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Blues Don’t Get Re-Entry Waivers

The St Louis Blues have clearly shown that they do not understand re-entry waivers.  If you sign a player who has played in several of the top European leagues within the current season, he must clear re-entry waivers before he plays in the NHL.  Thus if you sign a player that anyone else might want who requires re-entry waivers, you are wasting your time.  You are signing him to a contract for another NHL team.  So why bother?

In late December, the St Louis Blues signed Marek Svatos, who was returning from the KHL.  On re-entry waivers he was claimed by the Nashville Predators.  Yesterday, they signed Kyle Wellwood, also returning from the KHL.  He was claimed by the San Jose Sharks. 

The St Louis Blues are wasting their time.  Any player you attempt to bring back to the league must be such a borderline player that nobody would want him or you won’t get him.  Somebody else will claim him.

Any name players returning from the KHL will not stay with the team that signs him.  So there is no point whatsoever in signing him.  Your team will not keep him.

The St Louis organization claimed in both the cases of Svatos and Wellwood that they thought they would get the player through re-entry waivers because nobody else was trying to sign them.  This idea is incorrect because it gets things backwards.  Nobody was trying to sign them because they had to get them through re-entry waivers.  You wait for somebody else to sign them and claim them then.  As a result, if the teams behave sensibly, Evgeni Nabokov will be out of the league for the remainder of the season.

Re-entry waivers keep talent out of the NHL.  It is not smart to set up artificial rules to keep talent out of the NHL.  While Svatos and Wellwood are probably not game changers, Evgeni Nabokov could be.  It is too bad that he has been forced out of the NHL and likely will remain out until the beginning of next season.

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John W.'s avatar

Re-entry waivers imply that that team that claims them is only responsible for half of their salary, and this is simply not the case.  The players have to clear waivers, not re-entry waivers, so you cleary don’t get it either.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 01/19/11 at 02:59 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The name “re-entry waivers” has been given to any waiver system in any sport where a player must clear waivers to re-enter the league.

There is a new class of re-entry waivers (new as of 2005) where a player in the minors getting recalled must clear waivers when he re-enters the league.  This is the situation where a team will have to pay half of his contract and salary cap hit.  That situation does not apply to the class of re-entry waivers that Marek Svatos and Kyle Wellwood have been caught in.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/19/11 at 03:19 AM ET


Agree that the waiver system for players returning from overseas is restrictive and will needlessly keep talented players out of the NHL, even when there is interest on both sides.

I suppose another tactic that St. Louis might have tried, since the team has oodles of cap space and seems to be drawing fairly well at the gate, would be to substantially overpay for the players they attempted to sign. That might discourage budget-conscious teams (Nashville) or teams close to the cap (San Jose) from picking up the (admittedly pro-rated) tab, but it would also saddle the Blues with a large short-term bill for a likely marginal player.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 01/19/11 at 04:15 AM ET


It’s waivers.  Not re-entry waivers.  John W. Is correct.

Posted by jonquixote on 01/19/11 at 09:13 AM ET


And, more broadly, TPSH is wrong on the larger point.  That a team -may- claim a player they sign does not mean the Blues should give up any attempt to do so.  It costs the team nothing beyond whatever effort and time was spent in the negotiation.

Acquisitions do not happen in a vacuum.  For the Sharks or the Preds to add someone to their roster they must have the cap and roster space to do so.  In order to create either they may have to make adjustments to their roster.  As a result of those adjustments, other players may become available which the Blues might find helpful.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/19/11 at 10:02 AM ET


This story might explain why the Blues are usually somewhere near the bottom of their division.

Posted by bobnoakridge from Oak Ridge, TN on 01/19/11 at 11:40 AM ET


Players are also subject to waivers if the team wishes to bring someone up from their AHL affiliate to the NHL roster. These are referred to as re-entry waivers. (Makes sense; given the player re-enters the NHL) The mechancis of the re-entry system work the same as those of waivers, with one difference. the team who claims the player is only responsible for half of the player’s salary and cap hit for the duration of the contract, and the team who waived the player picks up the other half. (Most of us became familiar with this rule when Sean Avery was claimed by the Rangers from Dallas).

Re-call waivers also cover the rare instance when a player joins a club during the NHL season from a club in Europe. Before being eligible the player must clear re-entry waivers.

Apparently there are people here that think they know what they are talking about.They are in fact called re-entry or re-call waivers.Waivers are for players moving from AHL to NHL and vis versa.This might help.

Posted by bobnoakridge from Oak Ridge, TN on 01/19/11 at 11:45 AM ET


I do know what I’m talking about, Bob.  Please refer to the 2005 CBA (s.13.23) for more information.

Posted by jonquixote on 01/19/11 at 12:27 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 01/19/11 at 12:29 PM ET


Are they wasting their time?

We’re not talking about top-level talent, we’re talking about players that thirty NHL teams passed up this summer and therefore had to go elsewhere to play.  Was it readily apparent that other teams were clamoring for Kyle Wellwood’s services?  I don’t know that it was.

And moreover, when you’ve got a bunch of injuries and your team is at the bottom of the playoff hunt, don’t you have to take chances?

Through all of this St Louis’ GM may be frustrated right now, but his team is neither any better nor any worse than it was, so it’s no big problem.

And yes, it’s waivers.  Maybe every other sport calls this “re-entry waivers”, but the NHL already HAS something called “re-entry waivers” that have different rules.  Re-entry waivers in the NHL would mean that St Louis is on the hook for half of Wellwood’s salary and that is NOT the case here.  Therefore it is NOT re-entry waivers.

Maybe you should change the title to “Puck Stops Here Doesn’t Get Re-Entry Waivers”?

Posted by Garth on 01/19/11 at 12:30 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Apparently there are people here that think they know what they are talking about.

Posted by bobnoakridge on 01/19/11 at 08:45 AM ET

Yeah, you, and you’re wrong, just like the author of this post.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 01/19/11 at 01:37 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar


St Louis has gained nothing from signing Svatos and Wellwood.  They have marginally strengthened two opponents and saved those opponents the trouble of negotiating a contract.

There are 29 teams other than St Louis with roster spots to fill.  For all intents and purposes there is an infinite well in which to place St Louis’s re-entries.  There are far more spots than roster spots available.  They won’t get players and other teams are getting cheap players with NHL experience.  That only helps the other teams.  There is no strategy to signing dummy players that fill up all their opponents rosters so that eventually the Blues can get a player in the future when all their opponents have no more salary cap or roster space.

John W

You have spent several posts arguing that these waivers where players re-entering the NHL are not re-entry waivers because there is another situation that is called re-entry waivers.  Its a silly semantics argument and not worth the time you have given it.

Its waivers on players re-entering the NHL.  When the rule was instituted in the 1980s they were often referred to as re-entry waivers then and they still are re-entry waivers today.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/19/11 at 01:59 PM ET


I take it that during this waiver period, the team initially trying to sign the player is excluded from the claim process.  Wouldn’t the easy fix for this be to allow them to claim?  It would have at least allowed St. Louis to sign Svatos (assuming no lower-seeded teams were interested).

Posted by dumbasrocks on 01/19/11 at 02:16 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

I agree you’re taking your chances when you sign a player who is playing (or has played) outside the league. However, to say there is ‘no chance’ they will play for the team that signed him is questionable.

‘Name’ players pass through waivers sometimes. Svatos and Wellwood are guys who everyone had a chance to sign and didn’t at the beginning of the season - and by all accounts nobody, saved the blues, approached them since. It’s not completely unreasonable for the Blues to believe they wouldn’t be claimed now.

I don’t necessarily disagree with this waiver system, but feel it has to be tweeked. Some options:

- no team that is presently ‘above’ the signing team in the league standings should have the right to claim the player;

- a claiming team should have the obligation to pay to the signing team reasonable financial compensation for the time and effort spent signing the player;

- compensation to the team in terms of draft picks, similar to the RFA offer sheet rules, on the basis of the signed players’ salary.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 01/19/11 at 02:42 PM ET


>Its waivers on players re-entering the NHL

It’s waivers on players ENTERING the NHL (after playing professionally with a non-North American club this season).  Whether or not they’ve been there before is irrelevant.  Igor Mirnov would have to pass through the same waiver system as Kyle Wellwood.  Which is why it’s incorrect to refer to them as re-entry waivers (or recall waivers, for that matter). 

Semantics.  Absolutely.  “Re-entry waivers” means something different than “waivers.”

Posted by jonquixote on 01/19/11 at 04:03 PM ET


What I don’t understand is why San Jose would claim Wellwood, anyway. They already have 2 prototypical second-line centers that are much better than him and Wellwood is useless as a grinder.

Posted by StevieSteve on 01/19/11 at 04:06 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar


You can also be on the 2005 re-entry waivers and have never played an NHL game.  If you are an AHL player who makes more than a certain amount of money while in the AHL and you do not qualify as a career AHLer (you haven’t played enough games/ seasons in professional hockey but not the NHL) you are subject to re-entry waivers if you get called up to the NHL - even though you have never been there before.

This doesn’t happen in practise because a player who hopes to come to the NHL is not going to be signed to a contract that makes him subject to re-entry waivers should he ever be called up, however in principle you can be subject to either set of re-entry waivers on your first entry to the NHL.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/19/11 at 06:18 PM ET

Bossy_Rules's avatar

How about a mid-season draft of such players?

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 01/19/11 at 06:21 PM ET


The best part of this entire discussion is the fact that neither of these players is going to
be that big of an addition to whatever club they wind up on.I did find one very interesting tid bit though.This comes right from NHL.com.Seems the Blues were guilty of the same thing they are whining about now.
Players who start the NHL season in Europe, then sign to play in the NHL must clear waivers prior to joining the team they signed with.  This has happened perhaps 3 times under the current CBA - Vladimir Orszagh in 2005-06 [signed with Phoenix, claimed by St. Louis], Todd Simpson in 2006-07 [signed with NY Islanders, but denied ability to play due to being suspended in Germany and NHL honoring suspension], and Randy Robitaille in 2007-08 [signed with Ottawa, currently on waivers to join NHL].

Posted by bobnoakridge from Oak Ridge, TN on 01/19/11 at 06:35 PM ET


Yeah, but reentry waivers are defined specifically in the CBA, which can give the term meaning beyond the normal usage.  If your argument is colloquial, you can’t hide behind that.

Posted by jonquixote on 01/19/11 at 08:41 PM ET


And by “hide” I mean ” rely” and did not intend to antagonize..

Posted by jonquixote on 01/19/11 at 08:47 PM ET


Ice Hockey Rocks. 

Posted by ProjectMayhem on 01/19/11 at 08:47 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

Red Wings in discussions with veteran goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov. Deal today? Will have to clear waivers if it gets done.

That is a tweet from Darren Dreger, somebody with real credentials, and low and behold, no mention of re-entry waivers. Take your humble pie and have a feast. By the way, thanks for playing, goodbye (hmmm, that line sounds familiar)

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 01/20/11 at 03:40 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

There is a silly argument cainer.

Darren Dreger didn’t add an extra word “re-entry” to his tweet because tweets have a character limit and you, I and everyone else understand his point without the word.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 01/20/11 at 03:45 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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