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What is a reserve list?

An NHL team's reserve list is comprised of any player who's signing rights they hold. This includes unsigned draft choices, all players signed to a Standard Player Contract (SPC), and all players signed to an SPC while playing in a junior league.
Each club can have a maximum of 90 players on their reserve list.

What is a Bona-Fide Offer?

A Bona Fide Offer is the offer of a standard players contract that meets the entry-level contract requirements as specified in the NHL CBA. The contract must meet the minimum salary requirements, must be the appropriate ELC length, and must remain open to the player for at minimum 30 days following the offer. [CBA 8.6 (e)].

How is age defined for drafted players?

A player’s age is defined as the following:
  • Age 18: The player reaches the age 18 between January 1 preceding the entry draft and no later than September 15 following the entry draft
  • Age 19: The player reaches the age 19 no later than December 31 on the year of the entry draft
  • Age 20: The player reached the age 20 no later than December 31 on the year of the entry draft
  • Age 21: The player reaches the age 21 no later than December 31 of the year of the entry draft
  • Age 22: The player reaches the age 22 no later than December 31 of the year of the entry draft

What are the exclusive signing rights for North American Drafted Players?

DRAFT AGEADDITIONAL DETAILSBONA-FIDE OFFEREXCLUSIVE RIGHTS RETAINEDSOURCE
All-No Bona-Fide Offer madeOne year: June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draftCBA 8.6 (a) (i)
CBA 8.6 (a) (ii)
All-Bona-Fide Offer madeTwo Years: Second June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draftCBA 8.6 (a) (i)
CBA 8.6 (a) (ii)
18Player leaves junior in the first year following the draftNot requiredFour years: Fourth June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draftCBA 8.6 (b) (i)
18Player leaves junior in the second year following the draftBona-Fide Offer made prior to initial rights expiryFour years: Fourth June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draftCBA 8.6 (b) (i)
19Player leaves junior in the first year following the draftNot requiredThree years: Third June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draftCBA 8.6 (b) (ii)
19Player leaves junior in the first year following the draftBona-Fide Offer made prior to initial rights expiry on the third yearFour years: Fourth June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draftCBA 8.6 (b) (ii)
Initially 20
Re-enters draft at 22
-Not requiredOne year: June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s re-entry draftCBA 8.6 (a) (iii)

What are the exclusive signing rights for College Drafted Players?

A player is considered a college-drafted player if:
  1. The player is a college student at the time of the draft, or
  2. The player enrols into college prior to June 1 of the year following their selection (roughly a year after the draft)
DRAFT AGEGRADUATION DETAILSADDITIONAL DETAILSBONA-FIDE OFFEREXCLUSIVE RIGHTS RETAINEDSOURCE
18 or 19Graduates-Not requiredAugust 15 at 5pm ET following the year the player graduates (usually 4 years)CBA 8.6 (c) (i)
18 or 19Does not graduatePlayer gives notice that they are no longer a student:
  1. Prior to January 1 of their 4th year of NCAA eligiblity, or
  2. Prior to January 1 of their 4th year of college on the year they were scheduled to graduate
Not requiredThe later of:
  1. Fourth June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draft
  2. 30 days after NHL Central Registry receives official notice he is no longer a student
CBA 8.6 (c) (ii)
18 or 19Does not graduatePlayer gives notice that they are no longer a student:
  1. On or after January 1 of their 4th year of NCAA eligiblity, or
  2. On or after January 1 of their 4th year of college on the year they were scheduled to graduate
Not requiredFour years: August 15 at 5pm ETCBA 8.6 (c) (ii)
18 or 19Graduates-Bona-Fide Offer madeAugust 15 at 5pm ET following the year the player graduates CBA 8.6 (c) (iii)
18 or 19Does not graduatePlayer gives notice that they are no longer a student:
  1. Prior to January 1 of their 4th year of NCAA eligiblity, or
  2. Prior to January 1 of their 4th year of college on the year they were scheduled to graduate
Bona-Fide Offer madeThe later of:
  1. Fourth June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draft
  2. 30 days after NHL Central Registry receives official notice he is no longer a student
CBA 8.6 (c) (iv)
18 or 19Does not graduatePlayer gives notice that they are no longer a student:
  1. On or after January 1 of their 4th year of NCAA eligiblity, or
  2. On or after January 1 of their 4th year of college on the year they were scheduled to graduate
Bona-Fide Offer madeAugust 15 at 5pm ETCBA 8.6 (c) (iv)
20 or olderDoes not graduate-Bona-Fide Offer madeAugust 15 at 5pm ET following the year the player graduates CBA 8.6 (c) (v)
20 or olderDoes not graduatePlayer gives notice that they are no longer a student:
  1. Prior to January 1 of their 4th year of NCAA eligiblity, or
  2. Prior to January 1 of their 4th year of college on the year they were scheduled to graduate
Not requiredThe later of:
  1. Two Years: Second June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draft
  2. 30 days after NHL Central Registry receives official notice he is no longer a student
CBA 8.6 (c) (v)
20 or olderDoes not graduatePlayer gives notice that they are no longer a student:
  1. On or after January 1 of their 4th year of NCAA eligiblity, or
  2. On or after January 1 of their 4th year of college on the year they were scheduled to graduate
Not requiredAugust 15 at 5pm ETCBA 8.6 (c) (v)

What are the exclusive signing rights for Non-North American Drafted Players [Leagues with NHL Transfer Agreement]?

Example leagues with NHL transfer agreements:
  • SHL (Sweden)
  • Liiga (Finland)
DRAFT AGEBONA-FIDE OFFEREXCLUSIVE RIGHTS RETAINEDSOURCE
18 or 19Not requiredFour Years: Fourth June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draftCBA 8.6 (d) (i)
20 or olderNot requiredTwo Years: Second June 1 at 5pm ET following the player’s entry draftCBA 8.6 (d) (ii)

What are the exclusive signing rights for Non-North American Drafted Players [Leagues with No NHL Transfer Agreement]?

Example leagues with no existing NHL transfer agreement are:
  • KHL
  • NLA/NLB (Switzerland)
DRAFT AGEBONA-FIDE OFFEREXCLUSIVE RIGHTS RETAINEDSOURCE
18 or 19Not requiredIndefinitely
20 or olderNot requiredIndefinitely
Additional Details:
  • The NHL club must tag the player as “Defected” and place them on their 90 player reserve list.
  • If the player moves to a league that the NHL does have a Transfer Agreement with, at that moment the Club must sign the Player or lose its exclusive rights to negotiate.
  • The player becomes a UFA once their contract signing age is 27 (age 27 on June 30 of the year preceding the first year of their contract).