Does anyone know what Peter Schaefer's free agency status will be after the season? According to nhl.com, UFA's for the 2006-07 season are defined as follows:
"in 2006-07, a player age 29 with four accrued seasons or with eight accrued seasons"
Schaefer will turn 29 in July of 2006, so I presume for free agency purposes he is 28 next year (since the date of record is usually July 1st). Therefore, I don't believe Schaefer would qualify for UFA status under that clause. However, as noted above, a player can become a UFA if he has played 8 accrued seasons. Now - Schaefer turned pro in 1997-98, and thus has been a pro player for 9 years (including 1 year for the lockout as agreed to through the CBA), however, he did play one full year in Finland while in a contract dispute with Vancouver, so I presume that year doesn't count.
My question is therefore if a player spends a full year say in the AHL (as Schaefer did in 1997-98), does that count as a "accrued season"? I don't believe so, which leads me to believe he will be a Restricted Free Agent next summer, however, I could be wrong. Does anyone know how an "accrued season" is calculated? Is there a minimum number of games a player must play in the NHL over 1 season to count it as an accrued season?
The reason I ask is I've seen Schaefer listed as both an RFA or UFA on various projected summer of 2006 free agency lists. Anyone know? Thanks.
I think you're assumption is correct - his AHL season is not an "accrued" season, but that's just my judgment.
The rationale I'm using is the rookie cap: if a rookie plays less than 10 games in a season, it does not count as a season under the 3-year rookie cap, and hence, not as a year of service in the NHL. The Sens sent Hossa back to Portland to avoid this, IIRC. Same would apply here, I would think.