Question: How does an entry-level contract slide?

Players who qualify in the entry-level system, also known as “Group 1” players, must sign contracts with strict limits on term and compensation.

If an 18 or 19-year-old* player signs an entry-level contract but doesn’t play in at least ten games in the first season of that contract, the terms** and number of years are automatically extended one year — effectively “sliding” the contract.

This automatic extension doesn’t apply for players who turn 20 between September 16 and December 31 in the year they sign their contract.

Second Slide: If an 18-year-old player (at the time of contract signing) has his contract slide and then doesn’t play in at least ten games in the second season either, his contract will slide again.

**Contract Terms: The player’s base salary “slides” in all cases.  Signing bonuses do not slide, but a team and player can agree to contrary terms regarding games played bonuses and performance bonuses.  This is not common though.

Real Example: The Edmonton Oilers signed Leon Draisaitl to an entry-level contract on October 12, 2014.  Draisaitl was 18 at the time of signing the deal and also as calculated with regards to the entry-level contract slide rule (see here for more on age calculation).

Draisaitl’s contract would have been eligible to slide had he played less than ten games in the 2014-15 season.  Draisaitl played 37 games prior to being returned to the Canadian Hockey League, meaning his contract does not slide and 2015-16 will be the second season of his entry-level deal.

CBA Reference: 9.1 (d) Pages 23-24

*Related: How is player age calculated, particularly as it relates to the sliding of entry-level contracts?

Note: Explanation and legal interpretation of the above is solely the opinion of the author and may not reflect all scenarios or actual CBA interpretation by NHL/NHLPA representatives.  If you have a suggestion for improving this interpretation, please reach out via our Contact page

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