The NHL is watching!

NHL teams better be careful when they start acquiring injured players, specifically if they intend to put them on the Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR). Why? The NHL is watching.

The franchise sent out a memo to its 32 teams earlier this week, warning them they would ‘closely scrutinize any such transactions’.

They said they had be informed that ‘one or more clubs’ would be considering picking up injured player ‘with the intention of subsequently requesting long-term injury exception’.

That’s for players who were injured prior to the trade taking place.

The NHL has suspicions that there are team that would seek to reactivate those previously injured players in time for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Cheeky huh!?

The Memo

‘It has been brought to our attention that one or more Clubs may be contemplating entering into trades where a Club would acquire an injured Player with the intention of subsequently requesting a Long-Term Injury exception for such acquired Player due to an injury that existed prior to such trade.

‘Please be advised that the League intends to closely scrutinize any such transactions, particularly where: (1) the acquiring Club does not intend to (and/or does not) retain sufficient Payroll Room to activate and place any such acquired injured Player(s) on its Active Roster prior to the conclusion of the Regular Season, and (2) the acquiring Club intends to seek (and/or subsequently seeks) to activate any such Player(s) during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

‘To the extent such scrutiny, and the results of any investigation (if deemed necessary), determines in the opinion of the League Office that such a transaction constitutes a circumvention of the CBA, the League would intend to pursue appropriate penalties and/or remedies as are set forth in CBA Article 26.

‘Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this memorandum.’

NHL commisioner Gary Bettman starts the draft during the first round NHL draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Friday, June, 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

What does it mean?

It’s been a prominent topic affecting injured players and the possibilities surrounding certain players, which we’ll get to.

The NHL’s decision to close the loophole, is their realisation that it was a gaping hole that wasn’t sewn up during the 2021 collective bargaining agreement.

The Toronto Maple Leafs had been able to acquire Riley Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets and they could cover him in bubble wrap until they reached the Playoffs and especially the salary cap disappeared.

Leafs placed him on the LTIR and he was ready for activation during the Playoffs.

Players affected?

Adam Henrique

Anaheim Ducks’ Adam Henrique, left, and Kevin Shattenkirk celebrate Henrique’s goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 19, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Anaheim Ducks Center had been placed on the Injured Reserve since February 23 with a lower-back injury.

The Carolina Hurricanes are one of the teams understood to be interested in him but at the time of writing, there is no further information to support this.

The Canes have made the Playoffs every year since 2019 but dropped out.

Henrique is currently first in the Ducks on shooting percentage (15.6%), second for goal-scoring (19), just behind Trevor Zegras and fifth in the team for Points (33).

Gustav Nyquist

December 16, 2021, EDMONTON, AB, CANADA: Columbus Blue Jackets’ Gustav Nyquist (14) and Edmonton Oilers’ Derek Ryan (10) battle for the puck during first period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday, December 16, 2021. (Credit Image: © Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via ZUMA Press)

Nyquist was successfully traded to the Minnesota Wild this Tuesday from the Columbus Blue Jackets although he’s currently on IR.

The Forward has been off the ice with an Upper Body Injury since January 27th.

The Wild be looking to improve on their previous knockouts at the First Round of the Playoffs in consecutive years since 2020.

When asked about the news of his trade to the Wild, he said, ‘This was a bit of an odd one. You don’t see it all the time.’

Sean Monahan

Another player which could be affected by this is Sean Monahan.

The Montreal Canadiens Center has been reportedly linked with trades to the Colorado Avalanche, Seattle Kraken and even the Winnipeg Jets. He’s been out of action with a Lower Body Injury since December 7th.

Monahan has only played 25 games so far, racked up 17 points and 6 goals with 55 Shots on goal. His stats are not high as his peers like Nick Suzuki or Cole Caulfield.

Will the teams heed the warnings? Will they go ahead anyway? Will the bubble-wrap come out for the injured players on the LTIR?

Posted on: 02 Mar 2023