logo

The Calgary Flames have an incentive to get two 2023 draft picks signed by the end of the year

alt
Photo credit:Rob Wilton/Vancouver Giants
Ryan Pike
2 months ago
During the 2023 NHL Draft, the Calgary Flames added six players to their organization over two days. Three of the players were born in 2004 and are termed “late birthdays,” as they were born late in 2004 and are older the the rest of their draft class.
Two of the draftees with late birthdays could be signed to entry-level contracts before the end of 2023 due to an incentive built into the CBA: the double slide.
(Third-round pick Aydar Suniev is headed to college this season, so he won’t be a double-slide signing candidate.)
There are two parts of the CBA that are important to the slide rule. Article 9.2 defines the age of players as it relates to their entry-level signings:
As used in this Article, “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.
Honzek and Lipinski were both 18 as of September 15, so if they sign their ELCs before the end of 2023, their “First SPC Signing Age” will be 18.
This matters because of Article 9.1:
(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.
(d) (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.
If Honzek and Lipinski sign their ELCs before the end of 2023, they’ll both be considered 18-year-old signings (regardless of their actual ages when they sign). If they don’t play 10+ NHL games in 2023-24, and they likely won’t, their deals would slide once automatically. They’re both probably headed back to junior this coming season, so that’s a moot point. But the second subsection stipulates that if that automatic slide happens in their 18-year-old seasons and they don’t play 10+ NHL games in 2024-25, each of their 19-year-old season, a second slide happens – even if they’re playing in the American Hockey League.
Essentially, signing Honzek and Lipinski before the end of 2023 would functionally turn a three-year ELC into a four-year ELC, giving the Flames a nice boost in contractual flexibility and additional developmental reps before they have to sink serious money into each player. The Flames did this with Oliver Kylington, Rasmus Andersson and Connor Zary. Heck, Kylington went into the AHL immediately and his ELC actually lasted for five seasons. (To get the players on-board, typically teams give them slightly more potential performance bonuses than their draft slot would merit.)
Long story short, don’t be too surprised if Honzek and Lipinski sign their ELCs before the end of December.

Check out these posts...