What exactly is the “Slide Rule”?
For entry-level hockey contracts signed by a player between the ages of 18 and 19, the contract will extend or “slide” a year if they meet certain requirements: First is the obvious, aforementioned age requirement. Second, the player must not play more than 10 NHL games, playoffs included. AHL games played do not count towards this number.
An entry-level contract is permitted to slide by up to two years. The exception to this slide rule is the signing player must not turn 20 between September 16 and December 31st in his signing year. Signing bonuses do not slide, and must be paid the year in which the contract was signed.
If you’d like this in verbose, wordy CBA-terms:
Slide Rule Example:
The Boston Bruins selected Axel Andersson 57th overall in the 2018 draft. At the time of his draft, Axel is 18 years old, with a birthday of February 10th. During the Bruins annual development camp, he impresses the Bruins staff. General Manager Don Sweeney elects to sign him to an entry level contract worth $825,833 AAV.
Axel’s birthday is before the 15th of September. Therefore, his contract signed through the 2020-21 season may slide for up to two years. Provided he plays for Djurgårdens IF of the SHL or Providence Bruins of the AHL till he’s 20, contract will be extended till 2023. Should the contract “side” the Bruins will not have to pay Axel till the year he turns 20 per the collective bargaining agreement.
Slide Rule Example 2:
In 2017, the Boston Bruins selected Jeremy Swayman in the 4th round. His birthday is November 24th; while physically he is 18, the CBA decides he is in fact 19 as his birthday falls after September 15th. If the Bruins had inked him to an ELC, and exclusively played him in the AHL, his contract would have only extended by one year.