Sunday, December 1, 2013

2003 NHL Waiver Draft

The 2003 NHL Waiver Draft was held October 3. This was the busiest waiver draft in recent memory, with 18 selections and 20 players changing hands. This would also prove to be the last waiver draft. In September, 2004 the NHL locked out its players (again) while a new collective bargaining agreement was negotiated with the NHLPA. The waiver draft was a casualty of those negotiations.

PlayerPicked byPicked fromPlayer dropped
from protected list
Cash or claim?
Round 1
Nolan BaumgartnerPittsburgh PenguinsVancouver Canucks???cash
Travis GreenColumbus Blue JacketsToronto Maple LeafsPetr Tenkratclaim
Wade BrookbankNashville PredatorsOttawa Senators???cash
Serge AubinAtlanta ThrashersColorado Avalanche???cash
Darren LangdonMontreal CanadiensVancouver Canucks???cash
Sheldon KeefeNew York RangersTampa Bay Lightning???cash
Round 2
Chris MasonNashville PredatorsFlorida Panthers???cash
Ronald PetrovickyAtlanta ThrashersNew York Rangers???cash
Steve BeginMontreal CanadiensBuffalo Sabres???cash
Brian WillsieWashington CapitalsColorado Avalanche???cash
Todd SimpsonMighty Ducks of AnaheimPhoenix Coyotes???cash
Jeff HeeremaSt. Louis BluesNew York Rangers???cash
Round 3
Steve ValiquetteFlorida PanthersEdmonton OilersJani Hurmecash
Shawn HeinsAtlanta ThrashersNew York Rangers???cash
Joel BouchardNew York RangersBuffalo Sabres???cash
Denis HamelWashington CapitalsOttawa SenatorsGlen Metropolitclaim
Round 4
Jani HurmeCarolina HurricanesFlorida Panthers???cash
Mike SiklenkaNew York RangersPhiladelphia Flyers???cash

Jani Hurme was a point of contention in this draft. When the Panthers took goalie Steve Valiquette from the Oilers in the third round they had to drop a goalie from their protected list, and they dropped Hurme. The Oilers could have claimed Hurme as compensation for losing Valiquette but chose the cash payment instead. The Sabres, Sharks and Predators passed on their picks and on the Thrashers turn GM Don Waddell called out Hurme's name. This broke two rules. First of all the Panthers had already lost a goalie—they lost Chris Mason to the Predators in the second round—and the maximum number of goalies a team could lose in the draft was only one.

The Panthers could consent to losing another goalie, and they did so with Hurme, however there was the second rule being broken in this case. It was a rather arcane interpretation of the rule about claiming a player dropped by another club. The rule, as written in the NHL By-laws, reads:

20.9 The club from which the draft claim was made shall have the option, exercisable immediately, of accepting the cash payment as outlined in subsection 20.11 below, or requesting that the player or goalkeeper removed by the claiming club be transferred immediately to its Reserve List and, if it so desires, to its Protected List. If the Club elects to add such player or goalkeeper to its Protected List, it must simultaneously drop a player from said list. If the player or goalkeeper is merely transferred to the Club's Reserve List, but not placed on its Protected List, he shall remain available for regular draft claim until so claimed by any Member Club, including the Club exercising this right to transfer, in proper sequence, except that he shall not be available to be claimed by any playoff club until all non-playoff clubs have had an opportunity to claim him. The foregoing option shall not be affected by the number of draft claims which have been made against the claiming club.

The league interpreted this rule to mean that Hurme had to be offered to all other non-playoff clubs first. If Hurme went unclaimed until the Thrashers turn in the following round then they were free to claim him. Unfortunately for the Thrashers the last-place Hurricanes beat them to the punch, taking Hurme with the first pick in the fourth round.

After the draft was concluded the Hurricanes traded Hurme to the Thrashers for a fourth round pick in 2004 (Brett Carson).

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