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Who is eligible to play in Hamilton?
Who is eligible to play in Hamilton?(2012-09-16 20:50 posted by B. La Rose)

One of the more frequent questions popping up as a result of the lockout is who all is eligible to play for Hamilton this year.  For whatever reason, the Habs have yet to issue any sort of press release regarding who actually was sent down there as most teams have already.  So instead, here is a look at who is allowed to suit up for the Bulldogs to kick off their 2012-13 season.

There are several different ways that a player can be eligible to be sent down.  The first, and easiest way, is players who are waiver exempt due to age and their games played in the NHL.  The second is for any player who cleared waivers during the four day period which ended on September 15th.  Some players who normally would require waivers are also eligible to play in the AHL if they were on the Clear Day Roster or finished the season in the AHL.  Finally, players who simply are without NHL contracts at this time could sign an AHL deal as well.  What Habs fall under these categories?

The regularly waiver exempt group is where most players, especially from the Habs who may very well have one of if not the youngest team in the AHL, slide into.  Here are the newcomers and returnees that are in this category:

Newcomers: Nathan Beaulieu, Michael Bournival, Morgan Ellis, Brendan Gallagher, Patrick Holland, Greg Pateryn, Steve Quailer, and Jarred Tinordi.

Returnees: Alexander Avtsin, Alain Berger, Peter Delmas, Gabriel Dumont, Blake Geoffrion, Louis Leblanc, Phillipe Lefebvre, Robert Mayer, Joonas Nattinen, Ian Schultz, and Joe Stejskal.

Over the past few days, well over 100 players passed through the waiver wire to make them eligible.  Montreal only went this route with one player, Michael Blunden.  As he was not on Hamilton's Clear Day Roster and did not finish the year with the Bulldogs, waiving him was the only way that the Habs could send him down.

Several other players normally would require waivers to be sent down but because of the rules the AHL put in place for the lockout, they can avoid the waiver process by signing AHL contracts instead.  These players are: Cedrick Desjardins, Brendon Nash, Aaron Palushaj, and Frederic St. Denis.  If signed, they would join defenceman Kyle Hagel as players on minor league deals.

Lastly, any players who are free agents (either restricted or unrestricted) can sign minor league contracts.  In terms of RFA's, this applies to P.K. Subban although I don't see management approaching him to even consider going that route.  Several of the Habs' UFA's remain unsigned, most of them played for Hamilton in past years.  I think it might be wise for them to consider bringing one or two of those players back although there is no indication that they have any interest in doing so.

So, what might the Bulldogs' opening roster look like?  Assuming Marc Bergevin (or someone in management) filed the proper paperwork with the NHL and AHL, here is how the roster looks at the moment:

Forwards Defencemen
Alexander Avtsin Nathan Beaulieu
Alain Berger Morgan Ellis
Michael Blunden Kyle Hagel
Michael Bournival Brendon Nash
Gabriel Dumont Greg Pateryn
Brendan Gallagher Frederic St. Denis
Blake Geoffrion Joe Stejskal
Patrick Holland Jarred Tinordi
Louis Leblanc  
Phillipe Lefebvre  
Joonas Nattinen Goaltenders
Aaron Palushaj Peter Delmas
Steve Quailer Cedrick Desjardins
Ian Schultz Robert Mayer

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- HW Forums - 2012 Bulldogs Offseason Tracker
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