The Montreal Canadiens still want to make changes to their roster before the end of camp and waivers could be an interesting avenue for them.
Due to finishing last in the NHL standings during the 2021-2022 NHL season, the Montreal Canadiens will have priority in the waiver selection process all the way up to November 1.
According to Article 13.19 of the NHL‘s collective bargaining agreement:
“In the event that more than one Club makes a claim for such Player, he shall: (i) be transferred to the claiming Club having earned the lowest percentage of possible points in the League standing at the time of the request for Waivers, or (ii) if Waivers are requested outside the Regular Season, or the successful Waiver claim is made (i.e., the date the Player would be transferred to a successful claiming Club per this Section), before November 1st then the priority shall be determined by the final standing in the League’s Regular Season schedule in the preceding Regular Season.”
That means that, if a team were to put an interesting player on waivers at the start of the season or shortly thereafter, the Canadiens would be able to swoop in and add said player to their roster immediately, giving them the depth they need at a position of choice. In the past, we have seen some good players unfortunately put on waivers due to the numbers game on very deep NHL rosters, and that could be an opportunity for the Canadiens to bolster their lineup accordingly and potentially get even younger.
It’s also important to note that, if the Canadiens do, in fact, put in a claim on a player, they do not lose their priority to put a claim on another player moving forward. This is a rule that exists in fantasy sports leagues but is not decreed anywhere in the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement. The priority will be retained, despite making a previous claim, up until November 1.
This means that the Canadiens retain this advantage throughout camp and into the regular season; allowing them to swoop in on some quality players they would have otherwise had to trade for to acquire. It could be a significant advantage for them to pounce on some potential at positions of need, as they continue to look to improve their roster and develop talent. On the flip side, they could also acquire veterans this way that could better insulate their young roster and can be used as trade fodder at the trade deadline if they play up to their standards with the Canadiens all season.
One way or another, it’s an interesting advantage that gives the Canadiens more options to manage their assets.
Canadiens Will Look To Use Waiver Wire
Despite general manager Kent Hughes being comfortable with his current roster, he still wants to make a few tweaks to his roster. During a press conference in the summer, Hughes acknowledged the advantage of the waiver process to help plug some holes on the team. He noted that he would also look to the waiver wire at the start of the season to see whether the Canadiens can snatch a right-shot defenceman, for example, from one of their rivals for free.
“If we can find, and we believe that there will be, either via trade or the waiver process, right-shot D that become available to us, then we’re going to continue to study that,” said Kent Hughes in his desire to add another right-shot defenceman before the start of the season. “In the interim, we feel like, even if we have an injury, we do have the capacity to put one of our guys on that right side.”
The Montreal Canadiens have done well with some waiver pickups in the past, as Paul Byron and Rem Pitlick went on to prove their doubters wrong after being snatched up by the Canadiens over the years. It’ll be interesting to see if some younger, talented players might find their way to Montreal.