The Hurricanes made their first round of roster cuts this afternoon by sending forwards Riley Nash and Jeremy Welsh to the club's AHL affiliate in Charlotte. Nash was a long-shot to make the team, but many expected Welsh to get a look at the third line center spot. He is going to have to wait until later in the season to get his shot there now. Some may say that neither player was given much of a chance since they were sent down three days in, but the Checkers were in need of at least two forwards for their game on Wednesday and training camp is only a week long to begin with.
One of the reasons why Nash and Welsh in particular were sent down is because neither player has to be exposed to waivers before returning to the AHL, as they haven't been under an NHL contract for enough years. Once a player is placed on waivers, any other team can put a claim on him and add him to their roster. Waivers are put into place to give everyone a chance at playing in the NHL and to prevent teams from stockpiling talent at the lower levels. Sometimes teams can find hidden gems on the waiver wire like the New York Islanders did with Michael Grabner a couple years ago, but most of the time, players on waivers aren't anything terribly valuable to an NHL club. They are a good low-risk option for teams looking for cheap talent, though.
A player's waiver eligibility relates to how many years he is under an NHL contract and how many games he played, and both Nash and Welsh fit the guidelines to be waiver exempt. In other words, it was easier for the Hurricanes to send down these two because they can be called up and sent down at anytime without much risk. Unfortunately, this isn't the case with almost everyone else the Hurricanes called up from Charlotte, as the Canes could risk losing a key player from the Checkers for nothing if they decide to send them down to the AHL before the season. With only 23 roster spots available and 26 bodies in camp, they are almost certainly going to have to take this risk.
After the jump, we will go over which players in the Hurricanes camp are waiver eligible and how likely it is that they might be claimed by another team.