If you’re new to the AHL game, or even if you’re a seasoned fan, there’s always talk each year about the AHL’s “development rule” – or more commonly, the “vet rule.” The AHL instituted the vet rule as a way to ensure that they stay a development league, allowing players beginning their careers the chance to play regularly in the league. From the AHL’s website:
Of the 18 skaters (not counting two goaltenders) that teams may dress for a regular-season game, at least 13 must be qualified as “development players.” Of those 13, 12 must have played in 260 or fewer professional games (including AHL, NHL, IHL and European elite leagues), and one must have played in 320 or fewer professional games. All calculations for development status are based on regular-season totals as of the start of the season.
If that’s a bit confusing, you’re not alone in that feeling. A quick breakdown makes it a bit easier to comprehend. Goalies are exempt in these calculations as 12 players must have played in 26o or less games; five players are allowed that have played more than 320 games, while one player may have played in 261 or more games, but only up to 320 games. Where things tend to get a bit iffy though, is how you calculate “European elite league” game totals into this, and that’s what may affect the Barons the most this season.
We’ll start with the easy ones, with the guys that reach their vet status in just NHL and AHL games.
Ford and Nesbitt are bolded as they would both fit into the “exempt” slot, and I added Eager for the chance that he clears waivers today and ends up in Oklahoma City. With this group here though, the Barons would fall easily into compliance with the vet rule, having five players that fit into the 261+ range. However, it’s the Europeans that have played professionally before hitting North America that may cause some issues with that.
Now the Barons sit with eight players above the 261 games mark. With multiple players eligible for the exempt slot, the Barons would easily be able to field six vets per game, but that means that two will be sitting out each game as well. Even if Eager is claimed before clearing waivers, that still leaves one player in the press box each game, which is the same situation that saw the need for Shawn Belle to be traded during the 2010-11 season. It was the lines in practice on Wednesday morning that made me wonder about all this though.
Vets bolded, that’s your six spots right there, leaving no room for Larsen on defense. Decisions are obviously needed to be made as far as who sits this weekend against Charlotte, barring any differences in what the league counts as a “European elite league” game.