If teams could do that with players under contract that would be a HUGE loophole, so no it doesn't work like that. Any waiver eligible player has to go through that system to be loaned to the AHL i.e. any player that has a contract with the Wings organization, from an entry level contract like Mursak & Emmerton all the way to someone like Homer. If a player is not under contract with an NHL club but is on a prospect invite to training camp, they of course can be sent back to their junior club at any time. A contract with the big club though means you have to be waived to move off of it & that can only be done during the waiver period which is defined as starting 12 days before the start of the season & ends one day after a team's season ends according to the CBA.
You can send anyone down before the season starts
For younger players like Mursak & Emmerton, they may be waiver exempt depending on at what age they signed their entry level contract and/or games played at the NHL level but once their exemption is up, they have to go through the waiver process to be sent i.e. loaned to an AHL affiliate. Mursak & Emmerton are out of waiver exemptions meaning they would have to go through waivers to be sent to Grand Rapids & that can only happen once the waiver period begins which is 9/25 this year I believe. If a team could simply send any player signed to a contract down to the AHL prior to the season, or prior to the waiver period more like it, Kenny would send Emmerton down to Grand Rapids before this Sunday & would be in no danger of losing him at all. By the same token, he would have done the same thing with Ritola previously. Can't be done though according to the CBA. So yeah, if the Wings wanted to send Homer to Grand Rapids to start the season, odds are a team with the cap space & looking for a final and unique piece to round out their team would certainly pick him up.
- 55fan likes this