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FYI: NHL Rule on Veteran Minimum for Preseason Games

Preseason: A world in which Ryan Pulock is a veteran, and Joe Finley is not.

A veteran, for the moment.
A veteran, for the moment.

I have noticed some confusion (and encountered my own) over the actual rule about how many NHL "veterans" must participate in any preseason game, so I thought I'd share the rule as stated in the 2013 CBA.

The rule exists to keep teams from sending a squad of scrubs to play for paying fans who bought tickets with the expectation that an NHL team show up as billed. With the number of split-squad games teams schedule these days, that's a real concern.

For Islanders fans like the predominant readers here (those who aren't here for the Magic: The Gathering), this rule affects interpretation of the lineups chosen for the preseason opening split-squad against Calgary (one game in Calgary, one game in Regina), as well as the final date of the preseason, where the Islanders, such as they are billed, will play the Senators in Ottawa and Barrie on Sunday, Sept. 29.

The official verbiage in the CBA:

15.4 Exhibition Games.

(c) A Club shall be permitted to dress a minimum of eight (8) veterans for any Exhibition Game. For purposes of this Section 15.4(c), a veteran shall constitute either:

(1) a forward or defenseman who played in thirty (30) NHL Games during the previous season,

(2) a goaltender who either dressed in fifty (50) or more NHL Games or played in thirty (30) or more NHL Games in the previous season,

(3) a first round draft choice from the most recent year's Entry Draft, or

(4) any Player who has played one-hundred (100) or more career NHL Games.

For the present 2013 Islanders training camp, that means:

  • Ryan Pulock counts as a "veteran" under rule (3)
  • but Griffin Reinhart does not (even if he's the bigger name, he was drafted two drafts ago)
  • Thomas Hickey counts under rule (1) (He played 39 games last season)
  • Joe Finley doesn't (even if they pro-rated for the lockout, his 16 games in 2013 wouldn't be enough)
  • Kevin Poulin...might? (He didn't dress for 50 games last season, but there were only 48 total. Prorated, his 30 games dressed would be roughly 51 games in a normal season.)
  • Brian (He played 19 games, which prorated for the lockout would be roughly 32. Shouldn't that count?)

As always, the lockout muddies things like a late-night waiver calculation. But now you have the rules. And now you know why the rosters next Sunday will not be clearly divided into an NHL and AHL roster, even though that's the last preseason date before the Islanders' season begins.

The Isles and Sens' decision to schedule split-squad games so late in the preseason is an odd one. Perhaps on the bright side, all the NHL regulars should get decent ice time in their final tune-up before the real games start and the triple-enforcer threats end.

Other Obscure Exhibition Game Rules

For the hell of it, some other regulations you might not have known about preseason:

15.4 (a) No Player shall participate in an Exhibition Game which is scheduled during the three (3) days of Training Camp or on a date immediately following three (3) consecutive dates in which the Player participated in Exhibition Games during the Training Camp period.

(b) Each Club shall schedule no less than six (6) and no more than eight (8) Exhibition Games during Training Camp.

And this, which harkens to the aborted China attempt of 2010:

15.5 Unless specifically authorized to do so by the NHL/NHLPA International Committee, no Club shall conduct its Training Camp outside of North America.

Oh, and one more, which outlines why teams had rookie camps before the real deal began:

15.3 (a)  The duration of Training Camp for all Players who have qualified during the preceding Regular Season for at least 50 games credit for Pension Plan purposes shall not be more than 20 days, and shall not be more than 27 days for all other Players.

Next time on Know Your CBA: Regulations on the use of kale in training camp meals.