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NCAA players NHL draft eligibility - when did the rules change?

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06-14-2013, 04:02 PM
Marc the Habs Fan
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NCAA players NHL draft eligibility - when did the rules change?

This may be hard to answer, but when did this change and what was the exact rule back then? Did it change with the new CBA in 2005?

As an example, the 2002 draft saw Whitney, Nystrom, Ballard and Higgins get drafted as 19 year olds out of the NCAA.

2003 saw Vanek, Kesler and Mark Stuart get drafted as 19 year olds (and Parise was about to turn 19 a few weeks after the draft) out of the NCAA. Ryan Suter had turned 18 in January, he was playing for the USNDTP U-18 team and was picked. Looking at Parise's career, he played a bit for that U-18 team in 2001-02, so why wasn't he drafted in 2002 at age 18?

2004 saw Montoya and Stafford get drafted at age 19, yet A.J. Thelen was drafted at age 18. All 3 were playing in the NCAA.

Is it as simple as players had the right to opt-in or not into the draft when they were 18 and many of these names did not opt-in? It seems surprising that so many of them would not opt-in.

Last edited by Marc the Habs Fan: 06-14-2013 at 04:09 PM.
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06-14-2013, 09:14 PM
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It changed with the 2005 CBA, but was affected by an NCAA rule change in 2004. Under the previous 1995 CBA players age 19+ were automatically eligible to be selected in the draft. Players age 18 had to file paperwork to opt-in to the draft.

For a long time the NCAA had maintained a policy that any player opting into the draft would forfeit their college eligibility. The NCAA suspended that policy in 2004 though, meaning age 18 college players could submit for the draft while continuing to play in college.

In 2004 age 18 players still had to file to be draft eligible. Apparently some did and some didn't. When the new CBA took effect in 2005 age 18 players could be drafted without any requirement that they opt-in for the draft.

The 1995 CBA draft eligibility rules are still online here:

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