The Red Wings have signed all their restricted free agents, picked up a couple new additions in Mike Green and Brad Richards, and let go of some unrestricted free agent dead weight. Add in some newly drafted prospects and some graduating to their professional career, and it can be a bit confusing to keep track of who's where and who has to clear waivers before being sent down to the minors. So before the season gets underway, let's take an in depth look at who the Wings have in the system from the top down, who's waiver eligible, and where the prospects will be playing this year.
You can read all the fun rules regarding waivers in the Waiver Rules portion of the NHL CBA but here's the general rule about how long a player is exempt.
There are several different variations on how to define a player's age, and numerous exceptions and events that can affect a player's waiver eligibility. You can find them all in the waiver rules link above but for general discussion, this is where we start.
Red Wings Waiver Schedule
Since we're most interesting in the Red Wings players and prospects and how much longer they're exempt from waivers, I put together this handy depth chart and waiver schedule. Here's the link to the shared doc that you can browse at any time. I'll be updating the chart throughout the season, and will add contract and cap information as well at a later date.
This is the schedule of when Red Wings prospects will be exposed to waivers. The season they're listed under is the season they'd have to be put on waivers to be sent down, so Tomas Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen are both waiver eligible this season and would have to be put on waivers to be sent down to Grand Rapids. The number following the player's name is the number of NHL games they can play before they're exposed to waivers. The rules are either a year limit or game limit, so Alexey Marchenko will lose waiver exemption either next season or after playing 52 more NHL games (regular season and playoff games count).
Red Wings Depth Chart
Since players won't be put on waivers until after training camp, here's the current depth charts for the Red Wings organization, top to bottom. Players who have to clear waivers to be sent down to Grand Rapids are on the Red Wings roster until they clear or are picked up by another team. We don't know yet who will be playing with who and on what line, so the depth of each team's roster is largely an arbitrary compilation. No players have been assigned to Toledo as of right now, but obviously some will have to be when the season starts. Just a reminder on 2-way contracts, they have absolutely no impact on waivers, they only mean that a player makes less money if he's in the minors than he does in the NHL; all waiver rules still apply.
The Red Wings have until sometime this month, I believe it's the 15th, to sign Ben Marshall to an entry level contract. He just finished his senior year at the University of Minnesota and if the Wings don't sign him he'll be cut loose from the organization. Marc McNulty isn't Red Wings property anymore, after the team chose not to sign him to a contract this summer, but the organization does still consider him a prospect so he'll remain on the depth chart until we hear otherwise.
With Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen expected to start the season in long term injured reserve, the Wings will probably send forwards Mitch Callahan, Louis-Marc Aubry, Eric Tangradi, and Andy Miele through waivers and expect them to clear and be assigned to Grand Rapids. On defense Brian Lashoff is the easy player to put on waivers and assign to GR, and goalie Tom McCollum will also be assigned to Grand Rapids.
That leaves too many players in Grand Rapids and several players will be assigned to the Toledo Walleye. Forwards Alden Hirschfeld and Dominic Zombo, defensemen Richard Nedomlel, Steve Spinell, and Derek Docken, and goalie Jake Paterson should be the first in line to be sent to Toledo and depending on injuries to start the season there may need to be a couple more forwards sent down; the Walleye will fill out the rest of their roster with ECHL contract players.
The players in College, Juniors, and Europe are set in the leagues they'll be playing in for the 2015-2016 season.
There are still some things to shake out after Red Wings training camp and I'll update the linked shared doc as players are moved around (so please bookmark it for future reference). Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, and Dylan Larkin still being waiver exempt give the Wings more flexibility with the roster, even if that flexibility doesn't have the best players playing in the NHL. So unless the Wings made a trade or two before the start of the season, we know what the starting day roster will look like based upon who doesn't have to go on waivers, and who will most likely clear waivers.