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08-01-2009, 01:07 PM
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3. Free Agency

3.1 General
  1. What are the types of Free Agents? [CBA Section 10.1 and 10.2]
    -- Unrestricted Free Agents:
    Group 3 UFA: Most common form of UFA. Following the 2008-2009 season and for the remainder of the CBA the following criteria are applied. (1) Player must be of age 27 or older as of June 30, or (2) have 7 Accrued Seasons* in the NHL. [CBA Section 10.1(a)]
    * See definition for Accrued Season, also players that earned an Accrued Season in 2003-2004 were given credit for an Accrued Season during the 2004-2005 lockout.

    Group 5 UFA: Players that have completed 10 or more professional seasons (includes minor leagues, but not Major Juniors) and earned less than the Average League Salary in their final season. One-time during their career after their current SPC expires that player can elect to become a Group 5 UFA. [CBA Section 10.1(b)]
    * With the reduction of the Group 3 UFA age from 31 to 27 over the course of the current CBA, Group 5 UFA's have been effectively eliminated since any player with 10 seasons of pro experience would meet the Group 3 age requirements.

    Group 6 UFA: Players age 25 or older with (1) 3+ professional seasons, and (2) played less than 80 NHL career games for skaters, or 28 NHL games for goalies (30 minute minimum/game). [CBA Section 10.1(c)]

    -- Restricted Free Agents
    Group 2 RFA: Most common form of RFA. Any player that has (1) fulfilled* their Entry Level Contract, and (2) does not qualify to be a UFA or Group 4 RFA. [CBA Section 10.2(a)]
    * Players in the Entry Level System (rookie contracts) are classified as Group 1 players and are subject to the Entry Level System for 1-3 years based on signing age [CBA Section 9.1]. The mandatory rookie ELC is of identical length to that 1-3 year requirement, so players completing their ELC's should also have completed their Entry Level System requirement. It is theoretically possible that a player could somehow have an ELC terminated or not fulfill it in some way that resulted in the player remaining in the Entry Level System for a second contract though I'm not aware of any incidences of that happening.

    Group 4 RFA: Also called "Defected Player". Players that either (1) have not fulfilled their most recent SPC and have signed with an unaffiliated hockey club, or (2) have never signed an NHL contract, but had their draft rights held by a team and also signed with an unaffiliated hockey club. [CBA Section 10.2(b)]
    * In practice, unaffiliated hockey clubs are members of leagues that do not have transfer agreements in place with the NHL. This currently includes most (all?) of the European professional leagues. There are a lot of additional technical details in the CBA 10.2(b) section on Group 4 classification.

Last edited by mouser: 09-27-2009 at 10:14 AM.
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