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Anton Klementyev Could Be Yours for $125: How Unconditional Waivers Work

You were just ... a face in the crowd. (But not this crowd.)
You were just ... a face in the crowd. (But not this crowd.)

And so we come to the end of the Anton Klementyev saga -- which in the spectrum of NHL sagas, would probably air on one of those cable channels you don't want but are forced to have as part of the Sports Choice Plus Extra Minutia package.

The Islanders suspended Klementyev after he refused a loan to the ECHL for a dose of more playing time. (That's the kind of loan Benn Olson accepted without incident.) Klementyev fled home, somewhat understandably given his rank and the bigger-than-hockey tragedy that befell his old KHL team.

Today the Islanders placed Klementyev on unconditional waivers. Which means he could be yours* for $125.

*If you're an NHL GM, that** is.

**And if you're foolish. Which is sometimes one in the same.

CBA Diving

Unconditional Waivers is a special kind of waivers, but really all it means is you want to be done with the player. From the CBA glossary:

"Unconditional Waivers" means the process by which the rights to a Player are offered to all other Clubs, without a right of recall at a Waiver price of one hundred and twenty-five dollars ($125) prior to a Club exercising its right to terminate a Player's SPC pursuant to Article 13 of this Agreement and Paragraph 13(a) of the SPC.

Wait, you can just up and terminate a guy at any time? And some other team can de-terminate that contract for the cool price of two arena beers or $125?

No, not quite. Generally unconditional waivers is the step before buying out a player's contract, which cannot happen in-season.

But things are different when a player misbehaves. Then you can terminate, without buying him out -- and once you give notice, you can stop paying the man. From the standard player contract:

Clause 14. The Club may also terminate this SPC upon written notice to the Player (but only after obtaining Waivers from all other Clubs) if the Player shall at anytime:

(a) fail, refuse, or neglect to obey the Club's rules governing training and conduct of Players, if such failure, refusal or neglect should constitute a material breach of this SPC.

(b) fail, refuse or neglect to render his services hereunder or in any other manner materially breach this SPC.

In the event of termination under subsection (a) or (b) the Player shall only be entitled to compensation due to him to the earlier of the date such notice is delivered to him or the date of the mailing of such notice to his address as set out below his signature hereto.

I can't even recall a case under this CBA when a team has tried option (a) -- you're asking for a fight with the NHLPA if you try to say a guy has refused club rules on training or conduct so severely that you think you can cut up his contract. There were rumors that the Dallas Stars were mulling that when Sean Avery pulled one of his countless, "Hey everyone, look at me!" stunts, but there was no way they'd get away with that sloppy argument, not even for a second.

But when a player goes AWOL -- so much that he even signs a contract with a Russian team, as Klementyev has -- well then there's nothing to dispute. Terminate away.

An obscure fifth-round (122nd) pick in 2009, Klementyev was always a long shot. Now he's gone. He'll always have March 27, 2010 though. For that one night -- 8 shifts, 6:20 TOI -- Klementyev was an NHLer.