One item that was discussed at the NHL’s annual spring GM meetings this week was whether or not to raise the age of draft eligible players to 19.
The league’s current rules allow for players who are 18 years old (or those who will be by Sept. 15 the year of the draft) to be eligible.
NHL executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell is one of the people who believes raising the age eligibility could benefit the game.
“I think a 20-year-old draft would be better,” Campbell told Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday.
Campbell went on to explain that former NHLer Pat LaFontaine is leading a group of executives and agents from the NHL, NHLPA, CHL, AHL and other hockey organizations who feel raising the draft age would improve player development.
Kelly Hrudey, who was drafted in 1980 as a 19-year-old, recently said on Hockey Night in Canada he felt having an extra year to develop as an undrafted player helped him professionally and personally in a positive way.
One criticism to raising the draft age is how it would impact rare, exceptional talents like Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and other high draft picks from years past.
As you can see from the image below, it is rare for teens to get consistent playing time in the NHL.