A few days ago, Nathan Bastian was placed on waivers by the Seattle Kraken. The 41st overall pick in 2016 is seemingly a replacement-level player at the NHL level but with the New York Islanders going through a COVID outbreak and needing bodies, it would have been interesting to see the Isles pick him up for free.
As we know, the New Jersey Devils eventually brought him back after claiming him off the waiver wire. Which is pretty funny. Bastian was the Kraken's pick at the expansion draft from the Devils. So New Jersey, effectively gave up nothing at the expansion draft by reclaiming Bastian.
Could the Islanders have laid a claim on Bastian? They didn't and to know why we have to look at the waiver order rules.
New York Islanders: Understanding waiver wire order rules
You may already know about the waiver wire order, but you might not know how it's made up. Maybe you don't know either. So let's talk about it here.
When players are sent down from the NHL to the AHL they have to pass through waivers*. It gives every other NHL team a chance to claim the player and add them to their club for free. Waivers effectively give NHL players protection from clubs sending anyone down for any reason whenever they want to.
*Of course there are exceptions. You can find out who is waiver exempt here with CapFriendly's FAQ.
If only one team makes a claim on a player the order doesn't matter. The only team making a claim gets the player. But if more than one club makes a claim, the team with the higher waiver rank gets him. So how is the waiver rank determined? First, It depends on what day it is, and second, league rankings matter.
There are two dates to remember when it comes to the waiver order; October 31st and earlier and then November 1st or later.
October 31st and earlier: The waiver order here is a reverse order on the final rankings from the previous regular season. So, if, for example, the Islanders were to make a claim on a player on October 31, 2021, or earlier, the Isles would rank 20th. So there's a good chance the Islanders wouldn't get the player if they made a claim before November 1st.
November 1st or later: But on November 1st things change when it comes to the waiver order. Instead of being a reverse order of the previous seasons rankings, the waiver order is a reverse order of the currents seasons ranking based on points percentage.
(See the NHL CBA section 13.9)
So, if the Islanders were to make a claim for Bastian on November 24, 2021 (the day he was waived) they would rank fourth. So, if the Isles and Devils both made a claim the Isles would get him for having the lower rank. So that's how we know the Islanders didn't make a claim for Bastain.
Not that it matters per see. I'm using the Bastian waive to talk about waivers and waiver orders. So now we all know.