At least once per week I see someone erroneously state something along the lines of, "Lashoff will be on a one-way contract next season, meaning he has to clear waivers to go to the AHL." And this isn't true. While, yes, he has to clear waivers next season, it has nothing to do with his contract. Thanks to EA Sports' absolutely wrong Be a GM Mode, and the NHL's confusing waiver rules, thousands of people are left thinking the number of ways a contract goes determines waiver eligibility.
There are 3 pieces of information that determine whether or not a player must clear waivers to pass from the NHL to the AHL: age, numbers of years since their first contract was signed, and games played. There happens to be a handy table for this! Position does matter as goalies have different rules.
|Age||Games Played||Age||Games Played|
It's not formatting as nicely as I wanted, oh well. There are some interesting things there, first some definitions.
Age: the age the player will be on his birthday during the calendar year that the contract is signed. For example: Cory Emmerton signed his first NHL team contract on June 4, 2007 and his birthday is June 1, 1988. He was considered 19 when he signed the contract, and would have been even if he had signed in May or January.
Years: How many seasons the player has of waiver exemptions based on the age at which he signs his NHL entry level contract. The asterisks are for 18-19 year olds who play at least 11 NHL games, as their exemption eligibility is reduced to 3 years for skaters and 4 years for goalies, starting with the season in which they play the 11th game. Once a player plays ANY game at the age of 25+ they are waiver exempt for that season only.
Games Played: For skaters, any game in which they dress regardless of ice time. For goalies, any game in which they actually play.
Neither the games played nor the years take precedent over the other, it is simply a matter of which threshold is crossed first. We'll use Cory Emmerton for an example since he actually fits the "years" portion absolutely perfectly. For those who remember, there was some rosterbation and fretting about Emmerton maybe being sent down to Grand Rapids at the beginning of last season if he didn't make the team, and that he would certainly be claimed off waivers, despite only 2 games of NHL experience at the age of 23. He was even on a brand new 3 year contract with the first year being a two-way contract. However since it had been 4 years since he signed his original deal at the age of 19 (his original contract was effectively signed during the 2006-07 season, despite it being in June), he was now waiver eligible.
So, what do two-way and one-way REALLY mean? It simply refers to salary only. Two-way means that the player will make different amounts of money depending on whether he is in the NHL or AHL. Again referring to Emmerton, his 2011-12 contract was to pay him $105,000 with the Griffins or $525,000 with the Red Wings. A one-way deal means that regardless of the league, the player will be paid the same amount. Emmerton's deal is now one-way only. If somehow he was sent to Grand Rapids and cleared waivers, he would still pull $525,000.
So what is Brian Lashoff's situation? I'm glad I asked. He signed his entry level deal with the Red Wings at the age of 18 on October 1, 2008, giving him 5 years of waiver exemption, beginning with the 2008-09 season. Counting it out, this season is his last in waiver exemptions ('09, '10, '11, '12, '13). So he will be prone to waivers in the 2013-14 season, but it's because of his age, not the contract itself.
To give a more prudent example: Danny DeKeyser was born March 7, 1990. If/when he signs this season, he will be 23 years old. That will give him 60 games/3 years (2014-15 being his last year of exemption) of waiver exemptions, and with practically every team in the NHL coveting him, he will certainly be on a one-way contract.