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Explaining How The Predators Can Navigate Player Movement In 2023



Nashville Predators forward Samuel Fagemo
Photo of Samuel Fagemo by John Russell/Nashville Predators

As the 2023 season begins, the Nashville Predators have had plenty of player movement as they trimmed their roster to 23 ahead of Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

With forward Denis Gurianov clearing waivers and being assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville Hockey Now decided to take a look at possible player movement paths from the NHL and American Hockey League for different players in the Predators organization.

Ordinarily, when a team wants to send a non-waiver exempt player from the NHL to the AHL, that player first has to be placed on waivers for a 24-hour period, in which the 31 other teams have an opportunity to put a waiver claim on that player. Priority for those claims are based on the reverse order of the prior season’s standings up until November 1, where the current season’s standings then take precedence.

If no team places a claim on the player, then they clear waivers and are assigned to the AHL, much like Gurianov and Mark Jankowski.

In the event a waived player is called up for any reason, they may be temporarily waiver exempt if they play no more than 10 cumulative NHL games during the season, OR they are on the active roster for 30 cumulative days since last clearing waivers. If a team claims the waived player, then that team, based on waiver priority, will acquire that player to be added to their active roster.

Nashville fell victim to this process last season when it waived Eeli Tolvanen, who was claimed by the Seattle Kraken, but took advantage of it when the team claimed Samuel Fagemo on Oct. 3 from the Los Angeles Kings.

When a player like Fagemo is claimed off waivers, there are few restrictions but the player may be immediately waived again and is not required to remain on the active roster for any certain amount of time. 

Another example is Grigori Denisenko, who was waived by the Florida Panthers on Oct. 6, claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights the following day, and then waived by Vegas on Oct. 8.

This season, the Predators have three players who are waiver-exempt (via Section 13.4 of the CBA): Philip Tomasino, Juuso Parssinen, and Luke Evangelista, meaning that Nashville may send any of the three to Milwaukee at any time during the season without needing to expose them to waivers and recall them to the active 23-man roster at any time as well.

Every other Predators player is subject to waivers in the event Nashville assigns any of them to Milwaukee (with a few minor exceptions including injuries and conditioning assignments), meaning depth players like Fagemo, Kiefer Sherwood and Cole Smith must pass through waivers if the Predators were to send them to Milwaukee, and players like Jankowski, Gurianov, Michael McCarron, Kevin Gravel, Jordan Gross and Roland McKeown would also need to clear waivers if called up and sent back down to the AHL.

Further exceptions regarding how many recalls can be made kick in following the trade deadline, meaning teams have four recalls to their active rosters in addition to emergency recalls, which are permitted on a case-by-case basis whenever a team’s roster falls below two goaltenders, six defensemen, or twelve forwards.

If a team does not expire all of its four regular recalls following the trade deadline, then they have unlimited recalls during the playoffs. If a team uses all four, then they may not make additional recalls but may keep those four on their active roster into the playoffs. Emergency recalls maintain their same requirements. 

Players may also be recalled following the conclusion of their AHL regular season or once their AHL teams are eliminated from the playoffs.

First-year general manager Barry Trotz’s decision to keep a trio of waiver-exempt players on the roster and to expose others like Jankowski and Gurianov to waivers demonstrates the potential that Trotz sees in his youth heading into his first season at the helm.

Follow Clay Brewer on Twitter/X: @ClayBrewer10

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