Last week a twitter interaction between Dustin Leed, Kurt from Broad Street Hockey, and Tyler Altemose brought to light that newly signed Flyer Michael Raffl is signed to a one-year contract, despite some sources indicating the deal was for three years. This prompted me to write my first CBA Explained article in over two months.
So let’s quickly touch on what makes a player eligible for the draft, and then what are the restrictions around signing players that are not drafted.
From section 8.4 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA):
“8.4 Eligibility for Claim.
(a) All Players age 18 or older are eligible for claim in the Entry Draft, except:
(i) a Player on the Reserve List of a Club, other than as a try-out;
(ii) a Player who has been claimed in two prior Entry Drafts;
(iii) a Player who previously played in the League and became a Free Agentpursuant to this Agreement;
(iv) a Player age 21 or older who: (A) has not been selected in a previousEntry Draft and (B) played hockey for at least one season in NorthAmerica when he was age 18, 19, or 20 and shall be eligible to enter theLeague as an Unrestricted Free Agent pursuant to Article 10.1(d); and
(v) a Player age 22 or older who has not been selected in a previous entry Draft and shall be eligible to enter the League as an Unrestricted Free Agent pursuant to Article 10.1(d).”
That last part is what applies to Raffl. Now looking at Article 10.1(d):
“(d) Draft-Related Unrestricted Free Agents.
(i) Any Player not eligible for claim in any future Entry Draft pursuant to this Agreement and not on a Club’s Reserve List shall be an Unrestricted Free Agent. Further, any Player eligible for claim in the Entry Draft, but who was unclaimed, shall be an Unrestricted Free Agent subject to the provisions of Section 8.9(b).
(ii) Each Player referred to in subsection (d)(i) above shall, during the period of his Free Agency in accordance with Section 8.9(b), if applicable, be completely free to negotiate and sign an SPC with any Club, and any Club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign an SPC with such Player,without penalty or restriction subject to the provisions of Article 9 of this Agreement, if applicable, and without being subject to any Right of First Refusal, Draft Choice Compensation or any other compensation or equalization obligation of any kind.”
That is essentially saying…”if you aren’t eligible for any future drafts, you are a free agent. So abide by the free agent rules in Article 9.”
Which takes us to Section 9.1 “Applicability and Duration” which sets the standards for entry-level compensation length.
Raffl is 24 years old–the date that determines age is September 15 of the year in which the contract is signed–so he can only sign a one-year entry-level contract.