The NHL Needs a "D" league

The NHL is the top hockey league in the world, but as younger and younger players get drafted there is need for a developmental league. There are lower leagues all ready in place, but they are governed by age, and not talent.

The lower levels of hockey have always feed the NHL, but what happens when you have an 18-year-old whose talent is too great for his JR. league? Nothing happens, and that just how it goes. But, that’s not how it should go there are 18 year-olds who should be in the AHL, or a “D” league but are not allowed due to age. That fact is driving me nuts, and in some ways it’s a waste of talent.
Per AHL By-Laws, the age limit for eligibility to compete in the American Hockey League is 18 years or over, on or before September 15 of each season of competition.

Also hurting the idea of a “D” league is the current NHL/CHL agreement. “The NHL/CHL agreement states that a player with junior eligibility signed by an NHL team must be returned to his junior team if he’s not playing in the NHL. Its part of a deal that provides CHL money for players produced (sort of like the IIHF agreement between the NHL and European countries). The NHL agrees to send the teenagers back because CHL needs these players – its top players — to make money. If the CHL didn’t make money, they couldn’t produce players. You scratch my back, I scratch yours.” [prospects annex]

It really a simple argument, but the answer to solve this problem is far too difficult for me to figure out. I’m simply saying that the NHL needs to figure a way to better develop their young talent. Having players get stuck in no-man’s land due to their age is a waste of time and money. Earlier this morning we took to twitter and ask if the NHL should look to adding a “D” league. While the response was not overwhelming not a single person said no.


Allowing younger more talented player the chance to skate with like talented players would help the on ice product and in turn the NHL and its teams would make more money. In some cases not allowing a player to move on due to talent hurts that player’s career. I understand that doing this would hurt lower level leagues, but maybe it’s time the NHL worries about its product and less about other leagues. After all it’s all about trying to make it to the NHL.

Tags: NHL News

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