what can happen over the course of next season.

At the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, the Canucks kept Tyler Motte out of the lineup to ensure that he had one more game of waiver exemption to start the next season. It didn’t matter as Motte ended up making the Canucks out of camp and remaining with them for the duration of the year, but it’s good to see that they noticed an opportunity to control their asset a little better.

We can now take a look at what players are currently waiver exempt and at what threshold over the 2019-20 season that they lose the said exemption.

CBA: Waiver Exemption

Waivers have their own sperate article within the collective bargaining agreement, which is Article 13, and have a specific sub-article explaining how much exemption every player gets. That is as follows:

There are quite a few examples of how it works within Article 13.4 but the important information is in the above image. The age is determined based on when the players signed their entry-level contract and do sometimes vary from the age that is used for the entry-level contract rules.

All the information below has been confirmed via CapFriendly.

Waiver Exempts that don’t matter

There are a few of the core pieces that start the 2019-20 season as waiver exempt but will never have to worry about being assigned to Utica.

Those are Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Quintin Hughes.

Pettersson and Hughes will remain exempt for the duration of the NHL regular season as EP has 89 games of exemption left and Hughes has 155 games. If the Canucks were to make the playoffs next season and appear in seven or more games, assuming that he remains healthy for the entire year, EP’s exemption would expire at that time.

Boeser has 20 games left in his exemption, so that will end sometime in November.

But as mentioned to start this section, it doesn’t matter, these players won’t be going anywhere near the AHL.

Thatcher Demko is likely in this category as well, as someone who likely won’t be going back to Utica, he will start next year with one more year of exemption or can appear in 50 NHL games. He needs to play in the game to register towards those 50 games, so being a backup for Markstrom doesn’t count towards that allotment.

The Probably Don’t Matter

Adam Gaudette is the player that precipitated this thought process, as I was curious about how many more games he had left before requiring waivers.

Gaudette played well at times this season, and in the AHL, but struggled to create offence in the second half. We don’t know what will happen over the summer and Gaudette could be affected by the changes that may occur. Ideally, Gaudette continues his role as the third line centre and is placed with some offensively driven players and leaves the heavy defensive responsibilities to Brandon Sutter and/or Jay Beagle.

Alternatively, if Sutter and Beagle return, then Gaudette could start the year in the AHL until injuries inevitably happen. It wouldn’t be the path I may choose, but it something that could happen.

Gaudette will be exempt for the entire 2019-20 season, as long as he doesn’t appear in 19 NHL games. Once he appears in his 20th game, he is no longer waiver exempt.

Ultimately, he likely secures a spot with the big club and it all doesn’t matter. But it’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

The In-Between’ers

With the injury bug making it’s run through the Canucks this season, it allowed quite a few young players a chance to get some NHL games. That includes Guillaume Brisebois, Zack MacEwen, Josh Teves, Brogan Rafferty, and goaltender Jake Kielly. You can throw Olli Juolevi into this mix as well because he is part of the future of the backend for the organization.

As mentioned above in the waiver explanation, the age of the player when they signed their entry-level contracts gives different exemption levels. Given that, there are varying level of exemptions remaining based on games played but will all be exempt for the duration of the campaign, assuming they don’t play those NHL games.  The NHL games thresholds are as follows:

  • Olli Juolevi (160 NHL games of exemption)
  • Guillaume Brisebois (152 NHL games of exemption)
  • Zack MacEwen (76 NHL games of exemption)
  • Josh Teves (59 NHL games of exemption)
  • Brogan Rafferty (58 NHL games of exemption)
  • Jake Kielly (60 NHL games of exemption)

Juolevi and Brisebois are not a concern at all, they could appear in every game for the Canucks this upcoming season and still be exempt for most of the 2020-21 season. It’s unlikely any of the other players will have to worry as it means that they secured a spot out of camp and are regulars in the lineup, and in the case of Kielly, the path just isn’t there yet.

AHL Bound

Unless something changes between now and the conclusion of training camp, the following prospects will be exempt for the entire 2019-20 season with their game exemptions listed beside them)

  • Kole Lind (160 NHL games of exemption)
  • Jonah Gadjovich (160 NHL games of exemption)
  • Lukas Jasek (80 NHL games of exemption)
  • Jalen Chatfield (80 NHL games of exemption)
  • Mitch Eliot (160 NHL games of exemption)
  • Petrus Palmu (80 NHL games of exemption)

If any of the players make the team and are pushing their exemption limit, it’s not going to be a worry as the players have carved out a regular NHL role.


Going through the exercise, the only player that will need to be worried about is Adam Gaudette. There isn’t as much flexibility to send him up and down from the AHL as there was this season. This isn’t a bad thing but something has to be kept in mind when we start getting closer to that number. Ultimately, the team likely won’t worry as Gaudette will continue to be a regular in the lineup.

Lastly, it’s worth adding that Michael DiPietro has five years or 79 NHL games of waiver exemption remaining. He used one game in his appearance against San Jose this season but didn’t play enough to accrue a full season. Jett Woo has four years and 160 games remaining in his exemption.

Here is the full breakdown of NHL games played and seasons thresholds for all the Canucks players that are currently waiver exempt: