UPDATE: The transactions which are referenced in this article have since disappeared from the AHL transaction list.
George McPhee, appearing on the VGK Insider Show on Fox Sports 1340 flat out denied it ever happened.
Well, there wasn’t a transaction, so I don’t know where that’s coming from. Nothing happened yesterday and nothing has happened today. We’ll see where we are tomorrow but I would expect that he’ll be in the lineup. -McPhee
As you can see from the screenshot above, there were transactions. The only way for a transaction to appear on this page is if this form has been submitted to the NHL offices. Why the transaction was there and has since disappeared, I do not know.
Following the game, I asked Gerard Gallant about the transactions…
Can you offer any clarity to the Brandon Pirri situation that occured this afternoon? -SinBin.vegas
I worry about playing the players and transactions work themselves out. He’s on my roster, I’m playing him. -Gallant
We are going to continue to dig on this to see what else we can find.
Before tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks, the Golden Knights sent Brandon Pirri to the AHL and then recalled him within two hours. All along he remained in Las Vegas and eventually played in the night’s game.
The question is, why?
There were speculations of trades, belief that salary cap was involved, even the Chicago Wolves schedule came up as a point of conversation. But all along the transaction was simply made to exploit a tiny rule in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that effectively resets the waiver clock for Pirri.
Let’s start with the original rule that has been at the center of the Pirri waiver situation. First, here’s the actual rule from the CBA.
Subject to the provisions of this Article, the rights to the services of a Player may be Loaned to a club of another league, upon fulfillment of the following conditions, except when elsewhere expressly prohibited:
(a) Regular Waivers were requested and cleared during the Playing Season Waiver Period; and
(b) the Player has not played in ten (10) or more NHL Games cumulative since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared, and more than thirty (30) days cumulative on an NHL roster have not passed since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared. -NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement
What that says is if a player has cleared waivers, which Pirri did on 10/4/18, he can be recalled and play in up to nine games OR be on active roster for up to 29 days without having to once again re-clear waivers.
Brandon Pirri was recalled to the Golden Knights on 12/18/18. Prior to tonight has played in eight games since being recalled. He’s been the on the roster 19 days.
Thus, if he played in two more games OR was on the active roster for 11 more days he would once again be subject to waivers in the event the Golden Knights wanted to send him down to the AHL.
That brings us today. Due to injuries and illness, the Golden Knights only had 12 active and available forwards on the roster with Pirri. Reilly Smith, William Carrier, Erik Haula, and eventually we learned Cody Eakin, were all unavailable to play in tonight’s game. Thus, without Pirri, the Golden Knights would only have 11 available forwards.
Enter a different CBA provision called “the emergency recall.”
(ii) is Recalled from a minor league club on emergency Recall and plays in ten (10) NHL Games (cumulative) while on emergency Recall. For purposes of clarity, games played while on regular Recall shall not count towards the ten (10) NHL Games in this subsection (ii).-NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement
Since the Golden Knights only had 11 forwards without Pirri, they were officially in an emergency situation. So, they returned Pirri to the AHL, stopped the non-emergency clock at eight games, recalled him under the emergency recall, and now have a brand new clock.
Thus, Pirri played tonight as game one on his emergency recall. So, as long as Eakin, Smith, Carrier, and Haula ALL remain unavailable to play, Pirri will remain playing on the emergency clock. The moment one of those four is available, the Golden Knights will have to immediately return Pirri to the AHL, stopping the emergency clock. If they want to recall him again, they will restart the non-emergency clock which sits at eight games and 19 days.
Emergency Clock – 1 game, 1 day
Non-Emergency Clock – 8 games, 19 days
So, there you have it. That’s why it happened, and why George McPhee is smarter than you, and me, and probably the rest of the NHL (at least for a few hours until I figured it out.)