The Eric Wellwood Waivers Situation

Eric Wellwood celebrates as he scores his first goal as a Flyer. | Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


By: Tyler J. Altemose (@TJamesAltemose)

I want to preface this article by crediting Jen over at Broad Street Hockey for being the first to discuss this matter. She was the first person—or at least the first that I saw—to do it (and besides, there are few people besides her that would even know to look for this information in the first place), and I would be remiss in failing to mention her. The CBA isn’t easy to tweet, so check it out here, here, here, and here. Good job, Jen. Keep up the solid CBA sleuthing.

The trade deadline has come and gone, and although the waning hour or so saw a flurry of transactions, all remained quiet in Philadelphia on the trade front.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren certainly deserves his fair share of criticism for the predicament the Flyers were in heading into the trade deadline. According to Capgeek, the team had somewhere in the range of $1M to $1.5M in space available; the lowest in the league. Furthermore, the Flyers organization holds a league-maximum 50 contracts (51 if you count Marcel Noebels, but his contract does not count toward that number on account of him having an entry level slide risk), meaning that if any move were made, it would necessitate removing one of those contracts from the organization.

The Flyers did make one move today, however. They placed Eric Wellwood on waivers. Normally a demotion like this isn’t anything to bat an eye at. However, there are greater implications for the move. As the CBA states in Article 13:

13.12(j) — A Player may be Loaned to a club of any league affiliated with the League at any time up to 3:00 p.m. New York time of the fortieth (40th) day immediately preceding the final day of the regular season (the “Trade Deadline”). Following this period only the Player or Players who have been Recalled during such restricted period under Article 13.12(l) or 13.12(m) may be Loaned back to the member club of the affiliated league from which they were Recalled.

So contrary to what some in the Philly main stream media would have you believe, this move was not to clear up roster space for a trade (or if it was, it was a mere consequence of the original intent).

From what I read it appears as if this move was done in order to maximize Wellwood’s availability to both the Phantoms and the Flyers. According to the AHL, Clear Day rosters are set to be submitted to the league by 3:00pm New York time on 5 March. Any player(s) not appearing on the Clear Day list will be ineligible to play in the remainder of the regular season as well as the Calder Cup playoffs.

But what about the Flyers recalling Wellwood should they require his services? Well, the CBA article mentioned above leads into that answer. Article 13.12(l) states the following:

13.12(l) — During the period following 3:00 p.m. New York time of the fortieth (40th) day immediately preceding the final day of the Regular Season no Player may be Recalled from Loan to a club of any league affiliated with the NHL, except that: (i) A Club may exercise four Recalls from a club or clubs of any league affiliated with the NHL, of Player(s) listed on its own Reserve List. (ii) Players may be Recalled under Article 13.12(m). (iii) Players may be Recalled upon completion of the regular season and playoff schedule of the club to which they were Loaned.

Therefore, Wellwood can be recalled by the Flyers via one of their four allotted recalls, through emergency conditions (if the Flyers have less than twelve healthy forwards), or once the Phantoms’ season is over. Article 13.12(m) just clarifies the issue of “emergency conditions” which do not pertain to the discussion. I’ll spare you that much.

In a nutshell, pursuant to CBA Article 13.12(l) the Flyers are able to recall Wellwood now that he has been demoted. Pursuant to Article 13.12(j), they can loan him back should the Phantoms need him. He may possibly remain with the Phantoms through Monday to ensure that he makes the Clear Day roster. But if he is recalled he can always be sent back down by that deadline.

What you are left with in the end is a situation where Eric Wellwood receives maximum ice time. Everybody’s happy. Make-a da world go ‘round.

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