The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline recently shared that the Columbus Blue Jackets may seek a waiver from the CHL-NHL Agreement for prospects Jordan Dumais and Denton Mateychuk. This waiver would allow for Columbus to send the prospects to the AHL, rather than their respective juniors leagues, if they don’t make the NHL roster. This comes in the wake of Shane Wright (OHL) receiving a waiver and Matthew Savoie (WHL) likely being rejected for one.
While there’s certainly an argument in his favor, the Blue Jackets may struggle to win in favor of Mateychuk, who’s spent part of the last four seasons in the WHL. Players are eligible for AHL, rather than CHL, assignment if they’re 20 years old before December 31st, something that Savoie and Wright miss by just a few days. Mateychuk, on the other hand, misses this mark by over six months, stacking the odds against him. The WHL recently rejected Savoie’s request for this waiver despite him arguably having a better case for the exemption than Shane Wright. This sets a precedent in western Canada that Columbus will have to overcome if they want to send Mateychuk to the AHL.
But while Mateychuk faces an uphill battle, there’s no certainty what Dumais will receive. In a year that’s seen a flurry of AHL waiver requests, nobody has yet to request from the QMJHL. Columbus will now be pulling the third league into the conversation, likely helping their chances at bringing light to the CHL-NHL agreement. Dumais doesn’t turn 20 until April and has played an uninterrupted three years in the QMHL, holding him back from either the age or seasons played requirements that can earn a player AHL eligibility. He likely carries the weakest case of the four players, but there’s no arguing his prowess over the juniors league. Dumais has recorded back-to-back 100-point seasons in the QMJHL, netting a staggering 140 points last year. While points don’t impact the CHL-NHL agreement, they could be a strong variable in the arguments for how Dumais has outgrown the league.
Whether Columbus receives this waiver for either player is yet to be seen. But they become the third NHL team to request something along these lines in just the last month. Regardless of the outcome, their involvement continues to lift up the question of if, and how, the CHL-NHL agreement could be redesigned for the modern hockey landscape.