So I was wondering... can a player in the AHL refuse a call up to the NHL?
The big question is why a player would do that? As the others have stated, it would have to be special circumstances.
This is the flip side to your question. Some AHL players are on an AHL contract only. The AHL team signed them, i.e. Milwaukee, not Nashville. That player can't be called up. His AHL contract would have to be terminated and the player signed to a NHL or NHL/AHL contract. Rich Peverly played in Milwaukee for 2 or 3 seasons before Nashville signed him. He came to Milwaukee as a call up from the ECHL.
Pretty sure this has been talked to death already, but I don't see why anyone playing in the AHL would turn down a chance to play in the NHL. The NHL has been their goal since they were kids most likely.
I doubt anyone has been growing up saying, "I want to play in the AHL one day"
no player would refuse; first it is the big show and second it is a heck of a payday.
Looking at my AHL team average AHL salary 70-80K, NHL average 700-800K or around 9k per game. As a call up a player can earn their entire AHL salary in less than 10 NHL games.
Exactly. Once again, the only exception to this would be the player who has already made his money and likes where he is so will settle there regardless. But how often would this happen, however? My hunch is pretty rarely.
There was a tough guy playing for Halifax/Quebec around 1990 who declined a call up because all they wanted him to do was fight in the NHL, then would send him back down. I believe it was Greg Smyth. I don't remember the details completely, and I may have something wrong, but I believe it to be correct from my memory. A quick look at his stats makes it look like it was possible.
Peter Zezel also was traded to Vancouver but didn't report until after he could play in the AHL All-Star game in 1998.