NHL & NHLPA Preparing Minors For Lockout

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

Reported by RDS earlier this week (although nothing solidly reported by the AHL nor the NHL), the NHL and NHLPA have agreed on a special pre-lockout waiver period. It basically means that players on a two-way contract will be allowed to play for their farm clubs without any threat of re-entry waivers if the NHL season eventually begins (as long as they make the decision prior to the September 15th deadline). It’s neither earth-shattering nor unimportant, but somewhere on that sliding scale it’s a step towards preparing the minor leagues for the inevitable lockout we all hoped wouldn’t come.

And thus we move forward.

Jen Neale, from Anaheim Calling broke down the situation pretty well:

Why this is good: Young talent and newly signed journeymen will be able to learn the system, get to know teammates, and get back in hockey-shape before camp with the NHL club. They will get game experience. It may not be equivalent to the NHL, but there are more vets that will be there, upping the level of competition. Being able to bring players up, especially the top prospects, without having to put them through re-entry waivers carries no risk of the player being picked off by another team. It’s nice to see the players and owners agree on something.

Why this is bad: The usual stuff like injuries, more players not ready for the speed of the NHL when they’re brought back, yadda, yadda, yadda.

But the news doesn’t stop there. Vets on a two-way contract can be waiver exempt, but so can ELC youngsters. Jason Gregor at Oilers Nation dug up the details:

1. An earlier playing season waiver period (consistent with CBA section 13.2) shall be effective today, September 10, 2012, and will continue through and including September 15, 2012. Therefore, NHL Clubs shall have the option of Loaning any Waiver Player on or before September 15, 2012, provided that such Player has been properly Waived and has cleared Waivers prior to the time of the Loan.

2. If a Waiver Player is Loaned between September 11, 2012 and September 15, 2012 pursuant to the terms of paragraph 1 above, such Player may be recalled at any time up to and including the third day preceding the start of the Season without requirement of being placed on Re-entry Waivers, regardless of whether such Player would otherwise be subject to Re-Entry Waivers pursuant to the current or any successor CBA.

3. If a Waiver Player is loaned between September 11, 2012 and September 15, 2012 pursuant to the terms of Paragraph 1 above, and the Player is not Recalled (or is Recalled and subsequently Loaned) prior to the start of the 2012/13 NHL regular season, his NHL Club will be required to place such Player on Waivers again prior to the start of the 2012/13 NHL Regular Season.

It’s the same ruling to that mentioned in the RDS report, but more fully established. Either way, big decisions are to be made in the next couple of days for NHL clubs. It may also begin to look a little crowded on that Barons training camp roster.

More wonderous thoughts on this topic can be found at Oil on Whyte.