Explaining the AHL Veteran Rule and Examining Texas Stars Veterans

Maxime Fortunus, one of the Texas Stars' veterans. (Credit: Steven Christy)

As we slog through the deadest month of the year in terms of hockey news, it's a good time to review one of the most basic rules of the AHL roster: the veteran rule. Here's the leanguage that the AHL uses on its website to describe the rule.
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 little confusing, that's OK. Let's break it down.

Essentially, a hockey team is most usually made up of 12 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies. Goalies are exempt from the veteran rule. For the 18 remaining skaters, the veteran rule states that 12 of those players must have played fewer than 260 regular season pro games. Of the remaining 6, one of those must have played fewer than 320 regular season pro games. Of the remaining 5 at that point, there are no restrictions on how many games have been played. All measures are taken at the beginning of the season and don't change as the season goes on.

With 76 games in an AHL season, two-hundred and sixty games is enough to get through a player's initial three-year entry-level contract (ELC) without hitting the rule. In fact, fourth year players are generally exempt from the rule, having played at most 246 regular season games to that point (82 NHL games per season over 3 seasons).

The 320 games player rule was added in the 2007 PHPA CBA negotiation to allow one "tweener" player. Examples of these would be Travis Morin or Luke Gazdic in the 2013-14 season.

Here is a list of the most veteran players on the Texas Stars this season. You can see in the list that only four players expected to spend time with Texas this season will qualify as AHL veterans.

Player NHL AHL Total
Toby Petersen 397 443 840
Maxime Fortunus 8 501 509
Tyler Sloan 99 366 465
Francis Wathier 9 383 392

Included for completeness, here are the next few "most veteran" players. None of these players triggers the veteran rule, though.
Player NHL AHL Total
Colton Sceviour 1 232 233
Travis Morin 3 225 228
Luke Gazdic 0 197 197


  1. Since only six of these seven guys can play in the same game, whom do you expect to spend the most time watching from upstairs? And don't say the one most injured.

    1. Why only 6 of these 7? What am I missing?

    2. Hold on. Only 4 of these players count as vets. Sceviour, Morin and Gazdic were included simply for a bit more completeness. Texas has no issues with veteran rule overages.

    3. Right. Thanks for clarifying in the article, as well.

  2. Is Luko still not expected to be signed? Too pricey? He was still a good presence on the ice last season. Luko's "directing traffic" on the defensive end seemed to rub off on Max whose vision improved after spending so much time on the same line as Luko. I would think he would be great to mentor Oleksiak and Nemeth, as well.

    1. No, I don't expect Lukowich to be re-signed. Texas has clearly moved on with signing Sloan and Fortunus to satisfy the defensive veteran presence. Texas clearly decided to go in a different direction after last season and the conflicts between vet players and coaches.

    2. I hadn't noticed talk about conflict between veteran players and coaches specifically, just general disagreement. I guess veterans are more likely to feel like they know what's what than developing players. Is he still likely to retire or look for someone else?


Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. Remember to keep it civil. Using a name will help us identify replies and build a Texas Stars community.