Fun With the CBA! The Signing Eligibility of Canucks Invitees

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Image Courtesy: Vancouver Canucks twitter (@Canucks)

Another Young Stars tournament is in the books, and once again Vancouver fans are clamouring for the Canucks to sign some of the young unaffiliated prospects that received invitations to the showcase. However, given the age of the invitees and that, by definition, none of them were drafted, that’s not always as easy as it appears.

Over the past couple of years, whenever some convoluted CBA rules come up, I’ve jumped in head first attempting to untangle the mumbo jumbo. This time, I’ll be sorting out the rules for the signing eligibility of the Canucks’ Young Stars invitees.

First, a quick lesson from the past. Last year at about this time, it seemed that all of B.C. was fawning over 2015 Penticton invitee Rodrigo Abols. The young Latvian had shown well at the tournament and many a fan wanted him under contract – until GM Jim Benning broke the news that it wasn’t a possibility.

I investigated further and found the main issue to be where Abols had spent his previous season – in the MHL and KHL. In order to be eligible to sign a contract, Abols would have to be ineligible for the following draft, or he would have had to have spent the prior season in North America. Neither of these options were fulfilled and Abols was allowed to re-enter the draft in 2016. The Canucks ended up taking him 184th overall, which is a twist of irony, since he could have been signed to a contract immediately following the draft, allowing the Canucks to draft a younger player instead. C’est la vie.

This season, there are no such cases. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, or perhaps it was to intentionally avoid any confusion, but every one of this year’s invites had spent the prior season (and every other year of their lives) in North America. The Canucks invited a total of eight unaffiliated players to Penticton, all of whom had hopes of earning a contract with a pro hockey team.

These players fall roughly into two separate categories, which we’ll call Draft Eligible and non-Draft Eligible. I can tell you right off the hop that all eight of them are eligible to be signed – subject to certain restrictions. We’ll explore the reasons and restrictions as we move along. Let’s start with the easier group – those who are not draft eligible in 2017.

Non-Draft Eligible

Six of the eight invitees fall under this category, although they are still comprised of various ages. The gist is this: players who are not eligible for any future Entry Drafts and are not on the reserve lists of any other teams are now unrestricted free agents, in accordance with CBA Section 10.1(d)(i).

Draft-Related UFAs Part 1

As a draft-related unrestricted free agent, that player is free to negotiate a standard player agreement with any team, in accordance with CBA Section 10.1(d)(ii).

Furthermore, as professional rookies, they are required to enter into the league via the Entry Level System. Contract lengths are to be determined by First SPC Signing Age, in accordance with the chart laid out in CBA Section 9.1(b).

First SPC Signing AGe

Just to make matters even more confusing, age is determined differently in Section 8 (Entry Drafts) than it is in Section 9 (Entry Level Compensation). I’ll lay there the two options out below, but feel free to skip past it if you’re sick of reading the legalese already, as I’ve made up a handy chart further down.

Section 8 (Entry Drafts)

Section 8 Age

Section 9 (Entry Level Compensation)

Section 9 Age

As promised, here is a chart of the ages, according to both Sections 8 and 9, of the six players that are part of this group:

Player

Section 8

(Draft) Age

Section 9

(ELC) Age

Tyler Coulter (LW)

20

20

Alexis D’Aoust (RW)

20

20

Danny Moynihan (LW)

21

20

Marc-Olivier Roy (C)

22

21

Curtis Valk (C)

N/A

23

Rylan Parenteau (G)

20

19

Since the CBA is constantly referring to other parts of itself, we have to quickly check the draft eligibility section to make sure that none of these players are eligible for the Draft next year. This eligibility is laid out in CBA Section 8.4:

Eligibility for Claim

Since the above Draft-related ages refer to the 2016 Entry Draft, we’ll simply add a year to each age to determine the players’ eligibility for the 2017 Entry Draft. As Coulter, D’Aoust, and Parenteau will be considered age-21 players, and each of them has already played in North America, they will be ineligible according to CBA Section 8.4(a)(iv). Likewise, Moynihan will be age-22, and Curtis Valk has already been ineligible for a couple of years, meaning that all five are eligible to enter free agency pursuant to Article 10.1(d) (see above).

That leaves only Marco Roy, the currently 21-year old centre who has been drafted once before, by the Edmonton Oilers. Roy was drafted as an 18-year old in 2013, taking in the 2nd round (56th overall). Pass it to Bulis did a great job of outlining why the Oilers soured on Roy (it had a lot to do with injuries), and neglected to sign him by the June 1st, 2015 deadline, which allowed him to re-enter the 2015 draft. Roy slipped through and spent last season with the Bakersfield Condors on an AHL deal. Having not been selected following his re-entry, Roy is now a free agent.

Five of the six players on this list (Coulter, D’Aoust, Parenteau, Moynihan, and Roy) would be eligible for three year contracts, as all of their First SPC Signing Ages would be between 19 and 21. Valk, however, is 23, and thus would be eligible for a two-year Entry Level contract instead. Valk has been playing in Utica and Kalamazoo the last couple of years on AHL deals, but has been so impressive at three straight Young Stars tournaments, as well as in brief stints in the AHL, that’s he’s probably earned an NHL deal.

Draft Eligible

The fact that the remaining two invitees are draft eligible next year complicates matters a little bit, but there are still workarounds available – there are just stricter time limits involved. Here’s another chart presenting the ages of the prospects:

Player

Section 8

(Draft) Age

Section 9

(ELC) Age

Olivier Galipeau (D)

19

19

Kyle Maksimovich (LW)

18

18

Adding a year to each age, at the time of the 2017 Entry Draft, Galipeau and Maksimovich will be age-20 and age-19, respectively, according to the relevant section of the CBA. That means that each will be eligible for the 2017 draft, and there’s simply no way around that.

However, that doesn’t preclude them from being available now, assuming the Canucks act fairly quickly – their availability is tied to a window. The pertinent information resides in the second statement of CBA Section 10.1(d)(i):

Draft-Related UFAs Part 2

This section allows players who were eligible for claim at the previous draft, but went unclaimed, to briefly become unrestricted free agents, pursuant to the restrictions described in CBA Section 8.9(b). 8.9 sets out which players are eligible to play in the NHL, with (a) being drafted players, or (b) being eligible but unclaimed players, along with some further stipulations. 8.9(b)(ii) contains the stipulations that pertain to our case.

Eligibility to play in the league (Blurred)

18-19 UFA Window

Now that we’ve waded through all of that, we have some answers. Maksimovich and Galipeau, both of whom were under age-20 in their previous seasons, were free to negotiate an SPC with any team between the 2016 Entry Draft and the beginning of the Major Junior season. Since the QMJHL season begins tomorrow, and the OHL season gets underway today, that ship has pretty much sailed for Galipeau and Maksimovich. However, the Canucks need only to have them sign a try-out form, which they can do when they invite them to main camp this week. At that point, the prospects’ free agency windows extend until the beginning of the NHL season on October 12th, giving them plenty of time to make a decision.

In terms of Entry Level Contracts, both Galipeau and Maksimovich would be entitled to three-year deals, up to a maximum of $925,000.

There you have it. Eight players, all eligible for contracts. Of course, the Canucks only have so many contract spots available, and it’s not likely that everybody earned one. Now that we know that the contracts are allowed, I’ll leave it up to Jackson to tell you which of the invitees he thinks should get a chance to join Vancouver’s system (coming soon).


More Fun with the CBA!

Thatcher Demko and ELC Performance Bonuses

Fun With the Salary Cap (Ryan Biech, featuring myself and Petbugs)

Why the Canucks Can’t Sign Rodrigo Abols

Adventures in Waiver Exemption