Headlines: NHL discussing moving draft age to 19

Damien Cox & Elliotte Friedman discuss the Canucks cap situation, Zac Rinaldo’s suspension and Winnipeg to host an outdoor game.

The NHL is at least considering moving the age of draft eligible players to 19, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

During Saturday’s Headlines segment, Friedman reported that a group of executives led by Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine are looking at increasing the draft age in order to improve player development.

“Last May, the NHL had a meeting, they called it their Developmental Summit,” said Friedman, who listed the NHL, NHLPA, CHL, Hockey Canada, USA Hockey and NCAA among the participating organizations. “They’re looking at changing, or trying to look at changes for the development model across North America – grassroots all the way up to the NHL.

“The biggest factor this could have on the league: discussions about moving the draft age up to 19. No guarantees it’s going to happen, but it’s something to be looked at.”

The NHL currently allows players who are or will be 18 years old by Sep. 15 the year of the draft to be eligible. According to LaFontaine, increasing the age to 19 is an idea being talked about.

“We’re exploring many ideas in improving conditions for player development, and raising the draft age is one of many things that we’re looking at, and those discussions remain very preliminary,” he told ESPN.

Raising the draft age would carry several implications towards a player’s potential earnings. Taylor Hall, who was 18 when he debuted as a rookie in 2010, doesn’t think the NHL needs to make a change.

“I think it’s fine where it’s at,” said Hall, who scored 22 goals in his rookie season. “You’re seeing kids come in and do great things in this game. When you’re 18 you should be able to work and seek employment however you want, so I think it’s fair.”

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