Redditor/Bruins fan Crazy Canucklehead posted this on the Bruins subreddit the other day and I felt it was to good to not share. With his permission (right NESN?!), here is his post, uncut.
Smith and Krug are interesting cases. They’re considered RFA’s, but don’t have any of the benefits that RFA’s have (No arbitration or the ability to sign offer sheets). It all comes down to how many games they have played, and how many games they played each year under their ELC (Entry level contract).
I did some searching in the most recent CBA to get verbatim what rule describes their state right now.
Rule 9.1 d
(d) (i) In the event that an 18 year old or 19 year old Player signs an SPC with a Club but does not play at least ten (10) NHL Games in the first season under that SPC, the term of his SPC and his number of years in the Entry Level System shall be extended for a period of one (1) year, except that this automatic extension will not apply to a Player who is 19 according to Section 9.2 by virtue of turning 20 between September 16 and December 31 in the year in which he first signs an SPC. Unless a Player and Club expressly agree to the contrary, in the event a Player’s SPC is extended an additional year in accordance with this subsection, all terms of the SPC, with the exception of Signing Bonuses, but including Paragraph 1 Salary, games played bonuses and Exhibit 5 bonuses, shall be extended; provided, however, that the Player’s Paragraph 1 Salary shall be extended in all circumstances. 4
(ii) In the event that a Player signs his first SPC at age 18 and has had his SPC extended pursuant to Subsection (i), and such Player does not play at least ten (10) NHL Games in the second season under that SPC, then the term of his SPC and his number of years in the Entry Level System shall be extended for one (1) additional year. Unless a Player and Club expressly agree to the contrary, in the event a Player’s SPC is extended an additional year in accordance with this Subsection, all terms of the SPC, with the exception of Signing Bonuses, but including Paragraph 1 Salary, games played bonuses and Exhibit 5 bonuses, shall be extended; provided, however, that the Player’s Paragraph 1 Salary shall be extended in all circumstances.
And this is the rule pertaining to gaining Restricted Free Agency:
10.2 Restricted Free Agents.
(i) (A) Any Player who meets the qualifications set forth in the following chart and: (1) is not a Group 1 Player or a Group 4 Player, and (2) is not an Unrestricted Free Agent, shall be deemed to be a “Group 2 Player” and shall, at the expiration of his SPC, become a Restricted Free Agent. Any such Player shall 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 any such Player, subject to the provisions set forth in this Section. As used in this Section 10.2, “age,” including “First SPC Signing Age” means a Player’s age on September 15 of the calendar year in which he signs an SPC regardless of his actual age on the date he signs such SPC. First SPC Signing Age Eligible for Group 2 Free Agency
18 – 21 3 years professional experience
22 – 23 2 years professional experience
24 or older 1 year professional experience
For the purposes of this Section 10.2(a), a Player aged 18 or 19 earns a year of professional experience by playing ten (10) or more NHL Games in a given NHL Season, and a Player aged 20 or older (or who turns 20 between September 16 and December 31 of the year in which he signs his first SPC) earns a year of professional experience by playing ten (10) or more Professional Games under an SPC in a given League Year.
Bolded years that counted as year of professional experience
|2011 – 12||2(NHL)|
|2012 – 13||1(NHL)+15(Playoffs)+7(AHL) = 23|
|2013 – 14||79(NHL)+12(Playoffs) = 91|
|2011 – 12||3|
|2012 – 13||37(NHL)+45(AHL)+7(Playoffs) =89|
|2013 – 14||82(NHL)+12(Playoffs) = 94|
Basically, according to the NHL CBA since both Krug and Smith were 20 when they signed their ELC, they would need 3 years of professional experience (10 games in 3 seperate years)
However, since they played in at least 1 games in the 3 years, their contracts were started (In Krug’s case, a common thing to do when you’re a Rookie FA, try and get the RFA clock started early, and get some quick money)
They’re basically in limbo now, since they cant sign anywhere else, or go to arbitration.
Basically, if they want to play, they’ll sign. And 23-24 year olds taking a year off as a contractual dispute isnt the best thing for their professional career.