Thursday, January 17, 2008

IIHF and NHL reach deal on junior Europeans

From TSN:

Following the five hour meeting with representatives of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden, both sides agreed that a player who is still under contract with an IIHF team and has not reached his 20th birthday must be first offered back to his team in Europe. The new proposal sees the age limit increased by two years.

This provision does not affect players who where selected in the first round of the NHL draft.

Putting this in concrete terms, let's say that the Thrashers wanted to sign Niklas Lucenius last summer right after drafting him. If I'm reading this story correctly, under this new rule, the Thrashers wouldn't be able to sign him until he was 20, because he had a contract with Tampare already.

Thinking about it for a minute, I'm not sure this rule is going far enough. Rarely are Europeans signed before they are 20 anyway, unless they're first rounders, and they are excluded. This would only effect a handful of guys (an example I can think of would have been Viktor Dovgan -- well, assuming the Russians were in). Setting the age at 22 would seem to do a lot more. But then you have the awkwardness of the CBA mandating that you sign a guy by the two-year June 1 deadline past drafting, but you can't actually use him for another couple more. Real change to this rule is probably going to have to go hand in hand with some CBA massaging.

1 comment:

Gwigolith said...

I think what "must be first offered back to his team in Europe" means is that the NHL team will not be allowed to send the player to the AHL (for example) without first offering the european team to "get the player back".

The NHL teams will be able to sign players before they turn 20, though...