Saturday, April 08, 2006

Re-Entry Waivers Change

One of the problems with the CBA this season has been the $75,000 waiver problem where any player in the minors needs to clear re-entry waivers to get called up from the minors. The intent was to prevent teams from hiding salary in the minors, but it lead to some stupid results. Effectively, $75,000 became the individual salary cap for many AHL players (since they hoped to play in the NHL). The Professional Hockey Players Association (the union of AHL and ECHL players) sued the NHL since the NHL CBA effectively set salaries in the minor leagues (who are not covered by the NHL CBA). This lead to a significant number of players who were likely to be minor leaguers to go to Europe thus reducing the NHL talent pool. This lead to players who were good enough to play in the NHL to remain in the AHL all season instead of risk re-entry waivers (some made the AHL all star teams - such as Wade Flaherty).

Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press reports on a solution. Any player who has played over 320 NHL, AHL or ECHL games (180 if he is a goalie) will not have to face re-entry waivers. I suppose this solution makes sense. It allows for the best players available to play in the NHL. I still think a salary cap is bad for the NHL, but at least they fixed one problem with it.

NOTE: This was a suggestion that was not implemented by the NHL. It was incorrectly reported by the Winnipeg Free Press that it had been adopted (and I believed them at the time). It turns out the only change the NHL made to reentry waivers was upping the salary cutoff to $95,000 (from $75,000). Apparantly, this was good enough for the PHPA to stop pursuing any legal action.

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