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Waiver Draft History

The waiver draft took place a week before the start of every regular season from 1977-78 to 2003-04. It was intended to ensure that players with NHL talent stuck on "deep" rosters had every opportunity to earn NHL wages, as opposed to being sent down to minor leagues.

Rules & Format:
- Each team protects 18 skaters and 2 goaltenders.
- Draft order is determined by reverse final standings in preceding season.
- In the first round, only non-playoff teams can make selections and no selections can be made from divisional opponents.
- After making a selection, the team must place claimed player on protected list and expose another player.
- Teams who lose a player may choose compensation in the form of cash or the player exposed by the opposing club.
- Teams can lose no more than 3 players during the draft (2 players in 1998 & 1999 and 1 player in 2000).
- A team's limit on players lost goes up by one for every claim the team makes.
- The draft is complete when a full round passes with no team making a selection.