Did you know there was an SHL-NHL agreement that impacted prospect assignment?
Thanks to Fredrik Olofsson for sending me down this wormhole.
I was at morning skate in Denver today before the Colorado Avalanche hosted the Anaheim Ducks and a had a chance to catch up with former Dallas Stars forward Fredrik Olofsson.
Olofsson split last season between the AHL and NHL for the Stars, and appeared in a pair of NHL playoff games.
Then in June he was part of one of the weirder transactions I’ve seen, getting moved from Dallas to Colorado for future considerations and then immediately signing a two-way contract with the Avalanche.
Future considerations deals aren’t uncommon in the NHL, but one divisional rival giving away an asset for free was odd.
Apparently there was more at play.
Olofsson enjoyed his time in Dallas, he wanted to re-sign with the Stars, in fact. But the Stars were in the middle of figuring out their organizational depth and weren’t committed one way or the other to Olofsson in early June.
So in the meantime Olofsson had looked at his options in Sweden and signed with a team in the SHL. This made him subject o the NHL-IIHF transfer agreement.
Any player under contract with an IIHF sanctioned league, like the SHL, can opt out of their contract by June 15. They could do it in theory after that, but there are more hurdles and financial factors that come into play.
So Olofsson was in a spot where he’d either sign with the Stars by June 15 or return to the SHL. This is when the Avalanche showed interest, were willing to sign him.
At this point the Stars effectively did Olofsson a favor by making his life easier to remain in the NHL. If they hadn’t traded him on June 15, like they did, there would have been more hurdles and hassles for the Avalanche to try and bring him in.
Olofsson then sent me down another wormhole, which I had somehow missed in my time covering this sport.
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There is an NHL-SHL agreement in place, that is similar to the NHL-CHL agreement when it comes to prospects.
The CHL agreement is well known, players drafted from the CHL who have played three or less seasons or are under 20 must be returned to their junior team if they aren’t in the NHL, they can not be assigned to the AHL and ECHL.
The SHL has a similar agreement, which was amended in 2022 and extended for eight more seasons.
If a player is under 24 years old and drafted from the SHL in the second round or later, and they aren’t on the NHL roster, they are to be returned to the SHL and not the AHL. The SHL team could decline the return of that player, but that will rarely happen.
It used to be a role that applied to players 22 and younger, but was moved up to 24 in that aforementioned 2022 extension. Players drafted in the 2022 draft and earlier are grandfathered in still at the 22-year-old rule.
For example, Oskar Bäck was drafted in the third-round by the Dallas Stars in 2018. He didn’t come over to the AHL until his 22-year-old season.
This season the Detroit Red Wings drafted Noah Dower-Nilsson out of Sweden in the third round. Until he is 24 it will effectively be SHL or NHL, he won’t be able to play for the Grand Rapid Griffins in the AHL without the blessing of Frolunda.
This is where it’s important to remember that this only applies to players drafted in the second round or later. For example, Axel Sandin-Pellika is tearing up the SHL as a teenager right now. If Detroit wanted, he could play in the AHL next season because of his first-round status.
Anyways, thanks to Fredrik Olofsson for sending me down this path and teaching us all a bit more about of how the system works.