[UPDATED] You Might Well Ask: Why Put Sturm On Waivers?

  • First of all, what waivers do and what they don't do. Waivers are required before a team is allowed to loan a player to a non-NHL team. Usually this means the AHL. Sometimes it means Europe. So the main reason to put a player on waivers is, you want to send him somewhere else. The waiver rule allows other teams to have a crack at him first.
  • One thing waivers don't do: waivers don't remove the player from your active roster. That only happens if (a) the player is claimed by another team, or (b) having cleared waivers, the team loans the player to a team in another league.
  • But a team can waive a player and choose not to loan him to anyone. Why do this? Well, one reason is, the waiver period, from the time the team officially puts the player on waivers, to the time the player clears waivers, is at minimum 24 hours. I believe it's 48 hours if the player is waived on a Saturday. But it's 24 hours at least.
  • And while we're in the 24 hour waiver period, that player cannot be traded, and he can't be loaned. So he stays on the active roster. [UPDATE: Also, the player's cap hit stays on the books during the waiver-period and in fact only comes off the books if/when the player is loaned out. See longer update below.]
  • The Kings currently have the league maximum of 23 players on their active roster. This means, if they are planning on making a trade that increases their active roster -- for example, by trading a pick and bringing in a roster player, or by trading a roster player and bringing back two roster players -- they would not be able to make such a trade until there was room on the roster.
  • So room needs to be made. You do this by loaning players to the AHL. But to do that, you have to clear waivers first.
  • So the move is made now. Otherwise, Lombardi would have to wait 24 (or 48) hours to make any trade. And we all know these things come fast and furious as we get down to the wire.
  • So Sturm is on waivers so that the Kings have room to make a move at any time, starting tomorrow at 9am Pacific Time.
  • But why Sturm?
  • The Kings could have sent Alec Martinez, Kyle Clifford or Jonathan Bernier down without having to go through waivers, as they are exempt. But as the team is required to have two goalies on the roster, sending down Bernier wouldn't help. And Clifford would have to be returned to junior, from which he would not be able to return until his junior season is over.
  • Now, Martinez. He's been a healthy scratch the last two games. Why not send him down to make room? I assume it's because he's going to be playing on Saturday. But it might also be:
  • Lombardi might want to have Martinez in his hip pocket, to be able to send him down at any time, just in case he needs to create two spots, not just the one he's started to make room for by waiving Sturm. 
  • Lombardi could also have waived Kevin Westgarth, Davis Drewiske or Peter Harrold. But he didn't. And I think the reason is, he thinks they would be picked up (because they're cheap and useful).
  • He doesn't think Sturm is going to be picked up. Because only a playoff-bound team would do that, and playoff teams are, for the most part, up against the cap ceiling and want whatever cap space they have to make trades. So they're not going to blow that by absorbing Sturm's full cap hit.
  • So it's a gamble, but a reasonable one.
  • And I think the conclusion to draw from it is NOT that Sturm is on the way out. He will likely stay right where he is on the first line.
  • The conclusion I reach is that Lombardi wants to be able to add two roster players at any moment. He did this last year, remember? He traded Teddy Purcell and brought in Fredrik Modin and Jeff Halpern.
  • Doesn't mean he's going to make any deals. He might not.
  • But he's ready to.

[UPDATE: It's also true that the CBA allows a team to acquire a player via trade and only then place another player on waivers in order to (after the waiver period) send him down in order to make room. During the 24-hour period, the waived player is temporarily given "non-roster" status. The problem is, during the 24-hour period, the cap hits of both players remain on the books. For example: Lombardi acquires player X by trade, and only then waives Sturm to make room; if the cap hit of player x plus the cap hit of Sturm puts the team over the upper limit, then the trade is an Article 50 circumvention and is rejected by the league. Therefore, the only way to make it possible for Lombardi to bring in players over a certain cap hit, is to preemptively waive Sturm so that he can be loaned to Manchester immediately if the need arises.

And to underline, because it seems to be causing a lot of confusion in the comments, a player who is waived and clears waivers doesn't have to be loaned out, and in fact remains on the active roster. This is why Sturm can play tomorrow night.

Re-Entry Waivers

People have asked how Sturm can be waived and then play tomorrow night without going through re-entry waivers. The answer is, a player only has to clear re-entry waivers if he has been loaned out and then recalled. If Sturm clears waivers tomorrow morning at 9am, he does not need to be recalled, because he has not been sent down.

And the team can send a player down any time after he clears waivers, until he's played ten games (or thirty days have passed) since he cleared waivers. If it's after ten games or thirty days, he would have to clear waivers again in order to be sent down.]

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